December Goal Check-In

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It’s almost time to say “sayonara” to 2015! But before we go, I’ve got one final monthly check-in for this calendar year.

I’ll be doing a more thorough review of the year’s goals in an upcoming post. In the meantime, however, this one’s more about progress made during this last 31-day push.

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working this year.

Here’s the latest:

1. Seeking Balance

After November’s turkey trot, the racing bug bit me hard (if you can call it that…because I’m not able to actually ‘race’). I wanted nothing more than to get a holiday run on the calendar, but cooler heads prevailed in the end when I realized that we had too much going on with baby stuff, holiday prep and travel.

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Instead, Ben and I opted to keep December low-key when it came to pre-planned fitness events. We had enough to keep us busy between work, doctor’s appointments and parties, so workouts ended up becoming more social as a result.

Here’s a tip: If you’re feeling over-scheduled, kill two birds with one stone and make a fitness date with friends. Not only will you get to re-connect, but you’ll also work off some of those extra cocktails or cookies in the process!

2. Training Smarter

Dear Running,

As much as it pains me to say this, we’re going to have to take some time apart. It’s not you — it’s me — and I hate to do this to you because you’ve always been there, but I hope we can try again when the time is right.

Love, Me

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After a decent five-miler earlier this month, I had a no good, horrible, very bad treadmill run mid-month that made me 99.9% sure running is off the table for the foreseeable future. Despite my best efforts — support belt, cushy shoes, hydration, slower pace, etc. — it was uncomfortable bordering on painful, so I cut my planned four-miler in half and ended up making up the difference with walking.

I’m thankful to have made it this far with intermittent jogs, and I’ve been keeping consistent over the holidays with lots of walking and at-home body weight workouts, all of which were much easier when on the road without regular access to a gym. It was all about being flexible, cross-training and modifying when needed!

3. Facing Fears

Aside from this week, I’m giving myself a pat on the back for continuing to make it to the pool regularly. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s quickly becoming a favorite activity because it feels so lovely to give my joints a break from all the extra weight.

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The toughest part remains just getting there, but once I hit the water it’s all good. And I’m pretty sure Baby H is happy, too, because is feels like s/he just chills out once I find my zone while bobbing back and forth down the lane.

And, yes, believe it or not — I’m looking forward to continuing this little tradition into the New Year, too.

4. Pushing Myself

It took a combination of objective and subjective feedback this month to realize that as I enter the 3rd trimester, “pushing” is a relative term — as in, balls-to-the-wall workouts are now a no-no, if not an impossibility. Rather, it’s all about consistency and keeping myself in check…which sometimes proves to be a challenge in and of itself.

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Thankfully, though, I’ve been utilizing a great book from one of my Team LUNA Chix Portland Run teammates and fellow preggo, Sharlene Murphy: The Pregnant Athlete. It debunks the myth that you can’t have a safe, healthy pregnancy and maintain a high level of fitness — and it’s been a great source of motivation and inspiration when I catch myself occasionally getting bummed out about what I can’t do right now.

Another tip: Focus on the positive. Just as every pregnancy is different, so is everyone’s range of activity while pregnant; even if you can’t push like you’re used to in one area, there’s a good chance you can still make progress in another.

5. Giving Back

Our lovely LUNA crew was out representing in full force despite of less-than-desirable weather for this year’s Holiday Half on December 13. Of note was the aforementioned Sharlene, who completed the 5k at nearly 39 weeks pregnant, and Katie Wilkes for successfully running her first half marathon. Way to go, ladies!

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And in other news, we’re hard at work assembling our 2016 team. As of December 15, we officially closed applications, so we’re now in the process of reviewing all of them and making some tough decisions (we got so many great applicants; thanks to everyone for your interest and enthusiasm!) before notifying our new team leaders.

We’ll be making the official announcement in January, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, please give us a follow via our FacebookTwitter and Instagram accounts so you can stay in the loop during our upcoming season.

How’d you do with your 2015 goals? 

How I (Swim, Bike &) Run: Ironman athlete Erin Klegstad

Courtesy of Erin Klegstad

Courtesy of Erin Klegstad

Meet Erin Klegstad, triathlete, yogi, lover of life, happiness, espresso, the outdoors, vizslas and the ocean. She believes that bike rides make every day better and that kindness can change the world.

Here’s a fun fact: We have yet to meet in person, but we connected through social media and follow along on each other’s adventures via our blogs (find her at sweetsweatlife, and I highly recommend it!); I feel like I know her, and I especially appreciate the thoughtfulness, kindness and sense of purpose with which she approaches life. We’ve also been teammates for Coeur Sports (she’s one of the elite racers) for the past few years so I figured it was high time to get to know her even better here on the blog.

Another fun fact? She’s also an amazing athlete. So much so that she placed second in her age group at Ironman Wisconsin this year, which meant she nabbed a spot at the World Championships in Kona for 2016. It couldn’t have happened to someone more hard-working, deserving and supportive person, and I’m even more excited to root her along as she prepares throughout the next few months.

In the meantime, here’s an insider look at her approach to training, along with what else will be powering this fantastic lady on her quest for Kona!

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1. What’s your favorite route or workout? During the week, I run the same out-and-back route over and over and over (definition of insanity?! Ha!) because it’s there and out my front door and I don’t have to worry about planning out a different route everyday. But, for long runs, my favorite route is the 8.5-mile Ford-Franklin bridge loop along the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and Saint Paul. A running path on both sides with plenty of water fountains and porta potties!

A favorite bike route is a 100-mile loop from our house and along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi that full of great climbing, wind and a halfway pit stop for Mexi Coke in Red Wing (of Red Wing boots!).

2. What shoes do you wear — both on the bike and on the roads? I’ve been running in Hoka Cliftons for nearly two years and won’t run in anything else! On the bike – love my Sidi tri shoes. I have my eye on a pair of hot pink ones that Sidi debuted at Interbike this year. 🙂

3. What other training gear can’t you live without? Swim gear I can’t live without: baby shampoo. It keeps my goggles fog-free every single swim!

Bike gear I can’t live without: no way could I get through a 112-mile ride without my Coeur Sports shorts. Seamless chamois FTW! Seriously, that chamois is a game changer. Zero chafe ever.

Run gear I can’t live without: I’m a lululemon speeds shorts junkie (I won’t tell you how many pairs I own); love my Feetures socks… blister free always; and, I can’t run without a trucker hat (they keep my hair out of my face)!

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4. What’s your best time-saver or “workout-hack?” Hmm… definitely using Garmin Express to sync my 920 and Edge 500 simultaneously to TrainingPeaks, Garmin Connect and Strava. And, then immediately logging those workouts with comments across the board and in my spreadsheet. I’m quite meticulous about logging my data every single day. 🙂

5. What part of each discipline (swim/bike/run) are you better at than anyone else? Swim: Who are we kidding, the swim is definitely not my strength… ha! It’s a work-in-progress, but I’m making strides every year by doing the work, even on those cold winter days when swimming’s the last thing I want to do! I’m always tempted to sit in the sauna instead… 🙂

Bike: Living in Minnesota, I spend a good chunk of the year on my bike trainer (even during the summer, I’m on the trainer… that itself is a great time saver, and it’s safer than the road). There’s something really satisfying about trainer workouts… intense focus and staying in control of your watts. Anyway, I’d have to say focus… I have no problem turning off my brain to truly stay in the moment during a trainer workout. I think that’s one reason I love triathlon so much… it keeps me present and enjoying and embracing each second – even when it’s painful.

Run: Pacing is my specialty! Tell me to run x-pace over x-number of miles, and I’ll run ‘em almost on the nose every single time.

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6. What do you listen to while training? The only thing I listen to while running are my footfalls and my breath. I haven’t ran with music since 2008, the year they banned MP3 players during marathons. I was training for my first (and only) open 26.2 and ditched it since I wouldn’t be able to race with it. There’s nothing better than the quiet of running… I love being able to hear myself think (and not mess with annoying ear buds!).

But, when I’m doing hard bike intervals on the trainer (never ride with headphones outside, people!), I almost always listen to Girl Talk’s All Day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to this mix. It keeps me focused, and the rhythm is tops!

7. What are you currently training for? The Ironman World Championship! It still hasn’t hit me that I get to race in Kona next year!

8. What are your recovery and sleep routines like? I’m fairly good at recovery. I do legs up the wall daily, take a lavender Epsom soak weekly and am quite lazy after training (think sofa city!). My sleep routine is a work-in-progress, but thanks to the sleep tracker on the Garmin 920, it’s improved. Tracking my sleep each night is a good motivator to get to bed when I get sucked into HGTV or reading!

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9. What’s the best athletic advice you’ve ever received? A friend said to me before Ironman Wisconsin in 2014: never give up, even when it hurts because everyone else is hurting, too. I think of that during every single race, especially near the end when sitting down would feel amazing. It reminds me to dig deep and to continue giving it my all, all the way to the finish line. Another goodie is: remember to smile! It makes the hurt a bit more bearable… plus, we’re so lucky that we *get* to do this!

10. What’s your favorite racing-related memory? Ahhh… this is a tough one! I’m grateful to cross any finish line, but I think my favorite is Ironman Wisconsin this year. There were a couple mishaps during the race, but overcoming those to run down a few people in my AG for a second place finish and a Kona spot – with my entire family there cheering me on – made the finish line downtown Madison so much sweeter.

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11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to grab a workout with _________. Can all my Coeur Sports teammates move to one place so we can swim, bike, run all day together?! That would be a dream!

Thanks, Erin! I’m stoked to see what 2016 will bring, and we’ll be cheering you along every step of the way as you prepare for Kona. 

Fit friends, please give me a shout (info (at) kineticfix.com) if you’d like to be featured!

How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Carolyn Domme

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In honor of our inaugural Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season, I’ve been introducing my teammates via this interview series…and here’s the last of the Q&A’s with our 10 team leaders. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for a run next season if you’re in town — we meet Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland (click here for details)! 

A lover of the great outdoors (seriously, whether it’s wandering the woods, hitting the beach or floating the river, she’s in her happy place), Carolyn Domme hails from the “Land of Enchantment,” otherwise known as New Mexico. And after soaking up the San Diego sun for a few years in between, she’s now proud to call Portland “home.”

We started our LTWR (long-term workout relationship) shortly after I moved to Portland myself because Carolyn’s always game to try something new, whether it’s studio-hopping, trying out new workouts or even signing up for her first-ever road race last December, which you can read about below. Even though she’s a self-professed non-runner, you’d never guess it, especially because she’s verbally agreed to sign up for another 5k this holiday season.

As an avid mountain-biker, hiking adventurer and hot yogi, Carolyn thrives on variety when it comes to fitness. And bonus: She’s got an amazing sense of style and an adventurous palate, so if you’re ever in need of fashion advice or a recommendation for one of the best restaurants in Portland, Carolyn is your go-to gal!

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1. What’s your favorite route? I like urban runs through the alphabet district in NW Portland. It’s just a pretty place, and it keeps me preoccupied seeing people, houses and parks while I pass by on my run. I prefer to do a loop instead of back tracking with an out-and-back, which is why running in neighborhoods works so well for me.

2. What shoes do you wear? I like Nike running shoes. I’ve worn the Nike minimalist shoes for years now, and I love them because they are lightweight, comfortable, and I like to feel the contact with the pavement.

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? I absolutely love the SPIbelt, which is really just a fancy word for fanny pack. I just discovered this item over the last year thanks to the LUNA running belt, and I wear it every time I do an outdoor activity. It’s very small and doesn’t bounce, and it fits just about anything you want to shove into that small but very expandable pouch.

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4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” Working out first thing in the morning guarantees that I will get up, get out and get it over with.

5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? I think I am very good at planning ahead and staying hydrated, which makes a significant difference in performance. Sometimes people forget the importance of drinking water in advance of a long run or hard workout.

6. What do you listen to while running? I love Spotify. They do a weekly recommendations playlist based on listening habits, and every week it blows my mind how well Spotify has me figured out. It’s really fun to find great new tunes while working out.

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7. What are you currently training for? Nothing, but I have my eye on the 5K Jingle Bell Run. I ran my first 5K there last year, and it was a really fun experience.

8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? I am a huge believer in the importance of getting enough sleep, so I’m generally in bed by 10 pm if I’m not working late. I also love stretching out with a Pilates ring or rolling on a foam roller while I’m at home watching TV in the evening. I think being well rested and stretching consistently makes for better training.

9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? For the longest time I never set goals for myself or tracked time/miles. Over the last several months, my workout partner — who happens to be Jenn our awesome LUNA leader — has tracked the miles/time with all of our outdoor activities, and it made me realize that it motivates me to work harder when I can compete with myself.

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10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? I started running when I lived in San Diego, and my favorite running memory is running along the coast with all of the other runners in the warm sunshine.

11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with ______.  Amy Schumer. She’s hilarious, and would help pass the time in the best way possible.

Thanks, Carolyn! Looking forward to hitting it hard with our workouts in the off-season. 

Runner friends, shoot me a note — info (at) kineticfix.com — so I can feature you, too!

October Goal Check-In

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Fall is flying by! It feels like I just wrote September’s update, and I know the next few months will go quickly with the holidays nearly upon us. Can we just hit the pause button for a moment?!

Because I was traveling for a good part of the first half of the month, the second half has been about getting back into a groove here in Portland, getting organized on a few different fronts (work, home) and starting to plan ahead on a few others (kiddo, 2016 schedule).

Meanwhile, Baby H is keeping busy growing and making his/her presence known more and more each day. So I’ve been trying to stay flexible when it comes to my monthly goals; I know the further along I get the more I’ll need to listen to my body, so there’s no time like the present to accept that and put it into practice.

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working this year.

Here’s the latest on my progress:

1. Seeking Balance

I mentioned I was home again earlier this month for a childhood friend’s wedding. We did the math one evening and realized we’ve been friends for almost 30 years.

After we got over how old that makes us feel, we had a blast at the weekend’s events — from bachelorette party to rehearsal to wedding. Not only was it great to spend some quality girl time together, but I’m also thrilled for Colleen and Eric to start this next phase of their lives together, surrounded by love!

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I am still struggling with my body’s new definition of “balance,” however, which might be a theme this year. Or maybe it’s just a constant struggle for us all in this day and age?!

Either way, now that my energy has returned in the second trimester I get over-excited to do #allthethings, but if I push too hard I end up getting a headache for a day or two that no amount of Tylenol will kick. So this next month I’m hoping to pace myself better so I can still get stuff accomplished, but not get knocked on my butt afterwards.

2. Training Smarter

Thanks to pregnancy tilting my pelvis forward, along with a dumb move I made in Michigan trying to lift my nephew out of his carseat while leaning over, my SI joint has been flaring up again. I’ve been addressing it with massage and acupuncture and, aside from my twice weekly runs, low-impact activities are my jam (biking, yoga, walking, Pilates, swimming, etc.).

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One tip to help turn that frown upside down when you’re mourning what feels like the loss of your former level of fitness? Metrics, metrics, metrics.

Despite breathlessness on runs, the inability to utilize the majority of my ab muscles and my current distaste for high-impact activities, I managed to hit some good numbers on the bike during a recent ride. There’s nothing like some quantitative proof that your hard work is still paying off when, qualitatively, you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

3. Facing Fears

Stop the presses — I’m back in the pool! Yes, it sucks because mornings are dark and cold and the last thing I feel like doing is jumping in the water, but once I’m there it’s actually pretty great being a preggo “human submarine,” as Ben puts it.

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My first workout was simple: Go back and forth for 30 minutes. Just keep moving. So I did a little more than 1000 yards of freestyle punctuated with a lap of breaststroke here and there.

Going forward (just to keep myself motivated), I’ll be looking to build up to longer workouts or cover more distance in that 30-minute time-frame. But either way, I want to keep it leisurely and fun — and enjoy the fact that I can get my own lane more often than not because people seem to be leery of getting too close to a pregnant woman bobbing back and forth!

4. Pushing Myself

Because I can neither resist a) running in the fall foliage of the Midwest nor b) registering for a race when I’m traveling back home, I talked my sister into running the Rattlesnake Run 5k with me while in Michigan. Yes, the race went well and I came in second overall for the women and first in my age group, but it was a learning experience.

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I didn’t PR by any means, but I felt good that morning so my plan was to push the threshold of what I could handle (within reason , of course) just to see where that limit now lies. Well, I found it; the breathlessness that comes with pregnancy is unlike any kind of breathlessness I’ve experienced before in a race, even when I’ve been running all-out.

And although I miss that feeling of pushing my body to the limit, it’s just not the same kind of thrill when you’re second-guessing every ache and pain and what impact it has on the little person you’re carrying. So I’ve decided that any races between now and March will be strictly fun runs!

But that’s not to say I can’t look ahead… I’m slowly figuring out my 2016 schedule, and while I’m not planning on tackling any new distances or PR’s, I have signed up for the Portland Marathon as my carrot for getting back into running shape post-baby.

5. Giving Back

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we just wrapped up our first official season with Team LUNA Chix Portland Run, so I’m in the throes of planning for next year. We had such an amazing group of ladies who really embraced us and made the team their own, and for that I’m incredibly appreciative.

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And next year our plan is to come back even bigger and better! We’ll be doing monthly workouts in the off-season, as requested, plus we’ll be taking applications for any open spots for our 10 team leaders. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for more info if you’d like to join us — the more, the merrier!

How are your 2015 goals coming along? 

Celebrating a Successful First Season of Team LUNA Chix Portland Run

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This past week marked a major milestone: We held our last official practice of the season for Team LUNA Chix Portland Run. Our season runs April through October, and having run track workouts in the dark for the past month or so, we’re ready to switch things up for the next few months of our ‘off-season’ (more on that below).

But first…we had a lot to celebrate. Not only was it is successful year of fitness and fundraising, but we’ve also forged some pretty terrific friendships over the past few months.

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Our friends over at Title Nine Portland generously invited us into their space for the evening, so we scrapped the regular track workout in favor of an out-and-back run/walk from the store before enjoying some treats together. By the way, if you haven’t been by the store yet it’s definitely worth a visit; they’re known for being the sports bra experts, so do your gals a favor and get them fitted properly! 

I had planned out the routes in advance and printed out directions for both the two-milers (walkers) and four-milers (runners), plus we had plenty of safety gear on hand (reflective vests, headlamps, glow-in-the-dark bracelets) to ensure everyone stayed super-visible while hitting the streets. After splitting everyone into groups by pace, we set out…and I hung near the back of the four-miler pack to act as sweeper and make sure no one got lost.

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Of course, then Syreeta (who kindly kept me company) and I were so busy chatting and catching up while running that we were the only ones to end up over-shooting the turnaround point by about a quarter mile! We were close to the Forest Park trail head when we finally realized that we’d blown past it, so we quickly doubled back and caught up to the tail end of the group.

Once everyone was safely back to the store, we nibbled on snacks, drank wine (well, those of us who weren’t knocked up!) and savored the moment together. Then it was time to get down to business, so we raffled off a bunch of LUNA gear and gift certificates, plus Title Nine ran a special discount for hose of us who wanted to shop (just in time, too; I’ve outgrown all my current sports bras and got fitted for a new one).

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Because everyone wanted to continue to momentum and camaraderie of the season, we also talked about meeting up regularly in the ‘not-so-off-season’ for workouts, trail runs and possibly even some non-running social activities. So stay tuned to the team’s Facebook page for details if you’d like to join us!

And, of course, we’re already starting to plan for season number two, which means we’ll be accepting applications for any open spots for the 10 team leader positions. Again, keep an eye out for details via our Facebook page.

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In the meantime, you can keep tabs on our adventures via the official Team LUNA Chix Portland Run Instagram account where we’ll be posting pictures from workouts, runs and other happenings. Yep, we’re all over Twitter, too, if you want to reach us there instead.

Cheers to a first season for the record books, and here’s to an even more inspiring, exciting and sweaty second season starting next spring!

How I Run: Team LUNA Chix PDX’s Kelsie Adams

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In honor of our inaugural Team LUNA Chix Portland Run season, I’ll be introducing my teammates via this interview series throughout the next few months…get to know these impressive ladies, and come join us for a run Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm in Portland (click here for details)! 

Meet Kelsie Adams, mom to three “rambunctious” girls (with a fourth kiddo on the way!), who might quite possibly have the most energy out of all of us. I mean, running a marathon (which she’s done) must seem like a walk in the park compared to chasing around after a trio of little ladies every day, right?!

A born and bred Oregonian, Kelsie says that running is her perfect way to escape and have some “me” time amidst the happy chaos. Not only does she run to stay healthy physically and mentally, but she also believes it’s the secret to being a better, happier mom and wife.

These days, Kelsie runs whenever and wherever she can squeeze it in, though. Give her some rain and a beach, and she’s in her happy place.

But don’t discount her as a competitor — Kelsie’s participated in 10K’s, half marathons and completed the Portland Marathon when her oldest daughter was just nine months old. She also led her team in roadkills for last year’s Portland to Coast, proving that having kids can indeed kick your athleticism into high gear!

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1. What’s your favorite route? Anywhere along the coast. I love the smell of the fresh, salty air. It gives me a cleansing and invigorating feeling.

2. What shoes do you wear? New Balance 880v4

3. What other run gear can’t you live without? My phone. I know it is terrible but with three young kids I like to have it near me for safety reasons. My husbands knows not to bother me on a run, though, unless it’s an emergency!

4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” Simply putting on my running shoes. The sooner I do it, the sooner I get out the door.

Kelsie making some road-kills at 2014's Portland to Coast relay!

Kelsie making some road-kills at 2014’s Portland to Coast relay!

5. What do you listen to while running? Pandora. I listen to many different stations from Running Radio Mix to Enya. It just depends on my mood at the moment.

6. What are you currently training for? Nothing at the moment. But hopefully I’ll get something on the books soon!

7. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? At this point in my life, I have NO recovery & sleep routines. I may have had one seven years ago before my first daughter was born, but I cannot remember 😉

8. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? Know that every pain will pass with each mile.

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9. What’s your favorite running-related memory? My first race. I just remember the energy around me before the race, and I knew that I was really going to like my new hobby.

10. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with __________. My husband. Pre kids we ran together, and it was always such a fun way to catch up on our days’ events. I know we’ll be able to do it again on day soon enough; I just don’t want to rush it.

Thanks, Kelsie! Looking forward to more adventures and memories over the next year (and beyond). 

Runner friends, shoot me a note — info (at) kineticfix.com — so I can feature you, too!

Race Report: Bridge of the Goddess 10k

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Want to add a Gorge-ous event in the Pacific Northwest to next season’s race calendar? Look no further than the Bridge of the Goddess half marathon and 10k in Cascade Locks, Oregon.

Not only is it an easy, hour-long scenic drive from Portland, but it also features a safe, supported course that’s great training run for fall marathons or a destination unto itself. The course starts on the deck of Bridge of the Gods (which you may remember from the movie Wild) over the Columbia River Gorge and spirits runners away from it all along the historic Columbia River Highway Trail.

And, as it turns out, Race Director Paula Harkin wasn’t kidding when she said that. “If the inclines don’t take your breath away, the views from on high surely will.”

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Because LUNA is one of the sponsors of the event, Team LUNA Chix Portland Run was invited to participate. Two of us team leaders (Nicole and me) decided to run, along with three of our community members, Anne, Katie and Debbie.

The event is only in it’s second year, but it’s gotten rave reviews for course, scenery and spirit, so we were pretty excited to check it out. Plus — nerd alert — I’ve been wanting to visit this landmark after seeing Wild, so it was a great way to do one of my favorite things: mix some sightseeing with running.

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I was a tad nervous, however, since I’d be running this one with an unpredictable little stowaway in my uterus. Even though my OB cleared me to run (and even encouraged it — yay!), I haven’t done much of it over the past few months since A) I’ve been sidelined with fatigue, which is putting it mildly, and B) frankly, my favorite form of cardio hasn’t felt that great.

My longest run in the past four months has been a seven-miler during which my right hip flexor got excessively angry and after which I spent the rest of the day on the couch feeling like I was mid-marathon training and had just finished a 14-miler. And although I seemed to have turned a corner last week and finally (fingers crossed) gotten some energy back, I knew this would be a bit of an experiment.

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So as we walked toward the start on the Bridge of the Gods on race morning, I had my OB’s parting words of wisdom in my head:

  1. Keep it conversational. After I inquired about that old keep-your-heartbeat-below-140-bpm rule, she said it’s more important to take it slow and be able to talk while working out. It makes sense — if you’re getting enough oxygen, so is the baby.
  2. Stay hydrated. If you’ve ever been or ever get pregnant, you’ll quickly realize that water — and getting enough of it — will quickly become the bane of your existence. Too little, and I get a headache, or enough/too much, and I am constantly in search of a restroom.
  3. Don’t get overheated. You want that bun in the oven fully-baked but not cooked through. Luckily, it was a nice, cool morning, and I wasn’t over-dressed, so keeping my body temperature steady wasn’t too much of a concern.
  4. Take in sugar throughout. Going in, I was very up front with my OB about fitness being an important part of my life. Aside from telling me to listen to my body, she’s ok with me staying active as long as I take in a steady stream of calories while doing so.
  5. Have fun. This is not the time to be attempting a new PR or getting crazy when the gun goes off. So I’m enjoying running with friends — not only to keep it social, but also to keep it more about completing the event than competing in it.

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Nicole, Anne and I planned on running as a group at around a 10-min/mile pace, while Katie and Debbie lined up farther back in the crowd to run together. We decided to regroup at the finish to grab some food, take some pictures and see how everyone’s race went.

It was a clear morning, so the starting area (on the bridge!) made for some beautiful pictures with the Gorge as a backdrop. Although I didn’t know the entire bottom of the bridge was a see-through grate until we stepped onto it; not only did my stomach drop just looking down, but I clutched my car keys hoping that I wouldn’t lose them while we were up there.

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The gun went off for the half marathon at 8 a.m., so we got to watch them take off before our 10k gun went off at 8:15 a.m. There’s a costume contest component, too, so many ladies were clad in togas as they made their way off the bridge down to the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail for an out and back.

We’d heard the course was “challenging and amazingly beautiful, well-supported and safe from traffic,” and I figured three out of four ain’t bad. Although I was interested to see what “challenging” meant, since I’ve come to find over the years that it’s a pretty subjective descriptor for races.

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A few minutes later, we were off! The course began with a nice downhill that curved gently back underneath the bridge and dropped us right into the trail.

It’s a pretty well-known area; several U.S. Forest Service trails intersect this segment of the trail including the Pacific Crest Trail. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, though, although I speculated that we might be running along side the highway for the majority of the race.

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Wrong! Instead, we were treated to ferns, moss-covered rocks, waterfalls and delicate, shaded wildflowers that flanked the nicely-paved trail.

And as soon as the scenery changed, so did the course from an elevation perspective. Nothing too crazy, of course, but lots of long stretches of low-grade inclines followed by low-grade descents.

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And since it was an out-and-back course, we knew this meant one thing: What goes up must come down. For each uphill, we’d be treated with a downhill on the way back…and vice versa.

Over the next three miles we navigated the hills, stopping to walk through aid stations for water and Glukos, making sure we didn’t get too winded on the ascents and taking advantage of the descents. Side note: This was my first experience with Glukos, and I was impressed; it’s got a nice, mild flavor like nuun but without the fizz. 

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Just as we hit the turnaround point, we saw the stairs that the half marathoners would climb to get to the second portion of their course. Although I’m sure the views from the top made the trek well worth it, we were all too happy to be able to circle back and tackle the second half of the 10k (especially because I felt like I needed to pee pretty badly!).

Up and down the rolling hills we ran toward the finish in Marine Park. As we turned the final corner into the park, we could hear the music and smell the food at the festivities, and everyone gave one last push to get across the finish. Final time ~ 1:03 (my Strava said 5.6, Anne’s said 6.4 and Nicole’s said 6.2, so we went with hers).

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After grabbing water and our finisher’s necklaces, we went straight into the pavilion to warm up and refuel. Well, if I’m really being honest, my first priority was to hit the restroom (thanks to BabyH bouncing around on my bladder for an hour), but then we dug into the feast of burritos, chips, salsa, fruit, cookies and beer.

On our way out, we stopped by the LUNA booth to say hello to the event team. They were passing out samples of the new Chocolate Salted Caramel protein bar, which we got a sneak peek and sample of back in March at Summit.

It’s yummy — especially if you’re in the mood for something sweet yet savory. And if you’ve got any dietary considerations to take into account, it’s gluten free and low glycemic, plus it’s got 12g protein, 3g fiber and if a good source of iron and Vitamin D.

I carry a few minis in my purse; they come in handy when I need a quick pick-me-up between meals, and they’ve come to the rescue on more than one occasion with friends who need the same!

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I’m especially thankful that BabyH made it through his/her first 10k with flying colors. And I’m also looking forward to easing back into some casual racing for as long as this rekindled love affair with running-while-pregnant lasts!

For more information on the Bridge of the Goddess half marathon and 10k, visit RunwithPaula.com.