Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Meet of Miles

            2013 is a very different year for me. At this point in my season I typically would have already traveled to California a few times to race and would be gearing up for the end of my season and USA’s. I have yet to do a single track meet and I do not plan on traveling to any big meets to race. My plan this year is all about staying healthy and doing some fun runs and then next year try to get back to my previous form. This may seem strange to some who do not know me as last year was my most successful year in my running career culminating with my making the Olympic Trials. But this year I am gearing up for a completely new challenge, becoming a mother.
            I am enjoying the process but I would be lying if I told you I do not miss racing. I love competing and watching my friends and family race is keeping me fired up and eager to jump into a race where I can get my “fix,” the runners high if you will. I love road racing, don’t get me wrong, but there is something about the track that makes me feel fast, something magical that happens when I step on it.
            Some of you may be reading this thinking, “Yeah right.” Round and round and round with only left turns and not much change in scenery may not sound very appealing but believe me it is! The problem is there are not many opportunities for runners to lace up their fast shoes and test themselves on the track.
            This is where the Meet of Miles (M.O.M.) comes in. July14th at the West Seattle Stadium in Seattle, you have the unique opportunity to experience the thrill of track racing by testing yourself in the mile. You can even see how you stack up against the elite athletes who will be putting on a show later in the evening by pitting themselves against each other to see just how fast they can go.
(Roger Bannister breaking the 4 minute mile)
The mile is the premier event in track and field, not too short and not too long. Just enough suspense to leave the audience captivated as the story unfolds in just over four laps. The perfect combination of speed and stamina, the mile is exciting. At tracks earliest beginnings the mile was the race that brought the crowds, testing whether or not athletes could break the once deemed impossible 4 minute mile. Since the era of Roger Bannister and John Landy who were some of the first to break the barrier, the current mile record is an astonishing 3:43 held by Hicham El Guerrouj. But the event is not contested as much in track and field. Now athletes will typically run the 1500m but for fans that can be hard to relate which is why Club Northwest’s elite athletes are working to bring back the mile and get fans excited about track and field again.
Club Northwest is putting on the M.O.M. and like the name says, it is a meet full of mile races on the track. People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to come out cheer, have some fun and see just how fast they can race this distance. The event will have a barbecue, goodies, t-shirts, fun events for the kids, and of course racing, lots and lots of racing.
I plan on being a part of this fun event whether that is in me trying to waddle my way to a “pregnant mile PR,” or volunteering. I am eager to being a part of the excitement and world of track and field again and I encourage all of you to give the mile a shot. It is a fun race and I bet you will come away from the event full of new memories and smiles.
It has taken me many years to develop into the runner that I am today and I could never have reached my goals alone. I have had lots of support from friends, family, and various sponsors including Club Northwest and I know next year and the years leading up to the 2016 Olympic Trials I, along with my teammates, will need all the support we can get to reach our goals.
The Meet of Miles is being put on to help support your local Olympic hopeful athletes. The event is nonprofit and the funds will go to help these athletes with travel and competing costs throughout the year.  Many of Club Northwest’s elite athletes balance their time between work, training, coaching and volunteering and the M.O.M. is a way for you to be a part of their Olympic pursuit.
So come join us this summer for an event you are not soon to forget!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Growing, Growing, And Growing!

(Enjoying a beautiful Easter Sunday with Levi)

            You may notice a change in topic in my blog this year. You will see less writings about my races or times as the only “racing” I may do will come in the form of a fun run but as a female athlete I want to give you a glimpse into the next stage of my life as I try to figure out how to adapt to all the changes. I hope you enjoy coming on this journey with me and I look forward to the future and the different athlete I will be next year! I can’t say exactly what the future has in store but right now I do plan on continuing to train post pregnancy. When will I come back to my previous form? I have no clue, but I am going to enjoy figuring that out as well.
            Now onto the present. I have hit the half way mark in my pregnancy and things have been going well for me thus far. I am learning a lot about my body and feel more in tune than ever when it comes to training while being pregnant. Well, I am not sure if I would classify my running as “training.” When I think of training I envision a goal race or time or something “big” I am trying to accomplish athletically. But I do not have this in my future. Instead I am trying to keep my body as healthy and strong as I can so I will be able to endure what is likely to be the “biggest” event of my life thus far: having a baby. So in that sense, I guess I am still in training. It is a very different type of training but mental and physical preparation none-the-less.
            Even when I am sitting at home or doing tasks that prior to this year would be very easy my body is working harder than ever. Without my doing anything my body is changing and adapting to grow this new being inside me and that is wild! No wonder I need so many naps!
            For the first few months I did not notice a change in my easy run paces. Things still felt easy. Now almost 5 months in I am beginning to slow down. I can tell if I start to push my body too hard as I will start to notice my face feeling “hot” (in the Seattle 50 degree weather) or I may feel very slight abdominal cramps. My midwife tells me this is completely normal and not to be concerned about the light cramps that go away after I am done but she did tell me to make sure I slow down! My body is under a lot more stress as ligaments loosen and things stretch out. Plus my runs now are with me carrying around 15 pounds more unevenly distributed weight.
            I have yet to try any pregnancy running belts but I may invest in one as I get heavier and things get a lot more uncomfortable. I have talked to my other running friends who have had kids and some never needed the belt while others couldn’t run without it. I guess it all depends on how you are carrying your weight. I feel most of my pressure down low in my pelvis so I bet the belt will help.
            Not to be too graphic but I have a new understanding as to why longer shorts can be a blessing while running on a treadmill. Two parts to this equation, bigger thighs and sweating more equals a need to use Aquaphor so I don’t chafe! I have since invested in what I call “mom shorts” for my runs. Ones that offer a little more coverage and protection from my own skin! Luckily the weather is getting nicer outside where I do not have this problem. There’s just not enough air flow indoors.
            I am still doing two strength sessions a week and I really enjoy them. The one thing that took some getting used to is my decline in pull-up reps. Before pregnancy, my max was 13. I would often do 2 sets of 10 or so depending on the day. Well since being pregnant I have watched this number go down drastically and it is exponentially getting lower with each passing week. Two weeks ago I did 5. Last week I stopped at 3. I will keep trying each week but I have accepted this and now, after swallowing my pride, use the assisted pull up machine after I “max” out.
            But all joking aside I am learning a lot about my body and really err on the side of caution when it comes to my working out. Some elite female runners are able to continue a fairly high workout volume but that wouldn’t work for me. I have had a complete mental shift in how I view my training. In the past if things felt achy or stiff or I felt a little tired that was never reason enough to take a day off or change my workout (to a point) but now I am the first to throw in the towel. It is easy for me to not feel guilty or lazy as I am not thinking about myself and my own goals but my little baby GIRL I have developing inside me! I think this mental shift will help me when I come back to competing. As Ryan Hall once said, “It is better to be 20% under-trained than 1% over-trained,” and my little girl is keeping me in check.
(A little spring softball with family)

*Let me know in the comments if there is anything specific you would like me to answer when it comes to training and pregnancy. Or if there is a blog topic you would like me to touch on. I am still very new to all this but I would love to offer my experience thus far! If you are newly pregnant and a runner a friend gave me a book I really enjoyed reading called, “Exercising through Your Pregnancy,” by James F. Clapp III.