Race Report: Vernonia Half Marathon

VernoniaHalf4.9.17.jpg

After a year and a half hiatus from racing, it feels SO good to be back in the saddle!

When my plans to race 26.2 last fall got put on hold (because sleep > running), I set my sights on what felt like a more manageable challenge: the half marathon (my 15th!).

My PR was 1:47 and change from a few years ago, so when I signed on with a coach to help me with my postpartum comeback and restrain keep me from over-training, I told him I was eyeing not only a PR, but also an even bolder post-baby goal of 1:45.

We started working together in early January with a mission to get me safely to the start line of the Vernonia Half Marathon on April 9. Training went smoothly; after figuring out my paces, we exchanged emails each week as I eagerly tackled my nap-time workouts on the treadmill.

It felt good to be on a schedule. It felt great to be running regularly. And it felt awesome to finally start pushing myself again.

Although I was nailing workouts, my coach was frank about setting expectations when it came to race day: Based on my tempo runs, overall paces and our conservative build-up of mileage (I started at square one, so my long runs maxed out at 10 miles by the time we got to race day), he warned me that a PR may not be in the cards this training cycle.

By that point, however, I was just happy to be toeing the start line well-trained and healthy, so I figured it’d be a good opportunity to set a baseline from which I could work for my next race. It also meant that I’d leave my watch at home and just run by feel.

Fast forward to race day, and I was battling a serious case of self-doubt. Would treadmill mileage translate to the roads? How would I handle the last few miles (which I’d likely be running on fumes)? Could I even get in the head-space to go hard? Hell, I wasn’t even sure if my race kit from 2016 would fit.

We arrived about an hour and a half before the 9 a.m. start because the course was point-to-point and there was a 20-minute bus ride to the start. Luckily, it’s a super low-key event (~150 marathoners & fewer than 400 half marathoners), so everything went smoothly and we soon found ourselves inside Stub Stewart State Park at Hilltop with a little more than an hour until the gun went off.

To say it was cold for Oregon in April would be putting it mildly; there were more than a few “penguin” jokes circulating as several hundred of us huddled in a shelter, hopping from foot to foot, in an attempt to share body warmth.

Several cups of water and trips to the HoneyBuckets later, Ben, Matt and I lined up at the start barely able to feel our feet. The race started without much pomp and circumstance; no National Anthem or so much as a countdown or warning before we were off.

The course took us uphill for the first mile or so before joining the Banks-Vernonia State Trail at mile two, so my plan was to A) warm up for the first mile, B) go out conservatively so I didn’t expend too much energy, and C) try to run separately from Ben and Matt because they were anticipating slightly slower and faster finish times, respectively.

When we hit the first mile marker and I was still next to Matt, I figured he was having an “off” day because I just assumed my first mile would be around a 9:00 pace due to the hill. But when he said we were at 8:20, I decided to double-down and go for it.

The next six miles or so took us along a paved trail, through scenic woods on an abandoned railroad bed. And since we had a gradual downhill until mile seven, everyone was taking full advantage of it.

Things were going well until somewhere after mile eight when we hit an open section of the course and the wind picked up; even though the final stretch was flat, the previous downhill had taken a toll on my quads. That, combined with a lack of mile markers at this point made for a total mental battle as I fought fatigue and wondered where I was on the course.

Not wanting to tempt the GI gods, I had also avoided any kind of fuel for the first hour or so. But after mile seven I paused at each water station to take a few sips of Gatorade. Somewhere around mile nine, I felt the first gut flutter and around what I think was mile 12, I pulled over to take a quick nip of Gu to help get me to the finish.

For those final few miles my brain was squarely at the intersection of “I-just-wanna-walk,” “the-faster-I-run-the-faster-I-am-done” and “uh-oh-my-gut.” But words of encouragement from my coach and fellow mama runner friends kept me pushing along.

When we turned off the trail and into town I knew we had to be close to the finish. In a matter of minutes, we turned in to the Banks High School parking lot and made our way to the track where we had one lap to complete the race.

Per usual, that last lap felt like the longest portion of the race. I didn’t allow myself to look at the finish line until we rounded the first curve, then silently cursed because it was, indeed, a full lap.

As I rounded the last curve, I saw the clock read 1:46:XX. With one final kick, I crossed the finish line, found Matt, then headed straight to the bathroom; thank goodness for ample facilities at this race!

Matt had finished in 1:42, an impressive PR. Ben ran a 1:49, which was fantastic for the amount of training he didn’t do did for this race. And my official time was 1:46:06, which was good enough for a new PR, a 4th place finish in my age group and a top 20 finish among women.

Immediately my mind went to what I did well (in order to replicate it) and what I can improve upon (i.e. remove a negative variable) next training cycle: Having a coach was beneficial in so many ways, as was the consistency of my training and speed-work. But I definitely need to focus on improving my nutrition going forward — not only fueling during the race, but also the days/weeks leading up to it.

And although I’m still in shock about the outcome, the wheels have started turning about what’s next. My coach assured me that 1:45 is doable with more mileage under my belt, which is tempting. But I’m also mulling over going shorter and faster; I’d love to finally beat my 5K PR from my high school track days.

But just as life evolves, so does a runner’s relationship with the sport. And as good as it feels to nail a new PR and chase after the next one, I’m also realizing that there’s much more to it now than just the numbers.

I run because it makes me feel alive. Running makes me feel like I’m unstoppable. It makes me feel as though I’m capable of anything.

But now I also run because I’ve got an example to set for Wyatt. I want him to see his mom setting goals and working hard to achieve them. I want him to learn that it takes dedication to reach our goals and that we can do hard things.

And my ultimate goal is that he’ll be inspired to chase after his own dreams, running or otherwise.

Triathletes: The Secret to Avoiding Injury This Season

IPF

In theory, making the move from a single sport to three adds variety to your exercise regimen and will reduce injuries, right?

Well, the reality is a bit different, thanks to the “compound effect” of doing three activities: “What we have to compare it to other sports is the injury rate, and triathletes have one of the highest incidence rates of any sport,” Dr. Joshua Burns, a researcher and podiatrist at the University of Sydney in Australia, who has studied the nature of triathletes’ injuries told The New York Times in this article.

The bad news? Triathletes, in particular, are susceptible because they not only engage in a highly-repetitive stress activity, but also only move in one plane of motion (and likely sit all day at work), which contributes to limited range of motion in the mid-back and hips. The good news, though? With the right approach to strength training, you can correct imbalances, resolve weaknesses and vastly improve performance.

That’s where my friend Al Painter of INTEGRATE Performance Fitness comes in. Not only has he been teaching endurance athletes how to dodge the injury bullet for years, but he also knows. his. stuff. As you can see below, there’s a reason why he’s been named “Best Bay Area Personal Trainer” by CitySports Magazine, so I always love picking his brain about the latest workout crazes and geeking out together over the greatest fitness gadgets.

As training seasons begin to ramp up, I thought it’d be fun to sit down with him and talk about the not-so-secret secret for avoiding injury when it comes to multi-sport endeavors.

1. Triathlon is in endurance sport, so why is strength training important for triathletes? It helps to reset the body from the repetitive stress nature of training in one plane of motion. It can also keep the hips strong, which goes a long way for happy low backs and knees.

2. How much about it is preventing injury versus being able to perform better (i.e. faster!)? Yes to both! I think one leads to the other. Keep the muscles balanced, and you can reduce your chances of getting hurt and improve your chances of performing well.

3. If body weight is the only thing being “lifted” during a triathlon, why do triathletes need a training program that uses free weights, machines or other equipment? It can lead to more speed in the pool, more power on the bike and more efficiency running.

4. How does strength training for triathletes differ from programs used by bodybuilders, powerlifters and the general public? Triathlon training should emphasize split-stance and single-leg lower body moves while incorporating single and alternate arm patterns to work on diagonal loading of the hips and shoulders working through the core. I’ll definitely get into more of what endurance athlete specific strength training should like the night of the talk.

5. What do you think is the biggest misconception about triathletes and strength training? That it will slow them down, add bulk and take away from swimming, riding and running.

6. So is it enough to go lift weights at the gym a few times a week? No, there needs to be a program dialed in to address what endurance athletes need: solid mid-back, shoulder and hip mobility. It has to have a plan, a purpose and specific outcome as the goal. Plus, if there is a performance gap in the pool, on the bike or on the run, strength training can help to close it.

7. What’s the biggest mistake you see most triathletes make with their current strength training routine? Not enough emphasis on the back half of the body which is the powerhouse for performance and proper posture.

8. If there’s one exercise triathletes absolutely cannot afford to skip, what is it? I don’t know if it’s an exercise as much as it is a movement: Learning the hip hinge is critical to opening the front half of the body and strengthening the back half to help with both injury prevention and performance improvement.

9. Should triathletes adjust their program when training for different distances? How? My stance on this is that the longer the distance, the more hip dominant movements (hinges, bridges, etc.) they should do. It should be the majority of the lower body work to keep the glutes as “online” as possible. Once they shut down, the whole operation can go south.

10. Say someone’s deep into training and short on time; is there a minimum amount of strength training they should be doing each week? Two days a week for at least 30 minutes using compound movements. Exercises combining hinging + pulling and squatting + pressing work really well. Especially using a split stance with single or alternate arm exercises.

Thanks, Al — great info, as always! 

Attention Bay Area friends: Al’s doing a *free* triathlete-specific strength training workshop at Sunnyvale Sports Basement from 6:30-8:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 11. Swing by, say hi, and pick up some of his tips on the best kinds of strength training exercises to help you race stronger, recover faster and reduce the chance of getting injured this season. 

Click here for details on the event, and visit INTEGRATE Performance Fitness to learn more.

Triathletes, is strength work part of your regular training regimen?

Race Report: Corvallis Turkey Trot

IMG_0193

Although my pregnant running days are quickly waning thanks to a cranky ligament on my left side, I can never seem to resist a good pre-Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. So by the time our holiday plans were solidified this year, I was online searching for a local event for Ben and I to do before the traditional festivities (family, food and football watching) commenced.

Enter the Corvallis Turkey Trot, a family-friendly event in Ben’s hometown. A short race-morning commute, plentiful parking and a flat and fast course through surrounding neighborhoods made this one a no-brainer.

As race day drew nearer, however, my gut told me that my original pick of the 10k over the 5k was a bit overly ambitious considering my current condition. It’s never fun going into a race worrying about whether or not complete the distance, so at packet pickup I opted to drop down to the 5k distance instead.

IMG_0181

Ben stuck with the 10k group, which started at 8:05 am, so I stood on the sidelines to cheer them on as they took off. Then it was back to the car (ample race-day parking FTW!) for 10 minutes to stay warm until the 5k’ers took off.

The temperature was a “balmy” 27 degrees, so I spent my final moments trying to figure out what to wear because I still hadn’t decided whether I’d be jogging or walking the 3.1 miles. In the end, I figured I’d at least give jogging a shot, so I ditched my coat and gloves before I locked up and headed over to the start line.

IMG_0187

Here’s how the next half hour or so played out in my head after the gun went off:

  • Mile .1: Wheee! I’m running again! 
  • Mile .2: This feels AWESOME. Why did I ever stop running?! I should go FASTER! 
  • Mile .3: Hm, I think I might have to pee. 
  • Mile .4: Why am I so out of breath?
  • Mile .5: I definitely have to pee.
  • Mile .6: Pregnancy support belt has migrated from below belly to above waist and is now crushing my bladder. Pull over to re-adjust.
  • Mile .9: Strava crashes, my music dies, and now I can’t take any mid-race pictures. Bummer. 
  • Mile 1.1: Pull over to adjust pregnancy support belt for second time.
  • Mile 1.3: Why are my shins tight? Oh, that’s right; I haven’t been running in a few weeks, and now I’m trying to “race.”
  • Mile 1.4: I’ve really gotta pee.
  • Mile 1.5: Pull over to adjust pregnancy support belt for third time.
  • Mile 1.7: Yep, still have to pee.
  • Mile 1.9: Screw the support belt. Note to self: Never again wearing it over slippery spandex tights. Resort to tugging it down while running.
  • Mile 2: Only one more mile to go! 
  • Mile 2.2: Curse support belt while tugging it down. Again. Debate letting it just ride up and letting the belly fly for the rest of the race.
  • Mile 2.3: Seriously, is this baby using my bladder as a trampoline?
  • Mile 2.5: Slightly loosen support belt while shimmying it down around my hips. Stay put! Only a half mile more to go. 
  • Mile 2.7: Support belt, you are now the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. Tug, shimmy, grimace. Repeat every 100 meters.
  • Mile 3: This feels AWESOME. What have I been complaining about?! I LOVE running! 
  • Mile 3.1: Where’s the bathroom? And the food?

Final time: 30:38 at a 9:51 pace, which was good enough for 12th in my age group.

IMG_0192

And that, my friends, is why I think this may officially be my last race — not only of 2015, but also this pregnancy. Of course “famous last words,” and I’ll never say never (especially when those holiday events come calling…), but as you can see it’s starting to be more trouble than it’s worth.

Luckily, though, I was done in time to get some water, grab Ben’s phone from the car and watch him cross the finish. His final time was 57:19 at a 9:13 pace, which placed him 10th in his age group (not bad, considering he had a porta-potty pullover that cost him a few minutes).

Racing and running aside, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for this year. I hope you and yours had a happy, healthy holiday, as well!

IMG_0191

Did you trot or not this year? Either way, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

October Goal Check-In

IMG_9201

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!

IMG_9293

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.).

IMG_9396

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.

IMG_9550

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.

IMG_9348

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.

IMG_9480

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

IMG_9627

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.

IMG_9602

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.

IMG_9609

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).

IMG_9604

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.

IMG_9608

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!

Race Report: Rattlesnake Run 5k

IMG_9348

When I knew I’d be home in Michigan this month for a childhood friend’s wedding, the first thing I did after booking plane tickets was look up local races. Because why not squeeze in a little of my favorite fall activity — running through the brilliant foliage of the Midwest — as the colors near their peak this season?

Ok, I’ll admit it; part of me was also hoping that my trip would coincide with the Detroit Marathon so I could sign up for the half and run for fun. But I’m nowhere near trained up for that, so it ended up being for the best that the only options were a few nearby 5k’s.

IMG_9340

I settled on the Rattlesnake Run 5k since it supports a cool cause, is located pretty close to home, and the start time was a very friendly 11 a.m. — aka I could sleep in after the wedding festivities and get a leisurely workout done before lunch. Once that was decided, I set about badgering recruiting my favorite running buddy (my sister), who begrudgingly agreed.

The race is put on by the Michigan Nature Association, and its purpose is to promote efforts to preserve habitat for the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, a species of special concern in Michigan. It’s The Mitten’s only venomous snake, in fact, and is a rare sight for most state residents.

IMG_9333

Another upside of this event is that it’s relatively new (in its second year), so it’s not super crowded. And it’s a trail race, so it has a nice, laid-back atmosphere.

The course is a 1.5-mile out-and-back along the Paint Creek Trail, which is an 8.9-mile linear park, located in northeast Oakland County. Fun fact: It was also the first Rail-to-Trail in the state of Michigan, as it was converted to a trail from the former Penn Central Railroad.

FullSizeRender (1)

We arrived around 10:40 a.m. to pick up our race numbers and t-shirts, and there was no line so we breezed right through. After a quick pre-race bathroom pit stop (no movement yet, but Baby H loves to make his/her presence known by standing on my bladder), we lined up at the start to listen to final instructions from the race director.

Typically I hang back in the pack, but I was feeling good so I toed the line behind a few folks who looked like they’d be taking the lead pretty quickly. My sister was feeling under the weather, so we decided at the last moment to run separately; I was aiming to run and finish in fewer than 30 minutes, while she decided to deploy a walk-jog strategy.

FullSizeRender (2)

The race director counted us down, and we were off — I was the second female out of the gate and remember thinking I’d just try to maintain that position for the whole race, body-permitting. About a quarter of a mile in, the lead female dropped back while I simultaneously got passed by the third place woman, so I figured I’d pace off of her and try to hold on for as long as I could to the end.

The course was flat and gorgeous — there was plenty to look at with the leaves changing colors — but I was more focused on maintaining my breathing and staying hyper-aware of how my body was feeling because of Baby H. Although my legs felt great, it was just shortness of breath that was holding me back, so I tried to walk the fine line between keeping a steady pace and making sure I was getting enough oxygen.

IMG_9338

At the turnaround, I saw a few other ladies coming up behind me, so my goal was to run a steady second half and try to hold them off until the finish, which I managed to do. After grabbing water and a banana, I got back to the finish area just in time to catch a shot of my sister running across looking awesomely strong!

I’ve got to say — it’s been a while since I’ve run (or, well, raced) a 5k, but Lauren Fleshman hit the nail on the head when she called the distance “freaking awesome.” It’s enough of a challenge (especially in my current state), but “you can train and still have a life, race hard and walk normally the next day, and get really fit really fast.”

FullSizeRender (3)

Talk about the best of both worlds! It just might be my new distance for as long as running while pregnant still agrees with me (it’s seems to vary by day at the moment; some days I’m itching to run, and others I can’t bring myself to do it).

Final time — 26:15. Not a PR, but good enough for second place female overall and first place in my age group. And first place for the <1 age group, if you’re counting Baby H in tow 🙂

Big thanks to our parents for coming out to cheer us on. It reminded me of my cross country days having their smiling faces to look forward to at the finish line.

And I can’t forget the SNAKES! Yes, there was an aforementioned rattlesnake on hand (caged, of course), but there was also an Eastern Fox snake being passed around for photos ops (can you tell I’m not a snake fan!?).

For more information on the Rattlesnake Run 5k, visit RunSignup.com.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy fall?

September Goal Check-In

IMG_8972

If my last few months of check-ins have seemed a little vague (or filled with missed workouts and centered around naps and food), now you know why! It feels good to be out with the baby news, and it’s a relief to be able to be up front in this month’s recap with how it’s been affecting my “training.”

So many plans have been up in the air for the bulk of this year due to all the what-ifs, but now that I’m nearly halfway there (18 weeks…what?!), I’m finally allowing myself to do a little more planning. There are definitely things I’m still able to do that surprise me, and things I thought I’d be able to do that my body wants nothing to do with, so it’s been a learning experience along the way.

And as for goals…well, expectations have had to shift, and I’m trying my best to go with the flow. But that’s often easier said than done in the day and age of social media, which makes fear-of-missing-out and falling prey to the comparison trap new obstacles around which to navigate!

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

Here’s the latest on my progress:

1. Seeking Balance

Good news: The energy that was non-existent in my first trimester has pretty much returned. Not-so-good news: If I overextend myself one day, I’ll end up paying for it the next with a headache and mild nausea with lightheadedness.

IMG_8741

I found that planning things to look forward to helped me make it through some of the frustrations of trying to find the delicate balance in early pregnancy. Being able to take a trip home earlier this month was good for the soul — even if chasing around after my very active two-and-a-half year-old nephew pushed the limits of my exhaustion!

2. Training Smarter

Fall usually means one thing when it comes to running: lots of it. But, unfortunately, my favorite activity doesn’t always feel so great. From minor aches and pains to feeling like I need to pee the whole time I’m in action, I’ve had to cut back on mileage and am only running once or twice a week at the moment.

IMG_8436

Staying active is a priority, however, so I’ve made a loose training plan to stay on track. Walking is the new running, and I do it several times a week so I can get out and enjoy the crisp, fall air. And I’ve been supplementing daily cardio sessions with yoga, strength training, barre and prenatal movement classes to keep my muscles strong, yet supple.

3. Facing Fears

Confession: Another month and I haven’t been in the pool. But let’s be honest — at this point, the bigger fear I’m trying to face may be less about the water and more about putting on a bathing suit in public in the awkward beer-belly stage of pregnancy.

463

In all seriousness, though, I know there are so many benefits to swimming while pregnant, so I do plan on adding it into my weekly workout mix. But since we only have a finite amount of sunny Portland days left this season, I’ll likely focus more on outdoor workouts to soak up the remaining rays while we still can!

4. Pushing Myself

A major highlight of the month was the Bridge of the Goddess 10K, in which several of us LUNA ladies participated. You can check out my race recap here for all the details, but — spoiler alert — it was a fun one.

IMG_8841

So much fun, in fact, that I’m hoping to add a few shorter races into my schedule before the end of the year. It seems like 5k’s and 10k’s are my sweet spot right now, so I’d like to pick a few to do for fun over the next few months in order to motivate myself to run for as long as I am able.

5. Giving Back

Hands-down, the most exciting event this month was our first annual Team LUNA Chix Portland Run charity spin-a-thon. We had a packed room and managed to raise $2,420 for the Breast Cancer Fund — not only meeting, but far exceeding our goal of $1,500 for the season!

IMG_8990

Our 2015 season (April-October) will be winding down soon, but we’re already in the early planning stages for 2016 to make it an even bigger, better year. In the meantime, we want to invite all Portland ladies to join us for our Monday night practice sessions in October — we meet at 6:30 pm at the Duniway Park Track.

All levels are welcome (walkers, runners), and be sure to follow along in the fun via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

How are your 2015 goals coming along?