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.
Take-a-way #1: Don’t eat Mocha GU.
I wrote a post a while back about the importance of a ‘dress rehearsal’ run, wherein you wear the outfit you’ll be racing in, try out the dinner you’ll be having the night before, gobble down the breakfast you’ll be having on race morning, and bring along the gels, drinks or other supplements that you plan to take at different miles. I didn’t follow my own advice all too well. The longest training run that I accomplished for this training cycle was a 10-miler with my fellow MOMS Run This Town training partner, and I didn’t drink or practice gels. Big mistake on my part!
During Nationwide, at mile 8.5, I grabbed whatever gel packet that was first available to me by the station volunteers; I didn’t think twice and didn’t even look at the flavor. As I squirted it in my mouth, I was a little shocked that it tasted like a triple espresso Americano. Indeed, it was ‘mocha’ flavored. Gross.
Around mile 11, probably right when the gel started to make its way to my belly, I started feeling queasy, to say the least. I crossed the line, verged to the left and had medical people notice my discernable look upon my face. They actually made a bit of a scene and wheeled me down in a wheelchair to the medical tent after I puked about five times (just water, Gatorade and GU). Oh, the horror!
As I sat there, I checked out fine. Blood pressure was great. Pulse was great. Felt much better. As I stood up to be discharged, though, I immediately felt another lurch and had to puke another three times into one of those little trays you see in the hospital. UGH. I’m not sure if it all relayed back to the GU or what, but my body was just not having it! I spoke to one of the nurses and she suggested that it may have been the fact that my body went through a lot of changes with pregnancy and birth and this being my first race since having my baby, it may have just been in a little shock for really being pushed racing for the first time since last October.
Take away #2: Pay attention to the large banner signs in the starting corrals.
The morning of the race was a bit of a blur, as it always is. My friend Nina and old college teammate, my brother-in-law, my MOMS Run This Town friend, Allison, and my mom caravanned together. We pre-purchased a parking pass so that made things easier, we made it to the port-a-pots with plenty of time and wandered over to the starting corrals with time to spare. My mom made her way to Corral D as she walks the races; her walk pace is a 12:30, though, and she kicks some butt. The rest of us were assigned to Corral A (the first corral) and made our way there, chatting and trying to stay warm and calm our nerves.
My brother-in-law chomped on some skittles and us girls laughed about how we wished we could get one final poop out before the gun went off! About five minutes until go time, Allison asked one of the women next to us what corral she was in after noticing that we were surrounded by bibs reading ‘B.’ You guessed it: we were in the wrong corral! Not sure how we did it, but we did. Instead of trying to make our way up to the correct corral by squeezing through the masses, we took one for the team and just started in Corral B. As you can see by my splits, we got majorly blocked in and probably messed up all of our chances for a PR, but live and learn. Right? Oops. Luckily, none of us were gunning for anything crazy.
My overall time was a 1:38:49 with a 7:32 average pace. My goal was to be right around 1:40 for my debut half marathon post Connor. Here were my splits:
Consistency was one of my goals for this race. And, unfortunately, I was really all over the place. I’m still trying to find my groove and I’m allowing myself time to do just that.
Take away #3 Be thankful for great runner friends.
One of my postpartum goals was to start back to running for the pure joy of it. Not to focus on any extreme PRs or obsessiveness to lose weight. And, by joining the my local MOMS Run This Town chapter I feel I’ve been able to successfully do just that. With daily inspiration from Facebook posts and group runs with fellow mamas, I’ve found the pure joy in getting back into the sport. I’ve made one pretty spectacular friend who lives only a few miles down the road, and we have been able to meet up and do weekly runs most weeks, despite the crazy schedules of being mamas. We ‘get’ each other and it feels like we’ve been friends for years already. I am so thankful for this group of women. We don’t compete against each other, we empower one another!
All in all, my first half marathon back after having a baby was a huge success. I was about 10 minutes off from my time last year, but I have a beautiful baby boy to thank for that, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
If you’re a mom, what was your first postpartum race? What were your goals? What were your takeaways?