I wanted to do a blog post about the first half marathon that I have post baby. I know I waited longer than I thought I would to get back to competitively running, but being a Mom is tiring. It took me awhile to find a groove and balance my schedule with training runs. I wanted to have fun and enjoy running so I am glad that I didn't rush back to sign up for a long distance race.
So this time around, training for a half marathon was way different. It is a lot harder to get in the mileage when you bring your little one with you on runs. Just because it is physically harder. Pushing a stroller, while running, is not a joke. That is some serious upper body strength. Honestly, I enjoy it most of the time, but as William has gotten bigger, it is not getting easier.
Thankfully I continued with my Planet Fitness membership so that allows me a chance to fit in a baby-free run right after work for about 30 minutes. I was able to do that when the weather wasn't as nice outside or if I didn't have time to fit in a long run that day. It is not my favorite thing, but I was glad for the option. That is a worthwhile $10 per month.
I didn't do as much strength training this time around either. That is so hard to fit in. I was doing good to get in a run throughout the week. I was averaging 20 miles a week or less. There were several weeks where I was about 30 miles. So not intense training, but still enjoyable.
I have thought about training for another marathon, but I don't know if I can set aside the amount of time to train. That is such a big commitment and I don't know if now is the right time. I would love to do another marathon and try to do it well and possibly qualify for Boston. That would be a stretch, but totally worth the effort. That is on my bucket list for some day! I will eventually race and qualify for Boston.
- Up until the morning of the race, I was positive that it was going to rain. There was a 50-80% chance of rain all day on Saturday. It wasn't until the morning of, at 5am when I got up that I saw there was 0% chance until 11am. That was a huge relief for me. I have never raced in the pouring rain before. I was quite nervous and I reached out to a couple of seasoned running friends who passed along some great words of wisdom. There was also a article shared on Very Well Fit's website that was fantastic about running in the rain. I was totally prepared - I had extra shoes, socks, trash bags, a hat, light clothes, a jacket, and lots of Vaseline to prevent chaffing. Thankfully I didn't have use any of those items and I was so thankful.
- The race route itself was quite hilly. I knew that it would be, but I was also nervous about my limited training area not having any hills. I have been running on the Monon trail which is super flat. But I did train while pushing a stroller, so I think that helped prepare me for working hard to get up and down all the hills.
- The race day itself turned out to be overcast, cool and it was a little humid. It made for very good running weather. I was thoughtful for limited sunshine so that it was super hot outside.
- I listened to music while running all 13 miles and thankfully the playlist I made lasted right up to the finish line. I was thankful I didn't have to mess with my phone while running.
- I carried my water with me along with some salt stick and Huma gels. I ended up just taking 1 Huma gel and 1 salt stick. I was moving quick enough that I took both around the 40-45 minute mark or about 6-7 miles. That was good enough to get me through to the end of the race.
- My pre-race breakfast included cereal and a banana. I drank lots of water ahead of time and I even got in my bathroom stop prior to the race. I really like to be able to have a bowel movement before running. To help make this possible I eat a salad the night before. I know some runners think that is crazy, but it works for me. I am use to eating lots of vegetables and normally it is just want I need to help get me going in the morning. I also ran from the parking lot, a 1/2 mile to the start line. That helped to get things moving as well.
- Overall I felt great running. I really loved racing again. I had miss that feeling and challenge that you feel competing. I wasn't trying to win, but I just wanted to run my best race. I ended up placing 2nd in my age division (the 25-30 year old group). I finish in 1hr and 47 minutes. I felt good about my pace ~8 minute/mile. For my first race back post baby, I thought this went really well.
- The only thing that I didn't love about the route for this course was the fact that course looped back over the same roads on the way out and back. That was the only bad thing. I understand why they had to do that because of the reservoir and limited roads crossing the water. I really enjoy races where you don't double-back over the course you have already run, but that was fine. It was fun to see the huge houses and there were some people along the route cheering us on. If you want to run in a small-ish race with some hills, this is the course for you!