Sunday, June 18, 2017

Race Report: Longest Day 5K - June 16, 2017

Friday evening was an awesome evening for running. For the 5th year in a row, I participated in the Longest Day 5K out at UBC. It's one of my faves because of its uniqueness, being an evening run to celebrate the arrival of summer and more daylight hours, always falling on the Friday evening before the solstice. After the race is the most epic of after parties with more food than you could possibly want, allowing for a post-race picnic with friends. And as always, the weather was simply perfect!

This was my 7th race with "baby-on-board" (the bump is rather obvious in the photo above) and I was a little unsure how I'd do as my last race was about a month ago. A month can make a difference when there's a growing belly as part of the equation. Of course, I've been running consistently 3x per week, minimum 5K at a time, but training runs are always a bit slower, even if the intention at a race is to take it slow and easy. There's something about the energy of a crowd and event that makes you go a wee bit faster, even when you're not approaching it with a racing mentality.

I set a mental goal of getting in under 35 minutes, but I didn't track pace or commit myself to the idea that I had to achieve this. At this stage, I don't really care how fast I go, as I long as I continue to just move forward and maintain some level of fitness. I kept my watch on the "distance and heart rate" screen so I'd have no idea how fast I was going, only how far I had left to go, and how hard I was working. I also decided before the race started that any uphill section, I'd shorten my stride and go easy, but gave myself permission to power walk up the one steeper hill I remembered from past years' participation. I followed the plan exactly and surprised myself crossing the finish line at 34:45. It felt good, both for the body and the ego!

I'm rather unsure about my running plans moving forward. I know of a lot of women who gave up running at around 4.5 to 5 months pregnant. Me on the other hand, at 5 months, I'm currently showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. I imagine it will get harder as baby gets larger and heavier. But for now, at least, I'll keep on going. My goal before was to run through May with June being a question mark. Now I think I should be able to keep going through July too. Let's see though - I have permission from myself to stop anytime it starts to get uncomfortable. I ran 8K this morning, my longest run in about a month, and it was surprisingly easy, and at a good pace too. I don't feel short on energy now either so I don't think I overdid it in any way. Perhaps I'll be one who runs throughout pregnancy. Perhaps I only have a few more weeks before I stop. Whichever way it goes, I'm fine with. We'll just wait and see! :)

In terms of races, there aren't that many 5-10K races over the summer. I'm out of town when Summerfast is on next month, and it's a bit too early to commit to any of the August races. When I realized I had done 7 races with baby already, I was thinking how awesome it would be to reach 10 events. But no need to overdo it for some arbitrary statistic. If you have any suggestions on a great event I need to check out in the next little while, do let me know!

Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Halfway There!

So, I'm halfway through my pregnancy! Officially 20 weeks as of yesterday, and today I have my detailed ultrasound appointment.

Yesterday I posted this fun little graphic on my personal Facebook page.

It's funny but for the past 20 weeks, I feel like time has somewhat dragged on by. Now that I've reached the halfway point, the end seems very near and it's all starting to feel a bit real. A lot of it could be because I feel the baby moving around frequently. The last week or so, I feel the baby moving pretty much all the time while I'm at rest and awake to notice, including right now as I type. I hear that's normal - when I'm moving around, the natural rocking I'm causing can lull baby to sleep. When I'm at rest though, baby may want to create its own motion and because it's still rather small, there's a lot of room inside me for it to do its acrobatics. I'll find out today for certain how big it is, but it should measure about 6" from head to bum, or 10" if you include the legs :) Awww!

The moment I realized I hit the halfway point, I couldn't help but make the analogy to running. I remember in my marathoning days, that people told me the stress of a marathon is like labour, and I heard many other marathon/pregnancy analogies. The thing is though that in any race, any training run even, the moment I reach the halfway point, I manage to relax mentally and tackle the second half with confidence. The moment after the halfway point means that I'm more than halfway there. It means that whatever I have endured already is all I have to do moving forward. The second half may be harder to complete, but the successful first half is proof that I have the ability to endure. At a marathon, I celebrate at the half marathon mark - I mean one should celebrate reaching 21.1km anyway, so why not pat yourself on the back at that point in a race. But I do this at the 10.55km mark of half too, or in a 10K, 5K, or any training run too. It's my way of slicing the distance in half mentally. I just have to deal with half of the distance, and the rest after that is the home stretch.

So yesterday, in the spirit of  reaching the halfway point in my pregnancy, I ran an out-and-back training run of 6km along the seawall in Vancouver. I started in Yaletown and turned around when I reached 3km on my watch, at 2nd Beach in Stanley Park. I made a point of stopping to celebrate that I'd reached my halfway point of this training run and took a few photos to mark the occasion. My pregnancy support belt has a pocket in the back just big enough for my phone :) The location and the weather couldn't have been more perfectly beautiful to take in!

Another cool thing happened the other day while I was working a shift at the Running Room. A woman came in to look at shoes and told me she's 20 weeks pregnant. I was wearing a very baggy shirt so I pointed out that I was too!  Our due dates are a few days apart, but it was so lovely to have another pregnant runner to share experiences with. She too has been running consistently like I have been, and she too had been experiencing the dull achy abdominal discomfort post running. I felt like a hero by telling her about my research into this and how I discovered the pregnancy support belt. Since buying the belt, every run I have done wearing the belt has meant zero discomfort after. I recommended she consider it for herself and she was thankful. We both agreed that it seems like running this far into pregnancy has us a bit of a minority. We're both the same age and in our first pregnancy too and talked about how being active is the best thing we could be doing for our unborn children. I didn't take her name or info, but I will be thinking of her in the coming 20 weeks!

So that's all for now. Gotta get myself ready for the ultrasound :)