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

Cadence

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.

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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.Β  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.

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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. πŸ™‚ 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.

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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.
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Placenta of a mother runner πŸ™‚

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.

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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.

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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

9Β 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. 10Β When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11Β 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. 12Β 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. πŸ™‚Β  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 PodTeamMeridith33Β 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. πŸ™‚Β  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.Β  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. πŸ™‚
  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.Β  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.Β  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.Β  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 ballΒ in myΒ 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.Β  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?

Ab separation and rockin the crop top

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Ok, so I know that you aren’t supposed to try anything new for race day, but I just got my new @runinrabbit crop hop in the mail. 😍🐰 I did a short test run this morning, and I think it’s comfortable enough to risk for my marathon on Sunday. (I mean, I’ve chafed for longer than that. πŸ˜‚πŸ’―)🀞 Now to decide between coral and white. πŸ€”πŸ˜ . . . And more for all of the mommas out there. Cadence sat really high in my belly when I was pregnant, and I still have a lot of ab separation from my pregnancy.πŸ‘Ά I had to have surgery last May because my intestines (still) pop out just a little above my belly button (like a hernia). πŸ™ˆAnd then there’s always the skin that doesn’t have quite the same elasticity that it used to…😊 All that to say, our bodies are incredible and continue to support us as we grow human beings, breastfeed, and then go out and run our hearts out. β€οΈπŸŽ‰ Since you can’t necessarily see my intestines popping out very well in this picture, I just wanted to keep it real. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜˜ . . . #motherrunner #marathontraining #taperweek #radrabbit #loveourgoldengirl #milestonepod #gobeyondpace #saucony #runyourworld #runningthroughpregnancy #postpartumrunning #extendedbreastfeeding #womenrunning #womensrunningcommunity #hshive

I think I’m set on wearing the crop top for my Sunday race, I just need to pick out a color! πŸ™‚ I wrote in my IG caption about my ab separation and pseudo hernia, so I thought I’d elaborate here in case any mommas are in the same boat.

I have a series of blog posts where I discovered the “hernia” andΒ got a diagnosis, had surgery, and then learned that I just had ab separation and weak fascia, but no actual hole in my fascia for a hernia. I elected to have surgery last May after noticing a nickel sized little bulge about midway up from my belly button. I was afraid that it would just get worse with my activity level, and the surgeon agreed that it was better to fix it while it was small instead of waiting until it got worse and required a larger repair.

After the surgery, I noticed that I still had the little bump, and returned to the surgeon. That’s when they told me that my fascia had just been weak, but there was no hernia to repair (yay! surgery for nothing!). My intestines press against the weaker fascia where I have ab separation (or diastasis recti) and create a little bump. I can push it back in, but inevitably, any effort causes it to poke out again. Doctors have told me that it will only get worse with a second baby, and that a tummy tuck is the only thing that would fix it. It’s a good thing babies are so cute!

Do you have ab separation from your pregnanc(ies)? Any other faux hernias out there? Haha

Happy 4th of July and a Peachtree date

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So much fun running the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race this morning with this hot guy! 😎 This race never disappoints for heat, crowds, and hills. πŸ˜‚ But seriously, it’s a really well organized race with over 60,000 runners as the largest 10k in the world. 🌎 Can’t beat that community! ❀️ Finished in 39:55 with a 6:21 pace. Kinda wish I had pushed harder, but can’t be too disappointed. πŸ’¦ Definitely gave me the bug to try more short distances! πŸ’¨ Happy Fourth of July! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² #gobeyondpace #saucony #milestonepod #runyourworld #runinrabbit #radrabbit #motherrunner #womendrunningcommunity #womenrunning #marathontraining #fourthofjuly #peachtreeroadrace #atlantatrackclub

Happy Fourth of July! My husband and I woke up at 5 am at my parents’ house so we could drive down to Marta and catch a ride to the race start. We were a little tight on time, but arrived just in time to start with our waves at 7:30 am. It was 92% humidity and in the 70s when we started. I think the temps got up to the 90s by the time the race ended for later waves.Β  I did a little research last year on heat and humidity. It turns out that dew point is the best predictor of performance. Here is a helpful article with a chart for dew point. Today’s dew point was around 73 in Atlanta, which is “very difficult” according to the article.Β  All part of the sport! πŸ™‚

I’ll write a race report later, but the race went well for me and I PR’d. I don’t feel like I ran as fast as I could have, but I had a hard time pushing to the point of suffering. I kind of just found a comfortably hard pace and tried to stick with it. My overall average pace was 6:21, but it definitely was faster on the initial downhills compared to the uphills at the end! My finishing time was 39:55. I’m happy to break 40, but I’m also a little mad at myself for not leaving it all out on the course. It certainly makes me want to run more shorter distances to have fun with the paces. πŸ™‚

We drove back up to my parents’ house after the race to collect our baby. Before we left, we got in a fun boat ride with a sleepy baby and all ate lunch. Such a wonderful holiday with my wonderful family!

How do you know how much to push during races so that you don’t blow up or run too conservatively?

Race week and muscle tension

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Just got home from a wonderful vacation at the beach! πŸ–οΈ It’s so fun to watch Cadence explore and push her limits.🌊 She definitely inherited her adventurous spirit from her daddy. ❀️ This morning we ran 3 miles to the petting zoo before hitting the road. 🚘 . . . I’ve gotten so much support from this community for still breastfeeding Cadence.πŸ‘Ά It’s been kind of interesting this week–as she pushed her limits more, she also asked to nurse more frequently.🍼 I love to think that the security she feels with us has helped her explore her world more. 🐣 Also, while I’m being transparent, Cadence exclusively nurses from one side. 😬 #lopsidedforlife #toddleropinions #21monthsold #extendedbreastfeeding #breastfeeding #normalizebreastfeeding #hiltonheadisland #seapines #motherrunner #womensrunningcommunity #womenrunning

I am running the Peachtree Road Race 10k on Tuesday, July 4th with my husband, so I’m trying to be careful not to burn my legs out before the race while also marathon training. I’m also trying to run easy enough to protect my shins. Needless to say, I don’t have big expectations for this race, but I’m really looking forward to it! I haven’t run many shorter distances, so I’m not really sure what to expect for pace. I also have felt a bit slower lately (did I really run a sub 3 marathon in January?!), so it will be fun to run fast if I can!

My last two weeks have been a little derailment in training, and I haven’t run my usual intervals. I did a long run on Thursday, which is not the best strategy for a speedy race, but it’s good for my marathon goal. There’s something called muscle tension, and Steve Magness has a good article here explaining muscle tension and how to achieve it. I’ve been cross training and running easy with a stroller this week, but I did get in some strides while we were at the beach. While strides aren’t the top of the list for creating muscle tension, I’m just going to have to hope that it counts enough for a good race!

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Do you try to run any special workouts before fast races? Have you ever had your training fall off the tracks like mine has?!

Late to the Party

 

I just received my bib for the Peachtree Road Race 10k in the mail, and I’m in the seeded wave.Β  This is something new to me.Β  I’ve always been active, but I didn’t really run races until around 2013 when I finished my first marathon (3:45), and I had to work really hard (3 marathons) to finally BQ for entry into the 2016 Boston.Β  I ran my first 50k in November of 2014, then ran a 50 miler in January of 2015.Β  These were not fast races for me, but it was a great introduction to trails and the lovely trail community.Β  And then I got pregnant, and running took on a whole new meaning as a little human grew in my belly.

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Fast forward to postpartum running, and I was pleasantly surprised to have come back faster.Β  This wasn’t without effort, as I painstakingly ran through pregnancy and kept up a pretty tight strength routine.Β  I also think that pregnancy, delivery, and the whole process of keeping a baby alive gives a certain resolve that must be earned.Β  I can do hard things.Β  And I don’t take running for granted after what essentially feels like a year of injury as a pregnant runner.

My paces went from about an 8 minute mile to about a 7:30 minute mile. I trained for Boston, and ran a 3:24 at 6 months postpartum, which was a PR of about 5 minutes.Β  Things were definitely more speedy, but nothing like the speed that I would develop in less than a year after I hired a coach.

I signed up for my first 100 mile race shortly after Cadence was born, and decided to hire a coach since this was totally new territory for me, and as a postpartum momma, I wanted to make sure to do things right for my body.Β  My coach is a total badass and she has a little girl too.Β  A big part of my training is interval workouts.Β  I had never (never) run intervals before hiring Michele.Β  It turns out that speed work makes you fast.

I hear so many other fast runners who talk about their high school and college experiences running cross country or track with a coach who pushed them. I missed that somewhere along the way, but I’m so thankful to have a coach now who has shown me my potential.

I ran my 100 mile race in September of 2016, and I had an amazing experience and kind of accidentally placed 2nd female.Β  Then I set a goal for a sub 3 hour marathon in January of 2017 and surprised myself by hitting the goal in 2:58.Β  I have runs where I feel so slow and can’t believe that I could ever sustain that marathon pace, but then sometimes I get ambitious and want to keep getting faster.

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My next big race is the San Francisco Marathon on July 23rd. I get to start as an elite runner because of my 2:58 marathon time, which just blows my mind. I would never have dreamed that my mid-pack legs would line up with the elites.Β  It’s been really fun (and a lot of work) to see how fast I can get. As long as I am still enjoying the process and have the support of my sweet husband, I’ll keep chasing goals.Β  For anyone else who has dreams to get faster, keep pushing!Β  You never know what your legs can do until you give it a shot.

Have you ever surprised yourself in a race with a faster finish than you expected?