Category Archives: Race

Running {and workouts} through pregnancy – second trimester

I realize I should kind of write these as time goes by instead of trying to remember after that fact (I’m just past 28 weeks/seven months). I did write some crib notes throughout the trimester, and I tracked all my workouts, so at least I can remember some of it properly!

The second trimester is from week 14-27. Man, does the beginning of that seem like a long time ago!

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I’ll keep the same outline as I did for the first trimester update. I’ll talk about running first and then the other exercise I kept up.

Of note, my longest run was 1:10 with most around 45 minutes. I haven’t used my Garmin since February, and that was just for holidays runs. Essentially I haven’t used it since Ironman Canada in summer 2013!

So needless to say I didn’t know my pace for a long time, which I think is the best way to run: by feel. On my treadmill runs as of late, I’ve definitely slowed but by less than expected.

What felt good?
In all honesty, not a lot felt good about running after week 19! I ran twice a week until week 17 and then dropped down to once a week, with some weeks of no running.

In week 17 I ran a 12km/7.5 mile trail race. I took it easy and barely breathed heavy. In retrospect, I’m sure I could’ve run a lot harder. But I wanted to play it safe with both the tripping factor and pushing it. I think my biggest success was that I didn’t stop to pee during the race 🙂 Although I didn’t run hard, I was still pretty fatigued the next day.

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The race fell on our anniversary, and I hope we can make it an annual event!

The other thing that fits the ‘feeling good’ category is my Gabrialla support belt. I got it in week 21 and noticed a huge difference in comfort of my belly. It completely supported it and just felt right. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is running while pregnant. (Of note, I got a sized up and it fits really well.)

What was different?
There isn’t really anything new to add to this column. I still pee a lot more than normal, am a lot thirstier during and after, and need to eat before a morning run. (My record high is six pees on a six mile treadmill run!)

What didn’t feel good?
Week 19 was where running started to fall apart for me. I would get really bad hip flexor/groin pain at the end of a long run. It would last for the remainder of the day. Kelly and I went for a long trail run during week 19 and I had to walk the last km, and then I couldn’t walk for the rest of the day without serious limping.

Two weeks later I successfully ran but afterwards had bad back pain, and the next day my groin/pelvic area was extremely sore.

This is kind of how it’s been going ever since. I should really stop running but the stubborn part of me doesn’t want to yet.

During week 22 I knew I couldn’t run after a couple minutes and then the next week felt good. During week 24 I had to stop after 10 minutes because of serious back cramps (something totally new to me).

Week 25 was another upswing. I ran two days in a row, which I haven’t done in a really long time! They were both on the trails, so I went nice and slow. Surprisingly, I felt a lot better on the uphill than the down!

Since then running has been touch and go. I’ve limited my max run distance to 5 miles/8 km and that seems to be a sweet spot. Nothing hurts while running, and afterwards, at that distance, my groin/pelvic area doesn’t hurt.

I *may* try running once a week until it acts up again. At that point, I think I should force myself to stop.

I don’t want to continue running to stay in shape or to bounce back into running faster afterwards. I just honestly love it and don’t want to go so long without it (the remainder of pregnancy and then however long afterwards). But, if it’ll do me more harm than good I need to stop.

Everything else
I biked a lot this trimester, all on my trainer. I don’t remember exactly when, but we propped a foam roller on my handlebars when it started to get uncomfortable to lean over.

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Awesome solution, and essentially free since we already had it!

I ride a steady pace, and I still do some interval workouts too. It feels good to breathe a little! My longest bike ride has been 45 minutes this trimester. And that’s more than enough!

Other than that, I’m keeping up my strength training, incorporating some strength/cardio circuits into my routine each week, and doing Tracey Andersen prenatal DVDs every couple of weeks.

I got in a few awesome hikes, mostly at the beginning of the trimester. One weekend we hiked over 20 miles but that was absolutely all I did that weekend!

Floe Lake

On the last true hike we went on, I really tired on the way down and despite wearing my support belt, my stomach was very heavy.

I continued with yoga once a week, and in the last few weeks I practiced 2-3 times a week.

I’ve also been lucky enough to cross-country ski a few times!

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Twice was on holidays and then I went once here at home. Unfortunately I started to feel the same pain as when I run, so I cut my last ski short.

Overall I’ve been keeping up my weekly workout sessions (five or six days a week) but they are much shorter and with a lot less intensity.

I can tell you that in the third trimester this will definitely decrease as time goes on. I’m starting to feel more fatigued (not sleeping well…at all). And I’m really starting to notice the extra weight. I don’t really know what I weighed when I got pregnant, but I would estimate I’ve gained 20 pounds already. That feels like quite a difference with everything except biking and yoga!

 If you worked out/ran through pregnancy, feel free to chime in with tips, suggestions, how you felt, etc! 

If you have any questions, let me know!

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How was your year of running?

This is the third year I’m linking up with Miss Zippy to look back at my year of running (see my 2013 and 2012 reviews). Head over to her website to check out a bunch of other people’s reviews!

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Best race experience?
I participated in four races this year and only three running races: a 10km race on my 30th birthday, a surprise 10 miler in Del Mar, California when we were on holidays, a SUP race this summer, and a trail race on our sixth anniversary.

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Del Mar, CA

I loved them all for different reasons, but since this is about my year of running I guess I’d have to say the race on my birthday. It was a small, local race, Kelly ran it with me (instead of ahead of me!), my parents walked the 5k, and my sister and her family unexpectedly came out to cheer!

Passing my parents!

Best run?
Any trail run from this summer was phenomenal.

But, I think my best run was a 10 miler I did in Laguna Beach, CA where I ran along the beaches of Crystal Cove State Park and came across this little cutie. IMG-20140222-00394I remember not wanting to turn back, but I didn’t want to worry Kelly by going for too much longer than I said!

Best new piece of gear?
Remember when I said I am indecisive? I think that comes out in this post! I have two answers for this one.

I bought my Gabrialla Maternity Support Belt at 21 weeks pregnant. It has seemed to really help with the heaviness of my belly as time goes on.

The second item is Japanese Mint Oil. My prenatal acupuncturist recommended it for my aching hips that keep me up at night. According to their site, it helps promote circulation, relieves tight muscles, and is useful in injury rehab among many other benefits. I’ll continue to use it post-pregnancy, too!

Best piece of running advice you received?
I really, really would love to run throughout pregnancy but I think I’m going to have to stop soon.

When I told my girlfriend this she reminded me that it’s such a small blip of time in my running life. I’ve been running for 18 years and hope to do it forever. In the grand scheme of things, taking a few months off  is far from the worst that could happen!

Most inspirational runner?
I have quite a list, but the most inspirational this year have been moms. I love seeing what women are capable of after their world has been completely changed, when they juggle a lot of balls, and still manage to run and stay fit.

A couple professional athletes that top that list are triathlete Beth Gerdes (returned to racing, an Ironman no less, four months after giving birth to her baby girl) and runner Stephanie Rothstein Bruce (who is so honest about her body and comeback, #journeywithsteph).

Beth's second Ironman stats…less than seven months after having a baby!

Beth’s second Ironman stats…less than seven months after having a baby!

Otherwise, I read a lot of running blogs written by moms who inspire me in almost every post they write. In no particular order, here are a few of my faves:

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Humbling, relaxed, and freeing.

Tell me about your year of running and link up with Miss Zippy! 

Keeping fit on our California adventure

Well, after 28 days of fun in the California sun it’s back to reality.

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I’ve struggled to write about our trip because it was so fabulous it honestly left me speechless. In the meantime I thought I’d write a separate post about what I did to stay fit. It’s a long one since I did more than just run!

Running
It’s ironic I posted about working out together while we were away as we only ran together once our entire trip! With Harold along for the month, it was best to let him rest while we took turns running.

It was beyond marvelous to run in shorts in February! The other wonderful thing? Running by the ocean.

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Laguna Beach

I ran the Embarcadero in San Francisco, the beach and ritzy neighbourhoods in Carmel, river trails in Newport, and ocean bluffs and a race in Del Mar.

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Carmel River State Beach

We spent the majority of our time in Laguna Beach. All my runs there were incredible: I saw dolphins playing in the surf, ran into Dana Point, ran along the beaches of Crystal Cove and saw a baby sea lion, worked my lungs running uphill for four miles to the top of the hills (and trashed my quads on the way down), and ran trails at sunrise with Kelly and Harold.

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Crystal Cove State Park

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Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

I embraced every single run and am forever envious of those who get to live and run along the California Coast all the time!

California 10/20
The UT California 10/20 was an out and back 10 mile race starting and finishing in Del Mar and running through Solana Beach and Encinitas. (I found out about the race the day before it after running a speedy seven miles!)

It was chilly the morning of the race and Kelly and Harold walked me to the start about 45 minutes away from our hotel.

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Not really feeling up to ‘race’, my only plan was to take it easy at the start and pick it up throughout. I did a great job of that with my first mile being the slowest and my last being the fastest. I ended up finishing in 1:11:53, which I was more than happy with for a surprise race on vacation!

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It was a great run with tons of bands along the course (that’s what the 20 in the name stands for) and ocean views. It was the first year and over 3,000 people finished!

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
I tried SUPing for the first time in 2008 and fell in love with it. Kelly bought me my very own inflatable SUP (NRS Earl 4) for my birthday this year, and I couldn’t wait to take it out on the ocean in California!!

I was a bit apprehensive, as it’s been a couple years since I last paddled. And I’m timid of surf SUPing; I just like to get out there and paddle.

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It turns out that Laguna Beach is the perfect destination to SUP! The water is generally calm, the ocean life is amazing, and I felt comfortable paddling far out by myself (sorry mom and dad!).

I paddled almost every day we were there (I think I went 11 out of 13 days), went out a couple times most days, and experienced amazing things.

One day when we got down to the beach there was a guy paddling close to shore with a few dolphins alongside him. I was too nervous to go, so Kelly gladly hopped on the board. There were dolphins going under his board and surfacing right beside him. It was pretty magical to watch.

Screen shot from Kelly’s GoPro video

Once he came to shore I was brave enough to go.

The most amazing experience
The dolphins were mostly gone, so I went far out just to SUP. As I was about to turn back towards shore, I saw a huge pod of them swimming and jumping coming towards me. I was about 35 feet away from a massive dolphin highway. There was somewhere between 50 – 100 dolphins from what I could see. I was close enough to hear them breathing. A couple veered off course and came towards me, so I splashed my paddle a bit.

It absolutely took my breath away and I just stood there in shaky awe for at least five minutes watching their natural beauty. It was the most magnificent thing I’ve seen in nature and one of my most peaceful and special moments.

I paddled back to shore, turning constantly to take it all in. I was so happy Kelly saw what happened so I could discuss it with somebody!! (I was also a little disappointed I didn’t have a camera with me!)

On another day there were dolphins swimming under my board and around me. (I had to kneel down a couple times, as my legs got shaky!)

I felt so fortunate to SUP in the ocean again and experience the majestic dolphins. I can’t wait to get back on my SUP this summer in our lakes!

Strength
We each took a yoga mat and one set of weights with us. I strength trained in our hotel room most of the days Kelly ran. It felt good to keep up some strength and core work!

Laughter yoga
This was something I just had to experience! There’s a group in Laguna Beach that meets 365 days a year. I went on a chilly morning and met with four others including the director of the Laughter Yoga Institute, Jeffrey Briar.

It was the most bizarre class I’ve ever attended, but it certainly accomplished what it prescribes: I was joyful for the rest of the day! There is something to be said about starting your day laughing by the ocean with a group of warm, friendly people.

Staying in shape
Despite dessert twice a day most days I feel pretty good. My fitness is definitely much higher than when I came home from China last year, and I don’t have an Ironman to worry about in four months!

What’s your favourite way to stay active on holidays, or do you take it as a time to rejuvenate?

A book review – two race books

I have two race books on our coffee table: The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges and World’s Ultimate Running Races.

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They are a constant reminder of all the cool adventures there are in the world. I find myself perusing them frequently, dreaming of races to run in faraway lands and wondering if I’d ever be bold enough to try some.

The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges by Richard Hoad and Paul Moore

This book profiles 50 of the world’s toughest challenges that push athletes to their limits. It includes gorgeous photos, information about the races, and first-hand accounts from past participants.

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It’s broken into races by continent and features everything from ultramarathons to multidiscipline events to freediving.

I think the coolest race is the jungle marathon: an ultramarathon in the Amazon jungle where you have to support yourself over 220 km while worrying about poisonous trees, extreme humidity, and lurking dangers in the river and swamp crossings.

Another fascinating race is the Crocodile Trophy in Australia that challenges the strongest mountain bikers over 1,200km of riding through bush, creeks with crocodiles, and outback trails.

The Cadiz Freedom Swim in South Africa sounds downright dangerous! The book says the water leaves many of its competitors clinically hypothermic with unpredictable currents fuelling massive swells and the most aggressive sharks on the planet.

It’s a really great read and fun book to flip through! I’d love to try at least one of the races in here. Maybe after reading about all of them a few more times I’ll decide on a goal adventure race!

World’s Ultimate Running Races

This book is running focused featuring 500 races in 101 countries. There are 10 categories of races featured from road to stage to trail to track.

The races are in calendar chronological order, but you can also look them up based on country, category, or name.

There’s tons of information about each race including name, category, history, a bit about the race course, distance, terrain, climate, records, and the website.

Currently on my list: Gold Coast Marathon in Queensland, Australia; Lantau Mountain Marathon in Hong Kong; and the Victoria Fall Marathon in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

What adventure race would you like to do?
What international races are on your list?

Thanks for reading! I scheduled a few posts to go up while I’m cruising the California coast with my family. I don’t expect to be online much, so I won’t be commenting on blogs or writing trip updates on here. However, I hope to post to my Instagram feed (thechangeofpace) when the mood strikes!

Dream finish line

There are many definitions for the word dream, but I’m talking about the kind of dream that is something you have always wanted to do, something you didn’t always think was possible, and something you have to work insanely hard to achieve.

Miriam Webster defines this kind of dream as a strongly desired goal or purpose.

I achieved a dream the day I crossed my first marathon finish line. Crossing it hand-in-hand with my husband (then boyfriend) was the icing on the cake.

I achieved a dream the day I finished my first triathlon and then a few months later when I finished my first Ironman.

Those were finishes I had only dreamed of but didn’t know if they’d become reality until I/we had the nerve to sign up and put in the hard work to get there.

Every finish line is an achievement, but there’s nothing like the first one…the one that started as a scary thought in your mind until you had the nerve to sign up…the one that you poured hours of sweat (and some tears) into…the one where doubts crossed your mind throughout training.

My ultimate dream finish line? The Canadian Death Race…solo.

photo taken from Death Race Facebook page

photo taken from Death Race Facebook page…click image for source link

The Canadian Death Race is a 125 km (about 77 miles) all-terrain extreme adventure race course on very challenging terrain including three mountain summits and 17,000 feet of elevation change.

The seed was planted the second year the race went, in 2002, when I was 19. I was working in Pennsylvania that summer and my mom cut out the newspaper clips and mailed them to me with a note saying it’s probably a race I’d like to try one year. I’ve hung on to those clippings.

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Since then it’s been on my mind, becoming more prominent with each year that passes. Over the last two years, Kelly and I have both seriously debated it.

They have a relay option. People ask me why I don’t start there to get a feel for it. I’m an all or nothing type gal who generally dives into challenges head first.

My concerns— 125km of running…over mountains, bears/cougars/scary animals made more scary in the middle of the night in the middle of the forest…alone.

I don’t know when I’ll sign up for this, but it’s not going to be this year (registration opened at the end of January and sells out quickly). I hope to  run some shorter trail races and ultras to start and eventually train my way there. But I’m putting it out there.

I want to run the Canadian Death Race solo one year, and I want to cross that finish line and achieve my ultimate dream!

What’s your dream distance/event/finish line?

Anybody want to sign up for it with me in 2015?! 

Birthday weekend, a race and a certification

My birthday was a fantastic entry into a new decade. I realized, once again, how fortunate I am to have such a fabulous family and wonderful friends.

Kelly and Harold sure know how to make a gal feel special. They ran all errands, cleaned the house, and bought me really awesome gifts!

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I’m not a big birthday person and prefer them low key. But I knew I wanted to do something special for this one.

It just so happened there was a small local race on Saturday morning put on by our Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) location. As a bonus it turned out to be a warm morning!

Birthday race

It was a small race, only $15, and you could register race morning.

Kelly and I ran the 10k, and he ran it with me instead of speeding ahead, allowing me to set the pace! My parents walked the 5k, and my sister and her family surprised us and came out to watch and cheer us on. (Kelly’s parents are on holidays and walked 10k for me the day before!)

I haven’t run with a Garmin in months and the only time I know my pace is on the treadmill. However, I haven’t been following any schedules or tracking any activities. It’s been good! I went into this race with the same attitude and didn’t wear my Garmin or even start my watch.

The first lap was at a modest pace, so I tried to turn it on the second lap. It was two loops and there was a little turn around so I knew at the halfway mark I was fourth female with the first girl way up front.

Passing my parents!

Passing my parents with Kelly a step behind!

I was back and forth with the girl in third a couple times. I finally turned on the jets and passed the third and second place females. With 2km left, I held on pushing as hard as I could until Kelly and I crossed the line together. I ended up finishing second place female in the small local race and having a lot of fun doing it. It was such an enjoyable way to celebrate my birthday!

(Embarrassing story though- when they called the top three girls up, they didn’t call me! So I went up and thankfully the girls in third and fourth vouched that I was ahead and finished second. Awkward situation though!)

From there we went for lunch with my family before I had to get to my next engagement.

Test time

I’m going to write another post about it since I haven’t mentioned it here, but I took my practical exam for my personal training specialist certification and passed! It was the last stage of the process and I was beyond relieved when I walked out of there successful.

I was pretty wiped from running and the nerves of my exam but the day wasn’t over yet!

Party on

One of my closest friends is my birthday twin and was having a 30th birthday party. So Kelly and I got gussied up and had a blast at her ‘say goodbye to the roaring 20s party’! It was so much fun, and I was super impressed with everyone’s outfits!

R&R

I slept in on Sunday. I ate ice cream cake for breakfast (if you can’t do it on your birthday, when can you)! I stayed in my PJs most of the day and lazed around (my cardio consisted of moving from the couch to the floor to the couch again with Harold following me to each spot). I finally got dressed before going to a delicious dinner with my family.

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Yup, I agree with most of your comments from my last post about turning 30. I have a feeling my thirties are going to be great! #thirtyisthenewtwenty

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Would you speak up if you placed in a race and they made an error?