Monday, July 26, 2010

El Scorcho 25K - My First 25K...and at Midnight!

After not running basically at all first trimester because I felt so fatigued, I had begun running again in the second trimester, felt good, worked with the doctor to come to agreements on how much running, and just kept feeling stronger!

So then three and a half weeks ago, I got a crazy stupid idea.  I loved the thought of El Scorcho 25K - there was a huge safety net to it being on a 5K loop where you could stop after any given one, and it was the only event at the absolutely coolest part of the day for the next couple months.  While running felt good, getting out the door when you're pregnant is still hard.  So I was also looking for a firm goal to keep me motivated.  My first 25K seemed like a strong motivator.  I reached out to the race director who agreed to let me in even though it had sold out months ago - he was appreciative of my volunteer efforts as the North Texas State Rep for the RRCA so it seemed this was his thanks for that, so nice of him!

I had also chatted with my friend Elizabeth about the fact I was thinking about the event.  She's friends with the race director and, out of nowhere, she offers to pace me the entire 25K race! So sweet of her!

After several weeks of 25ish miles each week, and a last long run a week out of 12.5 miles, I was feeling trained up for this 15.5 mile race.  I had practiced with my headlamp (some areas are really dark) and have not really gained much weight so my balance didn't feel off (it's mixed terrain and can be rough).  I formulated my packing list for a full week ahead of time. I even arranged a hotel room to get a big pre-race nap and rest afterward before driving home.

At the race site, Elizabeth and I found a spot right off the trail, with an easy walk to the portalets, and set up our things.  My friends arrive right before the start with our 7 matching tutus. Yes, tutus.  Jennifer had made our group of twitter friends all tutus to wear.

I had measured my waist for her to make it, but it was a little looser than I had hoped.  So the tutu only made it the first 3.1 miles before being comfortable won out.

As we finished each loop, it was great to hear spectators cheer. I was pretty focused but heard personalized cheers as well. They meant more to me than I'm sure those people even know! A half mile out from the end of each loop I'd figure out what I needed to do at that quick break - drink gatorade, refill water bottle, did I need to potty, any stretching needed.  My sister had come to watch and actually stayed through three loops; she was an invaluable help as "crew", prepping my Gatorade and refilling my water bottle, grabbing supplies I needed to find.  After the third loop, I even changed my socks and shoes, because the humidity and distance made me nervous about getting blisters.

And Elizabeth stayed with me for every step.  I felt pretty good. Kept a good pace and walked every 5 minutes as the doctor wanted.  Not too tired from the time of day, and no tummy problems - spaghetti and meatballs three hours before race start was a perfect pre-race meal for me.

But the last loop was different.  My body had started stiffening up, especially the hips with the weight of the baby and the start/stop of run/walk-ing. As we started the last loop, I was saying how great I felt. Then we took the first walk break of that loop. And when it was time to run again, ugh. I just couldn't get any pace going.  I also realize I only took 2 GUs the whole race, so I probably could have used a pick-me-up before I started that loop.  My heart rate was staying low because my jog was so slow that eventually, we cut out the walk breaks and jogged the last twenty five minutes.

We could see the finish coming, and I told Elizabeth I had no gas in the tank left for any sort of kick to the end.  And then we got closer.  And I found that last big sprint. The last 0.16 miles I was able to pull a 12:06/mi after the entire last loop had been a 17+ min/mi pace! Guess when I needed to manage it, I found just a little speed. :-)

Here's the full results for my run:

And here's the post-race pic with Elizabeth on the right. I embraced the baby bump three loops in, it was just too humid to waste time being modest. :-)

An immediate post-race ice bath and then another one 16 hours later, and on Monday now I'm feeling pretty good. No DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). And saw the chiropractor this morning to make sure all the kinks were worked out.

So my first 25K race under my belt...what should my next goal be? ;-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Packing for El Scorcho 25K

I've been preparing my packing list for Saturday's race since Sunday, one week out.  What's El Scorcho? It's a 25K and 50K running race held at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning on a 5K loop in Trinity Park in Fort Worth in the dark.  Limited to 500 running, spectators also come camp out and help make it feel like a fun little party.  This is my first year participating, and the longest race I've done.

The race is about an hour from my house.  So I thought, as a 5 month pregnant woman, I should do this as smart as possible.  I have a hotel room very close to the race site.  I'm going over Saturday early afternoon, picking up my packet at Fort Worth Running Company, and getting a few hours sleep.  Then dinner, Italian, at 8:30 pm before I head over to the race site at 11 pm.  The race will start at midnight, and I'm guessing it will take me 4-5 hours if all goes well.  Then I'll head back to the hotel, get a shower and probably an ice bath, and sleep for a few hours before heading home.  No sense trying to drive home fatigued for an hour at 5 am!

So all the more reason I get my packing list right since I can't just head back home.

Here's my packing list... If you've done a race like this, or this race in particular, please COMMENT and help me refine this list. It's very hard to feel like you have everything you need!
  1. Garmin GPS
  2. Heart Rate Monitor (required by doc to wear for all workouts)
  3. Camera
  4. Headlamp
  5. Extra batteries for the headlamp
  6. Glowsticks
  7. Cooler stocked with: gatorade, bottled water, chocolate milk
  8. Gu (4)
  9. Bagels
  10. Extra pair of shoes and socks (after my last long run sweating in this heat and humidity, I came the closest to getting a blister that I've come in about 3-4 years, I never get blisters. So I'll try changing out shoes/socks after the 3rd or 4th loop)
  11. Extra shirt (to change into for late loops or when done)
  12. Amphipod pocket (carries my phone)
  13. Bodyglide (a must!)
  14. Beach towel (for laying out to do stretches on the ground)
  15. Lawn chair
  16. Handheld water bottle
[7/23/10 - List Amended Due to Feedback on my Facebook Post of This Blog Entry]
  1. Bug Spray
  2. Baby wipes
  3. Extra towel for car when leaving and sweaty
  4. Extra hair ties
  5. Frozen washcloths
And I'm not including what I'm wearing to the race itself.

So what am I forgetting? Suggestions are most welcome!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Feeling This Good Can't Be Good, Right?

I had my 20 week ultrasound and pre-natal appointment with the doctor this morning.  The sonographer was amazing - showing us every measurement, where it fit in the norms, every organ, every finger, every toe. 

  • It's a Girl! :-) We're excited to add another girl to our family.
  • Everything looks normal - brain, nose/lips (looking for cleft palates), heart, kidneys, intestines, stomach, and she was at an angle that we feel pretty certain that all fingers and toes are there!
  • She's actually 96th percentile for weight! And measuring at 20 weeks, 5 days - a little more than the 20 weeks I'm supposedly at!
Then we saw the doctor.  She looked over everything from the sonographer and she was beyond thrilled.  I was giddy with relief - I've had a hard time gaining weight this pregnancy and feel like I've been trying so hard to eat.  I'm actually still one pound below my pre-pregnancy weight, which sounds scary on paper, but the doctor was completely happy with it because as long as the baby progresses looking as great as she does size-wise, it's fine if the rest of my body is trimming down a little.

Besides my concern about weight gain, I was so relieved because I explained to her that there's this little feeling in the back of my mind that kept saying, "You're not supposed to feel this good.  Something must be wrong." I know, weird concept, but it's the thought that not everything can go that well, that the other shoe will drop at any moment.

Which  brings me to my running.  I gave her a chart that showed every workout and the distance totals that I've done since she saw me a month ago.  I had felt so good, I had lengthened my workouts from what she had approved as things seemed to be going well. 

Also, I told her how in the last week, I'd found I wasn't having to watch the heart rate monitor nearly as much.  It appears I may have acclimated to the heat because for the same pace, or a little faster, my heart rate's not going above about 155. 

She was very happy with all I had been doing and wasn't freaked out by the weekly mileage or longer runs.  I then told her about El Scorcho.  I was definitely hesitant about how to explain this race to her, so much so that she looked at my husband and said, "She's about to tell me about something I'm not going to like."

So I told her about the 25K (15.5 miles) race I'm planning on running Sunday.  I told her the following:
  • I would never consider this if it wasn't on a 5K loop.  So if something feels wrong, I can stop 9 or 12 miles in, easy to stop.
  • A good friend and veteran runner, who's fast and has run through 2 of her 4 pregnancies was going to be my pacer/crew, taking every step with me and making sure I drank and ate enough.
  • I know the folks coordinating the medical from Baylor and had gone so far as to call him to find out who would be out there.  It appears there will be, besides ambulance EMTs, two athletic trainers and a nurse, with the Baylor air-conditioned van.  Crucial because I have trouble at my angle around the belly relaxing the round ligament and oblique muscles on the side of my belly, so it will be easy to explain to an athletic trainer what muscle I need helped.
  • I'll have food and drink easily available at the end of each loop.
  • She asked how long it would take for me to complete a race of this kind, I said 4 hours. Probably in the low 4+ hrs.  I thought she'd be really upset with that.  Instead, she asked if I planned to take walk breaks or breaks generally.  I told her short breaks at the end of each loop, and then I planned to do the whole thing with 1 minute walk breaks for every 5 minutes of running.  She said, "Oh, okay."
  • Then I told her it was at midnight. Again, thought she'd be really concerned.  But no, she seemed relieved, said that it was at the coolest part of the day then.
After all this, she said I've obviously thought seriously about this, I'm taking all necessary precautions, she thinks so far I've demonstrated that I listen to my body, and as long as I stay smart, she's fine with me doing the race.  In fact, she's so fine with everything that I don't have to do another ultrasound in four weeks as originally intended under the premise that I'm running, she's okay waiting for 6 weeks!

Oh, by the way, did I mention this will be the longest race I've ever done? I haven't done a long run of over 13.1 miles in about 4 1/2 years.  And the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk (20 miles per day for 3 days) wasn't a race, so it doesn't count, and that was 5 years ago.   So this is all so exciting.

All in all, what a big appointment this was.  Steve and I now need to focus on baby names.  I'm so relieved that I can stop stressing over the whole "things are too good" feeling and no more worrying about my weight gain.  I'll see how long we can keep this running thing going, and I'll now focus on how happy I am with how good I feel and knowing the baby is so healthy too!

Happy Running, and wish me luck on Saturday night!  And if you feel like coming out to cheer, I would welcome the distractions, and I'm sure the other 499 running this race will too!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Whole Different Set of Running Muscles

Since my last injury that sidelined my running back in 2006 (plantar fasciitis), I've been luckier and smarter in my running to be able to avoid injuries the last 4 years.  Especially a good sign with a chronic medical condition (fibromyalgia).  And through this, I've increased my training miles significantly, completed almost 20 half marathons and many smaller races, and worked hard to get faster (Big D Half Marathon in April 2008: 3:08; Cowtown Half Marathon in February 2010: 2:26).

But now, I'm 5 months pregnant and running 20+ miles per week for the last 3 weeks.  And I'm learning about muscles I didn't even know I had.  Or knew that they were important for running. 
  • As the baby bump grows out front, the pelvis starts to tilt, and * ta da * now my hamstrings are constantly a little tight.
  • Have you seen those women in their 9th month of pregnancy waddling around bowlegged, legs turned out, feet pointed out? Turns out you have muscles on the inside of your thighs called hip adductors.  And they are kinda important stabilizing muscles.  The position and weight of the baby is starting to make those adductors a little sensitive, and I can definitely feel that after a run.
  • Those hip adductor muscles connect through a network of muscles that run along the shin.  So some mid-shin pain also.
  • Finally, the round ligaments are muscles on either side of the tummy basically all about stretching to make room for the expanding belly.  Last long run, wowza, I found out what those side stomach muscles can feel like when they are irritated.
So last week I spent about 4 1/2 hours over the week, running 21.6 miles.  That includes a 12.5 mile long run Friday night.  And then I spent about that same length of time, 4 1/2 hours, over the course of the week RECOVERING from these runs.

Saturday included an ice bath to start the day (long run was late the night before). Then in the evening, a warm epsom salt bath followed by a 1.5 mile walk and concluded with another ice bath. A lot of work, but I woke up Sunday morning with no DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that most would get not the day after a long run but the day after that.

I don't mind the time spent recovering to keep running because it's still better than the alternative.  First pregnancy, in 2007, at 20 weeks in I was already doing physical therapy 2-3 x a week. It was a hard pregnancy, with bedrest the last couple months and a lot of pain.  Not that surprising for a women with fibromyalgia going through pregnancy.  This time, I feel so much better.

And I hope for a while I can keep it up!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Run, Interrupted

Today's run was intended to be 10 miles. I met up with a group of friends running from the Central Market on Lovers Lane in Dallas.  I was one of the slowest in the group, but that's fine with me.  We all spread out over the run and then Dana gave her map to Luis and said she'd stick with me, since we were similar pace and I had a map.

About 3 1/2 miles in, Dana and I cross the intersection at Mockingbird & Hillcrest and about 30-40 seconds later, when we're a good block from the intersection, we hear a loud crash and metal scraping.  We look back to see two cars have crashed at the intesection.  No one is getting out. 

So we sprint back to the crash.  There we find a black Range Rover and a small gray pickup truck.  The Range Rover's front is completely smashed in, with pieces everywhere.  The truck must have spun around and the driver side has hit the big stoplight pole.  Dana calls 911 and talks to the woman in the truck who is complaining that her side hurts.  She's calling her husband and crying.  I go over to the Range Rover where the frail woman there is still very shook up and just sitting there. The powder's still coming off the airbag.  Dana sees fluid leaking out of the front of the Range Rover and suggests the woman gets out.  The crush to the front meant that I had to hold the door open as hard as I could while the woman squeezed out.  We moved her to the side and waited for the sirens.

Fire truck, police, and ambulance came.  While we're waiting, we call anyone on the run who might have a phone so they'll know why we're delayed.  They loaded the woman from the truck onto the gurney and to the ambulance.  The EMT asks the woman from the Range Rover if she's okay and she says she's fine.  While we're all watching though, she's rubbing one side of her chest, and when I ask, she says it hurts.  I grab one of the EMTs and let him know that while she said she's okay, she's not acting it, and he says he'll check her out.  The police had us wait around to give a statement, which wasn't helpful since we never actually saw the accident.

So we start our run back up after this 20 minute interruption.  We've decided that we'll switch to a shorter route that was mapped out ahead of time too.  This way we'll finish around the time the others do.

As we run again, it finally dawns on us that if we'd gone through that intersection 40 seconds earlier, it could have been really scary for us.  I'd hope we'd see the cars before it happened, but you never know.

Sadly, since we had a quick sprint back to the crash, then standing around not stretching for 20 minutes, our legs have stiffened way up.  It was a struggle to get back to the car.

We finished with 7.5 miles.  And the rest got back from the 10-miler about 10 minutes later to hang around and chat.

I hope the two women are both okay.  Meanwhile, the truncated run kept me from the 25 miles I'd thought would be fun to hit this week, but I did finish runs totalling 22.5 miles this week, so I'm still pretty happy!

Happy, and SAFE, Running!

Monday, July 5, 2010

There are Oreos in my Bathwater

Yes, the diatribes of a pregnant woman. The statement kinda says it all. But here's the whole weekend...

Saturday: Liberty 10K in The Colony
I won a free entry to this race - can't beat that.  First year they've added the 10K so it wasn't very big. After about 24 hours of so much rain, I drove to this race in pouring rain... and the second I get into The Colony, rain stops. There's still so much low cloud cover, and the humidity is outrageous.

The entire race, not a single drop of rain comes down. :-( But I'm also surprised a mile into the race when we turn onto the "trail", which is literally a flat dirt/gravelly trail. Muddy and uneven.
Okay, if it's not all concrete or asphalt, a race should really tell you on the race website in the Course section.  I've been surprised by two races before where the terrain's slight unevenness compared to concrete hurt my ankles - crushed limestone trail in one Fort Worth race and miles of settled years-old bricks in another Fort Worth race ironically.
Otherwise, race was uneventful. Just stuck with doc's orders - 160 beats per minute heart rate for 5 minutes and 1-2 minute walk to recovery below 140 bpm, then repeat.  Finished in 1:24:22.  Pregnancy has slowed me down, but I was still happy with my time.

I arrived home, saw on the heart rate monitor that I had burned almost 1000 calories between the run and during my heart rate coming down, and was concerned about replacing some of those calories right away.  I headed to the pantry and found a 6-pack (like the little travel packs) of Oreos that I had taken at a post-race food table and didn't end up eating right away. I rarely eat Oreos too. Feeling dripping wet still from sweating through all the humidity, I jumped into the bathtub and opened up my Oreos. I guess I'd forgotten how crumbly they are. Crumbs and pieces feel into the bath. "Well now I'm just a pregnant cliche", I thought. Funnier still since I've had very little appetite this pregnancy, not the ravenous hunger or random cravings at random times and random places that you would normally expect from a pregnant gal.  But the oreos in the bathwater continues to feel very symbolic for what's going on, trying to stay active and make it through all this the best I can...yes, sometimes with oreos in my bathwater.

Sunday: 12 miles, 8 running and 4 on the elliptical
Horrible humidity in the morning again. Ugh, so I instead opted to run about 3 pm - yes, 15 degrees warmer (90 degrees) but only about 57% humidity. Felt a little better than yesterday's weather package! I headed out with my handheld Amphipod water bottle (20 oz) and plans to shoot for 6-7 miles.

I was running low on water by about mile 3. Luckily had reached a shopping center and popped into a Potbelly's sandwich shop to refill my water at the soda fountain.  I had my Blackberry on me (always do on all runs now that I'm pregnant) and kept hubby up on what was going on and asked him to bring me a water bottle close to our neighborhood on my way back. So I had another refill at mile 5.65. I was still feeling pretty strong, although didn't want to overdo it. I hadn't run more than a 10K since I was 4 weeks pregnant in mid-April.  So I mostly walked from mile 6.1 until I decided to stop at 8 miles.

I really want to get my mileage back up so all along I had planned on trying to supplement my run miles with time on the elliptical. In the evening, I hopped on and reached the goal of 4 miles on there.  It's a good way to simulate running with the continued leg fatigue, while not taxing my heart rate too much in one day.

Ending the Week on a High Note
I'm feeling great, like I did at the beginning of the year, and this week's workouts show it too! I hit 27.18 miles for the week total = 22.18 miles running + 5 miles elliptical. And I got in a 1 hour Zumba cardio class.

Even if you are one of those who want to let out a  "pshaw" sound and blow off the elliptical miles, I'm still thrilled with my 22 miles ran in one week. At 5 months pregnant, I'm so thrilled to be feeling so good.

Happy Running All!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

June 2010 Workout Miles Calculated

While I felt like my miles the last couple months were pretty paltry, given not always feeling so great in this pregnancy, I calculated end of month totals today and compared to the past and was pleasantly surprised.

June 2010: 39.8 miles (27.8 miles running + 12 miles elliptical)
Compare to last June when I WASN'T ALMOST 5 MONTHS PREGNANT!
June 2009: 41.3 miles - almost exactly the same!

Plus, year-to-date totals have me feeling a lot better...

January - June 2010 total: 326.7 miles
January - June 2009 total: 180.9 miles (!)

Hoping I can keep getting in some miles for a while longer in this pregnancy! Ever hopeful!

Next up: Liberty by the Lake 10K in The Colony, TX, on Saturday, July 3.  Sadly, no Athena category - it is the first year this race has added a 10K to their usual 5K, and with a lot of local races to choose from, I'm wondering how lonely it will be in the back-of-the-pack of this 10K. No matter, just curious.

Happy Running!