{The Ugly Sweater 5k-2016}

   

Last Saturday the husband and I ran one of my favorite races to run.  It has become a holiday tradition for us most years and happened to be my first post-baby race at six weeks postpartum.  Since I have a significant diastasis recti and had been doing mostly run/walking intervals, I knew I wouldn’t be racing this race.  My goal was to run the entire thing at whatever pace needed to stay comfortable and I did just that.

  
Fresh falling snow was beautiful (and slippery) so maintaining a comfortable pace wasn’t too hard because slow going was needed.  It was a date 5k and the first time the husband and I had been kid free since early August. We finally got to have an adult conversation without a toddler or baby interrupting us or demanding our attention.  Two hours away feels like a long time when it’s been 4.5 months since it last really happened.  

  
This report had no mile splits or specific details as I just ran comfortable without a watch and enjoyed my husbands company.  Some of my favorite highlights of this race include the following:

-photos with santa and the Grinch before the race

-the course!  The race starts at Myrick Park and runs on the marsh trails (love this route) to Riverside park

  
-Christmas lights lit the entire route of the 5k

-a finish in Riverside Park in a light tunnel is pretty cool along with the millions of other lights

  
-hot chocolate in a heated tent after

-a drink chip for a free Pearl Street Brewery beer available at several local establishments included in race swag bag

-free hat instead of a shirt

  
My least favorite part: to save time the husband and I parked a vehicle at the start and the finish instead of using the shuttle that took racers back to the start. This was a great plan except…I brought the key to the other car on the run.  Post-run in the freezing cold we had a vehicle with our coats in it, but the key to the car at the start of the race. So wait outside in the cold for the shuttle we did instead of grabbing a post-race date drink.  We laugh about it now! 

  
This is a wonderful, festive and organized race if you live in the La Crosse area.  Plus it gives me a place to sport my Christmas Procompression socks I love so much!  I highly recommend both.

Sarah

{Remembering Jesse Parker Race Report-5 Mile}

Saturday I ran the Remembering Jesse Parker 5 Mile Race.  Because of the races proximity to one of my favorite holidays, the Fourth of July, I just had to take the opportunity to dress in Merica related attire (Tank-For Two Fitness, Shorts-Oiselle, Socks-Procompression, Headband-Bic Bands).  If you follow me on Instagram @sneaksandstilettos or on Facebook, then you know I did not wake up feeling like I wanted to run this race…at all.

Running this race though was such a powerful reminder to myself that sometimes we don’t even know what is best for ourselves.  I wanted to run the race, but didn’t feel like it that morning.  Had I given in to those negative thoughts, I know I’d be regretting it now. Instead I got myself ready, out the door and to the start line despite not wanting to.

Once that gun fired I was surprised by how good it felt to be out there amongst others running.  The race atmosphere is so inspiring and uplifting.  Seeing other runners go for it also makes me love running races.  Everything just clicked Saturday morning, and I felt strong and great the entire race.  I was able to maintain a slightly faster pace than what I likely would have running on my own.  Just another benefit of racing!

While running pregnant I never focus on my pace too much.  Lately though I have been liking using my Garmin more than my Runkeeper app so I can keep a close eye on my pace. This helps me make sure I’m not going too hard when that uplifting song comes pumping through the headphones.  Going too fast just makes the rest of the run harder these days, and I try to maintain a conversation pace a majority of the time when running.


Saturday the miles felt easy and my pace reflected that.  Despite one bathroom stop just before mile 3 being included in my time, I managed a 9:57 pace overall according to my Garmin.  Some days I run this pace, some days a bit faster and other days slower for sure. Each day is different when pregnant running.  At 24 weeks pregnant I will definitely take it!  Going by feel is the best advice I’d give to women looking to run while pregnant.  Use the watch as a reference not an expectation and you’ll be much less disappointed or frustrated as your pregnancy progresses.

I kept having to tell myself to not get caught up in the race and slow down.  I had the whole race to go!! Racing (or running) pregnant is all about listening to your body, running appropriate paces and accepting that your performance will not be what it would be if you were not pregnant. Race times will slower, your place higher and your pace not what you are used to. So why race when pregnant? Racing is a great way to keep elements of the sport you love and can be incredibly motivating to keep running as the weeks creep towards 40!

My mile splits are included below as this is a race report, but is only for my reference.

Mile 1-9:21

Mile 2-10:02

Mile 3-10:58 (Bathroom break)

Mile 4-9:55

Mile 5-9:28

Overall I’m feeling really good while running and am so excited that running 5 miles still feels great and fairly easy on most days.  Again each day is different, but I was already getting very uncomfortable on most of my runs at this point in my first pregnancy.  Here’s to hoping this feeling good continues.  I’m attributing a lot of how I’m feeling to the consistency of my running with completing the Runner’s World Run Streak from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July.  Stay tuned for a post on my #rwrunstreak this week!

Here’s to more pregnant miles!

Remembering Jesse Parker 5 Mile Race
Time-49:50
Pace-9:58
Overall-47/58
Gender-18/25
Age Group-7/11

Sarah

{Grandad’s Half Marathon Race Report 2016}


I knew I really wanted to run a half a marathon before the pelvic pressure or discomforts of running became too much this pregnancy.  16 weeks pregnant seemed like a great time to complete a half marathon.  Not exhausted in the first trimester and not uncomfortable yet.  I also needed an excuse to wear the PRO Compression Jailbird socks I’ve been in love with forever and haven’t worn.


Since I’ve been through this once before (pregnancy), it seems I’m having significantly less ligament pain and pressure on my pelvis than my first pregnancy.  I’m so grateful for this and plan to take full advantage of this.

Admittedly, my preparation for this race was not what it should have been.  In fact I didn’t sign up until the night before since I had been sick with a nasty cold and pink eye for the past week and a half.  The first trimester was not full of activity for me as I felt so tired and sick and struggled with time management, too.  I hadn’t run a run over 6 miles in 6 weeks, but felt like my experience running 20 half marathons, 14 full marathons and one ultra marathon would help me through.

I had run a steady buildup of long runs until March running 13 miles at 7 weeks pregnant. I did what you should do for any pregnant run during my race-listened to my body.  I went much slower than my usual non-pregnant paces.  I drank lots of fluids.  I mapped out the restrooms before committing to the race.  Bathrooms every two miles was a deal sealer for me.  I could hydrate and relieve away!  I said I had to be ok with needed walk breaks. Amazingly I only walked about a mile total during the half marathon.

For me running this half marathon was something I needed to do for myself while also taking care of the baby inside me.  I knew going in it would likely be my last half marathon for the next year.  Having a baby in October in Wisconsin means you won’t see much for races until April or May.  That would also put me at six months postpartum, which is just a few weeks later than when I ran my first half after having Pierce.  Six months feels appropriate given you train or up mileage prior to the race and your need to heal and work that pelvic floor.

One of the hardest things about becoming a mom had been letting go of running.  I needed to do one more race before having another baby, but I also wanted it to set the tone for the rest of my pregnancy.  Last time winter and being trapped inside for workouts combined with so much pelvic discomfort meant much less activity than I had planned for during my pregnancy.

This time I have spring, summer and early fall weather to help keep me going.  I’m really hoping to have a very active pregnancy.  Last time I was active, but not as much as I’d hoped.   I feel the activity I did do helped me feel amazing post-delivery and helped me get back to activity much quicker.

Back to the race recap!

Miles 1 and 2 are run down Grandad’s Bluff.  I personally don’t like downhill running a ton, so this wasn’t my favorite, but the views were great!  These miles tick by fast!  I of course drank a bottle of water with a Strawberry Lemonade Nuun on the bus ride (the best), and we waited forever to get off the bus so I only peed once before the race.  We got off the bus at 8:00 which is when the race was supposed to start.  It actually started at 8:10.  As a result I made an early bathroom stop at mile 2, drank some water and was on my way.

Mile 3 I struggled to set into a rhythm.  Around mile 4 things clicked.  My body felt warm and the rolling hills were almost over.  Miles 5 and 6 I felt strong.  I had a GU and water at mile 4.  I could feel it giving me some extra energy.  During these miles you run on a paved bike path with lots of blooming trees nearby.

By mile 6 I had to pee again, but kind of forgot.  I don’t know how this happened but it did.  Mile 7 felt good, but by mile 8 I was thinking of a bathroom every step.  I stared ahead in hopes of seeing that beautiful blue port o potty!!  Otherwise I felt strong.  I had another GU and water and Gatorade at mile 8 where I found a place to potty.  I realized I was really sweating even though I felt great, so I decided here on out I would drink both water and Gatorade at every water stop.

Miles 7-9 are my least favorite as they take you around a residential area in La Crosse. Residential areas are not all that motivating to me, but it was very flat.

At the end of mile 8 my legs began to feel tired for the first time.  I walked for a half mile and then felt good again.  The rest of mile 9 and 10 felt pretty good.

Mile 10 gets a bit more scenic as you run on a bike trail again.  At Mile 11 I took a GU, drank some fluids and used the bathroom for what I hoped would be the final time.  I struggled with this mile, but felt ok.

Mile 12 and 13 I felt good for what I was doing, but I could feel hunger and fatigue coming.  I was glad to only have two miles to go.  At least these miles are scenic as you run along the river and downtown.

Pregnant running can take all the energy right out of your legs in a way that I’ve never really experienced when running otherwise.  Luckily it only happened a few times, I’d walk a bit and then feel good.

The quiet time to myself also gave me time to daydream about baby and life.  Are you a boy or a girl?  Just how crazy will life be with two kids 18 months and under?  How great will the joy be to give Pierce a sibling?  Will I still like my husband in a year?  More importantly, will he still like me?

As I crossed the finish line I was relieved to be done and wanted a snack stat!  I ate a banana and a small cookie from the tent and then we enjoyed some time at Riverside Park. Then we headed to Fayze’s for brunch and walked around downtown while we waited for our turn to eat.  I highly recommend Fayze’s for brunch, but be prepared to wait if something is going on downtown.

On our walk we stopped at Addie Cakes for some cupcakes to enjoy later in the day.  It was the perfect way to celebrate a half marathon finish!


Oh, and getting a caramel macchiato later at Starbucks really helped too.  Dressing like your favorite drink is optional.


If you were looking for more race photos of the course, then you’ll have to check out my Grandad’s Half Marathon post from 2013.  The course has not changed since I ran it three years ago. I felt I had enough juggling to do with my music, staying hydrated and fed and listening to my body, so I didn’t take any photos during this year’s race.

Overall I really enjoy this course and it does have many scenic parts.  I still debate whether it is a PR course or not.  Prior to the change in course I did run a former PR.  The downhill is hard on the quads unless you are prepared and might hurt you later in the race more than the time savings at mile 1 and 2.  Definitely check it out for yourself.    La Crosse is such a fun town with so much to do as a couple and/or a family.


Lastly, this running for two tank is amazing.  It is so soft and comfortable AND it doesn’t move, ride up or do anything annoying.  Runner tested by me for 13.1 miles!  I’ve also worn in on several other occasions with the same experience.  A tad pricey, but it comes in a bunch of other colors and styles (yoga, barre, sweating, etc. for two). Check out For Two Fitness to see what they offer!!  I ordered mine in my usual size and it has room to grow, too.  (Just my opinions here, not compensated I any way to write this.)

Family, good food, running and relaxing sounds like a perfect day to me!

Grandad’s Half Marathon
Time: 2:17:23
Pace: 10:30 overall (9:30 running)
Overall: 695/1078
Gender: 372/680
Age Group: 79/161

{Maple Leaf Half Marathon}

Perhaps a million Saturdays ago now, the husband and I ran the Maple Leaf Half Marathon. I started this post shortly after and it has sat in my draft folder along with a half dozen other posts for months now.  As much as I like documenting running on this blog there are bigger priorities now.

IMG_0617-0

From a few months back!

We ran unprepared, undertrained and with over 5 months of accumulated sleep debt. You’d think this run was going to be terrible. I wasn’t feeling confident in myself or the run going in.


I’d biked 30 miles the day before my first postpartum half marathon on a school field trip on the Sparta-Elroy Bike Trail. It was my first time riding a bike in over a year. My first time running more than 7.5 miles in a year was the next day while running this half a marathon.  I’d only ran a few times in the previous couple of weeks. Life just continued to feel crazy.  Currently that has not changed.

The weather was perfect, the leaves starting to turn, and everything organized. We had a great run.  It was really fun to catch up and the husband and I chatted it up the entire time.  The miles flew by as the husband and I talked the entire 13.1 miles.  No music, just conversation and catching up on our part.  I could count on one hand the number of times we left our little man in the first almost six months of his life so this was big time!

The first few miles I was so uncertain and nervous for the end miles.  I kept telling Ryan we need to not go out too fast, maybe we should slow down some.

Mile 1-8:41

Mile 2-8:45

Mile 3-8:45

Mile 4-8:51

12113299_1053149928036627_5784178352267599039_o

Seriously, I cannot explain this face.  We all have those embarrassing race photos.  This happens to be the only one taken during the race so I’m sharing it with the world.

By this point we were running near where my mom and step dad live. Knowing Pierce was there made me want to take a quick detour and check on him, but I knew it would probably be more upsetting for me to do that so I kept running on.

Mile 5-9:06

Mile 6-8:43

Mile 7-8:42

Mile 8-8:43

Around mile 9 I started to get a little tired.  Luckily the turning around and heading back towards downtown had me optimistic.

Mile 9-8:59

Mile 10-8:54

Mile 11-8:38

As we neared downtown crowds of people lined the streets waiting for the Maple Leaf Parade to start.  Most looked at us like we were crazy and were probably drinking already.  Not a ton of cheering or music playing like I expected, but still encouraging.

Mile 12-8:33

Mile 13-7:29

Of course we picked up the pace for the last mile.  I was honestly shocked about how good I felt running this half.  I’m certain the combination of workouts during the previous months helped strengthen me overall (relative to being 5 months postpartum). 21 Day Fix workouts, Barre Classes, Yoga Sculpt and running were all helpful.  Still it was an unexpected pace to finish at.  The husband and I were pumped.  Mama still has it…or had it.  I’m not so sure these days.

Despite the horrible race photo, we actually looked pretty strong at the finish!

IMG_0175

I’d really hoped to run another fall half marathon, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  It sure was a great comeback race and gave me confidence for fast times later on.  I’d love to make this race an annual one.  What a fun way to kick off Oktoberfest!

Maple Leaf Half Marathon

IMG_0176Time: 1:52:56
Pace:  8:38
Overall: 261/572
Gender: 98/301
Age Group: 17/39

After our race it was time for playing with Pierce, visiting friends and then mommy and daddy time after bedtime that night.  I enjoyed my first Bloody Mary since before becoming pregnant.  I held out for the real deal at Del’s Bar.  It was worth the wait.  Adult time twice in one day?!  That is almost unheard of.

Sarah

 

{Firecracker 4 Mile Race Report}

  
Finally a post about running! It’s interesting how this blog was solely about running, then some of life sneaked in, and for the past nearly year it has been all about pregnancy and the arrival of baby. Having a baby does change your priorities, but back to the running.  

  
Saturday I ran my first post-pregnancy race. It was a 4 mile race which I loved because 5k’s just seem too short after running marathons, but anything longer I wasn’t sure I was ready for. I also have never ran a 4 mile race, so there wasn’t any previous times to compare my performance to. I could just run my race comfortably. I was not interested in racing or pushing my body too hard.  

  
During the race my goal was to run under 36:00 minutes and to stay comfortable since I’m still trying to make running feel consistently good. The race ended up being a first date away from the baby for my husband and I and our first run together since baby. Having a running partner was very motivating. There is also something about a race that gives you that extra go power. 

  
Since the race was short I don’t have a mile by mile report, but was able to accomplish all my goals. We finished in 35:36 running comfortable and confident the entire time. I’m most proud of our 4th mile where we picked up the pace some. We ran an 8:09 pace which tells me that while a lot of my runs don’t always have the ease and comfort of the past, I am making progress. I’m getting faster and feeling stronger even if I don’t see or feel it everyday. It felt awesome to race again!  

  
Returning to running has been both easier and harder than I thought it would after having a baby. I felt awesome physically the day after having a baby and that feeling continued after heading home. That was great, but also caused me to raise my own expectations of what I expected I could accomplish.  

While still pregnant I had no set agenda as to when I would walk and run and for how often or long after giving birth. This is the best approach in my opinion. Feeling so good after delivery though made me start to change that plan.

   

 Feeling so good made me think I’d be running earlier and with greater ease. Add to it that week 2 after baby I walked 20 miles with the little guy in the jogging stroller without too much effort. During the fourth week post-partum I went for my first (very short) run prompted by a screaming baby who wanted to eat during a walk stat! It felt good…too good. I wanted to run again. It had been a long time since I’d felt those endorphins! 

A week later I ran 2.25 miles and it felt AMAZING! I also kept walking and hit the 100 mile mark with Pierce that week. My confidence was soaring!  
  
My next run a few days later was the same distance, but went very differently. It brought me back to reality. My legs felt like I had anchors attached to them. My lower abs were sore after. Many of my runs since have felt tired legged. They’ve been slow. They’ve felt good after for the most part, but haven’t been easy. Maybe once a week I have a great run. Luckily, the lower ab soreness went away a week ago.  
  
All of my early successes made me think I’d be breezing through a 4 mile race much sooner than the 4th of July, but in truth my original time table was much more accurate. I ran 4 miles for the first time almost a month before the race and ran 5 miles more than a week before the race and again yesterday, but that distance is still not always easy.  

Everyday is different. Running sleep deprived is no joke. Sometimes the day gets away from you and you can’t run until 8:45 at night. Other days the only time to run is in the peak heat and sun of the day. Sometimes your husband calls when you are on mile 5 of your planned 6 mile run to say the baby is hungry, how close are you or should I heat up a bottle? Some days the answer might be warm up the bottle and other days, like yesterday, I swear the baby felt my misery and I came home. 

I’ve learned you just do what your body says you can do. It won’t always feel awesome, but there is a difference between discomfort and out of shape and pain. Ignore your watch for the most part. Be realistic! Even after being active during pregnancy you may not be able to jump right back to what you used to do. Learn as you go! Be proud of the small steps you do accomplish!  

  
I’m new to the whole juggling act of being a mother runner, but I’m loving it! A 4 mile race was the perfect distance for me to return to racing. Longer than a 5k without the stress and obligation of a longer race. Plus, there was time for the husband and I to get a quick coffee together before heading back to our handsome guy who turned 11 weeks on race morning!

  
11 weeks ago mommy was doing a different type of endurance event   

Now I’m looking for at least one fall half marathon to work up to as part of my training for a full marathon in November where I will finish state #17-Indiana. Any suggestions?!

Firecracker 4 Mile Race       
Time: 35:37
Pace: 8:55
Overall Place: 173/501
Gender: 79/312
Age Group: 10/49

{Turkey Trot errr…NOT}

Today I got up ate a pre-run breakfast, dressed in the warm layers I’d laid out the night before for my Turkey Trot race, packed hydration, made a new mini-playlist, and headed to the race.  I was excited to wear my new Reebok Cold Weather Compression tights that I got a super good deal on at the new Dick’s Sporting Goods that just opened near me.  Things were going smoothly.  Except halfway through my 45 minute drive to packet pickup and the race I heard the local radio station talking about turkey trotters running past their window and how cold they looked.  Say WHAT??!!

I promptly asked Siri what time the Turkey Trot started only to find that it started at 8:00 a.m. not 9:00 a.m. like this past weekends trot.  I had it in my pregnant brain that both trots started at 9:00.  After triple checking my error, I turned the car around full of disappointment.  I might have even cried a few tears.  I know… no use crying over my first missed race by mistake except this was more than just a race for me.  It was likely my last race before a long winter of mostly indoor runs and not racing.  It may have been my last race pre-baby.

While I’m super excited to have this little one here, they are not going to be here for a while.  And that is a long while to not race.  I miss having a race on the calendar to look forward to.  I miss anticipating the miles of the race ahead and the sights of the course.  I miss having a training plan to follow.  I miss running FAST!!  Not that I would have been going fast today, but it would have been a race regardless.  In Wisconsin there are very few races between December and March and the few that take place may be too snowy and slippery for me to do so I can’t really count on those.

IMG_6796.JPG
So I let the tears come and went on my own turkey trot around my neighborhood.  It was a slow trot as it was snowy on the roads.  I’ll admit I worry about people’s judgements about pregnant woman running outside in the winter, but I also know I’ve run in the winter outside for the past 14 years and I know a thing or two about winter running.  I also would never run outside if I didn’t feel it was safe or that I’d be risking anything.  A few miles later and I felt so much happier, calmer and ready to be thankful for everything I have and for this little one on the way. So grateful to be having a healthy pregancy and baby thus far.

IMG_6782.JPG
Tomorrow we are halfway to their arrival. I know that halfway will feel long in terms of running and racing, but it seems so exciting and terrifying that in 20 weeks I will have a child. Crazy! I know all the runs inside and the fewer miles will be so worth the blessing on the way. Running always brings me perspective and calms the thoughts in my head.

Hopefully your Turkey Trots went as you planned and you were given the chance to find some perspective and gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sarah

{UW-L Turkey Trot 5k}

IMG_6790.JPG
The deer hunting weekend tradition continued this year with my eighth Turkey Trot 5k. The race is one of my favorites and has become such a tradition it would be strange not to be completing this event. Per the usual last few years we walked this event as not everyone in our group is a runner.

IMG_6788.JPG

IMG_6787.JPG

IMG_6785.JPG
The course has remained relatively unchanged over the years and the shirts are usually great. Every year I wonder what colors they will use and how they will incorporate Flash the Turkey onto the design.

IMG_6789.JPG
Post-race we went to a favorite local restaurant for brunch followed by a day of shopping and Starbucks red cups. I love traditions and look forward to this one each year.

What turkey trot traditions do you have?? Anyone racing a local turkey trot or Thanksgiving race??

Next up-Festival Foods Turkey Trot 5 Mile Race on Thanksgiving.