Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sports RD Race Report: 23 Weeks Pregnant and Racing a Hilly 5 Miles

This past weekend I was fortunate to be able to run the Downers Grove 5-Miler at 23 weeks pregnant. What made this race more special is that this was actually my second time running the race while pregnant. My first time was in 2012 when I was 25 weeks pregnant with my first child. This time - at 23 weeks pregnant and exercising much less frequently than with the first pregnancy - I was excited and curious to see how I would do. So here it race report.

Night before: Saturday
This will not be the epic example of a night before race meal for two reasons:
1. A 5-mile race does not require epic eating the night before - though should still be well-rounded.
2. I was at a wedding.

-Salad with dried cranberries, walnuts, shaved Parmesan and a light cream-based dressing.
-3 ounces chicken, 1/3 cup mashed potatoes, roll and some type dough with mushrooms stuffed inside. Asparagus was also served, but that is the one vegetable I cannot make myself enjoy.
-To drink was water and a small amount of diet coke. No alcohol for obvious reasons, though I wouldn't have anyway.
-Dessert was (yup) cake with a few fresh berries along with decaf coffee.

Sadly bedtime was midnight (boo), but that's the cost of going to a great wedding!

Morning of: Sunday
Up at 5:50am
Breakfast at 5:55am: Two pieces of whole wheat toast with 2 Tbsp peanut butter and 1.5 Tbsp honey; 8 ounces skim milk; 3 cups water before I left the house

6:10am: Left the house and drank 2 cups water on the way

6:35am: Arrived on-site. Picked up packet. Back to the car for a final 3 ounces of water.

6:45-7:15am: Warm-ups, stretching, strapped on my belly support band, multiple bathroom breaks

7:20am: 2 ounces water from a cooler for participants

7:30am Race Start
My goal for this race was 45 minutes flat. I had previously run a 42:59 in 2012. At that time, I was exercising 5 days per week, including lifting 2x/week. Unfortunately I was also suffering from shin splits from that belly hanging out in front of me and extra weight overall. Fast-forward to this pregnancy where I have been exercising maybe 3x/week but running exclusively/only while pushing my 20-month old and controlling my dog who trots along beside me. No shin splints this time, but some extreme calf pain. So, weighing all that, I determined that beating the 2012 time was not likely.

As I started the race, I had to hold myself back from my usual sprint start. I knew if I started TOO fast, I would run out of steam too quickly. My first mile was 7:45....faster than what I meant to do, but definitely not close to my non-pregnant 6:30 typical first mile. So I intentionally allowed myself to slow down and just run my race. Those who know me will realize how difficult it is for me to allow others to pass me and pull my pace back. But, I can honestly say I could not have run any faster than I was, even at the pace I held. With each mile, the pace got slightly slower, but stayed close to the 8:15/8:30 mark. My severe calf pain disappeared around mile 2.5 just as the hilly course turned flat until mile 4.25. Right around mile 4.25, my body decided it was time for the race to be done - likely because the rolling hills returned. Luckily right at that moment, a chiropractor I know who had just finished the race appeared and began cheering me on. That encouragement got me through that last 0.75 mile as I approached the finish.

Seeing the finish line was phenomenal. I somehow picked up the pace slightly (it's all relative, right?) and ran it in down the homestretch. Being able to see the time clock for the last 300m or so was actually helpful motivation to get me there faster. I crossed the finish line at 41:47...significantly improved from my 45 min goal time (which - lets be honest - was probably being a bit conservative for my competitive spirit). Mile pace was 8:22 vs. my typical 7:30ish non-pregnant mile pace.

Post-race fueling included 1 bottle of water, 3/4 bagel with part cream cheese and part peanut butter, 1/3 banana and 2 slices of orange.
Closing Thoughts
Overall, it was a painfully great pregnant 5-miler. I thought it would be my last race this pregnancy, but who knows. A 5K in July sounds kind of nice...

Be Extraordinary,


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