Monday, June 30, 2014

Running While ...

I intentionally failed to mention in my Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run recap that I ran Cherry Blossom about 20 weeks pregnant.

I signed up for the Cherry Blossom lottery in December. I didn't even look into it last year, and it was literally on the day I moved to Washington, DC the year before that. After a series of injuries in 2012 and 2013, I was finally back to regular mileage and in the range of my pre-injury speed. It was time to pick a race and actually race it.

Two days later, I found out I was pregnant. Of course I was going to get picked in the lottery. And I did.

My plan was to keep running as long as I could. Generally, as long as you don't have any complications, you can keep doing whatever pre-pregnancy exercise activities you were doing. Sure, I had to be careful to not push too hard or get dehydrated or overheat.

That meant I had to approach training for Cherry Blossom differently. I used a modified version of Hal Higdon's intermediate 15K/10 mile training plan. Believe it or not, I had never trained properly for a 10 mile race. I couldn't attempt a PR or do speedwork, nor did I want to. My goals shifted from "run fast and PR" to "run for a healthy me, healthy baby, and healthy pregnancy and have fun." I gotta say, I was really frustrated in the beginning that I had to slow down. A lot. Running wasn't all that fun. I used heart rate as a general guide and quickly learned how to run by perceived effort level. I would try to keep my heart rate in the high 140s-low 150s. Mid-150s was (and still is) my threshold for easing up.

I knew Cherry Blossom had an official transfer period in February, so that was an option in case I couldn't run. I reached my second trimester during February. I was still running, and in fact running started to be fun again. I got some of my energy back. My pace started to pick up. The weather was terrible this winter, but I didn't stress if I missed a training run. Baby measured on target and had a nice strong heartbeat. OK. Baby and I were all in for Cherry Blossom.

I had a great time running Cherry Blossom, in part because my only goals were to have fun and finish. And run around 1:40-1:45. Check, check, and check. Better than check on that last one. Baby has a 10 mile PR of 1:39 and change. Good work, Baby. I did the work for you this time. Next time, you're on your own.

When I went past 30 weeks, I was still running. I didn't go very fast or very far. Most runs were in the 3-4 mile range. I took frequent walk breaks. I didn't run up hills. I stopped if something didn't feel right or I just wasn't feeling it. I carried water most of the time. And I didn't feel bad if I had to cut a run short or switch to walking.

I made it to about 31 weeks and decided I just didn't want to run anymore. It was more like run-walking at that point anyway. It wasn't that anything hurt or felt uncomfortable (other than my calves and sometimes my hips). Running wasn't enjoyable. The heat and humidity in particular are getting to me. But have no fear, I am not a total couch potato. I switched to low-impact activities, such as walking, the stationary bike, and pre-natal yoga. Maybe the elliptical if I I feel like hauling my gear to the gym at work. Probably not, though, since I have to deal with public transportation. That's difficult enough as it is without extra stuff to carry.

The wee baby bump at Cherry Blossom
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Same outfit and the baby bump at 30 weeks
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Oh, and in case you're wondering, Baby is a boy due to arrive in August.

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