Sub-3’s and babies: An update from Cocoa

Happy New Year, Salty Readers! Lately I’m a much better Salty lurker (I read every day) than contributor. But I wanted to write my race reports for 2017, which was a good running year, plus I have some exciting 2018 news to share. So here goes!

Blooms to Brews Marathon, Washington, April 2017

This is the only marathon I really trained hard for this year. I went into the race feeling like I was in shape for a 2:55 if all went well, or at least a sub-3 if things went well but not great. Turns out it wasn’t my day for either. I got out ok, running the first half in 1:30, but then felt done at mile 14 and ended up running a very difficult 3:06. Boy was I happy to see that finish line!

What did I do right before that race? I trained hard and focused.

What did I do wrong or change in my training? Well, first of all, it just wasn’t my day and that’s ok. But I cut out strength training for my legs this cycle. I had been doing leg weights once a week. However, the majority of my runs are done pushing my 2-year old in the stroller, and I live on top of a very big hill (almost 400ft from bottom to top), meaning every run ends with me pushing about 40lbs up this hill. Some running routes have me going up and down the hill several times. This left my legs always tired and heavy, interfering with my ability to run fast on stroller-free days. I then realized that my runs are strength work, and will be as long as every run ends with pushing a stroller up a giant hill. So I cut out the leg weights. At the same time, I added speedwork, just once a week. Nothing fancy, it was usually just 100m or 200m strides at the end of a run, but on a few occasions, I did 400m repeats as well. Perhaps these changes were not ideal for my sub-3 goal.

Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon, South Dakota, June 2017

I, like Dill, am working on running a marathon in all 50 states, so off I went to South Dakota with my dad and sister. This race was fun but so hard. It is a hilly, high-elevation trail race, and we ran on a hot day.

I ran watch-free for the first time ever at a race because with those conditions, I really needed to listen to my body and not my watch. Running without a watch was fun, and I spent the last couple miles guessing what my finish time would be. As it turned out, I thought I would be 2 minutes faster than I was, which is pretty close, I think, because I had no idea what pace I was going. I finished in 3:17, which I was super happy with given the course and conditions.

I highly recommend the race; my dad and sister ran too, and we all had a great weekend. My dad is already talking about running this year’s race, and has convinced my mom to go too!

Tunnel Vision Marathon, August 2017

After the Tunnel Vision marathon, my sister, me, my sister, and my mom

I broke my rule of never repeating a course for this one, but it is such a beautiful race close to my home, and my mom was running it this year, so I figured why not?

Honestly, my training for this race was haphazard. Almost all of my runs were done pushing the stroller, with my 2 dogs on the hands-free leash, since my husband was gone in July and August. I did visit my family for a couple weeks in that timeframe, and my parents live at 6500ft elevation, so I think that helped. One of my only solo runs leading up to this race was a killer 20-miler on my birthday, from my parents’ house up to the base of a ski resort 10 miles away, then back down. It was fun and brutal at the same time.

Fortunately, the hard training leading up to the April race, the high-altitude long runs (both at the Deadwood Mickelson Marathon and my birthday run), and frankly the lots of rest days, all combined to make the race a success in the end.

I had excellent company during this race, running the first 16 miles with a cool dude from Oregon who happens to have a toddler the same age as my little one. We chatted for much of the first 16 miles and it helped them pass fast (including hitting 13 miles in 1:29). Eventually, another guy passed us, and I decided to go with him. I caught up to him and we ran from about miles 17-20 together. Around mile 20, he realized he could probably beat his brother’s PR of 2:53, and he took off. I sped up too, trying not to lose contact.

Around mile 22, I caught up to Floris Gierman, who is a coach and runs the website extramilest.com. We ran the last 4 miles together, and he helped me so much. We didn’t chat much (in fact, he told me to preserve my breath and focus on running), just worked together. It reminded me of my college running days, when my teammates and I would just get into a flow state and run paces we didn’t know were possible, but which we could only achieve together. I ended up coming in 5 seconds ahead of Floris because, oh my goodness, I was in A-goal territory and knew I had to get it! I somehow sprinted the last 0.2. My last 3 mile splits were 6:20, 6:17, and 6:06. Finish time: 2:55.30. PR and A-goal achieved!

I am usually super shy about any type of media interview, but Floris had helped me so much that I agreed to be on his podcast. It was kind of fun to do. If you are interested, here is the link:

How This Mom Balances Life & Runs Sub 3 Hour Marathons

2018 goals?

Well, no races are on the horizon for 2018. We are now expecting #2, due in July. I might run a race in Death Valley in December, depending on how my post-partum recovery goes.

Let’s just say my running has been hit or miss, depending on how pukey I am feeling. Once again, I am finding solace in Salty’s “Running during the first trimester” posts, comforted that she hardly ran either for a few weeks. Even on the days when I have felt good, I get major GI distress doing anything over 5 miles, so that has been my limit. Plus, something that is different this time around: I can’t waste all my (very limited) energy on running because I have a 2-year old to keep up with. So I’ve had to work on conserving energy. But that’s ok, a break is good for the body sometimes. I’m looking forward to meeting another little one soon!

What were your memorable race moments from 2017?

I am a 30-something new mother (pet mother too), marathon and ultramarathon runner, healthcare professional, and outdoor enthusiast. I'm working on completing a marathon in all 50 states. I will be blogging about motherhood, running, and any random running-related rant I might come up with.

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8 comments

  1. Congrats on your pregnancy and your sub 3! I ran the tunnel vision course for their September marathon and the gravel really bugged me more than I expected. The course is beautiful though! Happy new year!

    1. Thanks Catherine! Glad to hear from someone else who ran the course, it’s one of my favorites. I actually like the gravel more than roads, The sound of feet hitting the gravel seems… soothing? relaxing? to me. Not sure how to explain it haha. Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  2. Congrats on your sub 3 and baby #2! I ran only one race in 2017, NYC Marathon, it was my first full. It was awesome and brutal and amazing 🙂

  3. Congrats on Baby #2 and Congrats on sub 3!!! I also loved how you ran 3 marathons in one year!!! Awesome!!! My most memorable race in 2017, Rocket City Marathon, it was my 1st time running sub 2:50…..