Thursday, July 21, 2016

Siren Freedom Five 5K 2016 (Poopy Feet)

Siren Freedom Five 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 12:19/mile

Husband to son: "There's poop on your foot!"

Me, thinking to self: This is how this race is going to start?  Really?  *sigh*  Mom of the year award over here.


As I stated in my previous race recap, race day preparations sure have changed for me now that I've got a kid to manage.  I can honestly say worrying about who has poop on their foot would never have been anywhere near to a concern of mine on race day prior to 2016.

Mom life.

Yes, I'm laughing at myself.  Don't take this too seriously.

Anyway, on 4th of July Monday this year, I again found myself getting ready for the Siren Freedom Five.  This was officially my 5th year of running this race, with previous completions in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015

Like some of the years previous, for the big race I decided to give the Statute of Liberty costume a rest and wear my Wonder Woman dress.  But, unlike years previous, I had a new little firecracker accessory to add to my pre race photo op - check it!


Also new for this year was a 2 man private cheer section.  How cute is this?

Anyway, back on track with the race recap.


It seems like every year this race is a steam bath.  In fact, that's exactly why I skipped running this in 2012.  So imagine my surprise on race morning when it seemed like we had a relatively cool morning with pleasant temperatures in the forecast.  Score!

Enjoying the nice weather and my own personal support group, I arrived at the start point for this 5K in a fairly pleasant mood.  Poopy foot aside, of course.  And don't worry, we came fully prepared with a diaper bag, so that poopy foot was quickly amended.  Moving on ...

Per the usual, as I approached the race area, people were causally milling around and the MC was making announcements / providing the typical entertaining banter pre-gun.  Since I had arrived with minimal time to kill, I said my goodbyes to my boys and slowly strolled over to where people seemed to be lining up to race.

Like I said last year - this race always proves challenging to seed at, since many walkers participate that do not understand race etiquette and start towards the front of the pack.  And like last year - I was still not sure where to stand, especially since I'm at a pretty slow pace these days.  While I was milling around debating my start point, I noticed an elite runner at the front of the pack in full on Uncle Sam regalia - wig, top hat, jacket, everything! 

Dang.  I should have gone for the statue costume again.  How great of a picture would that have been?!  Next year, I guess.

Finally, knowing I was overthinking how to self seed, I just picked a spot and stuck to it.  As I did so, I was approached by a few ladies who complemented the Wonder Woman dress.  And in the second it took one of them to say "great costume", a light bulb immediately went off over her head.

Her: "Were YOU the Statue of Liberty last year?"
Me: "Yeah, I was.  I decided to switch it up this year and wear this instead."
Her: "Too bad!  Did you see Uncle Sam up there?  That would have made a great picture!"

LOL!  Good times.  I guess I'm kind of a local celebrity at this race now!

Somehow, the ladies disappeared into the crowd again and before I knew it, it was gun time.  Bang, time to run!



With my GPS watch set to 2/1 intervals still from the previous week's Rainbow Run, I went into this race with the intention of maintaining that interval for this run as well.  But of course, since this is a fairly well attended event (even more so when you consider the size of this small town), it didn't take much for me post gun to get swept up in the crush of the crowd.  Before I knew it, I was talking myself into just going for it and seeing how far I could run ... despite my complete lack of training and cardio endurance.

Thankfully, the cool weather held out, so my last second amendment to my run plan wasn't as dumb as it sounds.  I made it through my first mile without a hitch, and considering I hadn't run a full mile continuously since Mankato last year (or maybe even longer ago than that), I was pleased with my 11:37 pace.

Knowing I would never make it the entire distance running, at mile two I dropped back to somewhat of a 2/1 interval, but it was a little wonky.  Sometimes I missed a beep and ended up running 3 minutes.  At one point I hit the water stop and that threw of my timing, too.  In the end, I don't really know what mile two was like interval wise.  But who cares, forward movement was my only goal at that point and I was doing it.

Coming in to mile three, I was starting to realize maybe I wasn't as out of shape post baby as I originally thought.  Thinking maybe it was realistic to finish this race with another continuous one mile run, I went for it.  And sure enough, I did it.  Granted my second continuous mile was a little slower than my first, this time ringing in at 12:15.  But I was OK with that. 

Despite being happy with my pace, obviously I was a little distracted by the effort on that final mile ... I didn't even see my husband near the finish taking this picture:

Whoops!  Oh well.  It's the thought that counts, or something.

After I crossed the mat, a couple of ladies who came in just after me complimented me on a good effort.  I thanked them as graciously as I could, but told them that I was a little frustrated since I had run faster in years previous and was struggling since I had just had a baby a couple months back.  Frustrations aside, I told them that they were good motivation to me too, since we had leap frogged each other at mile 2, and I was honestly not sure I would beat them.  We both had a little chuckle about that and parted ways.

Declining the post race snack table, I wandered off to find my boys in the crowd.  After a bit of work, we found each other, and then headed home ... where I was greeted via email with my official results a few hours later:

Your official time was 38:16, a pace of 12:19 per mile.  You finished 231st out of 384 women and 38th out of the 60 Women 30 - 39.

While I know this is nowhere near fast, or in my historical performance anywhere near "good", I'm not going to worry about it.  Compared to my 13 minute pace last week, I was pleased to have been able to push out something closer to 12 this week.  And that's all I cared about.


Hm.  Usually I'm a little more graceful working this stuff into my recap, but I'm not sure how to fit this in this year.  So here's a foot note showing the race details. 


Oh!  Before I go, a note on this year's swag.  Remember how last year I commented on the lack of patriotism in their shirts and suggested a design something more like this?

Look at the 2016 shirt!!!


Gotta love it when people take constructive feedback to heart!


Oh, one more cliff hanger for those wondering.  Yes, Uncle Sam finished in full costume.  And I heard he came in around 20 minutes, or maybe even sub 20!  Yowza!


And that's the story of how race bib #70 joined my collection - here's to another race soon ... which as I hinted at in my previous recap, is already on the books ... so I guess I should really just change this tag line to: stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rainbow Run 5K 2016 (Back At It)

Rainbow Run 5K (3.15 miles) *short course
Average Pace 13:01/mile

Aw yeah.  Rainbow Run.  My alma mater of 5K races.  You may recall I'm a founding racer for this event.  Every year since the beginning, I have run this race:

Like I mentioned in last year's recap, it seems like every year I've done this race there's also been a major movement happening in the gay rights arena:

2011 - the first year of the race
2012 - race theme "wedding party" ... the conversation for marriage rights begins going mainstream
2013 - wearing my "vote no" shirt, gay marriage not yet legal in MN (legalized August of that year)
2014 - with marriage finally legal, things were more playful on race day, so I chose a "seems like a lot of work for a free banana" tank, though many other states were still battling out marriage rights
2015 - finally the supreme court stepped up and said enough already, everyone can get married

So you'd think with 2015 we'd have finally been done with gay rights battles ... or at least take a breather for a year.  But no.  2016 came along and we had to start talking about who can pee where. 

Really?  REALLY?!

In absolute disgust, I was kind of tempted to buy this shirt to wear to the race:

Unfortunately, I didn't end up in that.  George Takei was behind the 8 ball, so delivery would take place AFTER pride, and I needed something NOW.  Instead, my sister and I settled for a modified version of 2015 - just switching out last year's InkNBurn shirts for this one:


And so the story begins.  Outfit planned, we prepared ourselves to race.


Having a 2 month old on race day (more or less 2 months) sure makes race morning a different experience.  Instead of just trying to focus on getting myself up and out the door come 6-7 am, nowadays I have to plan out an entire feeding and changing schedule ... for someone else who is quite a bit more work - AND poopy, might I add.  Lucky for me, my husband was willing to play limo service this year, which helped my sister and I out quite a bit and really offset my added time of child management on race morning. 

The above changes meant that at about our normal time on race day, instead of our usual park and bus process, my husband actually drove us directly to within a block or two of the race start.  There, we said our goodbyes and he headed off with my son to our super secret finish area parking.  Meanwhile, my sister and I headed to Boom Island Park.

Being a super efficient mom who is GREAT at leading by example (I am being sarcastic), I had yet to eat my "breakfast".  That meant that as we walked to the check in area, I ate a banana as fast as I could and hoped for the best.  You will notice I forgot to plan any water.  That was a bit of a problem, but being it was too late at that point, I just dealt with it.

Since the majority of the folks showed up at the same time as us, my sister and I took advantage of the fact that everyone was in line for bib pickup and instead headed to the fabulous FLUSHING toilets that are available at this race start.  And yes, you may recall from previous years recaps, there is also a sink with running water and soap to wash your hands, so that's a real treat. 

Our arrival strategy worked out wonderfully, as there was a HUGE line for the bathrooms once we exited, and we pretty much waltzed right up to check in as most were done picking up their bibs as well. 

After a flawless check in, we milled around the park and people watched as we waited for the race to start.  In reality, that wasn't much time at all, since we arrived about 15 minutes prior to gun time, and the race pretty much started right on schedule.

At the gun, my sister and I happily gelled into the mid/back of the packers and started off on the course.


Our goal for the day was to stick to a 2/1 interval - 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking.  Being that I was just over 2 months post baby and my sister hasn't been training much either, we were hoping that this interval would allow us to maintain a reasonable overall pace without handing us our asses. 

As you can see in the chart below, we were PRETTY honest to that 2/1 interval, and managed to maintain a fairly constant pace throughout:


Keeping to the interval was easy from an automation perspective, as my somewhat "new" GPS watch (which I bought over a year ago but haven't used much due to injury and pregnancy) has a programmable setting that allowed me to "set it and forget it".  The watch beeped happily every 2/1 minutes, so our effort to maintain our goal interval was pretty brainless.

The hardest part about sticking on task to the interval was more from a pride perspective ... and not the rainbow kind.  When you know you used to be able to run multiple miles back to back, it's a little hard to admit you HAVE to stick to an interval or you'll burn out come mile 3. 

But in reality, when you consider just over 2 months prior I looked like this:

Well ... the fact that I was back at running at all was pretty darn good.  So I forced myself to suck up the ego and just stick to the plan.  Which in the end was pretty easy to maintain, since we completed the course with very reasonable results:

Now yes, I could technically count the above as a negative split.  But for a couple years in a row now my GPS has measured this course short.  So I'm going to decline claiming that accomplishment since this doesn't appear to be a true 5K ... not that the distance really matters, since we never do this race for speed anyway.  But whatever.  No negative split for me.

Instead, let's just focus on the post race swag - which was pretty sweet.  There were plenty of healthful food options this year, and a new option when it came to a finisher's T: choose your color! 

Shirts were available in 1 of 5 rainbow colors (purple, blue, green, yellow, red - I don't recall seeing orange but I could be wrong).  My sister and I both chose purple:


Oh!  As you can see in the above photo, also included in the take home "swag" was a pair of pretty nice looking socks from OUTLOUD Promotional Products and NGLCC.  Sweet!

After grabbing our swag but declining food, we rushed away to find my husband and my son - because of course, I a hot date planned with a handsome young man and a plate of scotch eggs!



You may notice the above recap is somewhat lacking from an experience and detail perspective. I do apologize for that, but ... well, two things.  First of all, I waited too long to do this recap, so the finer details of the day are a little lost to me.  Second, I've done this race so many times now that the notable experiences of race day are starting to become ... less notable ... to me.  I guess what I'm saying in a nut shell is, if you want more details on what the race is like from a experience/culture perspective, visit some of my older recaps (all the links were provided at the top of this recap).

And that's the story of how race bib #69 joined my collection - hey, that's an appropriate number for pride weekend, LOL!  Anyway, here's to another race soon ... or three, since that's now backlogged I am on race reports. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

These Last Three Months

Ok, so I have to admit it's been a LONG time since I've seriously updated this blog.  I know I've done a few quick blurbs here or there, but the last post of real substance ... yeah.  It's been A WHILE.

Since I don't really know where I left off, let's see ... where do I pick back up again?  Well, let's just start with the last three months. 

First of all, obviously, this happened (hence the reason for my absence):

And then, in celebration of no longer having to manage my blood sugars (at least in that moment), this happened:

Eek.  That's one bloated face.  Sorry.  Blech! 

Anyway, speaking of blood sugars, most of you know I was diagnosed in my third trimester as a gestational diabetic. If you didn't read that post, go ahead and click over there it to get up to speed. 

If you're wondering where I landed with all that, here's the update: after giving birth, initially my blood sugars were a little high.  To make matters worse, at my 6 week postpartum appointment, by A1C blood test looked borderline high as well.  That meant I got to do another blood glucose blood screen. 


Yet another nasty bottle of orange drink later and a huge delay from the testing lab (seriously, blood sugar test results SHOULD NOT take a week to process), I ended up testing out diabetes free.  Phew!  What a relief. 

I guess if I take nothing else away from that entire experience, I do have one claim to fame: I have now done every glucose test known to man - the 1 hour, the 2 hour AND the 3 hour.  If that's something to brag about.  (Pro tip: it's not).

After finally knowing I was diabetes free and approved by my doctor to start back at the gym, I shifted my focus back to eating a reasonable diet (including cake - on occasion) and trying to get back into shape post baby ... which will hopefully circumvent the elevated risk I have of becoming type 2 diabetic in the future. 

Yes, you read that right. Six weeks post baby I was back to teaching one night a week at the gym.

Whatever, I managed a car trip to Chicago for a wedding when I was 2 weeks post delivery.  That made going back to the gym seem like a piece of cake.


Of course while we were in Chicago we had to stop and see the bean, right?  But I digress.

So ... lets see.  I covered birth, my gestational diabetes, the wedding, getting back to the gym ... what else?

Oh, well as you saw in this post, we did our first race cheer.  That was at 3 or 4 weeks post delivery.

Speaking of races, I actually "ran" two 5Ks already since having the baby (I use the word loosely - we're talking a 12-13 minute per mile pace).  Plus, we took our first family bike ride not too long ago, too.  Which means in terms of being physically active, I've done pretty much everything I did pre-baby aside from get back into the pool ... which is coming maybe next month, since I have too many things on the agenda right now.

Before you pass judgment on me jumping right back into being physically active, do re-read what I stated above (and I'll repeat it here): my doctor approved everything I did during and after my pregnancy.  And I don't regret one thing that I did physically during this entire pregnancy / post birth recovery cycle.  I say that because being so physically fit was a HUGE help in the delivery room (hello - I was admitted for delivery at 1:30 in the afternoon and the baby was born at 9:30 pm ... that is NOT normal for a first time mom).  And beyond birth itself, getting back into being active has been great for me as well. 

Why?  Well, because as of about 2 weeks ago - I WAS ALREADY BACK TO MY POST PREGNANCY BODY WEIGHT.  Granted, I am nowhere near as toned as I was when I first got pregnant, and I was carrying a bit of extra weight at that point that I was trying to/still need to work back down.  BUT WHO CARES?  Two and a half months post baby and the scale is where it was pre-pregnancy?  YASSSS!!!

Aside from my general physical health, there has been other fun stuff, too. 

Like ... well, I took a night off from mommyhood about a month post baby where my sister and I had a belated birthday party for me.  Yes, we saw BeyoncĂ©.

And yes, I spent $45 on a crappy concert tee.  Don't judge.

And of course, in the last three months, I took TONS of time to be with my new BFF.  While I won't be posting much of him on this blog, I do have to say - he's a pretty cute baby (even if I AM a little biased).

So that's about it.  The highlights reel of what I did on maternity leave.  Which leaves me with two race recaps to get up to speed on, a third race I'm about to head out to this weekend, and a world of discussions that I may or may not post about being a mom - cloth diapers, working out post baby, etc.

Anyway - that's about it for today.  I hope you all had a nice last few months as well, and I look forward to getting back into a more regular blog cycle. 

See you here next week!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Guess Who's Back ... Back Again

Yep, I'm back.  Tell a friend!

Just like all good things, my official maternity leave has ended and I'm back at it in the real world.  Where the heck did the last three months go?!  *Sigh*

On the plus side, since I've been gone, I've done 2 races and collected a plethora of life experiences via my new baby boy.  So in the next month, I'll have lots of stuff to talk about.

While I'm gathering my thoughts and getting myself organized in the next few days, here's a little something to keep you going.

Hope you had a great 4th!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Another Quick Update

In case you didn't figure it out, the baby arrived about 2 weeks ago! He came a week and a half early, but everyone pulled through happy and healthy. 

More info to come in the future weeks once we settle into a schedule. For now ...