Callie Pregnancy Running

When I was pregnant with Cadence, I had a hard time finding resources that provided very clear guidelines for running through pregnancy at the level that I wanted to run. Most online resources will suggest 30 minutes of cardio a few times a week. What do you do when you are accustomed to the marathon and beyond? The most helpful thing to me with both pregnancies has been anecdotal information shared amongst runner friends.

My biggest motivator in sharing my running journey through pregnancy is just to add to the story and hopefully help a pregnant runner feel more confident in her decision to do what is best for her and her baby through pregnancy. In all cases, find a doctor who aligns with your goals and value systems, and then follow the doctor’s orders to keep baby healthy.

I ran through pregnancy with Cadence, so I knew generally what was possible. A book that I re-read as confirmation of my pregnant running journey is Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by Eric Clapp. Another book that I enjoyed is The Pregnant Athlete by Brandi Dion.


Weekly miles

Every running journey is different, and that’s part of what is so fun about our little running momma community. I have received so much love and support from my run friends and family, and I hope that you feel the same love too. No comparisons or judgments, just support for the journey and the privilege to grow babies and run (or walk or sit on the couch :).

Here are my Callie pregnancy running stats:

  • avg weekly miles 43
  • avg distance per run 7 mi
  • avg garmin 8:55 (with lots of stops at the end!)
  • 850 miles outside (many of which were with the single stroller)
  • 771 on treadmill
  • 1621 total

Throughout all of my pregnancy, I maintained a strength program 3x a week, typically 30-60 minutes long. I have a history of ab separation and a sort-of hernia, so I met with a women’s specialist PT early in my pregnancy to make sure that I was doing everything correctly. She advised me to lower my weight so that I did not put too much internal pressure on my core. I lowered weights and increased reps. I also learned that slowing my motions helped to add a little resistance since I didn’t have the weights to do that. Strengthening the transverse abdominis was very important to help hold my abs together, as the rectus abdominis sort of shuts down as the belly is stretched. I really think that maintaining strength work throughout pregnancy was so valuable in allowing me to continue to run throughout pregnancy and have minimal discomfort (other than the obvious huge belly).

Below are some interesting plots showing how the pregnant runner’s gait changes. The data comes from my Milestone Pod data (now owned by Zwift).

Stride Length


Avg Weekly Runficiency

First Trimester: Week 0 through 12

Biggest challenge: I miscarried in early December and then got pregnant during my next cycle. Needless to say, I was pretty distraught and anxious when I got pregnant with Callie. My husband had a really demanding work project and was gone for weeks. Solo parenting, nausea, fatigue, and anxiety made for a pretty tough first trimester. Not to mention that my husband came home to a CRAZY wife.

Weight gain can be tough for a lot of women, but my biggest goal was just to not lose muscle. I gained more weight in the first trimester with both of my pregnancies, but thinking in terms of strength really helped me just embrace what was happening to my body.

Running highlight: Jan 6th. I was barely pregnant. Like the lines were so faint that I had to move the stick in the light to see it. But I could feel it pretty immediately in my running. I was at a cabin with girlfriends and snuck out for a trail run. The first days of pregnancy when it’s still a secret to everyone but your closest friends are such a surreal time. Being out there on the trails and feeling my heart rate escalate was such a confirming feeling that this was really happening. The air was so crisp and I felt so much relief after just miscarrying.


Second Trimester: Week 13 through 27

Biggest challenge:

At week 18 we had the anatomy scan and the results concluded that I had placenta previa. I was told not to worry (right?!) and that they would check me again at 28 weeks to see if it resolved. In ~95% of the cases, placenta previa resolves itself, but it’s still tough for any runner to hear. I was told that I could continue doing everything as normal, but this definitely put a lot of fear in me early in pregnancy. I hoped to stay active throughout pregnancy and I did not want a c-section unless it was necessary.

Because of the miscarriage in early December, I chose not to share with anyone other than close friends until week 20. My husband teased me that it was so so obvious to everyone that I was pregnant, but I tried to hide it in IG photos as well as I could. The nausea had subsided and my energy was higher. I really felt mostly good in the second trimester except for the obvious pregnancy symptoms like gaining weight and having gait changes. To help my body feel it’s best with weight gain and gait changes, I switched to the Hoka Clifton, and it was such a nice change for my feet. By the end of the second trimester, Cliftons were pretty much all I could wear.

Running highlight: Our family met up with Sara (@therunningwife) for a beach trip to Hilton Head. I had met Sara in December of 2014 before either of us had kids. The trip together in May was a dream, and I loved all of our stroller miles together.ย  Sara is such a beautiful person and her family is so special.

We also flew to Calgary Canada to visit my husband’s sister and family. I love running with Jon, and my sister in law was so gracious to watch Cadence and give us time every day to run together. The views were beautiful and the time alone with Jon running was really special.


Third Trimester: Week 28 through 37

Biggest challenge: I had a few days where I felt a lot of pelvic pressure, but overall, I had a really good running experience throughout all of pregnancy. I did find that just because I had one bad day, that didn’t mean that the rest of my running days would be tough. As the weeks progressed, I definitely had to run from bathroom to bathroom, so the route mostly stayed the same. Hills were tougher near the end, so I had no problem walking when I needed to.

Running highlight: My sweet running (and life) friend Katie also visited us at week 30. I called it my friend baby moon. ๐Ÿ™‚ We met up with Kat and Jackie (also pregnant) for a run around Atlanta, and this run will also be meaningful for the friendships and shared bathroom stops along the way.

Family runs are my favorite. Most Saturdays, we would pack up the stroller and run to the farmer’s market with Cadence. She’d get a popsicle and play on the playground, and then we’d head home. So much gratefulness to be with my family and to still be able to run. I had been afraid that I would not be able to keep up with stroller miles with Cadence in pregnancy, but thankfully it was never really an issue. If anything, it was a counter balance to my ever-expanding belly and provided a never ending supply of snacks and water.


Callie was born at 37 weeks, and she was perfectly healthy. I ran all the way through pregnancy and went to a bootcamp the day before she was born.

Pregnancy and Running

Not everything about pregnancy with Callie was easy, but I think it really helped that this was my second time to be pregnant, and I knew there was nothing to prove by

Here are a few interesting facts about pregnancy running:

  • The placenta grows stronger for running mommas so that it can provide nutrients to baby even while momma is out there pounding the pavement. This means that if you run in the beginning of pregnancy, but then stop, your baby *may* be on the hefty side.
  • Babies who are born to mommas who exercised through pregnancy are able to handle stresses of labor better. Running is a stress for the baby (just like lifting weights is a stress on our bodies to make us stronger). Studies show that if complications arise during labor, babies who are accustomed to exercise release less stress hormone than babies whose mommas did not exercise in pregnancy.
  • Blood volume increases for momma 40-50% during pregnancy. This can be an added boost postpartum and many women see an increase in aerobic fitness postpartum as a result. Just ask the Russians.
  • Statistically, babies are born a little earlier and have a little less body fat to mommas who exercise through pregnancy.
  • Statistically, there are less complications in labor to mommas who exercise through pregnancy.
  • Building aerobic strength through cross training is a great way to stay fit for a postpartum comeback even if you aren’t able to run through pregnancy. Gait changes during pregnancy decrease efficiency, so running pregnant isn’t providing the same benefit as far as neuromuscular adaptations.

Placenta of a mother runner ๐Ÿ™‚

On the first day of Christmas…

I love it when I find a new running “thing” to get me excited again. As simple as our sport is–“just need shoes!”–there are a lot of other fun things to make getting out of bed in the cold of morning exciting. Here are a few of my favorite things. They’d make a great gift or help round out your own wish list.

  1. Training Journal: Devotion is a faith-based training journal that I created, so of course, it belongs on the top of my own wish list. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s something that I am so excited about using myself and sharing with the running community. I truly believe that our running goes to the next level when we place our faith in God for performance and training. What better way to worship than with our legs?
  1. For the gym: I bought this knock-off TRX set at the beginning of the year, and love all of the different muscles you can hit with just one tool. It’s a great way to change things up if you have a full gym, and it’s fantastic if you don’t have space for lots of equipment. It also seconds as a great distraction for toddlers while you get in your run. Ha! If you are looking to take your gym to the next level, check out this Hex bar to make squats more fun.
  1. Gait analysis: The Milestone Pod is one of the cheapest little toys out there for the data that it provides. I have one on every shoe and use the pod to track overall mileage and shoe use as well. The feedback that it provides will help you improveIMG_20180515_073525300your gait and/or see when you may be tired (low leg swing) or need to replace shoes (high rate of impact). They were recently acquired by Zwift, and it looks like the pod offers even more than before.
  1. Best jacket: The Patagonia Houdini is an article of clothing that you don’t realize you need until you realllllly need it. It’s a super lightweight jacket (could seriously scrunch up in your pocket) that protects from rain and wind. I bought mine for a race in Oregon and have loved having it as an option ever since.
  2. Fuel: I love the Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook, as well as the newer Run Fast Eat Slow Cook Faster. There’s a chance that the runner in your life already owns both, so in that case, you may want to check out Wellness Mama’s cookbook.
  3. Recovery: There are a billion “sticks” out there and all of them work in some way. Some work better than others. ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband bought me the boom stick a few birthdays ago, and it’s saved us lots of money on massages. It is $139, which pays for itself if it helps you skip the table once or twice. This stick is 20 pounds, so a partner is most effective to get the tough-to-reach spots, but you can self-massage as well. It’s great for knots and trigger points, and hurts so good. If you are just looking for a stocking stuffer, I carry a lacrosse ball in my purse just in case I get stuck in traffic and want to work out my hamstring. haha
  4. Recovery: runners need lots of recovery… I sleep in compression socks a lot of nights, especially in winter when it’s cool anyway. It’s a great passive way to recover. I use ProCompression because they have good deals, but there are tons of socks out there that work well. Steph Bruce wears ProCompression, and she’s my hero.
  5. Recovery: starting to see a theme here… I drink tart cherry juice a lot of time in the morning as a sugar boost before my runs, but it can get expensive to get the recommended dose for recovery aid. I recently bought the tart cherry tablets, and it’s easier to make sure that you get the recommended amount for recovery. I wrote a blog post a while ago here about all of the benefits of tart cherry juice. Essentially, research showed that athletes who consumed tart cherry were able to recover and get stronger than the controls.
  6. Recovery: last one, I promise! If you want a stocking stuffer, Rock tape is great. If you are doing it right, you’ll need to tape something at some time. Haha. Rock tape is stickier than most other types of tapes and I’ve found that it helps me improve faster when I feel a niggle coming on. Even if you don’t have an injury, it can be used as a queue for proper form.
  7. Protecting your skin: Runners spend a lot of time in the sun, and if you are like IMG_20180510_103602232_HDRme, you are also likely pushing a kid. ๐Ÿ™‚ I carry this BeautyCounter sunscreen stick in the stroller and purse everywhere so that we can apply without a mess if we find that the sun catches us before we’ve thought to apply sunscreen. I love all of BeautyCounter’s products, but this one is probably the most practical stocking stuffer (unless you go for the lip gloss!). I shop under Meredith Marquell if you are looking for a consultant.ย 
  8. Getting stronger: feet are the first thing in the chain of command, and it doesn’t take much to see big gains. Walk around barefooted, do strength work barefooted, and wear Yoga Toes when you are relaxing. It’s a small investment for some nice gains.
  9. Books: I love to read and I love to read about running. Here are some of my favorites:
    Again to Carthage (sequel to Once a Runner)
    Roar (Women are not small men)
    80/20 Runningย  (I love everything by Matt Fitzgerald)

    Running Rewired (and Anatomy for Runners by DiCharry)

There are a lot of other running tools that aren’t on this list. I also love rabbit clothing, Hoka shoes (Clifton saved me during pregnancy), and Honeystinger nutrition.

What am I forgetting? Tell me your running wishlist!

Callie Ray’s birth story

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, but celebrating Callie’s birth seems like reason to write. Now that we’ve had time to get to know Callie, it will be fun to reflect on how she came into this world.

I started having a few evening contractions starting around 36 weeks. At 37 weeks, I had several nights where contractions would wake me up in the night but then end. They were just frequent enough to make me worry that I needed to wake up my mom to get Cadence.

On Friday (37 weeks 3 days), I ran 5 miles on the treadmill. The run was fine, but it definitely felt different. Afterwards, I felt a lot of pressure but no pain. Later that afternoon, when I went to the bathroom, I saw blood and thought it might be the mucous plug. Just to take precaution, I called my nurse and told her what I saw. She thought it was just from the running and cautioned me to “run more gently” the next time.

On Saturday, I attended a fun mini boot camp hosted by my personal trainer friend, Rachel. We modified a few of the moves for me because at this point, I knew that I was losing my mucous plug. Everything else felt normal except a little added pressure. I went home and finished up on the bike after boot camp. Then that afternoon, Jon, Cadence, and I went to a college football game. Nothing makes you feel cooler than walking through a college campus knowing that you are in early labor. Haha.


Last football game as a family of 3

Everything proceeded as normal on Saturday night and we went to bed as usual. Around 6 am, I woke up and felt like I had peed a little. After going to the bathroom, I got back in bed and felt like I peed a little again. So I put a pad on and started googling how water breaks. (With Cadence, my water broke way after labor contractions had started.) Around 7 am, Cadence awoke, and we all went downstairs. I was having no contractions, which worried me since most OBs will require that the baby be born within 24 hours. I headed out for a walk around 9 am to try to move things along while Jon got Cadence ready to go out. On my walk, I called my two neighbor back-ups who had volunteered to take Cadence. One was in Florida, but the other was home and made herself 100% available to us.

One of my biggest concerns with this second labor was what to do with Cadence. My mother in law was supposed to get Cadence, but she was at work at least an hour away (and we couldn’t reach her on the phone). Our neighbor, Keeli, so graciously offered to take Cadence as soon as we were ready, even though Keeli was celebrating her son’s one year birthday with all of their family in town. I cannot express my gratitude enough to this family.


Walking to start contractions

When I got back from my short walk, I had started to have a few very light contractions and I had completely wet my shorts through the pad. I changed and we all headed out as a family for a walk to move things along. It is such a weird feeling to have people going about normal lives while you are in active labor just walking down the street. We took the long way to the playground and let Cadence play. My contractions started escalating fast enough that I decided to track them. By around 10 am, I felt a little more urgency to be closer to home, so we walked back (total of about 5 miles) and showered. I talked to my midwife, who suggested that I wait an hour and then go to the hospital. Cadence’s labor was long at home, but once I got to the hospital, I was fully transitioned. We thought that this second baby may come quickly too.

Jon and I dropped Cadence off at our neighbor’s house at around 11:30 am, and she happily joined their family birthday party. We headed to the hospital and tried to make arrangements for my mother in law to come get Cadence when she was able to leave work. Once we got to the hospital, registration felt like it was taking forever. We were finally in the room by around 12:30, and the nurses checked my dilation. I was only at 3 cm, which was pretty discouraging after feeling the contractions so close together.

During the registration process in the hospital, the contractions were painful in the front of my belly. If I marched in place with an exaggeration of my legs, it would relieve some of the pressure on the front. Once we made it to the room, the contractions started to come on more strongly. Memory is a funny thing, and I don’t remember contractions being as strong with Cadence’s labor. I had contractions at home for 30 hours before going to the hospital fully dilated with Cadence.

In the hospital room, the nurses insisted on monitoring the baby’s heart rate for 20 minutes of every hour, which was pretty frustrating (but totally understandable) given that I was unmedicated and wanted to be able to move around. The contractions were getting really painful, and movement helped at least distract me, even if I still had the pain. Marching in place and moving my hips seemed to be the movement that felt best. Jon pressed on my lower back and hips as hard as he could for each contraction. I was also extremely tired and tried to rest my head on the elevated bed every 2 minutes between contractions. Around 3 pm, I told Jon that I felt like I needed to push, so he called the nurse. To my dismay, they told me that I was at 6 cm now and advised not to push or it could cause me cervix to swell. I was in so. much. pain.

I asked what would happen if I asked for an epidural, and the nurse told me that I could have it within 10 minutes but reminded me that my birth plan was to have an unmedicated birth. I felt pretty exasperated to only be at 6 cm and couldn’t think of how I would manage to complete labor in this much pain. The nurse left and Jon tried to encourage me that I was over the hardest part (he has never pushed a baby out of his vagina–hahahaha). Jon said all of the perfect things and encouraged me in all of the right ways. I still thought that I would ask for an epidural, but then the contractions escalated so that all I could do was make it through and focus on recovering for the next. My sweet running friend, Kim, told me that her doula had encouraged her by saying that each contraction leads you closer to delivery. I thought of this with each contraction and it helped so much.

About 10 minutes after the nurse told me that I was at 6 cm, I started dry heaving and felt incredibly like I had to go to the bathroom. Jon called the nurse again, who checked me and told me that I was fully dilated and to wait for the midwife. They told the midwife to RUN and the nurse assured me that she had delivered a baby before. Haha.

I did not feel the urge to push with Cadence during labor, but with Callie, my body took over, and I felt a huge rush to push. It was the most incredible and empowering feeling. Finally, the intense pain of the contractions could be realized with action, and I knew I was so so close to meeting our baby. I pushed a few times and the midwife told me that I needed an episiotomy. This was not my preference, but I had had one with Cadence and just wanted the baby out. The midwife cut me and within the next push, Callie Ray Ussery was born at 3:30 pm on September 2, 2018, 16 days early.

This tiny little 6.5 pound 20″ baby was put on my chest and we fell in love with our Callie Ray. I loved working with my midwife, and the nursing staff at the hospital were all amazing. We stayed in the hospital for one night and then hurried home to be with Cadence. My recovery was much easier with Callie than with Cadence, and I felt well to walk around immediately. I’m thankful that both birth experiences were positive, even though they were very different in just about every way.

Cadence loves her little sister and is nothing but sweetness to her. We are so blessed and in love with these two precious girls in our lives.

We three kings of Orient are Bearing gifts we traverse afar: A Runner’s Christmas Wish List

Matthew 2:9-12

9ย After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10ย When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11ย On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12ย And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The shepherds might have been the first ones to the Christmas party, but the wise men started the tradition of giving gifts. My Christmas gift list isn’t on the caliber of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but then, none of us are the Son of God. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I’ve made a list of some of my favorite running items and things that may help you (or your running buddies) with running and gift giving.

  1. Devoted Training Journal: I am biased here, but I love my Devoted Training Journal, and I think it would make a great gift for your running friends. The journal covers 4 months, which is perfect for a training cycle or the start of a new year goal.
  2. Milestone Pod: This little pod is such a fun running tool, and it really does help me with running. It’s extremely reasonable in price ($29.95), and you can use the code PodTeamMeridith33ย for 33% off of your entire order until December 5th.
  3. Beauty Counter lip gloss: I have always liked running with something on my lips, and for longer runs, you really need a gloss that will last for a while. I found this Beauty Counter lip gloss, and I love that it is also safe for Cadence, who always wants to share. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  There is a great special right now for 3 for $48. You can order from my friend here.
  4. Beachbody on Demand: I was really surprised by how much I like this subscription. I really haven’t used many of the strength programs (although they are great), but I do love the yoga programs! I do not have the time or the money to go to a yoga studio, but for $99 a year, this is a great option.ย  I signed up for my Beach Body subscription through Heather here.
  5. Shoes: If you are looking for a pair of shoes under the tree, I have had great success with Saucony. My favorite shoes are the Kinvara for racing and the Freedom for training. I always have more than one pair of shoes to rotate during the week. (And the Milestone Pod looks really good on a pair of shiny Sauconys. ๐Ÿ™‚
  6. Books: I love to read and run on the treadmill, and I find that I can go through a lot of books that way. One of my all time favorite running books is Once a Runner (followed by the sequel Again to Carthage). It’s fiction, and it will make you love running and feel super motivated. I love everything by Matt Fitzgerald. He adds a lot of research to his writing, and everything is relatable.ย  I read 80/20 Running for the second time this year, and I used a lot of the training strategy for my San Francisco Marathon. If you like science and biology (for females), you will love ROAR. Finally, not running specific, but getting the heart and head in the right place makes everything better: Nothing to Prove.ย  And my favorite cookbook of the year is Wellness Mama Cookbook.
  7. Clothes: I ran the Gorge Waterfalls 100k in April, and it was supposed to be chilly and rainy. I bought the Patagonia Houdini at the recommendation of a friend, and it was the PERFECT jacket for the weather. Super light and perfect breathability. For general running clothes, I love Rabbit clothes.ย  Get 10% off with this code.
  8. Nutrition: I started using the Juice Plus protein powder this year, and it is the best tasting protein powder I’ve ever tried. Plus, it is all plant-based, and I feel confident letting Cadence eat it. You can order yours here. If you just want a stocking stuffer, I love Honey Stinger waffles and Nuun.
  9. Recovery: I carry a Lacrosse ballย in myย purse and I keep them throughout the house. This is such a great way to recover! For my birthday this year, my husband surprised me with a Boom stick. It’s the kind of recovery that hurts so good and gets so deep!
  10. For your training buddy: If you have followed me for more than a minute, you know that I love the Thule Urban Glide for stroller running. I also love our Kelty hiking pack for cross training hikes with Cadence. We got our pack off of Craigslist, but you can find a new one here.

It’s easy to lose focus at Christmas time with all of the lights, presents, and parties.ย  At the end of the day, God gave us the best gift when he sent his Son to this earth. Merry Christmas everyone!

What’s on your Christmas wishlist?

Race Report: Silver Comet Marathon

The whole week leading up to the Silver Comet Marathon and for many of the miles DURING the marathon, I was thinking that I never wanted to sign up for another race. Haha. So much stress anticipating race day when you have worked so hard for a goal! But I’m so glad that I keep racing and pursuing big goals. It’s so satisfying and we grow so much from the journey.


Leading up to the race. Weather reports leading up to race day were not very promising, with thunderstorms predicted through race morning. I even searched alternative races for the following weekend just in case my race was canceled. Because of the predicted foul weather, Jon and I decided that it would be best for him to stay home with Cadence and join us for the finish. The course didn’t offer many places for fans to hang out, and with the rain, it would be pretty miserable for a toddler. Rain came through on Friday night to get everything wet, but it was not raining when I woke up. Just super humid.

Race check-in was uneventful (just how you want it on race day!), and I porta-pottied and jogged for a few minutes. I should have warmed up better, but it was either go to the bathroom or warm up. In line for the porta potties, I met one of my Instagram friends who had been messaging me about the race. She helped calm my nerves so much since Jon wasn’t there. So nice to see a familiar face!

Race Start. The start of the race was incredibly anticlimactic. We followed the race director out into the street and then the guy at the mic way far away yelled “Go!”. We all just stood there like, “What, go?!” Go! So off we went down the street!

Starting out didn’t feel difficult, but it didn’t feel super easy either. I don’t know that I’ve perfected the taper, and I surely know that I didn’t have a good adrenaline push at the start with that kind of send off. Thankfully it was not raining, but the temps were in the low 60s and humid. Also, the ground was very wet. We started out in the 6:30s paces. There were a few guys up front, and I found stride with a guy named Mike who was running the half marathon. I was so thankful for him because the morning was hazy and everything was so quiet. It was easy to get lulled into a slower pace. The RD made it clear that music was not allowed on the course, but I would have loved to have had a fast beat to keep me alert and moving fast on the course.

The half marathoners split off at mile 8, and I was sad to see Mike head on to his finish (where he PRd!). There were very few volunteers on the course, and many of them were not ready when I ran through. Water was placed on tables, but the volunteers did not stand up to hand it out, so I had to run under the tent on the side of the trail for water. I am thankful for the volunteers, but this was not ideal for hydrating. My nutrition was fine with a Honeystinger gel at ~mile 8 and ~mile 15, plus Honeystinger chews a bite at a time here and there. We had a few little rain showers throughout the morning, which helped cool me down, but they also made the ground slick again. There were also leaves and pine needles on the course, which weren’t ideal for fast running.

There was a little split off at mile 8.5 that I did not expect. I knew that our turnaround was at 15, so I was confused when we reached that point, and I waited for the guy behind me to catch up and confirm the direction. I didn’t lose much time, but it did make me lose momentum. Soon enough we were back on the course and headed to the mile 15 turnaround.

Halfway there! By mile 13, my paces started to consistently be in the 6:40s. My goal was to run in the 6:30s to 6:40s, so I didn’t mind the pace but I did not like it that I was declining so early in a race. My calves were pretty tight from the extra energy of running on a slick surface, and I was running completely alone, passing a few police officers, volunteers, and people out for a stroll. It was pretty challenging to stay focused and fast in the conditions, especially as my body started hurting. I really just wanted the race to be over, which is disappointing because I always want to enjoy my races. They are so short compared to the training leading up to them, and it’s fun (usually) to run fast!

I am thankful to the race participants and volunteers who cheered for me. It helped make a difficult race so much better! I started to REALLY slow down by mile 20. From 23-26.2, all of my paces were in the 7s and I couldn’t even pull out a fast finish at the end. My legs were so shot from the distance and slick surface. I am sure that part of the tiredness that I felt is just indicative of some of the areas that my training was lacking, but I do believe that the extra energy to run on a slick surface, as well as the warm and humid conditions, just made everything harder. I really could have used a cheer squad or music!

And the finish. I ended up finishing first female with a time of 2:57:40.ย  Seeing Jon and Cadence at the finish line was the best sight in the world! I love my family and the way that they support me. I did get a PR, but barely.ย  I am grateful to have at least PR’d, but I’m disappointed that I didn’t move the needle a little more.ย  I do think that on a different day (and potentially a different course) I can absolutely run faster. But when you race, you race in the conditions presented on race day. And we learn so much in the process!

The course itself was pretty decent. As described in the course description, the course was rolling hills. My Garmin tracked 756 ft of gain, which isn’t pancake flat, but it’s not San Francisco either. I like a little hill, and it was the only thing on the course to break up the monotony.

After I finished the race, we waited for my friend to finish 2nd female (which she later found out that she had pneumonia while racing and still getting 2nd!).ย  Then we grabbed pizza while we waited for the awards ceremony. I received a neat trophy, and chatted with the RD and her daughter.

The Silver Comet marathon is a great small local race. It’s organization is great. The trail is beautiful (although I prefer dryer conditions). For my next goal marathon, I think I’ll stick to more mainstream races that offer a few more of the perks like crowd support and a bigger running field.


I wrote a pre-race report here talking a little bit about my training over the last 12 weeks. It was a little uncoordinated, but I learned a lot and I found a better fit with training and family. I am so thankful for all of the support that I’ve received through this journey of running and motherhood and family. I’ve had some incredible friends who have made the journey that much more rewarding. Most of all, my husband is my hero. โค


Do you have your own personal cheer squad too? ๐Ÿ™‚

Pre-Race Report to calm the nerves: the night before the Silver Comet Marathon

I’ve found that it’s kind of therapeutic for me to write a pre-race report, so here’s my pre-race report for the Silver Comet marathon. Why is it that writing things out always puts things into perspective?!


Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been refining my goals for something practical given what I *think* is my current fitness level for my upcoming marathon. I think most people go through similar doubts during the taper when we start to visualize the race and realize how much work (and a little pain) are in front of us. In my head I haven’t done nearly enough. This training cycle is the first real training cycle where my goals were a bit more competitive but I didn’t have a coach. My previous training pretty much involved 100% intensity with my old coach, and that worked for me until I started to get injured.

This training cycle started out at a limp as I rotated cross training with running to try to protect my shins. I may not have gotten the speed that I wanted, but I also didn’t get a stress fracture. So I can consider that a little invisible victory. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also wasn’t able to complete some of the “extras” that would help me with speed.

As I thought over this past training cycle, I was reminded that there is ALWAYS something that steals from the perfect training cycle, and that’s part of what makes us even more resilient. When it gets tough, we have to learn our bodies and improvise. So I’m going to consider this a successful training cycle, even before race day, because I learned different strategies for training, I learned some good recovery techniques for my shin, and I grew closer to God in the process.

Reading back through my training journal to the first week of training reminds me that I have put in the work with a variety of long running, intensity running, trail running, stroller running, cross training, and strength training. I’ve met new people along the way, and I’ve been able to run with some pretty incredible people.

So my Pre-race report is going to go ahead and call this training cycle a success. Now for my real goals.

  1. My ultimate marathon goal is an Olympic Trials Qualifier of 2:45. This is not my goal for this marathon, and I’m kind of excited for the opportunity to chip away at this goal. I got my sub 3 marathon on the first shot, and I kind of like the idea of working for an OTQ. (Not trying to sound insincere, it took me three shots trying to get a BQ–3:35:01, 3:37, 3:29. I know what it’s like to work for a time goal.)
  2. I would like to PR. My current best marathon time is a 2:58. I ran San Francisco in 3:01, and I think that I can do better on a flat course. You never know what race day will bring though.

And I had two process goals:

  1. Learn more about how I respond to different training strategies.
  2. And understand my body and it’s limits as I increase volume and prevent injuries.

Tomorrow’s weather is looking a bit rough with thunderstorms exactly when the race is supposed to start. My mind can’t help but think of all of the possible scenarios, but at the end of the day, I can’t do anything to help the weather and show up hoping to run.


Thanks for following along on my training journey and good luck to all of the other racers!


Upgrading from 1 year to 2 years old

Cadence turned 2 years old on September 29th, and I can still hardly believe that she’s grown so much. It seems like last year I was a newly postpartum momma trying to figure things out. But actually a lot has changed between last year and the year before. Here are the top 10 things that are different between Cadence’s first year and second year.
  1. It gets more fun. I thought that I’d miss my tiny little baby, but I love experiencing every new thing that Cadence learns. We seem to have accelerated as she’s learned to communicate better, and I love every sweet little syllable out of her mouth.
  2. Breastfeeding doesn’t have to stop at one year. In my head I thought we’d be stopping at one year because that’s kind of what society says. But Cadence never got the memo, and she’s kept up nursing like a champ. I stopped pumping at 16 months (I was donating milk to my sister’s adopted son), but Cadence kept up nursing after daycare, before bed, sometimes during the night, and in the morning. It works really well for us, and I love it.
  3. Daycare doesn’t get easier. In fact, I think it gets harder.ย Back to #1, this phase is more fun than ever, and Cadence is learning so much! It kind of breaks my heart that I am not as big of an influence on her little life as I’d like to be. She comes home singing songs that I don’t know, and she already knows her ABCs and 123s like a star.
  4. Sleep might not happen until Cadence leaves for college. Just kidding. But Cadence still doesn’t sleep through the night most nights. I’m getting waaaaay more sleep than I used to, and I’m really ok with getting up with her. There is nothing better than a sleepy baby in your arms, and she won’t be a baby very much longer. When Cadence was <1 year old, I felt guilty and judged that I couldn’t get my baby to sleep through the night. Now I embrace it and feel really confident in the way that we have chosen to parent.
  5. Training is still possible. So far, Cadence has just rolled with my schedule. She used to play in the pack and play while I ran, but these days, she mostly just sits there and reads. โค We sing in the stroller, and she points out all of the puppies. Training definitely looks different with a toddler, but it’s more than possible, and it’sย actually a really fun experience (see #1).
  6. Goals can still be big. I chased a few big goals after Cadence turned one year old (sub 3 hour marathon, 100k in Oregon), and it was really good for me to have something outside of mom and office to pursue. It takes support from a wonderful spouse to make these dreams happen with a baby, but that makes it even more rewarding.
  7. Your support system changes. When I had a newborn, I was plugged into a breastfeeding group, and I attended postpartum workout classes. After the first year, there aren’t any types of groups for mommas to plug into, especially for working mommas. I’m so thankful for the support that I had as a new momma because there is surely a lot to learn, but I think it’s kind of interesting that we don’t have more support for mommas of toddlers. Maybe there would be more extended breastfeeding if that were the case?
  8. My friendships are richer now than they were before. Maybe as the support groups have faded away, I’ve started to depend more on my girlfriends, but I have a few key friendships that I depend on daily for support. I hope that every momma has this in their lives.
  9. Discipline is a thing you have to start thinking about. As perfect as Cadence is, she isn’t perfect. Haha. Toddlers start toย understand discipline around the age of 18 months. We try to limit our “no” and redirect when possible, but if Cadence blatantly disobeys, we do timeout. This is partly for her protection. We need for her to obey if she’s in a dangerous situation. It’s also a way to set the tone for an easy relationship in our future.
  10. The people in Cadence’s life really matter.ย  They mattered when she was one, but now she knows them and she interacts with them. She’s a little sponge! I am so thankful that we found a daycare that we love. Cadence’s teachers love on her and teach her so much. Cadence also gets to see her grandparents all the time. It’s so special that she knows them and has a special relationship with them. It’s not lost on me that so many people make an effort to love on our baby, and I am so so thankful!

Anyone else have something they would add? Am I in for even bigger changes in the next year?