First Post-Pregnancy Race: Complete

>> Monday, January 9, 2012

This weekend, as the title suggests, I ran my first race since Ada was born. The last race I ran was all the way back in June -- a 5K at 16 weeks pregnant. The 10K marks the first in a series of four that run the entire month of January. Weather ranges from mild and sunny (like this weekend's event) to frigid and awful.



Stephen and I got to the park early and warmed up with few of our friends in the runners club. After spending the last weeks of pregnancy running barefoot on our treadmill at 5.5 MPH or walking, I'm surprised by how quickly I'm picking up speed again. Our warmup, though intended to be easy, was at around 8:30 pace, and it felt just like a warmup should to me. I thought after I had Ada that it would take months to get past that 5.5 MPH treadmill pace, but that's not been the case at all. Shedding 20 pounds definitely helps, I'm sure.

There was a good showing at the race because the weather was so nice. I positioned myself in the middle of the pack with two goals: Finish in under an hour and do not stop running -- only slow to a jog -- if I got tired. When we finally started, I saw Stephen quickly take the lead . . . but I kept my pace manageable. After running 1.5 miles before the race, I knew I wouldn't actually be racing.

It was only the second time I had run more than six miles since July. Yikes!

The course can drive you crazy if you think about it too much. It's three loops in a local park. Three of the same loops. After my first completed one, I thought for sure I would have trouble accomplishing the no walking part of my goal. I felt silly for doing such a long warmup. For doing a warmup at all, really.

So, I slowed a bit in the second loop. Maybe I wouldn't break an hour, but I didn't want to stop running. (And I must mention that our friend Susan was volunteering at the race. She took all these photos -- thanks Susan!)

Stephen and I have this tradition where if a course loops around, we do a high-five wherever we end up seeing each other. We always see each other because Stephen typically gets close-ish to lapping me. Still, he's never succeeded in actually passing me.

Well, until this weekend. I was getting close to completing the second loop. We did our high five. Then a few minutes later, I can just tell he's going to pass me. It was good timing, though. Susan was positioned and taking photos exactly where it happened.

It's my new favorite. And Stephen finished in 34:10, a new PR at 5:30 pace.

But by the third loop, I was tired. It was my last loop and all I could picture was Stephen drinking water and eating. I definitely didn't fuel properly, so I was absolutely starving. On top of that, my ab muscles, especially the lower ones, have not caught up to my activity level. My entire core just burned.

A few runners got their kick and passed me. I had to stay positive and remember that I just had a baby 7 weeks ago. I had to keep reminding myself that I should be happy I'm running at all. Steady, steady, steady is what I kept repeating to myself.

Those thoughts helped me finish the race. In the last two-tenths, I even got a kick myself. I finished in 51:25, 8:17 pace. Four minutes slower than last year's PR, but I was completely surprised by how I've maintained some of my speed. I am happy to have my first post-pregnancy race under my belt. I have three more chances to get even faster, which is great. And the best part was driving to my parents house after the race to celebrate with Ada!

It's hard to believe this was me in late October:

Oh, and I almost forgot! I had one of the most demoralizing starts to a race ever. There was another runner who passed me at the 1-mile mark. I heard after the race that this marker was slightly out of place (more like 1.2 miles instead of 1). Anyway, this guy passes me and says: "Aw, MAN! 9 minute mile?! That SUCKS!!!"

Not a great way to begin a race. I would have been happy with that pace! His bad attitude is what actually sucked. There have been all types of weird/annoying things that have happened to me or around me at races, but I think this may have been the worst. Has anything like this ever happened to you mid-run?

And new on (never home)maker, baby! is a post all about falling in love with Ada. It's been much more difficult -- a process instead of an instant connection -- than I thought it would be.

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