Saturday, August 18, 2012

Running in the Rain

 

I was going to skip running today, as yesterday’s 6 miler was hot and sweaty.  But, it was lightly raining and I LOVE running in the lighter rain.  Not the downpours, but just that little bit of drizzle.

Turns out it was a good decision!  I had my first sub 10 minute pace for a run since having Pete!

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Not necessarily speedy at all, but an improvement.  My plan is working!

Splits

Mile 1- 9:59

Mile 2- 9:23

Mile 3- 9:06

.56- 5: 31 (cooldown)

9:32 overall pace!  I have not seen that in some time!

Perhaps this is short lived, and maybe I will be back to hanging out in the 10s again next week.  But, it was a little gem that made me excited about running and giving me hope that my legs will come back.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A 40 Mile Walking Week and a Return to Running!

 

Boston 2013 training has officially commenced as I get to register early on August 20th.  Unfortunately, it began with LOTS of walking rather than tempo runs and intervals.  Recovery runs all the way for this lady after the C-section!

Last week, week 5 after Pete’s birth, I realized that I just needed time on my feet.  So I walked and walked A LOT.  40 miles in total- that is a lot of time walking.  My poor dog Cisco also walked most of those miles with me, but a tired dog is a happy dog. My trusty BOBs and I made it all through Hingham, and I saw most of my old routes.

This past Monday, August 13th, I felt brave enough to run.  I promised my husband that I would just test it out and only go 2 miles in total.  I paced well, running a 10 minute mile and then a 9:30 on the way back.  It felt great, and I was anxious to do more.  This was the first run since June 3rd, when my 31 week self was running with Jack in the BOB.  Awesome- it was so good!

I have kept up my walking regime, walking Cisco and the boys a minimum of 3 miles each day this week and sometimes 5.  I also ran 5 on Tuesday with Pete in the stroller, 5 on Wednesday, a day off Thursday and 6 today.  So, for my first week back running, my average pace running has been 10 minutes a mile, and I have covered 18 so far without counting walking.

I am so lucky, as my parents live right near Wollaston Beach in Quincy.  2 of my runs this week have been along the beach, which is flat but HOT as there is no shade.  Today’s 6 miler in particular was rough as it was 90 and sunny.  But, I was just so happy to be running. I do need to do another post about running here- it is such a great place to run despite the lack of shade.

As grateful as I am, I am still hard on myself about how much fitness I have lost through the pregnancy, the bedrest and the recovery from surgery.  I know I should not be, but I cannot help but to be.  I was hoping I would bounce back easier, but it is hard.  Running is hard.  But, for some reason, I keep coming back to it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Starting from Scratch

 

Well, my little preemie will be 4 weeks tomorrow.  I pray that he continues to be such a great baby.  He really is a joy.  Of course, he wakes us up in the middle of the night, has his fussy moments, but truly is a good baby.  I have been very fortunate with my two boys as they have both been easy on their mom in the first month of their lives.

For the past two weeks, I have been walking a TON.  We purchased a Bob Dualie from Craiglist about a week before Pete was born.  Thank heavens we did.  My three boys and I have been using it every day.  Because of the C-section, I am somewhat limited to walking right now.  (Shhh- there might be a few pick ups here and there Smile .)  We are always out and about in Hingham, so my blog header should be “walking in Hingham”.  But I am so grateful to be walking and NOT ON BEDREST that I will take it.

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I still cannot believe that I have not had a true run since June 3rd.  Yes, it has almost been 2 FULL MONTHS since I have been allowed to run. 

In late May, I ran the Harpoon 5 Miler with my husband.  We had a great race, finishing it in 46:32 for a 9:19 pace. I was almost third trimester at that point, so I was just excited that I never had to stop.  My husband was kind and ran with me, and I felt good about running.

I kept running, and on  June 3rd, I even ran with the stroller and all 25 pounds of Jack on June 3rd- my last run.

Perhaps I was playing with fire.  I knew I had a complete placenta previa, and my obstetrician already had informed me that I most likely would have a C-section.  Secretly, I was hoping the placenta would just magically move. I also was rather committed to staying active throughout my pregnancy.  I ran until 38 weeks with Jack, and even did hot yoga and fast walking the week that he was born.  I truly thought it could be the same this time.

But, it simply was not meant to be.  On the morning of June 7th, I woke up bleeding and had to go to the hospital.  I was only 31 weeks at this point, so they released me on bedrest.

I have to admit, I was DEVASTATED,  I was not allowed to pick up Jack, my one year old, and that was the most heartbreaking for me.  Exercise was completely out of the question.  I had not been this inactive in years.

Fast forward to July 4th, I was depressed that I was missing our town’s annual road race and guess what- I was bleeding again and contracting 2-4 minutes apart. One emergency C-section later, little Pete came into the world.  The worst 4th ever turned into the BEST one.

Recovering from a C-section is so different than the vaginal delivery.  Thus, I have been very hesitant to push it.  And believe me, I am dying to RUN and RUN and RUN.  I am so ready mentally, but very nervous about the incision.

So, I walk.  Today I covered 6 miles.  It is slightly painful that walking 4 miles takes me the same time as it used to take me to run 8.  But, I will get there.  Small steps right now…. I am literally starting from scratch again. 

I am not my former self.  I have some baby weight to lose and need to tone up.  But, I know that I can get there.  I have faith in me!

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Little Firecracker

 

Peter Robert

July 4, 2012

5 pounds 15 ounces

Pete on green

Lots more to come…. I endured a month of BEDREST and then delivered Pete at 35 weeks via C section.  But of course, he is worth it ALL and MORE!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Boston Marathon 2012- A Non Running Reflection

 

Did I ever mention that I love everything about the Boston Marathon?  Growing up in the area, I developed an appreciation for this great race.  Having run the marathon itself 5 times in the past six years, it has become a huge part of my story as a runner.

 

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Although I was not running this year due to Baby #2’s impending arrival in August,

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(from our ultrasound this past week- hello this is a real baby!!!!)

my husband and I headed to the expo Friday after work to retrieve my number.  My stomach received a few stares from the volunteers as I picked up my number, then my bag and shirt.  A few commented that they hoped I was not still planning to run with the heat that was being forecasted.  I assured them that I was not.  However, seeing that I registered for the race in September before I was pregnant, I figured I would just get the nice shirt that I paid over $100 to have.  We had a great time at the expo, I made a few purchases and then we had a great dinner in town.  It did not completely make my sadness about feeling left out disappear, but it certainly helped it a bit. 

I admit, even with the horribly hot forecast, I was feeling very left out that I could not be in Hopkinton.  Yes, I am crazy.  I know and acknowledge this fact.

Over the weekend, the BAA made the announcement that runners could defer their numbers to next year due to the impending forecast as long as they picked up their numbers sand did not start the race.  I was technically one of the over 400 participants who fell into this category.  However, this policy did not exist when I picked up  my number, and I actually have a time for 2013 independent of the deferral. 

That meant that MANY runners headed out to Hopkinton to start the race in the heat.  It was hot.  I walked/ran with the jogging stroller and the dog at 7:30 and I was hot then…..

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(Yes my son is taking it easy in the stroller.)

Here was where I was standing at Mile 19 in Newton. (Also, PS to anyone trying to figure out spectating this race- Mile 19 s a great place as it is (1) right off the Mass Pike (2) 1/2mile (?) from Newton North HS where you can park and (3) about 4-6 minutes after the runners go over the 30K timing mat so I received a text update for the runners I was tracking and knew when to look for them. I was able to see Dorothy, Erin and Amanda along with numerous others because of the timing mat and text alert. )

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Notice that there was a spot of shade here.  Remember I am 6 months pregnant and had a red headed child with me.  We both needed shade.

Also notice there is a LOT of sun and asphalt.  I was hot spectating…. in the shade! 

It was heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time to watch the runners go by me.  There was an incredible amount of suffering out there, and not one person came by dry, as he or she was drenched in what was probably both a combination of water and sweat.  I was really moved by the scene.

From the race recaps that I read, Marathon Monday in Boston was a humbling experience for many runners.  From talking with friends, it was a difficult day for most .Both blogging buddies and my Boston running club friends, were trained to really just ROCK this race.  The heat was a game changer for pretty much everyone, even the elites like Geoffrey Mutai.  But, people still trudged through and finished, even if it was not the day expected.

Although I did not run, it was a huge reflection for me on running.  No matter if we are training for our first 5K or our 20th marathon, running is hard and throws wrenches at us.  But, we can all FINISH if we put our minds to it no matter what the day brings to us.

Right now, being so pregnant and having no races on the horizon except for Boston one year from now, I have been a little down about my paces and such.  Monday reminded me that I am so wrong to think this way.  It gave me a complete attitude adjustment.  I ran this week with joy and with spirit.  

(Disclosure: this does mean NO GARMIN outside and the I Pad over the treadmill consul inside to get me from looking and being depressed.)

It is not about how long it takes me, or how far I journey.  It matters that I am out there trying.  Embracing that attitude helped me get out of bed in the morning to hit the treadmill this week. Instead of running to earn that goal time…..

I run to keep my mind in order.

I run to ensure that my unborn child is born healthy.

I run as a way to train for childbirth.

I run so that I can be the best mother for this little boy.

Jack Runner Baby

 

See you in 2013, Boston!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cohasset 10K at 22 Weeks

 

This past Sunday, I ran the Cohasset Road Race by the Sea 10K.  I have run this race on and off for the past six/seven years (???), only missing one that I can remember when my back was injured 2 weeks before Boston 2010.  The course might be my favorite race ever as a decent portion of it runs along Jerusalem Road in Cohasset. 

To give you some perspective, here is the course map.

 

Cohasset by the Sea

 

And here is the view on this road.

 

jeruselem-road-cohasset

Although I set my PR in the 10K there 3 years ago, it is actually a pretty challenging course.  Miles 1-2 are pretty flat, 3 is rolling, 4 and 5 are hills (steep and short and long and gradual) and 6 is flat.  The change in topography is welcome though, as it really makes the miles go by quickly.

I had ZERO expectations for this race.  I honestly have not run this far since January and was not sure if my rediscovered ability to run was still existent.  I even did not wear a watch so that I was not focused on time, but just on getting myself and the baby belly to the finish line.

Needless to say, I surprised even myself.  I did not have to stop to walk, even up the hills, and I just kept shuffling along trying to keep my breathing in check.  Miraculously, I managed to finish in 1 hour exactly, for an overall 9:40 pace!

This race was nowhere near a PR for me, but managed to be one of my favorite race experiences.  I enjoyed the hour immensely as it felt great to race without any sort of pressure and served as a reminder that I do love to run.  Maybe sometimes I don’t love to race, but the actually running, well that is rather special.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reflections on a Life Cut Too Short

 

Last week, I was away in the Virgin Islands.  Lucky me one thousand times over.  The week was perfect.  Baby Jack behaved well, and our little family spent some quality time together.  Reading this blog yesterday, the author summed up how I feel as a busy working mother.  She writes in her “About Me”, “Like most moms, I spend my weekdays in a perpetual state of rush. “  Our time together was a much needed reset from the frantic pace that we operate at.

Oh, and I can FINALLY run consistently again.  For some reason, last month, I needed walking breaks when running.  Perhaps it was an omen that I needed a break in other parts of my life.  But, last week, the magic returned.   I ran at the lovely Westin gym, as I was a little hesitant to run on the crazy roads that the left-side driving St. John’s drivers occupy.  The treadmill was like that old friend though, and I logged slow but consistent running miles on it.

I planned to write a post about this euphoria.  It reminded me that I am still a runner.  But, then on Monday, I learned of the death of a friend whose life was cut way too short.

One of the privileges of my work is that it allows me the opportunity to travel throughout the world. Most often, I travel with a few other schools, and those representatives and I spend almost every waking moment together.  Needless to say, we need to get along for the weeks we are away to be enjoyable.

My friend Jen and I traveled in Europe together visiting high schools.   She was a great travel partner, as she was always willing to find a little adventure even maybe when we only had an hour of our schedule to spare. We celebrated Oktoberfest in Zurich together.  We were whisked around Milan at nighttime on Vespas. 

Unfortunately, Jen lost her battle with cancer this Monday.  The last we had connected earlier in 2012 she was doing much better.  However, in the last month, her health suffered some major setbacks, and the cancer proved just too much for her body. 

I am so angered by her death.  Jen had just turned 35 this December and was not even married 4 years.  She was one of those who have the uncanny ability to be genuinely NICE to everyone.  Perhaps because I am not I appreciated it so much more.  I remember when we were in Switzerland, and one of our other colleagues did not have any Swiss francs for the cab back to his hotel.  Jen immediately opened her wallet and gave the fare to him, rather than having him find an ATM to make it back.  She did so without even thinking about it.  It was an immediate response for her.

I am also angered by her cancer.  Why is it that some women’s cancers are detected so late that they become unmanageable?  Why does cancer rip families apart?  Jen had SO much to look forward to in life, and now her family is left with a gaping void. Why was she so unlucky?

Unfortunately, Jen’s passing was a reminder that we just do not control when our time is up.  Thus, if I want to make the most of it, it is up to me.  I was reading Kristina Pinto’s blog this morning, and it hit home.  Looking at her life, she commented, “ Like a lot of women I know, I spent the early years of Henry’s life waiting for something interesting to happen to me. Running while listening to “Badlands” and the rest of the Bruce oeuvre unlocked my chutzpah, and then I kind of started making interesting things happen.”

To honor Jen, I need to make interesting things happen.  I need to stop getting caught up in the perpetual rush.  And, I need to remember that I am committing to this attitude.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Pregnant Pause- A Running Workout

 

Since I realized I was pregnant in December, I vowed to keep exercising.  My son arrived into the world after hours and hours of labor that I have blocked out and four hours of pushing.  Needless to say, I know that exercise allowed me to keep my birthing experience natural.

I ran miles and miles and well throughout the month of December.  Then January came, and depression about no Boston set in, and motivation was destroyed.  I definitely slacked off of the running during January and February.  I have been confined to the treadmill or running with a partner by the doctor. As much as I love the treadmill, it is hard to slog slow steady miles on it.  I love a good progression run or track workout on it.  However, those were not allowed or feasible for me.  Needless to say, I found myself a little out of running shape.

One might argue that my lack of fitness might be due to the growing stomach.  While it is certainly a factor, I ran when pregnant with my son until 37 weeks or so.  So, I decided to start anew. I realized that I could do intervals on the treadmill to stave off boredom, just with walking instead of running.  It is my pregnant pause!

Here is what I have been doing on the mill.  It is a basic beginner running workout and definitely not specific to 20 week pregnant ladies Smile .

Warmup- Walk 2 minutes

Run 2 minutes

Walk 1 minute

Run 3 minutes

Walk 1 minute

Run 4 Minutes

Walk 1 Minute

Run 5 Minutes

Walk 2 minutes

Repeat as desired

I love the progression, and I love the change of pace.  It has kept me motivated, and I have managed to crank out 6 miles in an hour with this.  It is definitely off my prepregnancy pace, but it is working for me right now!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why I’m NOT Shipping Up to Boston…

 

I have been super quiet on  the blog front, almost eerily so.  My work has been busy, as we worked over the past four months to read and review applications for the incoming class of 2016.  Jack, the crazy little one year old that he is, keeps me busy in a happy way, and who can forget my diva dog Cisco.  The three of us have spent many weekend days enjoying the incredibly balmy winter that we have been enjoying here in New England.  If I can offer any advice, mothers with dogs need to invest in BOB stroller.  It is super stable and gives me the ability to take both boys for a walk. If anyone else has a large dog, you will understand how complicated it can be to push the stroller and handle such an animal.

Typically at this time of year, I have visions of Boston dancing in my head.  Last year, I ran the race less than 12 weeks postpartum.  It was THE hardest thing I have ever done in my life, navigating a newborn and training after being pregnant in a race for a race that was a little too close for comfort.  But this year, I enviously look at my running club’s website and hear about there training runs, and scour the blogs of Amanda, Dorothy, Lauren and many others to vicariously live through their training.  With the great winter we have had hear in New England, it has been really hard.

Arriving at the decision was truly heartbreaking, as I love the Boston marathon.  But, I realized that if I ran it, I was ultimately being selfish.  I also realized that as hard as it was to run so soon postpartum, it would be even more challenging to make it through the  marathon at 24 weeks pregnant.

I have not stopped running.  I ran through my pregnancy with Jack and plan to run as long as I can with this one.  But, 26.2 miles is a long way.  More importantly, 26.2 miles is a long way to take that little baby on the journey with me while my husband worries the whole time how both I and the baby are handling the experience.  I do think I could have done it, and I know that many women have successfully completed a marathon while expecting before.  But for me, it just was not the right decision.  The final factor was a conversation with a friend who actually ran Boston 5 months pregnant last year. She did not know I was pregnant (as I was only 9 weeks or so) and  told me that although it was a great experience and she was fine, but she would not do it again, I realized that it was okay to back off from it. I did not simply need to do it just to prove that I could. 

But what a great lesson about life.  We do not always need to go out and prove ourselves for silly reasons.  I do not have to be Mrs. Superwoman.  I can take a step back and not feel disappointed.

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On a completely separate note, my friend Lisa wrote a great article on Joan Benoit Samuelson  for our running club’s website.  She actually ran parts of the Hyannis Half with Joanie and ended up finishing with her.  Lisa shares how gracious and kind Joanie is, and I am sure that many of you will walk away feeling inspired.

Friday, February 10, 2012

11s….. and Life is Crazy

 

Jessica from Pace of Me tagged me almost two weeks ago in the Elevens game that has been going around the blogworld.  I kept looking at it thinking, “I need to get back to blogging". I have not been blogging at ALL lately, due to a variety of factors.

(1) I have spent all my time since January 1st  reading college applications on the computer as this is my real job.  I love reading applications; it is such an interesting experience. 

(2) This means I hate the computer when I come home, so I used my IPhone or IPad to read blogs.  Thank heavens for google reader!  But, I hate typing on BOTH of those.

(3) My son is teething right now and driving me crazy with it.  I feel so bad, but I feel like there is little that I can do.

(4) I have not been running all that much because…. I am not running Boston this year.  I am VERY sad about this, and it was a hard decision.  But, it was the right decision.  More on this to come….  I will be there all race weekend though, as I live 30 minutes or so from the finish.

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So here are the Eleven things.  I will not retag anyone to do it as I am so late to the game here.

11 Random Things About Me

(1) I dated my husband for six years and two deployments before we were engaged, and then we waited a year and a half to get married.  Everyone thought we should have engaged and married sooner, but we have been together in periods where other friends have met someone, gotten married  and then divorced. 

(2) I attended an all-female high school.  I loved every minute of it, and some of my best friends are still from those years.

(3) My first job out of college was as a high school religion teacher at my all female Catholic high school.  I am probably a bit more spiritual and religious than most people realize. This may be due to the fact that I attended a Catholic institution from first grade through graduate school.

(4) I was on the varsity sailing team when I was in college.

(5) Figure skating was my sport of choice growing up, and I competed.  I have videos to prove it.  No wonder I love spandex so much!

(6) Baking may be my favorite hobby.  I don’t have as much time to do it as I would like, but I religiously read Annie Eats.  (You should too- she has such great recipes, and I am inspired by her.  She is a doctor, mom of two and has such a great blog with all sorts of recipes, not just baking.)

(7) My home is not decorated well at all.  I have no knack in that area, in fact I have no knack in style what so ever.  This is a shame about my home though, as my little sister is a buyer for Home Goods.

(8) Nantucket is my absolute favorite place in the world.  If I won the lotto, I would buy a house there even before I set aside money for the important things.

(9) When in Paris for work, I ran the Eiffel Tower to Versailles race.  It was the experience of a lifetime.

(10) I wear eye makeup every single day.  In fact, I even run marathons with it on. 

(11) I almost never ever watch TV.  When I run on the treadmill, I usually watch some news show.

Jessica’s Questions

1. Do you collect anything?  If so, what and why?

I have an extensive collection of cookie cutters.  But, I do not use them nearly enough.

2. A friend is visiting your town for the first time. Where would you take him/her and why?

If this is a running friend, we will go to World’s End.  The entrance is a mile from my house, but I do not go there nearly enough. 

3. Lucky number?  Is there a reason behind it?

29 should be my lucky number as I was 29 when I was married and was married on the 29th.  But, I only just thought of that now.

4. What is your favorite inspirational quote?

Right now it is this

Pinned Image

5. Were you a tomboy as a kid?

Yes and no- I rode big wheels and climbed trees, but wore dresses while doing so.

6. What is your best childhood memory?

I had a rather good childhood, so I cannot think of just one!

7. What is the best advice your parents ever gave to you?

You get what you get

8. What is your dream job and why?

I would love to be able to read applications part time and then teach fitness the other time.  I have not been  teaching Spinning since my husband started his new job, and I miss it terribly.

9. What is your go-to joke?

I cannot even think of one!  So sad!

10. I love trivia - what is your favorite random fact?

Again, brain in overtime- at a loss here!

11. Where is the farthest place you have ever traveled to?  Would you go back?

It is either Istanbul or Sao Paolo.  I have been back to Istanbul, and I would definitely go back to Brazil!