{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

{Friday Fab 5-Pro Compression Stars and Stripes, Whitewater Rafting, Orange Is the New Black, Chaos…}

My first week of summer vacation is coming to a close. The week was filled with coaching responsibilities, visiting lots of babies and their mommas (6!) and catching up with yard work (it is never-ending).

{#1-Pro Compression Stars and Stripes}

Believe it or not the 4th of July will be here in no time. This year I have an actual, real race to run (Foot Traffic Flat Marathon outside of Portland, Oregon) on the day, so I’m giving you a sneak peek of my race day outfit. Proper recovery will be essential as I will be running another marathon nine days later.

{#2-Whitewater Rafting}
Screenshot 2014-06-20 00.02.53
I added this to my 30 things in my 30th year list. The husband and I will be going whitewater rafting on the Snake River while in Jackson on our field trip (that actually came to my mind first) vacation west.

{#3-Orange Is the New Black}
Screenshot 2014-06-20 00.06.39
My affinity for dark shows continues. I did JUST learn that this show is based on a true story. This is both disturbing and interesting. Spoiler Alert: Thank God Pensatucky got some new teeth. I cannot handle her teeth, especially at the start of season 2. Brush and floss at least twice a day and stay away from meth folks.

{#4-Celebrate YOUR Runs}
Screenshot 2014-06-20 00.49.23
Summer running and humidity can easily get you down. Celebrate your progress. Hydrate right. Stay strong. One of my favorite cross country sayings is “Autumn holds no secrets about how summer was spent.” Those hot, steamy miles you put in this summer WILL benefit this fall.

{#5-Sneakers Before Stilettos}
Screenshot 2014-06-20 01.23.46
Saw this recently and found it fitting. The true hierarchy of shoes. Although I love both types, my favorite are days when I lace up my sneakers and then slip on stilettos for a fun night later on.

Happy Weekend? Any fourth of July races planned for anyone?

{Friday Fab 5-Easter Baskets for Runners, Run This Town, NYC Marathon, Apple Cheddar Chicken, }

Today’s post is later than usual due to a relaxing pancake breakfast made by the husband followed by some a.m. reading in bed with coffee.

{#1-Apple Cheddar Chicken}

Another great recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. I seriously love so many of her eats. From dinners to treats they are all delicious. Check her out if you haven’t!

{#2-Run This Town}
Screenshot 2014-04-14 19.48.03
I have had the opportunity to run in some great cities over the past few years. When planning upcoming trips one of the first things I plan is the routes I hope to run. I often struggle to find information on running routes in specific cities in advance and usually wish there was a resource I could use when planning my next vacation. I’ve decided to create my own resource, found under the Run This Town tab, that will highlight favorite running routes in specific cities. The posts about each city will include descriptions about sights on the run, terrain of routes, distances, where to park, and of course photos. Hopefully this will benefit other runners the next time they have a chance to travel

{#3-New York City Marathon}
20140418-092704.jpgI’ve always dreamed of one day running the NYC Marathon.  Don’t get too excited…I don’t have a surprise announcement about running this dream race.  This past week while grading papers I found Run For Your Life was on Netflix streaming along with other great running movies like Spirit of the Marathon.  Run For Your Life is a documentary about the NYC Marathon.  The documentary follows the race’s director from its first year with hardly any runners to the grand race it has become.  Of course watching the history and nostalgia of the race that runs through all five boroughs made me want to run it even more, so I decided to look up the race online and was really disappointed to see that they are changing how you can receive guaranteed entry.

The NYC Marathon is currently a lottery system unless you run for charity, qualify at specific local races, have run 15 consecutive NYC Marathons, or have applied for the lottery three years in a row and have not been accepted.  I had been counting on the last option as the charities require you to raise signficant dollars that I’m just not sure I could.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to count on that option as this is the last year they are guaranteeing entry for runners who were denied entry after applying to the lottery for three consecutive years.  Also ending next year is guaranteed entry for runners who have run the NYC Marathon the last 15 years or more in a row.  I’m bummed for those people, too.

Now I’m curious about what future entry options will look like (qualifying times like Boston?), or if it will solely rely on lottery entry and if you don’t ever get in, then you don’t get in.   The Houston Marathon has had a lottery system for a couple of years now, but also has a guaranteed option if you run a qualifying time that allows you to register before the lottery opens to other runners.  Since this is bucket list race for me and the race I plan on running for my New York state race, I will definitely be keeping an eye on this.  Some of you NY readers, do you know any other details?

{#4-My poor husband}

Screenshot 2014-04-18 11.28.03


I do this to my husband ALL the time!  Usually it goes something like I don’t want to pick where we eat, you pick.   Well, I don’t really want to eat there.  I’m not feeling there either.  And so on!

{#5-Happy Easter}

20140418-102905.jpg Have a runner in your life?  Want to send some Easter love their way?  Make a runner basket for them!  I filled this basket with some of my favorite running gear items.  You could go big or choose just a few items to include in their runner basket.  Starting from the top left items include-1. Runner’s World Magazine, 2. My Life On the Run by Bart Yasso, 3. Spirit of the Marathon DVD,  4. Bic Bands headband, 5. Body Glide, 6. Nuun, 7. GU, 8. Bearded Brothers bar, and 8. Pro Compression compression socks.

Happy weekend everyone!


{Black Friday-Running Gifts}


Need a gift for a runner? Any runner would love these ten things!
1. Pro Compression Socks-One of my favorite brands to run in. ($50-usually can find coupon codes online for 30-40% off)
2. Randies by Oiselle-These look so fun! ($48)
3. Stainless Steele Water Bottle-Great way to encourage and remind you to drink enough water. ($18)
4. Sweaty Bands-My go to running headbands ($18)
5. GU-My only fueling strategy for long runs (Box of 8/$11.60 or Box of 24/$31.50-again look for deals on certain sites)
6. Running iPhone Case-So cute, love! ($25)
7. Garmin 220-Seriously want! Why doesn’t Ryan read this blog. ($250)
8. Brooks Winter Running Jacket-Best way to get winter runs in is have the right clothes. You get what you pay for. ($150)
9. Yak Traks-A must for winter running in the midwest. ($30-40)
10. Nuun-Best way to rehydrate on runs. ($20 for 4 pack)

Happy Running and Shopping!