Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Returning to Running


I wondered, towards the end of my pregnancy, if I really had loved running or if it just became a habit of sorts. Would I find that when I was struggling more and not cranking out PRs that I actually didn't love it? It worried me a bit because running had been such a huge part of my day-to-day life pre-baby.

With the c-section, I was sidelined a bit longer than I had anticipated, though I really had an easy recovery from the surgery. Nonetheless, I waited until 5 weeks which was a week earlier than the normal 6 week guideline.

At 5 weeks exactly, we went out with the Bob, Husband and I, to attempt 40 minutes of run-walk intervals.

Day 1: 40 minutes, run 1 minute, walk 1 minute
Day 2: 40 minutes, run 1.5 minutes, walk 1 minute
Day 3: 40 minutes, run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute
Day 4: 40 minutes, run 7 minutes, walk 1 minute
Day 5: rest
Day 6: 40 minutes, run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute - started pushing the Bob myself
Day 7: 40 minutes straight running.

By the end of the week, I had crawled up to around a 10:30 pace. My lungs felt completely fine. Never felt out of breath in any of the above. Legs? Not as happy. On Day 2, it felt as if my inner thighs hadn't been used in years. Very sore. Weirdly sore. After my rest day, though, all soreness was gone.

After that first week, I started going on in the morning with the Bob on my own, and then in the evenings when the Husband got home from work (my first week of running was his last week of leave), I would run with him. By week 2, I was up to 26 miles with average pace improving to low 10s/high 9s pushing the stroller.

At the end of week 2 I was both impressed and discouraged. If that makes any sense. I was impressed that I could run those paces considering I hadn't run since June of 2013 and also had a baby via c-section just 6 weeks earlier. However, I was discouraged when I compared my paces to what I was running in February of that same year. I'm writing this at 13 weeks out, and I'm still feeling a little discouraged and unsure as to when I'll be running close to my PR times again.

8 weeks postpartum, 3 weeks back to running: 

At the end of week 3, I decided I was going to test myself in a 10K. The course was flat, and according to my Garmin, slightly short. I had made a goal of breaking an hour which would be a personal worst, but, hey, less than 2 months earlier I had major surgery, so I was trying to be realistic.

I went out at a cardio effort that felt more like half marathon pace than 10K. I was concerned about my incision - I really didn't know how it would feel. I ended up running 53:32 (which with the course short, probably would have been around 55 minutes) which was not a personal worst! It's still 8 minutes slower than my PR, but, again, I told myself to have some perspective.

10 weeks postpartum:

I went back to work. At the end of my husband's leave, I ordered a treadmill on Amazon - the ProForm 995c. I was unsure whether I would really use it - I hear that often: the Dust Collector Treadmill.

Turns out it was a good purchase for me. Sometimes, it's hard to leave when I'm not sure when the baby will be hungry, have a poop-splosion, or I just have less time to deal with the Bob (because I don't run with the Bob from my house. I have a massive - no. really. massive hill if I intend to run anywhere from my house and I am not pushing 35-40 pounds of stroller and baby up hills if I don't have to. So I drive 3 minutes to flat running trails).

With the time change, it's now dark in the morning so if I want to squeeze in some miles before 7am, treadmill is my only option unless I want to run with the stroller in the dark. Which I don't, so hamster wheel it is.

Today, ~13 weeks postpartum:

I'm about 6 pounds from my prepregnancy weight. I'd like to get down to 110, another 4 pounds, while I'm nursing. Then worry about the last 2-4 pounds when I'm not asking my body to make baby food. But I'm not stressing terribly about the 110 number at this point. 114 ain't bad.

This past weekend I decided to run a half marathon (St Patrick's Half Marathon in El Cajon) with a goal of breaking 2 hours. Around mile 8, I seriously questioned if it would happen. I didn't pick the easiest race - it was pretty hilly. We had a 2 mile long climb from mile 8 to 10. It was also pretty warm - near 80 degrees when I finished. And I had only run 12 miles the weekend prior so the 13.1 was the longest I had run since May 2013.

I managed to pull it out with lots of bargaining with myself as I shuffled up the hill. I wanted to walk badly - my legs were aching! I haven't felt like that in a half marathon in recent memory. Like going back 3-4 years, I can't remember that feeling. It was akin to the end of a marathon. Clearly I need to continue working on my base. I finished 1:56:3x (don't remember exact number). Not a personal worst. I'll take it.

The key thing I've realized over the last 8 weeks, squeezing in two a days, finding time here and there to jump on the treadmill, is that I do, in fact, love running. Even if I'm not running as far and as fast as I used to. It's ok! At least I get to run!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Instead of paying attention to the Super Bowl, I figured I'd write about the Tiny Human.

I didn't have a "birth plan" except: avoid c-section. That was it. I didn't want a mirror to see the baby crowning (Good Lord. Just no). I fully planned to get an epidural when the pain got bad enough. If I got past my due date, inducing was fine by me. But as they say, birth plans get thrown out the window, and that was the same with mine even if it was almost non-existent.

Because I'm "old" I got to have weekly non-stress test appointments including ultrasounds measuring the amniotic fluid. At 36.5 weeks, I had an "olympic sized swimming pool" as the doctor put it, with 23 cm. The average number is 10-18cm. When you get to 30 cm, OBs will often induce early or by your EDD (estimated due date). I also was 0 dilated and 50% effaced. Basically not close to labor.

At 37.5 weeks, same deal. 0 dilated, 50% effaced. 24 cm of fluid. At 38.5 weeks I was 20 cm, no dilation. By 39.5 weeks, the fluid had decreased down to 14 cm, but again, no dilated and only 50% effaced. I was convinced I was going to have to be induced - my OB even scheduled me for the following week at 40 weeks 5 days. My due date 40 weeks, was Sunday, 12/15.

I decided to take matters into my own hands. My last day at work was 12/12. On 12/13, in addition to walking the dogs in the morning, I went down to the bay and walked 3 miles. I started squats throughout the day. Taking bromelain supplements (pineapple) from Trader Joe's. Went to Target, walked around picking up last minute items I might need while at the hospital. The following morning, 12/14, I was feeling a bit crampy and had some pinkish stuff (i.e. what is probably "bloody show"). I went for another walk around the bay with my husband and Dad around noon - another 2-3 miles. This time, I had to stop and squat every half mile or so because my back had started spazzing out. Turns out I was in early labor. I just thought my back was hurting from carrying around an extra 30 pounds.

The back pain moved to more of a menstrual cramp style pain. Now, I had Braxton Hicks contractions from 24 weeks on, every day. Sometimes every 6 minutes for several hours. Obviously never resulting in labor. So, these pains, while they hurt more than Braxton Hicks, I wasn't sure were actual labor. I started timing them and they were 3-4 minutes apart but they weren't getting any worse. So I convinced myself it wasn't labor. Around 4pm, more than 4 hours from when my back pain had started, I decided to time them again. They were getting to the point where if I was standing/walking, the pain would stop me in my tracks, but was still very manageable. At 4:30pm I told the Husband, "maybe we should pack a bag." About 10 minutes later, my Olympic sized swimming pool broke. Seriously. Grossest thing ever. I'll spare you the details.

For about 5 minutes I felt like a million bucks. I said to the Husband: "Maybe this is the calm before the storm." Holy Hell, yes it was. From that point on, contractions felt like the worst pain of my entire life.

We raced up to the hospital, I am still gushing water, sitting on a towel in the car. They get me into an L&D room ridiculously fast - probably because they can see that I am not handling the pain well. I immediately tell them I want an epidural and they move like wildfire to get my IV in, get my paperwork done, etc. So impressed. Before I get the epi, the midwife checks my cervix and that was probably the worst pain I have ever felt. It brought me to tears - like I could not stop myself from crying. The contractions, I could sort of bear down and grown/whine through. The cervical check? Nope. Excrutiating.

I am only at 1cm, almost 100% effaced. Seriously?!?!?!

The midwife tells me that she's sure once I get the epi, I'll dilate. Turns out she was right. Epi goes in (and it was relatively painless - epidural is the greatest thing ever) and one hour later I am dilated to 5-6cm. She was sure she would not see me the next morning when she came back for her next shift.

Turns out she was wrong.

Once I got to 6 cm, I stalled. No change for 2 hours. With my water broken, we had to get things moving, so Pitocin was started. It took another 9 or so hours to get to 10 cm. By the time I was ready to push, my water had been broken for about 14-15 hours. Often with that length of time, one's body temperature rises into "fever" territory. I was hovering just under 100F. At 101F, the baby will automatically be admitted to the NICU for 48 hours.

I proceed to push, for the first hour, it was not ever contraction possibly because the shift that was on was not very motivated because they were changing over during that first hour. My first midwife comes back, surprised to see me. We proceed to push every contraction. This goes on until the 3.5 hour mark. I am very aware of my temperature asking where its at when they take it. It gets as high as 100.4. The baby is handling the contractions fine but hasn't budged from station 0.5 or so. I am physically spent after 3.5 hours of pushing and decide that I can't possibly keep up that level of intensity for another hour and I would have to push that hard, or harder, if she hasn't moved. I don't know if she is stuck and decide that I want to avoid a NICU stay for her and tearfully throw in the towel, feeling like I am giving up. Everyone seems to be in agreement that c-section is the best bet. I was feeling like my body had failed me.

It takes another hour for the on-call doctor to see me and get prepped for surgery. In this time, my temp has risen to 101.6F.

I cannot tell you how awful I felt at this point. One of the main reasons I decided to go with a CS was to avoid the NICU. And now I couldn't even do that. Going into surgery knowing that your baby won't be with you when you get out very much sucks.

Surgery was uneventful for me. The only thing that freaked me the fuck out was that they over medicated my spinal. I could barely move my arms - they were numb up to my shoulders. Basically I felt mostly paralyzed from the neck down. They pulled her out and she had a pretty good cone head from the pushing - and for the record, babies look disgusting when they come out. They are not cute.

At this point, I knew something wasn't 100% right because it seemed to take a long time to get her to cry at all. Apparently, they had to use the c-pap for a bit to get her to breathe and her first Apgar score was only a 4, followed by a score of 9 at 5 minutes. So she completely recovered, but clearly there was both a long labor and possibly an infection affecting her. They propped her up on my chest for a few minutes, wrapped up, but I had no strength in my mostly numb arms from the spinal. I couldn't hold her which was an awful feeling.

She went to the NICU and the rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I don't remember how many hours passed before I got to see her. The next day we got the news they were going to keep her for a full 7 days for antibiotic treatment because she was having a hard time regulating her temperature and had 2 decels which the doctors suspect was from infection.

The rest of the week went by both quickly and slowly, if that makes any sense. It felt like forever before they would be discharging her but it also felt like a blur. I was discharged after 4 days (though I was probably ready to go after 2 days - I wasn't taking any pain meds by the next day and was walking around, back and forth to the NICU). Thankfully, this hospital had a boarding option on their top floor for parents with babies in the NICU. I was able to stay in a pared down hospital room for the remaining 3 nights so that I could nurse her. It was an exhausting, sleepless week.

By day 4, Elise was perfectly fine. She had gotten back to birth weight, 7lbs 3 oz, by day 5 (by day 8 at the pediatrician, she was 7lbs 10 oz and 20 inches, up .5 inches in length in a week). Day 7, exactly one week after she was born, we got to take her home.

So yeah.

I had prepared myself for the potential of a c-section because I'm a small person (5'0") with a tall husband (6'2"). I figured she might not be small. I did not prepare myself for the NICU when the whole pregnancy the baby and myself had been nothing but completely healthy with zero complications.

Today she is 7 weeks, fitting in 3 months clothing, and probably 11lbs (she was 10.5 on my scale earlier this week). A big 'ol baby (60-70th percentile) when compared to me! As for me, I'm still about 8lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight. I go back to work at 10 weeks (I've got 3 weeks left).  I've started running again and even managed 32 miles last week. Slow miles, but miles, nonetheless. I've dialed back my expectations, but I did register for a 10K this coming weekend which will likely be a personal worst, but that's ok!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Three weeks of living out of suitcases…

Greetings from our extended stay hotel! The good news is that it appears this 3 week stint is coming to a close very shortly. Possibly as soon as Monday night! We actually closed escrow last Wednesday but because we had to do the sewer line replacement and then hardwood refinishing, we couldn’t just move in. Sewer guys finished up today and hardwood guys are supposedly going to be finished tomorrow! We saw the first coat today at 6pm when we dropped some more stuff off at the house. Our storage pods were dropped off  yesterday and we unloaded today into the garage (since the hardwood is not ready and we’re also going to be replacing carpet).

The last few days of escrow were a bit of madness because after I told our lender we wanted to close as soon as possible, it was a mad dash of emails, phone calls, loan docs, etc. It was the least smooth escrow closing I’ve had – this is number 4 for me. We also closed in 24 days including 14 days spent during the inspection due-diligence – had the house been in good condition (i.e. not having sewer, drainage, and foundation repair work), we may have been able to close as quickly as 20 days or less. We ended up having to do two separate meetings with the notary because the docs arrived in pieces (first loan came first, second loan came the next day). And our closing costs were more than the repair credit so there was complication there as lenders don’t allow seller credits in excess of non-recurring closing costs (so the seller wrote a check for the remainder to the sewer repair company0. But it all worked out even though we may have incurred more notary expenses, few more gray hairs, etc.

Anyway, the house at closing (these will be good as “before” pictures because, holy shit, we have a lot of work to do):

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

And… We’re “Homeless”

Our house officially sold a few days ago.

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Today is our last day in the house – the new owners needed to be in ASAP and with a full price offer and a 30 day closing, we said “sure!” However, now I am feeling the pinch.

We have purged a lot. Yet, we still have a ton of stuff. I got 4 pods (the Door-to-Door ones, 7x8x5) and, sadly, it wasn’t enough. So we had to get a storage unit and now we’re shuttling stuff there (and too Goodwill) all weekend hoping that the storage unit is also big enough (sigh).

We’ve got camping chairs in the family room, and a small TV sitting on the coffee table that didn’t fit in the pods. Our bed is an air mattress. I am so ready for this to be over!!!

The dogs will be staying with my parents who finally got home last night from their 4 month annual stay in Italy. Welcome home! Here are two crazy Australian Shepherds! Thanks!

We had an offer on a house we liked, but it had quite a bit of deferred maintenance (like ~20K, including asbestos and needing a new roof). The sellers were unwilling to credit even half on just the roof and asbestos (never mind the other stuff). So we cut our losses of $1200 in inspection and appraisal fees and walked away. The day after we sent the cancellation over (I guess they thought we were bluffing), they offered almost half. But my mind was already made up, even if they had come back with 100% of what we asked – as a neighbor put it: “it’s bad juju.” Still waiting for our earnest money to be returned, but I won’t get into that rant here. It’s a big chunk of change (more than our buyers put down, total, on our house).

We were lucky enough to find something the same weekend we decided to walk away. It’s not even a week into escrow yet, but we are hoping to close early since we got nearly all the way through underwriting on the first house (now if only we could get the return of the earnest money from escrow done in a more timely fashion! Argh!). It’s “extended stay” hotel time until we close on the new one (and possibly a bit longer because it’s an older house and has hardwood floors under the carpet - I want to get those refinished before we move in).

And in case you are wondering – tiny human is doing fine and routinely kicking me left and right. I will be happy when she has her own body, free and clear, and I can have mine back!

Friday, June 28, 2013

I’m Still Here… But Not So Much Running Going On

Alright folks. I didn’t fall off the face of the earth. I haven’t fallen in a ditch.

Running? Not happening so much right now because I’ve got a 4 inch human (of the female variety) currently residing in my lower abdomen. Yup, no more DINK status for us in about 6 months. I figured, I was getting kind of old (just turned 35) so I’d better get on it before nature took the option away. Sorry I don’t have a cute little reveal picture – it really isn’t my style.

I WAS running a whole lot more until about 4 weeks ago. I ran Ragnar at 6 weeks along – our team placed 3rd in the open submasters group. Had I been able to run my no-baby 7:30 pace we might have gotten second. There was only about 15 minutes between 2nd and 3rd, and then another 15 minutes between 1st and 2nd. Oh well. I kept my pace such that I never had to breathe through my mouth – which at that time was 8:45-9:00. A week later, I ran the La Jolla Half slowly (40 minutes slower than my PR), and then finally, at 8 weeks I ran the Safari Park Half (30 minutes off my PR). By the time I was done with those races I was so over running. It’s really not fun running paces slower than what you’re used to. It’s actually kind of boring. When you’re pushing it, it’s distracting in a good way. When you’re just trotting along, it’s pretty tedious.

After I finished those races, I knew I wasn’t going to run any more races pregnant because it wasn’t all that fun.

Anyway, about 4-5 weeks ago, my gut instincts told me that I needed to sell my damn house and not be driving 50 minutes each way to work (and my husband too, with a similar length commute) dealing with daycare and a baby. Thus running has been replaced with “finish every half-done project and put the house up by mid-July”.

It’s been a major pain in the ass. I feel like a project manager, dealing with delivery schedules of windows, carpet, hardwood flooring, landscaper, chasing down companies that can make me small-ass retrofit windows for the bathrooms, planning out weekends (and weeknights) in order to get it all done by our self-imposed deadline. We’ve hit some snags like when Jeldwen lost our window order (awesome), and then when I screwed up the measurement of one of the windows upstairs. Not ideal. That mistake really chaps my ass because we’d be on schedule otherwise (I can’t help beating myself up about it – I’m as hard on my self as I am on the windows company delivering them nearly 3 weeks late).

The real estate market is looking good but mortgage rates took a pretty big jump in the last month so I’m hoping that isn’t too detrimental to the plan. We’re not going to get what we paid for it (in fact, we’ll probably be selling 40-60K under what we paid, not counting the money we put into it on updates – we’re probably closer to a 80-100K loss). I just hope to get out a reasonable amount of equity to roll into the next house which will be smaller, older, and probably cost 200K more (sigh, living in San Diego proper isn’t cheap, but the 15 minute commute will be worth it).

Tomorrow I’m volunteering at the Harding Hustle 50K – that race was a bull-buster last year (over 90 degrees when I finished – 7000 feet of elevation gain) so I felt like it would be nice to help out because it’s looking like another hot one this year for runners. Apparently record highs in some parts, so I’m guessing it’ll again be over 90, maybe even getting close to 100 when the middle of the pack is finishing. It’s my first time volunteering at a race – I’m kind of excited even if I have to get up before 4am (my shift starts at 5am and I live an hour south). Looking forward to giving back to the running community!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Last Minute Marathon

About a week after I got back from the UK, when it became clear that this cycle was a bust as far as Project Procreation, I said “fuck it, I’m going to go run IMS Arizona.”

Now some us (ahem, SkinnyRunner and Lisa) can run marathons in back to back weekends, but, generally speaking, this is not smart for most of us. In fact, it’s arguably foolish to PR attempt more than 4 marathons a year.

But I was feeling stubborn and knew that if I didn’t run it, I’d sit there and wonder what if I could have broken 3:40. I’ll spare you the suspense: it didn’t happen.

It went something like this:

Weather at the start was perfect. I was on pace – in fact, a bit ahead of schedule through mile 20. The 3:40 pace group had caught up with me around mile 19 – I hung with them for through mile 22 or 23, I can’t remember. All I know is that around mile 21 my quads were seizing up. It had gotten warm – around 70 up from 49 degrees at the start – I was drinking much more water than I had at Carlsbad. In fact, I ran out of my belt stash and had to use water stations from 23 on.

Knowing that the marathon is in huge part, mental, I willed myself through mile 22 with a on-pace split. Seriously, I have never done this in a marathon where I tell myself that the pain is just a wave, it’ll pass, and force myself to ignore it.

However, at some point, the body will refuse to listen to your head. And for me, it happened en route to mile marker 23. I refused to give up. I knew that 3:40 was gone, but, dammit, I am proud of myself for not giving in and walking the rest of it. And I know I was giving all I had because around mile 25, I was feeling dizzy and my vision was a little weird (like I felt slightly cross-eyed and spectators looked kind of wonky). I don’t know if that means I was low on salt (I was taking salt tabs) or dehydrated or what, but something in my electrolyte/water balance was off-kilter.

My pace slipped from 8:20 to around 9:30. Interestingly, only a couple people passed me so I think the majority of the finishers around me were battling in the same way. Maybe it was the dryness or the swing in temps from start to finish but the end was rough. The best kick I could muster was something around an 8:40.

Now, whoever did the timing of this race, screwed something up. My gun time was like 3:44:08. I didn’t start at the front. My garmin had 3:44:06 an I stopped it a second or two late. When I walked passed the results, it had me listed with a 3:40:14. Um. no. I told the girl at the solutions desk and she really didn’t seem to be of help (I think she was just a volunteer – not necessarily knowledgeable in race timing). Later in the day, they posted two sets of results. One appears to be gun time where I am listed with a 3:44:08. The other has chip time and split times, that one has the wrong 3:40:14 with what seems like an accurate half-time split of 1:49:02. So, part of me is kind of glad it didn’t work out because I’m not sure they are going to be able work this out correctly – everyone will be stuck with gun time, looks like.

Am I disappointed? Yes, but not entirely. I still managed a PR on sheer will power. I got to meet The Skipping Pixie who busted her ass with her husband in the full. I also got to see Becka!

Lessons Learned?

  1. I am able to push through pain better than I thought.
  2. Three weeks is probably not enough time between marathons unless you are running one of them for fun. Trying to PR in both is a recipe for disaster for most humans.
  3. Feeling how sore I am today (this is the sorest I’ve been post-marathon since 2003) I know I need a proper 3 week recovery.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Let’s Start with Carlsbad

Before I move onto the UK. I know, like two weeks ago but the trip ate up a week and work has continued to be flush with meetings which means I am scrambling to complete actual work.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had some apprehension around Carlsbad. We had barely managed to squeeze in two long runs and they were backed up to each other 3 and 4 weeks before the race. It could have been worse, but it certainly could have been better. Saturday morning rolls around, I have my coffee start packing for the trip. Husband is still in bed and informs me his head is throbbing, he has the chills – basically he is sick. The flu at that point had been taking people out left and right.

Queue freak out and texting with Nicole who told me to quarantine him (jokingly, of course). I was missing the first day of meetings in the UK for this race, worked hard to squeeze those long runs in, had to sit on a plane for 11 hours (red-eye which sucks), and then needed to contribute in a coherent manner in discussions while jetlagged… to say I was concerned is an understatement.

I started pounding every vitamin, vitamin powder, tea I could find. Zinc lozenges every 3 hours, vitamin C and Echinacea, vitamin B, my daily vitamin, Nuun all-day because it has vitamins – ANY WAY TO GET IN THE FLU-SHOOING VITAMINS.

I didn’t even have wine or beer (!!) at dinner I was that worried I would wake up sick.

Either the vitamins worked and my immune system is badass, or God decided he didn’t want to make my life miserable for a week in a foreign country because I woke up fine other than 4am grogginess. Carlsbad’s marathon starts at 6:15am so even though I live 7 miles from the start, I still have to get up super early.

I met Nicole at the porta-johns which were blissfully un-crowded. I heard that the half marathoners were not so lucky but that’s what happens when something like 10K do the half and only 2K do the full. Running the half in the future will be tough sell for me – the full is so much easier, logistically. And you get extra swag (last year a hat, this year a jacket – both pretty good quality).

We hung out with Pam and her husband who came to spectate (how awesome is she?) and then found our way into the start chute. It was still sprinkling a bit (it had rained in the days before the race) and it was dark but we decided to toss our throwaways there rather than keep them on which was a good call. Pretty much right on time, after another interesting anthem rendition (can they just get someone to sing it normally?) we were off.

The first few miles Nicole and I had to consciously work on keeping an easy pace. We had intended for ~ 8:45 the first few but we ended up clocking 8:37 in mile 1 with a 90 foot climb and then 8:29 with a 108 foot drop. After that we were pretty consistent with 8:40’s in the early miles.  The key to this race, in my opinion, is holding back a bit through mile 9. Reason being pretty obvious:

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Splits 1-9:

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Those first 9 miles went by really fast. It felt like 30 minutes had elapsed when it was well over an hour. That’s the good thing about having a buddy to run with. By the time we got to the half, I was feeling pretty certain we were going to finish together.

I was dutifully eating my blocks every 2 miles (speaking of fuel, they had so many gels at more places than I can remember), Nicole was smiling and thanking volunteers (because she is one of the the nicest/friendliest people I know), and hoarding the free gels (including one for me). Frugal Running Mama is her other name. We had random conversations with ourselves and other people. We spotted other faster bloggers on the opposite side of the road. And we were gradually picking up the pace – I’m not even sure it was planned as much as it was a subconscious agreement.

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Around mile 14 the course merges briefly with the half marathoners who are usually running a faster pace – it is easy to get pulled along too fast, unknowingly. Last year I had merged with the 1:45’ers. This year, we merged with the 1:40’s (we spotted the pacer). Before seeing the pacer, I felt like they were going fast and, well, they were running in the 7:30’s, so, yeah.

We made it up the pain in the ass hill at Island Way and shortly thereafter split from the half marathoners. Signage was much better this year than last – last year I think there were quite a few marathoners that turned with the halfers. This year it was totally obvious we had to go straight.

We got some headwind here and I started to wonder if I was going to be able to stick with my running partner. I think we were both having some self doubts because once we made it past the La Costa hill (it’s not a huge hill, but at mile 18, it’s not small), we both commented that miles 16-18 messed with our heads.

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At that point, I felt like we were on autopilot. It wasn’t easy, but it just sort of happened. Maybe it was from training together for much of the last few months since Nicole moved to North County, but we just picked up the pace and hammered it out.

Though mile 23, the marathoners were spared the annoyance of weaving through half marathoners. I think that partly why our splits through mile 23 look a little better than mile 24 and 25.

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We were cruising – painfully after 20+ miles – but cruising nonetheless. Then we were thrown into the masses.

The unfortunate part of running in the 3:40-4:00 range is when you merge the second time, that is where the bulk of the half marathon finishers are: 2:00-2:20. It’s the most crowded and they are running more than a minute per mile slower. It’s a pain in the ass. This year I knew it was coming so it didn’t affect me as much, mentally. But it didn’t  help the fact that I always run longer than 26.2 at Carlsbad. Tangents thrown out the window.

The final miles were rough and we just gutted it out. Best way I can describe it.

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PR by a 1:20! I think I ran 3:46:45 at Wineglass (easier course, too).

Three years of Carlsbad medals:

carlsbad_medals_2013

I like the ribbon on the 2013, but the medal itself is pretty boring. I think my favorite was definitely last year’s.

A little useless pat on the back I give myself is that had the BAA not changed then qualification standards, this time would have qualified me for 2014 Boston (35-39 was 3:45:xx, not 3:39:xx). Though I tend to agree that maybe the bar was too low – barely getting in our long runs and the both of us would have BQ’d. So, yeah, I guess I agree with the change, if slightly begrudgingly.

I hung around about 15 minutes with Pam, Nicole, and her super-nice fam, but had to high-tail it home to finish packing for our 6:30 LAX-LHR flight…