Geist Half Marathon Recap

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. 

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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. 

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Race Recap 

  • 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! 
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Half Marathon Training

It is that time of year again. The weather is warming up and the spring marathons and half marathons are starting. Before I had William I ran 1 marathon and then lots of half marathons. I really like the half marathon distance, because I could train, but it wasn't nearly as stressful or take up as much time as training for a marathon. That 13.1 miles is such a great distance. 

I haven't competed in a half marathon or even run 13.1 miles since before I was pregnant. That race as back in October of 2015. I then got pregnant and realized I was pregnant in spring of 2016. At that point in time, I did not feel well enough to run 13.1 miles for fun. It would have been torture. I didn't sign up to run any races in 2016. I continued to run and work out at the gym until the week William was born (December 23, 2016). I took 6 weeks off running completely after William was born. I started back running and even did some PT to help with my pelvic floor. Through out 2017 I didn't run competitively in any half marathon races. I did ran a couple 5Ks and other < 6 mile races at the end of 2017. Now in 2018, I made the goal to run 2 half marathons (one in the spring and one in the fall). I want to get back into competitively running, but at this point in time I don't have the time to train for a full marathon. So that half marathon distance seems like the perfect compromise. 

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Finding time to fit in long runs can be challenging. Thankful, William does really well in the running stroller. He has logged lots of miles in that stroller. He is a great running buddy. The timing of runs can be tough. Sometimes during the week, I just fit in 30 minutes on the treadmill at the gym before picking up William, because that is all the time I have to give to training. On the weekends is when I fit in long runs. I prefer doing my long runs outside. I will fit in a long run on either Saturday or Sunday and then try to pair a recovery run on the other day. That doesn't always happen though. 

I have been trying really hard not to push myself too much. I enjoy running and it is a stress reliever. It is easy though to get caught up in the mileage and if you can't hit that distance one day you can really beat yourself up over it. There is so much that goes into me getting out and running. I have to take William with me and keep him occupied and then of course run. But I also have to try to get my work done quickly that day to fit in that run. I have been trying not to over think it or stress too much about it. It is suppose to be fun and that is important. 

Training schedule - If you have run a half marathon before then you have probably tried to follow a training schedule. I really liked this article from Runner's World about training and fueling for a half marathon. I haven't followed a strict schedule to prepare for this half marathon. I have run 9 half marathons, 1 marathon and countless 5K-6 mile races. I know how often I need to run during the week (4 days a week is a magic number for me) and then I need to do at least one long run (> 6miles). Before the half marathon, I need to do at least one 10 mile run. I have also have to stretch out and try to do yoga at least 1 time per week. This all worked well prior to having a baby, so we will see how it goes post-baby. I have been running with a running stroller, so I feel like also includes some strength training in with those runs. 

Having a goal and working towards accomplishing it provides such satisfaction. I know that if I put in the miles (>20 miles per week) then I can get out there on race day and do well. I will keep you all posted on things go. My race is the Geist Half Marathon on May 19th. I have never ran on this course before, I know that there are lots of hills, so it will be a challenge. But I am looking forward to it! 

Fueling Up For Your Next Half Marathon

I have had the pleasure over the last several years, to do a presentation at Tri-N-Run, in Lafayette, IN. This is a fantastic triathlon store just off from Purdue's campus. I have really appreciated being able to partner with Tri-N-Run and do nutrition presentations for them over the years. I enjoy being able to travel back up the Purdue and talk about something that I love, sports nutrition. If you live up near Lafayette and need any running shoes or triathlon gear, go check out their store! 

This past Monday, I had the opportunity to talk about fueling for your next half marathon. As many of you may know the Indianapolis Mini Marathon is coming up in May. It is a HUGE deal in Indianapolis. In fact is the largest half marathon in the United States of America and the 7th largest running event in America. So if you have signed up to participate in this amazing race, you might be wondering about what you should eat to prepare for this event. Your nutrition, during training, the night be before, during the race and afterwards has a huge impact in your performance. 

Obviously there is a lot of talk about when it comes to fueling for your race. If you want more in depth information, feel free to contact me and I would be happy to meet with you personally. I am going to share a few commonly asked questions that I get from people when they are thinking about fueling for an endurance event.

What should I eat during the race?

  • This is a common question and to answer it appropriately you need to go all the way back to metabolism. I know, stick with me. Your body utilizes the carbohydrates that you eat, changes it into glycogen, which is then stored in your muscles and liver. The goal during an endurance activity is to keep your body fueled enough to not dip into your liver and all your muscle storage of glycogen. If you use all the muscle glycogen you will dip into fat stores and you will start to feel like you have "hit a wall." Using a gel or another carbohydrate containing product will keep your body using that form of carbohydrate for energy and more gradually using your stored glycogen. 
  • There are lots of different types of gels and chews, the key is to find one that you enjoy and you can tolerate well. You want to practice with these products, because you might find that you tolerate certain ones better than other. I do well with a product called Huma Gels. This gel is made from chia seeds and doesn't contain maltodextrin (a common carbohydrate that can cause GI distress). I love the flavors and the texture (it is like applesauce). 
  • It is recommend that you consume these gels or chews every 45 minutes during your endurance activity. So that equates to 1 gel every 45 minutes you are running your race. Practice with this while training and see if you can tolerate that schedule. 

Do I need to carbo load prior to the race?

  • This is a common train of thought ... you need lots of carbohydrates the night before to fuel your race the next day. That is now an "old school" philosophy and not still recommended. What you eat 2-3 days prior to the race has a bigger impact on your body than what you eat the next before. If you want to eat pasta then do that 2-3 days prior to the race, not necessarily the night before. 
  • Make sure you stick with familiar foods 3 days prior to the race. Don't be adventurous and try new things. Stick with foods that you know you digest well and that you can handle prior to your race. 
  • Some people find that they have to limit the amount of fiber they had prior to the race. I personally do better with a large salad with protein the night before the race. I do normally eat a fair amount of fiber and I can tolerate that prior to a race. (It is about to get graphic .... you have been warned. If you don't want to read about bowel movements, skip to the next bullet point). It helps to facilitate GI movement and a a nice bowel movement the morning of the race. 
  • Make sure that you eat something the morning of the race as well. Whatever you tolerate best. I prefer cereal, milk and a banana. Some people like bagels with an energy drink. I know that I have to avoid anything with too much fat - like breakfast meats and eggs. 
My most recent race, back in February in Zionsville, IN - The Groundhog 7 Miler

My most recent race, back in February in Zionsville, IN - The Groundhog 7 Miler

Hopefully these have been some helpful recommendations as you gear up for your half marathon race. If you are racing in the Indianapolis Mini Marathon ... good luck and enjoy the training. You will do awesome! Remember to practice with your nutrition and find something that works well for you!