Running through Pregnancy – Part 4 – the 3rd Trimester

This is the 4th installment in a series of posts related to Running Through Pregnancy (Part 1Part 2, Part 3)

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Running during the third trimester was like being on a rollercoaster – some days I felt great and could run 8-10 miles; other days I had to stop and walk after 2-3.  I quickly learned to enjoy and be thankful for the good days and not let the “bad” days get me down.

My pace continued to slow down – my “easy” runs were probably between 9-10 min/mile.  I say probably because I stopped wearing my garmin on my runs – I found that I was concentrating too much on the number on my wrist instead of more important things like maintaining my balance. I wanted the runs to be relaxing and enjoyable and didn’t want to feel disheartened when I felt like I was pushing myself only to look down and see a pace I was not accustomed to running. On average, I ran between 20-30 miles/week during the last trimester.  My “long” runs were between 8-10 miles until week 34; after that they decreased to 6-8 miles.  Thankfully, I was able to run up until the day before I went into labor – I had gone on a slow, easy 5-mile run outside on Friday and by noon on Saturday was in labor!

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    How did you do in 2011?

    Photo Credit - visitfortwayne.com

    With only a few days left in 2011, it’s normal to reflect upon the past 12 months – smile with the good, hope to learn from the bad, and decide upon some goals for the upcoming year.

    After reading [and loving!] a similar post from Miss Zippy, a fellow blogger and FitFluential Ambassador, I decided to share these questions [and my answers] with all of you.

    • Best race experience? NYC Marathon! I participated in the 5 Borough Challenge with 4 other runners. We got to start the marathon an hour before the rest of the field, and run the course on empty streets.  The best part was having my son and husband standing at the finish line waiting for me to run through the tape – I’m not sure any future racing experiences will ever top that!
    • Best run? A one-mile run five days after my son was born. It felt SO good to run with considerably less weight (~20 pounds) than on my previous run (one day prior to his birth).  I felt like I was flying!
    • Best new piece of gear? Saucony Run Vibe beanie – keeps my whole head warm on early morning winter runs.
    • Best piece of running advice you received? If you aren’t in pain during training, how will you know what to do when you experience pain in a race?
    • Most inspirational runner? This year, it was Desiree Davila and her 2nd place finish at the 2011 Boston Marathon
    • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Never Stop Running =)
    • What are a couple of your major goals for 2012?  Run a sub-3:10 spring marathon and complete my first Ironman

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      Having “me” time does not make me a bad mother

      I’m a very happy stay-at-home mom. I LOVE spending each day with my little man [and I’m beyond grateful that I have the ability to do so]. But a recent trip to the gym made me realize [once again] how important and necessary “me” time is on a regular basis and that I’m still struggling with this concept after 11 months of being a new mom.

      This past Friday, I wasn’t in the mood to battle the winds on my run (30+ mph winds) and since my husband was home from work for the day, I decided to go to the gym. I had this amazing sense of freedom as I drove along Hylan Blvd, singing to Christmas music on the radio. I wasn’t worried about waiting too long at a red light (my son is great until we stop at a long red light) or preoccupied with singing nursery rhymes to keep him entertained. I wasn’t looking in the rearview mirror every 45-60 seconds to check on him (okay, maybe I still was – but that’s only because it’s habit).  It was extremely liberating to know that I was alone and driving someplace to do something that I wanted to do.  And I was going to be alone for the next two hours! JOY!

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        First speed workout in a LONG time!

        When I was deployed to Iraq, I began doing my speed workouts on a treadmill – we didn’t have access to a track and I found that running on a road was too dangerous for me.  There was quite a bit of vehicular traffic (and not just “regular” cars – HMMWVS, up-armored vehicles, and other large trucks were primarily what would drive by me on my runs) and I didn’t want to have to concentrate on anything except pushing myself when I was doing the speed workouts.  I got used to doing these workouts on the treadmill and had a very hard time doing them outside this summer/fall when I was training for the NYC Marathon. Truth be told, I didn’t do them religiously enough to see any sort of improvement.

        Well, as some of you know, my husband and I bought a treadmill for Christmas (our gift to each other).  Today was the second day I’ve run on it and I decided to do one of my favorite speed workouts – 3x mile, 3x 1/2 mile, and 3x 1/4 mile repeats.  (*Favorite is a relative term since I definitely don’t enjoy the workout while I am doing it).  After the mile and 1/2 mile repeats, I jog a 1/4 mile recovery and stretch/drink water for 1-2 minutes.

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          Treadmill Workouts to Get You Through the Winter Months

          **This post was written for and featured on FitFluential‘s blog: http://fitfluential.com/2011/12/treadmill-workouts/**

          During the warmer months, I do almost all of my runs outside – regardless of how rainy, windy, or warm it may be, I gladly battle the elements over running on the treadmill any day .  However, I find myself logging many more miles indoors once the cold weather hits and the icy roads, sleet, and snow prevent me from completing my scheduled speed and tempo runs.

          It has always been extremely difficult for me to get on a treadmill and just run.  The clock never seems to move and I am constantly tempted to stop when I get even the slightest bit out of breath.

          I have found that if I have a workout to focus on [rather than just run for X minutes or miles], then it’s much easier for me to stay on and finish the workout/distance I had planned on.  Three of my favorites are: Ladder, Sprint and Lunge, and Fun with Hills.

          1[a]. THE LADDER

          – Designed as a 60-min interval training workout (not including warm-up)

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            Have you ever been in a running slump?

            Still fairly clean after 1 mile

            My son can better articulate what I was growing through

            My late summer and early fall months were filled with dreams of winning the Foot Locker 5 Borough Challenge.  Visions of participating in and completing my first ultra. Excitement of racing again after giving birth to my son earlier in the year.  With all these fun, challenging events, it’s easy to see how I was able to happily log hundreds of miles, day after day.

            But, after the highs of representing my borough [Staten Island] at the NYC Marathon and my first dabble with an ultra distance on November 19th, I found myself in a MAJOR slump Thanksgiving weekend.

            I had no desire to run. NONE It wasn’t just a day here or there. I’ve dealt with minor hiccups in my training before.  No. This was much worse. This was a string of mornings where I literally could not pull myself out of bed to run even a few miles. And when I would force myself to dress and head out the door, I felt terrible and would return after a few, short miles.

            What was going on with me?

            It was a huge letdown to go from viewing an 8-mile run as “a short run” to being happy that I managed to run a very slow 3 or 4 miles.

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              Gear Review – Saucony Transition Sportop II

              One of the things I enjoy most about other blogs I read is the “Gear Review” section.  It’s great to read a description of a product on the internet or even a short review a user will be kind enough to fill out, but a lot of times, you don’t get all the information you are looking for.  However, most [if not all] of my questions pertaining to fit, sizing, and performance are usually answered when I read the lengthy and informative reviews by fellow runner bloggers.

              I purchased the Saucony Transition Sportop II about two weeks ago and was itching to receive it in the mail.  I am slowly building my winter wardrobe since I will be logging many more miles outside in the winter months this year (I do not have easy access to a gym).

              I was looking for a long-sleeved running shirt that could be worn several ways:
              – Alone (temps in the 40s)
              – Over a base layer (temps in the mid 30s)
              – Under a jacket or warm outer layer  (temps below 30)

              The Saucony Transition Sportop II does all of these!!

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                Staten Island Trail Festival 25k

                Not too dirty yet!

                If I had to sum up my experience participating in the inaugural Staten Island Trail Festival this weekend in a few words, it would be:

                I.  Love.  Trail.  Running

                I would never leave the trails if I could.  But  since I  also enjoy road racing, I can’t get on the trails as frequently as I would like.  I am known to be somewhat of a klutz and find that “hitting the trails” often has two meanings for me (Thanks, Doug for this!).  Therefore, I usually wait until after my racing season ends to get on the trails.

                The night before the race, I received an email with the course description: The 50 K and 25 K are technical courses with exposed tree roots, rocks and lots of ups and downs.  There is approximately 2,300 feet of gain for the 25 K course. The trails, as of November 20, are in great shape. There are several street crossings, some of which will be monitored by volunteers. It will be the responsibility of each runner, however, to ensure a safe crossing.

                The weather could not have been more perfect.  Although the forecast initially called for rain on Saturday, we were blessed with clear skies and a calm breeze.  The 25k and 50k runners started at 8am with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees.  I opted for shorts and my new Saucony Transition Sportop II with gloves and headband (with my Sparkly Soul headband underneath).

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                  Five Tips for Achieve a FitFluential Balance During the Holidays

                  All ready for my husband's holiday work gala!

                  As a runner, I often use running analogies to put things into context.  I view a calendar year the same way I view a marathon.

                  If you’ve ever hit the “wall” during a marathon, you know how painful the remaining miles can be. They never seem to pass and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to move any faster.  You spend the last few miles wishing you were more focused and dedicated with your training and swearing you’ll never run another one.

                  You wish you were able to finish strong.

                  Similarly, I don’t like ending the year in a rut – whether it’s pertaining to my running, diet, or overall lifestyle.  No matter how great the whole year was, if I’m in a downward spiral the last few weeks, it causes me to view the entire rest of the year as a letdown. And all I want is for the year to be over.

                  You wish you were able to finish strong

                  The ideal marathon is one where you run negative splits and cross the finish line pushing your hardest. The last few weeks of the year should end the same way – you should try to FINISH STRONG and cross the finish line (New Year’s) with a smile on your face, pleased at the hard work you put in.

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                    Running through Pregnancy – Part 3 – the 2nd Trimester

                    4 mile race @ 24 weeks

                    In case you missed it, Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 can be found here.

                    By the end of the 2nd trimester, I was averaging between 30-40 mi/wk while running anywhere from 4-10 mi/day. My “easy” pace had begun to slow down – instead of an 8:30 pace, most runs were now around 9:00 min/mile. I had heard numerous times that the 2nd trimester was the honeymoon phase of pregnancy…after experiencing it, I could not agree MORE!  For most of the 2nd trimester, I was able to run 6x days a week and was actually running more at 25 weeks then I was at 10 weeks. My belly was slowly growing, but it was still small enough to not get in the way while running.  The occasional nausea I felt in the 1st trimester was gone and my energy levels were through the roof.  There were days where I felt like I could run forever – and I often turned planned short runs into long, slow ones (upwards of 10 miles) because I felt great. 

                    Races I completed
                    Since I felt so great during the 2nd trimester, I decided to sign up for a few local races.  I ran the Fitness Mind, Body and Spirit 4-miler in Central Park with my girlfriend in September and the SI Half-Marathon in October.  
                    My husband and family were leery with my desire to run the latter.  I promised that I would keep my pace around a 9:00 min/mile and would stop at the halfway point to eat to ensure that I was properly fueled for the long distance I was running. I also promised that if I felt or experienced anything that didn’t seem “normal”, I would immediately stop and call it a day.  This was not the time to do something stupid.  After discussing my plans with my husband and family, they were much more understanding and supportive of my desire to run the half-marathon! I had no time goals – I just wanted to run at a comfortable pace without pushing myself too hard.  

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                      Santa is bringing my son a doll?!?

                      The boy doll my son will be getting

                      My husband and I are joyfully celebrating our first Christmas and holiday season as parents.  We refer to our 11 month old son as “little man”.  He has started doing things that we envision young boys doing – he kicks the soccer ball around the apartment when he walks, he runs from room to room (he started walking at 8 ½ mo), and he seems to have a real interest in climbing onto things (his favorite is the shelf in the fridge).

                      We started looking for gifts to add to his Christmas wishlist over two months ago – gifts that would be found under the tree from Santa and from his grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins.  There are many traditional toys for a young boy on our list – some arts and crafts, sport-related items (t-ball set, soccer net), a beginner race car and track, a tricycle, motorized 4-wheeler, building blocks, and sand table, to name a few.

                      However, after spending an afternoon with my 3 ½ year old niece, a lightbulb went off in my head.  She has always been so gentle and loving towards her younger, smaller cousin (my son).  I never gave it much thought as to why she is so great with him as there are likely many reasons (she’s being raised well, she’s surrounded by lots of love and family).  But I watched her play, care for, and love her family (more like an army!) of dolls and realized that her exposure and introduction to them from a young age could possibly be playing a part.

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                        Christmas List for Runners

                        Since the holiday season is upon us, I decided to do a Christmas Wish List for Runners – things that your runner friend, sister, husband might like for Christmas this year!  


                        Under $25
                        – Add a little sparkle to that special woman in your life this holiday without spending hundreds of dollars!  Sparkly Soul Headbands are a great accessory for any runner looking for a functional, yet flattering headband.   Check out my review on Sparkly Soul headbands.  Headbands cost $15-17 (depending on width). 


                        Nuun optimal hydration is an easy way to stay hydrated.  The tablets dissolve quickly in a glass of water, taste great, are low in calories, and contain a ton of electrolytes.  It costs $24 for one box (4 tubes=64 tablets), but if you order more than 1 box, each costs $22.  *Free shipping until Dec 9th


                        – My husband purchased a Road ID bracelet for me when I was pregnant – it was one of the best gifts I every received.  I now wear it on every run I go on.  It contains your vital information (name, who to contact, phone #s) that can be used in case of an emergency while you are out running.  They range between $15.99 (for the slim – pictured below) to $29.99 (for the elite version).

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