2017 Flying Pig 5k Recap and a New Race Distance

I love doing races. It doesn’t matter if I run, walk, or a combo of both – there is something about a race that lifts my spirits and motivates me to continue to stay active.

As I have mentioned before, the Flying Pig Marathon is a HUGE deal in Cincinnati and perhaps the national running community. A large amount of local and visiting runners participate in the event. In addition to the marathon – there are a variety of other races throughout the weekend. Last year I ran the 10k – and had a great time. This year – the weekend fell exactly six weeks after giving birth. My exercise routine consisted of leisurely stroller walks – so I knew  wasn’t going to run anything – but I REALLY wanted to participate in something – so I decided to power walk the 5k with my mom.

I picked up both mine and my mom’s bibs at the expo the night before and that was a poor decision on my part. Because my little baby was only six weeks – I didn’t feel comfortable taking him to the super crowded convention center. So I waited until my husband got home from work so he could watch the baby and I and drove in rush hour traffic in the pouring rain to Downtown Cincinnati by myself. I made it in the nick of time to pick everything up and barely spent anytime in the expo perusing the booths. “Morning of the race” bib pick up was available – and I should have taken advantage of that and saved myself the hassle and the $10 for downtown parking.

Since this was my first race post baby – I had a few extra things to coordinate before I left the house in the morning. I thawed milk the night before and laid out bottles for the baby. I also laid out my clothes and put all my race day essentials in my fanny pack.

I planned to wake up at 6:30 am with the intention to leave the house at 8am – this would allow me the time to get ready, eat breakfast, and nurse. The baby woke up around this time anyway – so I nursed him first, and spent the remainder of the morning getting myself fed and ready. Things ran pretty seamlessly for both me and the baby.

My mom picked me up and it was a quick and easy drive downtown. We parked in a lot a few blocks away from the start line. We also got there SUPER early – which again, was a poor decision. I thought that downtown would be super packed and that we needed a lot of time to park and line up in our corral, but that wasn’t the case. We spent an hour and a half sitting in somewhat chilly weather – watching the 10k finishers (the 10k was held two hours before the 5k start).

Eventually the time came for us to line up in our corrals, or “pig pens” – and shortly we were off. The course goes through downtown Cincinnati and does not cross the bridge into Kentucky like the 10k, half, and full. There were a lot of families and many babies in strollers and even one being worn. My baby was still too young  for this year – but next year, if I do the 5k, I will definitely bring him.

One thing I should have done was bring my own water. I am exclusively breastfeeding and I get really thirsty pretty quickly. Thankfully, there was one water stop halfway through.

Both my mom and I felt we weren’t really “pushing” ourselves with our walking. I did give birth six weeks before – so I didn’t want to over exert myself. We did finish with a time of 50:59 and a pace of 16:24.

At the finish line we got our medals – which I was pumped for since it had been a year since I did a race where they gave you a medal. The post race food was pretty scarce – they only offered you a fruit cup. I wasn’t really disappointed since you don’t burn that many calories – but I always like to stock up on free granola bars.

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The Flying Pig Races are something I really plan on making an annual tradition – there is something for everyone – even kids races! (hello Diaper Dash). After this year’s race weekend there is a short window of time to register for next year’s race at the lowest prices available. I have always wanted to conquer the marathon distance – and the Pig is a great choice for first timers due to the generous pace requirements and amazing course support. And since the price was so reasonable I bit the bullet and did it! I have no time goal – just to finish upright and smiling. Training will be a challenge since I am a nursing mom – but I am going to make it work! I hope by this time next year I will be able to call myself a marathoner!

 

Planning my Return to Fitness – Postpartum

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As I am writing this – my little buddy is napping. He’s a bit nocturnal. Sleeping in the morning/early afternoon and partying throughout the evening. I consider myself fortunate that he sleeps from 1am-7am with a feeding in between – so I get around 5.5-6ish hours of broken up sleep a day. I’ll take it.  The days are long but the weeks are flying by.

Adjusting to being a mother is a challenge. I’m someone who never changed a diaper in their entire life prior to having him. I also have little to no experience being responsible for children. I was a sleep away camp counselor for two years, but my kids were 8 years old. So they knew how to sleep through the night and use the toilet. Despite my lack of experience I think I’m doing a good job. I can be hard on myself though – I need to tell myself that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.

Luckily – my body has recovered decently from pregnancy and labor. In my first trimester I lost six pounds so I had a generous cushion when it came to the pregnancy weight gain. I ended up 18 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight – the weight came off in the first week and I’m down a few more pounds from that which can probably be attributed to stress and breastfeeding. I also had an easy healing process after delivery.

Right now, I’m taking it easy when it comes to exercise and have been trying to fit in a quick daily walk with the baby – for my mental health since I’m indoors most of the day.

I hope to ramp up my fitness routine after my six week postpartum doctor visit. It’s going to be a challenge balancing baby with a workout schedule – but if I slowly ease into it I think I can make it work.

I’m viewing my return to fitness as somewhat of a clean slate: I built up a great running base pre-pregnancy, took a brief hiatus in my first trimester, and started a manageable regimen beginning second tri through the majority of my third. One thing each phase had in common was that my fitness was solely focused on running and walking. I’d like to start incorporating a few new things into my routine.

  1. Workout Videos / Strength training

I will be home with my baby pretty much all the time. I’m fortunate to have family nearby who are open to babysitting while I go out for a quick run, but in the beginning, I know that I will not be able to take a daily run. No worries, this is a perfect opportunity to bring strength training into my life with some workout videos.

I have a few DVD’S that have been collecting dust, I plan on finally pressing play and doing them.

There are also a variety of videos on YouTube and I might, just might, dabble in some Beachbody videos (I draw the line at Shakeology, though)

While I might not get the runners high, I know I’m building a stronger base to my running routine. Strength training is important! Also my baby is getting bigger and it’s getting harder for me to carry him.

2. Fit4Mom

When my baby’s immune system gets a little stronger – I plan on trying a class at my local Fit4Mom. Fit4Mom is a fitness class designed for moms – and you are able to take your baby with you and incorporate him in the workout. It sounds like a lot of fun and a great opportunity to meet mom friends.

3. Running

Of course – running is the foundation of my fitness regimen – and I have a few goals for the rest of the year. There are a few 5ks over the next few months that I plan to walk – including one in a couple of weeks. Sometimes just being a part of a race (even without running) gets me motivated to stay active. As far as legitimate running – I plan on easing back into it and getting serious about training in the summer –  there is a local half marathon in October that I am making my comeback race.

Life has certainly been turned upside down – but my family is slowly falling into a routine – and I am looking forward to introducing exercise back into my life.

 

 

Couch to 5k: What Started It All For Me

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Since I’m taking some time off of training for long distance races – I felt like reflecting on what helped me develop the habit of running.

The Couch to 5k program has been around for a while. I think in the last 6 years I had started and quit it many, many times. Why? Well, sometimes lacing up your shoes and getting out the door can be the hardest thing.

In November of 2013 I had recently moved to San Francisco. At the time I was unemployed and had a lot of free time. I also lived in a walkable neighborhood that was hilly, but not too hilly. Between my time, location, and the mild SF weather – I decided to give the Couch to 5k antoher try. I downloaded the free c25k app, and got to it.

The program is built upon running and walking intervals which week by week slowly transitions into being able to run for 30 minutes straight. The app gives you audio cues for when to walk and run, so you don’t have to keep looking at a stopwatch.

A big milestone in the program is Week Five – Workout 3 – which is the first time you run continuously for 20 minutes. After I completed that workout I felt super accomplished and excited.

9 weeks later (January of 2014) – I completed the program. March of that year I signed up for my first half marathon and the rest is history!

I strongly recommend the couch to 5k program for anyone who wants to start running. Even if it takes a few attempts to be faithful to the program – when followed through it can change your life!

Looking Back at 2016 Goals and Forward at 2017 Goals

My one goal for 2016 was to run 1000 miles and by July I was on the right track until I got pregnant and had to take close to three months off of running due to round the clock nausea. By the end of October I started to get back into my running (more like walk/run) routine and it looks like I will be finishing the year at a hair under 650 miles. Which is more than I ran last year – so yay!!

Now for 2017 – in a few months my life will be changing in ways I cannot even begin to fathom. It is difficult for me to pick any goal pertaining to speed, distance, or racing. My only goal/wish/dream is to continue my running routine in the healthiest and sanest way possible. Of course I have future races dancing around in my head that I would like to accomplish – but I’m changing my perspective to focus on my new addition – who I will be meeting very soon.

A healthy mom is a happy mom – and I know lifelong fitness is important to maintain. I’m grateful to enjoy running and I hope to keep it up in the coming year.

 

2016 Running Goals

1000 miles

That’s my one and only goal for 2016. No race PR’s or marathons (although if I get the inclination to register for a full marathon – I might go ahead and do it)

Why this goal? While I definitely hope to increase my speed and achieve PR’s I didn’t want to lose sight of the reason I run – for my physical and mental health.

I will probably never place in a race. The day I can consistently maintain an eleven minute pace will be a HUGE achievement for me. I am not athletic by nature. The cliche “last kid picked for the team”. Some might read these as excuses, but life is long and my ultimate running goal is to be able to keep doing it for as long as I possibly can. If that means I’m a turtle, than I’m ok with that – at least I’m on the pavement.

Running has made such a positive impact on me – both mentally and physically. I’d love to see how doubling the miles I run will benefit me. For the record, I logged 556 miles in 2015.

 

January is almost over and as of today I have run 85.71 miles this month alone. Increasing my mileage hasn’t been too difficult. My 2015 running schedule consisted of two weeknight runs and one weekend long run. My current schedule adds two “lunch break” short runs and one more short run on the weekend – so I am running an average of 5-6 days a week versus 3 days. It might be double the miles, but it hasn’t eaten into my schedule.

I ran a 15k the first weekend in January (recap to come) and I have a half in a little over two weeks.

 

2015 Berkeley Half Marathon Recap

Between the Dumbo Double Dare – and this race. I started to become a little cocky. I was so impressed at my ability to run 19.3 miles in one weekend without burning myself out – that I viewed my 3rd and last half marathon of 2015 to not be a challenge.

Boy was I wrong. The 2015 Berkeley Half Marathon humbled me, and put into perspective that if running a half marathon were easy, everyone would do it.

Like my past three halfs – I put in the time and miles. I was all trained up. My speed has definitely not improved during my training runs – in fact they might have slowed down a little – yet for some reason, I thought there was a possibility of me getting a PR.

The morning of the race, I hopped in an uber that took me across the bay to Downtown Berkeley. My corral had an 8:22 am start time, so I got there with a little over 45 minutes to spare.

I placed myself at the front of my corral and had a quick start. I hit the 5k mark around 35 minutes into the race – which was speedy for me, but soon after that – I started to experience pain in my stomach and a little bit of nausea. I slowed down a little and by the time I got to mile 4, I started to feel better.

This course was very hilly in the beginning. The inclines felt greater than the Rock’n’Roll SF half which I ran earlier this year. Living in SF – I pretty much have to train on hills, so I was prepared, but hills do wear me out sometimes.

Around mile 9 is when it hit me – or I hit it. The wall.

At mile 10 it got harder, and by mile 11 I had to switch my 30:30 intervals to 15:30 (run 15 seconds, walk 30). Once I turned the corner and saw the finish line in view I *trotted* to the finish line. I was worn out. My finish time as 2:47:10 with a pace of 12:46. Not a PR. However it was my second fastest half.

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Despite my pace not being too far off from my PR and definitely faster than my long training runs – I felt unfulfilled with my performance.

This race was small compared to the other half marathons I have ran in the past. In every other half marathon I have run – the crowds never truly thinned out. I always had people in front of me AND behind me. Even my first half – with a 3:17 finish time – there were plenty of people crossing the line with me.

While I never was truly ALONE during this race – it definitely got pretty quiet during the last two miles – and once I saw my official results on how I placed – OOOF McGOOF.

I don’t know if I will ever run a sub 2 half. I am not an athletic person by nature –  however I know I made mistakes during training and during the race – if a PR was something I wanted. I think can muster up a 2:35 finish time.

I need to push myself during my weekday short runs.  I had become a little lazy toward the later half of the year – and pretty much went through the motions with all of my runs.

I also could have paced myself better throughout the entire race. Gone slower in the beginning – so I could finish strong. I did not finish strong at this race.

It also made me question my marathon goal. When I finished the race I thought to myself “how in the heck can I double this and finish without being swept or diverted away from the finish?”

I also thought to myself – do I even want to do another long race in the near future?

For the past year and a half – I have been training for half marathons. I had written about the glory of taking some time off of the longer runs in the past – and I think that might be something I plan to do through the rest of the year.

I plan to keep my long runs in the single digits (probably maxing out at 8 miles) until the start of the new year. At that time I will think about my 2016 goals. Do they include a marathon? A half pr? A 10k PR? I need a little time to reflect and think about it.

2015 Big Gay 10K Recap

I had heard about this race last year, but I think it fell on a weekend I already had something to do.

Anyways….after the Dumbo Double Dare – I went on the website and checked the date and lo and behold: no conflict.

I registered and marked my calendar. I picked up my bib two days before the race – after reading the race instructions – I realized that the finish line would close 90 minutes after the race start.

I was a little nervous about this. My average 10k pace for the most part, has always ended in a time less than 90 minutes – usually ranging from 80-85 minutes. However, one never knows how they feel on a race day, and I could very well have over a 15 minute per mile pace.

Knowing this information – I resolved to try my very best and push myself for this 10k. A great thing about attending a smaller race, is that everyone starts at the same time (unlike other races where the corrals are released in waves) – so I had the full 90 minutes to run the race.

This race was at Golden Gate Park. It was a race themed to the gay community here in SF – produced by the SF Aids Foundation. An absolutely wonderful cause. The spirit of the race was fun – many people wore tutus, tiaras, costumes. I did not dress festive enough, although I was pretty pumped about my new multicolored print hat.

I ran the first mile and a half – and started incorporating 30:30 Galloway intervals after that. It got pretty hot out there – but the race had a lot of great support – encouraging spectators and 4-5 water stops along the course.

I finished in 1:13:22 – with a pace of 11:50 per mile. A PR for my 10k, and my fastest race pace yet.

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After the race I grabbed some water, took a post race photo, and grabbed an uber home.

That’s what I love about local races – the normalcy of the remainder of the race day. You get up early, rock a race, come home and get back to normal. No traveling, no touring. There’s some beauty in that.

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 3

After the half, my husband and I took a nap and headed to the parks later that afternoon.

We decided to start a tradition when it comes to our post-Disneyland race meal. Last year we ate at Cafe Orleans and indulged in a Three Cheese Monte Cristo Sandwich with a side of Pommes Frites. We repeated the occasion. It was Pure. Fried. Heaven.

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We spent the rest of the day and night exploring both parks. A priority for our parks visit was to experience both World of Color at California Adventure and the new Paint the Night Parade at Disneyland.

Our first event was World of Color and it was pretty moving for me, but I do have one complaint. As soon as the show started 95% of the park guests took out their smart phones and held them up to video tape. Obstructing nearly everyone’s view. Your shoddy videotape of the show, which you will probably never watch, should not take priority over the people who prefer to experience the show in real time with their own eyes.

After World of Color, we headed over to Disneyland and got a prime viewing location for the parade. I can not begin to put into words how beautiful the Paint the Night parade is. For me, it was almost worth the price of admission.

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Once both parks closed, we walked over to the Disneyland hotel to go to Trader Sams. I had heard so much about this bar from various Disney-philes on social media. However, our idea to go to the bar was not an original one as the bar had reached capacity and it was approximately a 30-45 minute wait to get inside. At that point it was past midnight and we were pretty tired, so we decided to head back to the hotel.

In conclusion – It was an amazing trip – filled with quality time together and with our friend, a few fun surprises, and a great race experience.

A few weeks after the race, I was on vacation in Florida and I visited Fit2Run and finally got a gait analysis and got measured for insoles. I bought my first pair of personally selected running shoes. My previous entry level Asics Gel Contends (three different pairs) carried me through my races for the past two years, but I have more goals on the horizon, and I need to be better equipped.

I’m a proud owner of Hoka One One Cliftons.

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The Dumbo Double Dare really was a kick in the butt to help me think about my next running ventures.

The Monday after the race, I registered for a 10k taking place in a little over a week – and I registered for my third and final half of 2015.

Running 19.3 miles in two days gave me the crazy idea that I could run 26.2 in one day – and it is on that idea where I am harvesting my 2016 goal of doing the 26.2 – the MARATHON. I am eyeing an early May race, which gives me seven months to train.

The Dumbo Double Dare was my first multi-race challenge – and it definitely was a challenge. Now that I conquered it – I am ready for the new challenges that lay ahead.

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 2

Be sure to catch Part 1 of this epic saga

I awoke at 3:30 am the morning of the half and I was ECSTATIC that I slept for six hours.

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My husband was placed in Corral C, and I was in D, but he decided to start with me (what a guy!). We arrived to our corral at 5:20 am, but it was already filled to the brim. I know some people have blamed it on corral jumpers (people who were placed in farther back corrals, who broke the rules and snuck into others) however I think a lot of people in Corral C had partners and friends who were in D, and decided to move back. (In RunDisney, you are allowed to move back to later corrals, but are not allowed to move forward).

So we started in E. No biggie. My husband pretty much split from me in the beginning, and I weaved in and out of slower runners and walkers the first three miles. Like I said, my plan for this race was to run continuously the beginning, and start my 30:30 intervals at mile 4, once we were out of the parks.

My previous and only RunDisney half prior to this one was Avengers. A few people had expressed disappointment with that course, but I didn’t understand what they were talking about until I ran this race. Even when we were out of the park, there was entertainment pretty much at every mile, sometimes twice per mile. Local high school drum lines and cheerleaders. Dance troupes. A mile and a half of classic cars. This race also ran through Angels stadium, like the Avengers, but this time – the stadium had people cheering!

My pace kept increasing as the miles went on. I know I mentioned my goal was to simply finish with a smile on my face – but I added a new one: finish in under three hours.

My time was 2:55:19, with a pace of 13:23 per mile. Goal achieved!

I got my half marathon medal and the Dumbo Double Dare medal. We did it! 19.3 miles!

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Oh yes..there will be a part 3!

2015 Mid Year Goal Check In

At the start of this year, I listed my running goals for 2015.

Here is my current status on each of those goals:

  • Half marathon in March – My next half marathon will be taking place in March. My goal is to finish in under 3:15.

Achieved – I finished the Rock’n’Roll San Francisco Half Marathon in 2:40:51.

  • Run a sub 3 hour half marathon

Achieved. – Please see above and/or here.

  • Run at least three half marathons in 2015 – I am already signed up for one in March, and I am aiming to run one in May and another in the fall.

In progress. – As I am writing this, I ran one half in March and am registered for another one in September. After that I have only a few more months to run my third half marathon. I am eyeing one taking place in mid-October, but I have not pulled the trigger on registering. This is probably the top of my list of goals I have yet to achieve this year.

  • Run 1000 miles in 2015 – This might seem like a lofty goal, but I know I can do it. I plan on running in at least three half marathons this year. Between that and training, I know it can happen.

In progress (most likely will not be achieved) – I greatly overestimated the mileage I would run this year. I just assumed that if I would be training for three half marathons this year I would easily cover 1000 miles. Not the case. It is Aug 6th and I have run 313 miles this year. If I continue on this track I will probably reach a little over 500.

  • Consistently blog about running and other things – Blogging only about running can kind of be redundant, in my opinion. I would love to have this be a running/lifestyle blog

In progress (doing pretty well in my opinion) – I work a full time job, consider myself somewhat of a private person, and my life isn’t super duper exciting. This blog has had the longest lifespan of any other blog I’ve started and since I have been running consistently and racing pretty frequently – finding inspiration for content has not been too difficult. I still have not shared my blog with family or friends (aside from my husband). My audience mostly is people who have come across my blog on WordPress and from the Team RunDisney group on Facebook. I hope to eventually feel comfortable enough to share my blog with my personal social network, but now is not the best time.

I feel good about where I am right now – running is a hobby I truly enjoy and I love writing about it.