I'm a new momma, full-time non-profiter, and coffee lover. I write about healthy body image, half marathon training, and recovery from eating disorders. I'm currently training to maintain fitness throughout the winter and break 1:27:00 in my next half marathon.
2015 promised to be a dream year for Sarah Brown. She ran personal bests and her blazing times seemed to make her a shoe-in for a spot on the World Championship 1500 meter team. But at the 2015 USATF Track & Field Outdoor Championship meet, something wasn’t right; she faltered during the last 200 meters of the race.
Reacting to her disappointment, she and her coach, husband Darren Brown, dug in deeper and Sarah focused on the upcoming European track season. As she always seems to, Sarah shook-off the bad race as she crossed the ocean, but the dizziness and fatigue that plagued her at USAs came crashing down on her once again. She knew something was wrong. What she was shocked to learn was that she was among the 1% of IUD-using women to become pregnant. Her due date? Three months before the 2016 Olympic Track Trials.
Sarah and Darren were undeterred and remained committed to keeping her as fit as possible in the lead up to the Trials, as was documented in the ESPNW mini-documentary, Run Mama Run. I had the privilege of speaking to the couple, also known as BTeamRunning and to learn more about their story and hear some kernels of wisdom they gathered along their journey.
Giving birth to four kids in seven years is no easy feat. But having four kids in seven years while marathon training, and then actually qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials in your first marathon? Simply amazing! That’s Ellie Hess, the former DIII All-American who excelled in the 5k and steeplechase in college. Ellie currently trains and races as a member of Cleveland Elite Development and somehow finds the time andenergy for motherhood and elite-level running.
Ellie wasn’t always a star runner. She began jogging in high school to stay in shape for other sports and quickly found her jogs helped her blow off steam. While she could accomplish about an 8-minute-mile naturally, it wasn’t until she dedicated her athletic energy to running that she realized her full potential. She stuck to her other sports through high school, but joined the cross-country team at John Carroll University under peer pressure.
I had the pleasure of competing against Ellie in college or, more precisely, getting beat by Ellie in college, and I wanted to learn how she manages to train and compete at such a high level with the many demands of her busy life. Read more >>
In the few days after learning I was pregnant with my first child, I wondered if should stick with my training plan. I quickly found, however, that was not going to happen. From morning sickness and fatigue in the first trimester to increasing back discomfort and round ligament pain in the second and Braxton-Hicks contractions in the third, I found that listening to my body and running just for the sake of getting out there was the best I could hope for.
However, when a friend recently asked me if I knew of any half marathon training plans for runner moms-to-be, I had to stop and think about it. Are there training plans for pregnant runners? Or maybe the better question is, should pregnant runners use a training plan at all? On the one hand, all of us, around here anyway, know that running during pregnancy while even maintaining pretty decent weekly mileage and pushing the pace from time to time, is perfectly fine for most of us. Running while pregnant (with the support of your healthcare provider, of course) is beneficial to baby’s health and, perhaps more importantly, keeps us mommas sane, which is especially important during nine months often fraught with anxiety … and no wine.
But on the other hand, formal training plans are there to encourage us to be consistent, even when we don’t want to, and to push our physical and mental boundaries. Is this something pregnant women, even the most seasoned women athletes, should do?
Here at Salty Running, we know moms-to-be can keep running as long as their pregnancies are normal. But I knew I wasn’t exactly going to have a “normal” pregnancy, at least not mentally. When I first saw those two pink lines, I admit that negative thoughts of inevitable weight gain and reduced mileage flooded my mind, despite the blissful joy of realizing I’d been blessed with my little “nugget.” Running gave me a healthy pregnancy, both mentally and physically, but it was a slippery slope that I had to keep in check.
Having a history of eating disordered habits I knew I’d be at high-risk for engaging in restrictive behaviors once I began to gain weight. I also knew my eating disorder (or the “drill sergeant,” as I’ve come to refer to it through the years) would not be keen on the idea of cutting back mileage. My husband and medical team would be on watchdog alert for the next nine months, and I would feel guilty for causing worry.
Luckily I had a secret weapon on my side: I’m a runner. Read more >>
On September 21, 2013, two days before she was supposed to run one of the biggest races of her life and where she would attempt to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials, Jessica sat beside her husband at the Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio, trying to digest devastating, heart-wrenching news that would ultimately steal away her Tommy.
In August of 2012 Jessica’s best friend and husband had been diagnosed with melanoma on his scalp. Surgeons immediately removed it and everything seemed fine. Six months later, Tommy’s doctors discovered the cancer had metastasized throughout his lymph nodes, his organs … everywhere. Jessica’s Tommy, a loving husband, father, and her most supportive running companion passed away on June 28, 2014.
Back to that dreary day in September of 2013; Jessica told Tommy it would be selfish to race just two days after receiving the devastating news. Tommy would have none of that. He insisted that she run the race because it’s what she loved to do. So, she listened. Read more >>
I wasn’t chasing a half-marathon PR for the usual glory when I lined up with the crowds at the Columbus Marathon and Half. This year I was going to PR for Sully.
Sully is a four-year-old who would be watching for me run by from the window of his room at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He’s also the son of my sorority sister and good friend, a self-proclaimed ‘non-runner’ who would take on her first half in an effort to raise funds for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Nope, on October 18, 2015 I was going to take the personal out of personal record and go for it for Sully.
Cyclists are so quick to tell us runners we should try cycling: it’s easier on the knees, they say. I’ve heard this for several years while working as a staff partner for a popular long-distance bike race. I just wrote it off as a recruitment technique, but I think there’s some method to the madness after last weekend. In fact, I took it up a notch and added in another sport to the mix!
My friend Nina is a passionate triathlete and she, not those knee-obsessed cyclists, finally convinced me to give one a go. For my first triathlon, I settled on this race. It seemed perfect: sprint distance (read: short); pool swim; closish to home. I have to say, though, I still wondered if I was ready for my first Triathlon. Some of you might be wondering the same thing, so I figured I should share my experience. Because seriously, If I, the most uncoordinated of Salty bloggers, can do a triathlon without skidding out on the bike, falling on my face, or drowning, then you probably can too. Read more >>
This Saturday, I ventured out to semi-race my first 5k equipped with a jogging stroller and a 23 pound 11 month-old. My take-away from the experience? Racing while pushing a stroller is a completely different animal from racing without one! However, racing with the stroller can be great way to enjoy the camaraderie of a race and share the experience with your little one. Bonus: you can race without a baby sitter! As long as you’re prepared for the different challenge racing with a stroller poses, it’s great! Read more >>
Oh baby, it’s cold outside. Like, realllly cold outside.We are talking snot icicles. Snowy eyelash mascara. 5 layers of running clothes and a sexy gaiter face mask. Yea, it’s winter in the northeast!
As of this writing it was 6 degrees with about 4 inches blanketing the streets of Columbus, Ohio. Icy patches made my 3 miler a bit treacherous. In a few days another clipper is supposed to hit with more snow, lows below 0 with a wind chill factor into the negatives. Greeeeat! To keep up with winter training, I’ve been running very early in the morning before my husband leaves for work and while my 8-month old baby is still sleeping. On the ‘warmer’ weekend days when the mercury rises to 35 degrees, I’ve been able to bundle the babe and take him along with me in the running stroller later in the afternoon.
So recently, when Salty Reader Carol posed a question to other running moms, I felt like I definitely had some insight to share! Here’s Carol’s question:
I want to know how you guys with small kids tell if it is too cold to run outside with them in the stroller, and how you keep them warm when they just want to kick off the blanket!?
When I had my first son last June, I coincidentally noticed a Facebook Group called ‘Moms RUN This Town‘ on my sidebar. Because I was curious and trying to meet as many new moms as possible as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and the spit up from my shoulders and clicked on the link. I’m so glad I did, because I now have a group to run with pretty much any day of the week at my typical 8:30 training pace at the butt crack of dawn when I can best squeeze it in. Instead of trying to run alone at 4:30 a.m. (when the baby is still sleeping, the husband is still sleeping and before all chaos breaks lose), I now have a posse that keeps me safe, complete with headlamps, motherly empathy if I have to skip out at the last minute due to lack of sleep, and fun conversation.
And today, I am going to tell you why Moms RUN This Town is a great group for all women runners, mothers and non-mothers alike! Read more >>
My hubs was ‘on call’ for Thanksgiving so we weren’t able to travel to our usual destination (Cleveland) , meaning we could partake in the Columbus Flying Feather 4 miler on Thanksgiving morening. One of my favorite parts? The free sangria for every participant at the end! No need to place in the top three for a store-bought pumpkin pie at this race. No siree. Free wine for EVERYONE! We were granted two free race entries by the race director a few days before the race ( I work closely with him at my day job and he is very generous!), so I wasn’t exactly training to race this bad boy.
We had planned to bring baby Connor with us, as long as the weather was close to 40 degrees. Now that he’s 5 1/2 months, I feel comfortable taking him along with me in the jogging stroller: has good head support and seems perfectly content just rolling along with me. Since the race didn’t start until 9 a.m., we thought we would be in good shape, but it still wasn’t even going to be 30 degrees by go time, so my hubs decided to stay home with our little man and let me go see what I could do sans pushing a stroller. My hubs is a gem. Really, he is. Though I felt guilty going at first, I decided to allow myself to go do something I love: race freely and joyously. It was a good reminder of how thankful I am to have strong lungs and legs that can carry me quickly to the finish line.
Because we were so up in the air with the baby and whether Sam would come or not, I didn’t leave my house until after 8 a.m., getting me to the parking lot by about 8:30 a.m. since it wasn’t in my backyard by any means. There were shuttles running to the start line from the parking lot (since it was almost a mile from the start line), but I was too late to catch one. So, I started to walk…and walk…and walk. When it got to be 8:52 a.m., I started to jog…and then run…to the start line. I got there in time, but it was barricaded and backed up with the over 4,000 runners, so instead of being one of those pushy people trying to get to the right pacing group, I sucked it up and started with the 14 minute pace group, which got me to the start line a good 3 minutes after the gun went off. Thank gosh for chipping/timing technology so my time wasn’t affected at all!
Needless to say, I was entirely blocked in for the first mile. But, I took it in stride and followed the lead of a few others who were in the same situation. We took the sidewalk, less traveled by. I was able to hit a 7:02 first mile, followed by a 6:58, 6:52, and 6:40. I was proud of my negative splits more than anything! My GPS (Forerunner 10) has been acting up slightly, though, and my official race results said my pace was a bit slower, for a 6:59 overall pace and finish time of 27:55.
I’ve only run a couple other 4 milers, and I was off my PR by about 1:30. All things considered- the late start, the barricade, the lack of training/speedwork – I couldn’t have been happier with my result. In all honesty, I told myself before the start line that I’d be happy with anything under 32:00. So, there we go. #thankful
The best part? After the race (which I ended up running about 6 miles including to and from the parking lot!), I came home to fresh made cinnamon rolls, my hubs and my baby! And we snuggled up with coffee until the in-laws came to town for a later lunch, complete with Honey Baked Ham and all the fixings. It was a joyous Thanksgiving, indeed, and there is no better way to kick off a day of thanksgiving than with the hobby I am most thankful for: running!
If you kept up with my posts last spring and summer, you may have realized that my world has been flipped and turned upside down as of late. Our first son, Connor, was born on June 22, 2014, and my priorities, including my running, have all changed significantly in the past couple of months. Finding time to train with a four month old isn’t exactly an easy task and functioning on less than my usual 8 hour chunks of sleep (yes, I’m one of those girls who NEEDS her sleep), resulted in less than ideal training weeks leading up to the Nationwide Columbus Half Marathon.
But I’d like to think that every training cycle and every race has a takeaway and that this one was no different. Read more >>
About a year ago, Salty wrote a information-laden post about breastfeeding and training: Got Milk? Running and Breastfeeding . Since that post appeared, I’ve had my own baby and have been exclusively breastfeeding for the past three months, which has brought me back to reading this post several times. I want to ensure that my milk supply and quality are not being affected by my desire to train for a half marathon. Being a first time mom, and grasping for any and all advice that’s out there, Salty’s post gave me the confidence that I could continue to train at a moderate level without affecting my milk supply or milk quality.
Recently, I experienced something related to running and breastfeeding that Salty didn’t cover: mastitis. Mastitis is an infection in a milk duct and it is one giant literal pain in the boob! I know I’m not the only nursing running mom to experience this so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about running and mastitis. Read more >>
Squeezed in many 2 and 3 mile runs in the wee hours of the morning this week; which was all my schedule really allowed since Sam was ‘on-call’ and had class several nights this week…with a newborn and busy, busy hubby, running took a backseat. Otto (our pup), of course, enjoyed it because it meant he ran with me most mornings. I was able to get in a quality 10-miler on Sunday with Allison. It was an eventful run down High Street on Sunday morning (where part of the half marathon course will be on October 19th). We maintained about an 8:35 pace and felt pretty good, but mostly just random things happened (including one person screaming at us around mile 9 about anti-American things and how we were selfish…?!?) and funny conversations.
This week wasn’t up-to-par in terms of planned mileage. I came down with a second bout of mastitis from breastfeeding and was out for the count from Wednesday through Saturday. Blerg! More on that to come…anyways, here’s what I managed despite it.
Sunday: 6 miles tempo
Monday: 3 miles at 5 a.m.!
Tuesday: Didn’t get much sleep and was planning on going with the New Albany crew but decided to rest for 30 more minutes, which cost me 1.5 miles. Managed to squeeze in 3 miles before work.
Wednesday: Woke up at 3 a.m. with lots of pain in my breast and a 102 fever. Yep, I knew right away that mastitis had made it’s SECOND nasty appearance. I still tried to get a few miles in the a.m. (because I’m stubborn), but literally walked home in pain and rushed to the doctor for antibiotics. Thanks to my sister for driving my sorry butt there!
Thursday: Jogged 3 miles, still in pain
Friday: Jogged 2 miles, still in pain
Saturday: Jogged 3 miles in Kirtland (made a quick trip home to my parents for a get together with my high school friends! Connor had a sleepover with grandma and grandpa!)
Sunday: 6 a.m. wake up call to get my SINGLE quality run in this week! Met up with fellow Columbus Moms Run This Town momma, Allison, and did 8 miles. My giant glass of merlot (I know I shouldn’t have had it since I’m on antibiotics, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do sometimes) and her couple of beers the night before didn’t result in a great feeling run, but we pulled it off … and she even went another 3 to complete her 11 mile long training run for the Columbus Half Marathon (mine is on tap for next week).