{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

 

{A Start}


Last week was a start. I finally felt more in a routine with getting workouts in. It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t anywhere near the 30-50 miles a week I used to run. I think those days are over for a while. Improvement is a success right now. Consistency the goal. Starting my mission.

Screenshot 2015-09-21 19.43.36

Monday-3 mile run with my boys.

Tuesday-3 mile run

Thursday-4 mile run

Saturday-Barre Class and Down Syndrome Awareness Walk


Sunday-4 mile walk

It was great to start a week with a run with my boys. It was rewarding to start a run when I didn’t want to in the evening and feel so glad and rejuvenated after I did. It was an accomplished feeling to start my Saturday morning out at barre class even though I could have slept in. All of these positive feelings began with starting.

Screenshot 2015-09-21 19.48.46

Starting over, new, fresh, again, whatever you want to call it can be scary. But, not starting really seems so much more frightening. By having all those positive starts last week, it also inspired me to start something else that was so important to me before having a baby-running races. In the spirit of starting again, the husband and I registered for a half marathon last week. It is time to start running races again. Distance races.

I’d like to say training will be starting, but it is in less than three weeks. We will scrap together whatever we can to show up at that starting line on October 3rd. It will hurt and be great at the same time in a love-hate way only running can offer.

Of course all those exciting and nervous emotions have started to pop up and will only intensify in the days leading up to the race. I can’t wait!

On the food front I had another good week of mostly clean eating. If you don’t count the Oreo binge I found myself in after the husband brought Oreos home that is. Damn you, Oreos.  What’s a dairy-free momma to do when she finds herself actually able to eat a sweet treat because it doesn’t have dairy for the first time in a long time. People talk about self-control. I used to have some.

Yummy New Recipes We’ve Tried Recently:

BBQ Chicken (we had ours with roasted potatoes and broccoli) (NOT 21 day fixed approved because we used store-bought bbq sauce)
Cilantro Lime Chicken (we eat ours on corn tortillas)
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal (I added chia/flax seeds for some extra omega 3’s)
Vegetable Egg Cups-Super easy and yummy to reheat.

Screenshot 2015-09-21 19.47.07

Well, as much as she (I) can!

Start something new this week for you.  Start something your future self will be proud of.  GO!

Sarah

{Med City Half Marathon}

This past weekend was sunny and beautiful. To top it off we had plans to run a half marathon with a group of friends. This is honestly one of my favorite ways to run races despite not getting to do the group thing too often. Something about sharing in the race excitement/anxiety and the post-race party is more fun in groups.

20140526-193405-70445071.jpg
Saturday night we stayed with friends in a town nearby Rochester to cut down on drive time in the a.m. Five of the six in the house were running the next morning. We fueled and hydrated (berry mojito-yum) with a yummy dinner and went to bed fairly early as the first wake up call was 4:30 a.m.

The next morning came in no time and we headed for Rochester.  We parked at the finish and took the shuttle to Byron where the race would actually begin. There we met up with the rest of our group.  Four of the eight had never ran a half marathon before.  I always love being a part of other runners first races. 

20140526-182333-66213944.jpg

20140526-182335-66215750.jpg

20140526-182332-66212350.jpgThe first half of the course was on country roads and had lots of rolling hills.  I was not aware of this ahead of time, but looked at the hills as practice for my 50k and challenged myself to attack those hills.  One hill was affectionately referred to as “the beast” by runners near me. The hills really were not all bad and offered a good change-up for the muscles.

mile 1-8:26
mile 2-8:35
mile 3-8:10
mile 4-8:04
mile 5-8:15 (GU)
mile 6-8:00

Around mile 6 we started to near town.  The country roads led us to the Rochester Trail system where we ran for several miles.  At this point I was so glad for the 7:00 a.m. race start as the sun was beating down hard and there was no shade at all.  Warm weather runs have always been a nemesis of mine, but I know my summer marathons are going to be hot so this will only help prep me.  Miles 7-12 were mostly on the bike path trail.

mile 7-8:22
mile 8-8:17
mile 9-8:29
mile 10-8:15 (GU)
mile 11-8:20 (My legs felt like lead during this mile)
mile 12-8:20
mile 13-7:56

Mile 12 brought us back to the road where we headed downtown for our finish outside the Mayo Civic Center. At the finish I met the boys who had finished before the girls. Ryan ran a half marathon PR finishing seconds in front of me. Considering he ran his first marathon three weeks earlier and was still experiencing muscle soreness, I would say he ran a phenom race.

20140526-182634-66394475.jpg

I was doing my best to run a controlled race.  My legs did not feel bad, but they also did not feel fresh during the race.  This could be due to the full marathon three weeks earlier or it could be from my sporadic training since the marathon.  Either way, I didn’t want to do anything to flare up the sore spot on my calf or to drain my legs before the 50k.  I was surprised to run a 1:48:52 while running controlled.  I did not put it all out on the course, nor did I want to.  It was also very warm during this race (sixties at the start, upper seventies later) which I battled through like a trooper.  I was definitely happy with my time.

I20140526-183005-66605185.jpg

20140526-182632-66392451.jpg

What made me even happier though was my friend Katie who was running her first half marathon at this race. Her race was a long time coming and she had trained once before for a half only to not be able to run on race day. She had wanted this goal for a while and today was her day.  I was so proud of her when she crossed that finish line.  Her beaming smile all day said it all.  That smile is so much the reason why runners run.  The pure joy and personal satisfaction accomplishing a goal brings each person.  Way to get it, girl!

20140526-182636-66396619.jpg

The post-race food was amazing.  They had every kind of snack food you could want.  Bagels, bananas, oranges, granola bars, fruit snacks, carrots and dip, apples and caramel dip, chips, pretzels, and so much more.  I enjoyed the yogurt, fruit and granola they offered and grabbed a Muscle Milk to try in Banana Creme, which I have previously always passed on as I thought it had milk in it. Turns out it is lactose free and a great recovery drink even for those who can’t enjoy milk pain-free.  It tasted yummy, too.

20140526-183003-66603488.jpg

After some post-race yum it was time to snap some photos, stretch and celebrate everyone’s runs!  They had an awesome back drop perfect for just such an occasion.

20140526-183007-66607017.jpg

20140526-183058-66658810.jpg

20140526-183105-66665095.jpg

The women’s shirts were an awesome pink color. The only big complaint I have about this race is they ran out of men’s shirts, so Ryan and another guy in our group did not get a shirt.

After a quick change into dry clothes in the car that also involved wet wipes and dry shampoo we were ready for the post-race party; it was awesome. They had a fun live bad and all-you-care-to-drink Grain Belt for runners. We stayed for a few hours listening to music, rehydrating, and sharing our race stories.

20140526-183424-66864264.jpg

20140526-183100-66660675.jpg

20140526-183102-66662722.jpg

After our post-race fun it was time to shower, rest and relax before heading out for dinner and another live band with some of the friends who ran with us. What can I say? I LOVE live bands! It was a great end to a great day.

20140526-183427-66867664.jpg

20140526-183425-66865676.jpg

Post-race I have very little muscle soreness which means I ran this race just like I should have. Here is the weird thing though, my right hammy is a bit sore and the calf spot that has bothered me since I got a cramp in it during the Wisconsin Marathon is sore, too. Both are on my right leg. My left leg has litearlly zero soreness, tiredness or pain. The right leg is where it’s at. Has anyone else ever had this happen? What can/should I do? How do you get a sore-from-a-cramp-spot unsore? I’ve gotten massages from the husband, stretched and foam rolled with little success.

20140526-183006-66606224.jpg

Med City Half Marathon (will update when they post official results)
Time: 1:48:54-Sarah 1:48:24-Ryan
Pace: 8:19-Sarah 8:18-Ryan
Overall: 165/864
Gender: 51/494
Age Group: 17/145

{Friday Fab 5-Map/Photo Wall Art, Med City Half Marathon, Reading…}

This week has been super busy. Thank goodness I had some time last Saturday to hang pictures, read, and relax!

{#1-Map and Photo Wall Art}

20140227-121048.jpg
I finally had time to hang photos from our travels around the U.S. I love how the wall turned out. Love, as in I stop and stare at it as I pass by! Photos on the bottom are from the south, photos on right are from eastern U.S., top photos north, etc. The open space is just waiting to be filled with photos of our trip west this summer!

{#2-Time to Read}

20140227-121319.jpg
And enjoy the new wall art. It wasn’t as much time to relax as I’d hoped, but I took what I could get before my crazy week.

{#3-No Contacts or Makeup}

20140227-121424.jpg
Relax time meant wearing glasses and no makeup. You will likely never see this bare face again. I wear makeup EVERYWHERE. Always have and likely always will. Props to those of you who don’t, but this girl isn’t that brave!

{#4-Date Night Pizza}

20140227-223450.jpg
Monday brought an unexpected date night as I needed to buy some last minute supplies for the Science Olympiad kids I coach. The actual date was 20 minutes, but it was great to check in with the mr.

{#5-Med City Half Marathon}

20140227-223722.jpg
Also a surprise this week was registering for this half marathon on May 25th in Rochester. A friend texted me earlier this week wanting to get a group to run together. I love racing (especially with others) so I was definitely in. It will serve as my last easy long run the Sunday before my big race-Chester Woods 50k!

Anyone have any fun, unexpected race plans that were a blast?

Happy Weekend!

{2013 Goals in Review}

Review of last years goals…
1) Cross train at least one day a week.  
Screen shot 2013-12-31 at 1.28.59 PM
–>So spinning lasted a few months-until track started, I did start biking this summer and realized I like it, and I did start doing yoga…so I’d say that was mostly successful.

2) Beat my yearly half marathon number.  Last year I ran 4.  This year I’d like to run at least 5.

–>Even with my first DNF race ever (Dances With Dirt Half Marathon), I managed to race seven half marathons this year and earn an unintentional PR! Success.

3) Explore local races I’ve never done before.  
Screen shot 2013-12-31 at 1.30.08 PM
–>In addition to getting to race in many places this year, I did try out 5 new races in my area. Loved doing that. Success

4)  Continue lifting one to two times per week.  I don’t like doing it, but I like it after.

–>Epic fail! Once I quit prepping for my PR marathon, so too ended the lifting. Other than a brief reinstatement while I was injured and couldn’t run, this goal was not achieved.

5)  Do bodyfit five days a week.  
–>See above!

6)  Complete my double weekend (1/2 marathon and full marathon on Sat. and Sun.) in February with minimal setback in training.

–>Done! And with a positive experience that left me wanting to do it again.

7)  Start making smoothies with veggies and fruits.

–> Juicer bought as anniversary gift. We tried many flavors and mixtures this year with many more to go!

8)  Read more.

–> Not sure. I don’t think this happened. I sure had good intentions though. I have five books right now just waiting to be read.

9) Qualify for Boston.

Maybe if this had happened I'd have qualified.

Maybe if this had happened I’d have qualified.


–> Didn’t happen, but I came close (missed new qualifying standard by 1:36). In my second training attempt I badly sprained my ankle so there was not a second chance this year. I will accomplish this goal one day.

10) Enjoy the simple things.
Screen shot 2013-12-31 at 1.36.23 PM
–> Maybe?! Sometimes I did this, but far too often I get caught up in life and forget to slow down. Still a work in progress.

Tomorrow’s post…my 2014 goals. I’ve got some good ones!

{2013 Running Review}

In the blink of an eye 2013 is over. The below link pretty much sums up my running over the past 365 days. The photos below are a glimpse of the year that was 2013.
Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 11.39.45 PM
Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 11.40.11 PM

20131231-093626.jpg

What did you do this year that you are proud of? Excited about? Worked hard to achieve? Where did your run that you’d recommend to others? I’m always looking for new routes and destinations to run.