Tuesday, April 30, 2013

That time I tried to keep up with a race walker

For reals.

Within the first mile of the Eugene Half Marathon, I found myself passing a race walker. He was drawing many comments from the spectators, "Look at that guy! He's walking - FAST!" "Whoa! Did you see that fast walker? Crazy!"

At this time, I was keeping pace with training partner SL and JustTryingKim. I thought I could keep up, after all my last long run 2 weeks ago went great. And then I realized, things had changed a lot in the short time since then. I dropped back and ended up holding a steady pace that let me breathe comfortably, especially given the warmer temps.
Me & training partner SL who rocked the full course
In addition to keeping pace with the race walker, I was keeping pace with a long-haired barefoot guy who elicited a lot of cheers from the crowds, "Barefoot! WOW!" "Man, you are a badass!" "No shoes guy!"

But let me tell you, a 22-week pregnant lady makes the crowds a bit quiet. "Go race walker! Go barefoot! Go --." silence. Do I make people uncomfortable? Sick? Confused?

Running Eugene was great. It's a scenic, PR-inspiring course that certainly makes you contemplate all the great runners who have cruised the quiet streets and paths of Eugene. There will be many other reports about the course and race organization itself. I loved it but spent much of the time in my own head. I was doing fine though definitely concentrating more than normal on my body up through mile 9.

At that point, the little dude started doing some strange stuff on my right side. I stopped to walk and catch my breath. I ran again. Still feeling strange. Ok, adjust the brace. Ok good, running again. Feet hurt, time to walk. I think I'm good, let's start up again. And so it went between miles 9 through 11. Also during this time, I started playing mind games with myself.

Should I really be running this?
Of course, you trained smart and you're resting when you need to.
Maybe little man is telling me he's not happy with all this?
You just talked to the doc about the race this week, all is fine. 
Maybe he likes this? 
Am I hurting him?
Ok, there is no logical reason why what I'm doing is bad. I'm following all the rules. I'm just psyching myself out.
Am I putting my own ambitions above what is best for baby? 
Not according to recent research, my training, and doctor.
I should just stop.
Maybe I need some fuel? I'll try some of this Gatorade. Ew. No, that was nasty. That's why I don't drink that stuff. Maybe it's the Gatorade that is making him kick like this? All those trashy chemicals in it! 
Silly, that was such a small amount of Gatorade and no, it's NOT toxic. Where did your toxicologist brain go? 
You can do this. Just relax. It's going to be ok. 

And so, back & forth I went in my head as I alternated between walking and jogging.

Finally at mile 11 the kicking in my right side subsided and I resolved to focus on the positive. I needed to appreciate every step of this 13.1 miles because I have no idea when I'll be able to run like this again. Even after I recover physically from child birth, finding the time and energy to start running again will not be easy. Once I start building up my running again, it may still be longer before I can log double-digit runs.

When I heard the Duck band playing as I passed through the Hayward Field gates, I knew I had made it. I was elated. I hurt. I was in disbelief. I had never struggled more. I had never questioned myself more.

As I crossed that finish line, I cried. I don't know if I've ever cried when finishing a race. I was relieved. I was proud. But mostly relieved that I had survived the whole thing.

After receiving my hardest earned medal ever, I spotted Kim and L. We made our way through the finish area, me in a daze and trying not to just blubber all over the place.

For the next couple hours, we watched our friends finish the full marathon. It was a great day for everyone, including a 2-minute PR by Jess and SL finished this 9th marathon with her third best time. I was SO VERY HAPPY to see SL finish strong, after going through those training runs (mostly) together.

Today I am tired. That run took a lot out of me and I'm happy to take a break. For now, a few race-day photos. More Eugene-related fun to come later this week...

Snap shot of Hayward Field mid-run
Co-worker & friend who flew out from Denver to run with me (full marathon)
Co-worker friend & her friend who both rocked their marathons around the 3:30 mark.

Post-race bliss. I love the contrast between our bellies in this pic!
Pre-race, BLOGGY ladies & friends: Giraffy, L, me, Kim, SL, Becca, Jess


  1. Well done, that is awesome! You did so well and should be very proud of yourself. We have some very serious walkers here in SA and they walk marathons in around 3:30. They are all world class 50km walkers that do that distance in sub 4 hours. They often train at our road races. I was at university with two of them and have since been friends with walkers always.

    1. That is impressive indeed - that walking looks so difficult and yet they are so speedy! He was quite friendly and I was happy to see him again at the end to congratulate him.

  2. I love the contrast between your baby belly and B's badass abs too.
    The more I think about what you accomplished at 22 weeks, the more I think you really were crazy to attempt this! You were so casual about it all...I can't even imagine running one step pregnant.
    Thanks for making the weekend so much fun...I'm so glad you were there.

    1. Thank you for being such a wonderful host ALL WEEKEND LONG!

  3. Wonderful job! You look fantastic - I wonder if people even realized you were pregnant and maybe thought you just have a bit of a tummy...because a 22-week pregnant lady can't be running a half marathon!! Some silly fast walker, some silly barefoot guy, heck, you are MAKING A PERSON while you run! Talk about super powers! Great job, I am very happy for you.

    p.s. no offense but I would love to have your coworker's tummy and would eat nails before I'd have another pregnant-belly tummy. :) But I love that picture and think you look gorgeous, happy and healthy.

  4. You rock the most!! So glad I got to see you!

    (PS - this picture cracks me up with my abs of dough :D )

  5. I think you are so incredibly AWEsome for running 13.1 while prego. I can guarantee I would not have it in me. I'm sorry you had a mind-struggling race though... and can relate to that. I feel awful... I was so exhausted after my finish, I didn't even ask you about your run!!

  6. You did great! Love the pictures! What fun to have so many friends there.

  7. I think you did an amazing job just turning up to a half with a baby in you! But your time is amazing - did you really run 2h15m? That's about the same as my first ever half - and I wasn't even pregnant!
    Well done! :)

  8. I've also been amazed at how fast some people walk (there is even a name for official fast walking--"race walking")! On April 20 I got "left in the dust" by walker on my first full marathon--I was thinking maybe I trained all wrong! (What happened is I started out training to run, but then a knee injury kind of happened...then both knees began to bother me plus my back...so I ended up doing the "old lady walk!" Now I'm not doing much of anything, but at least I finished that whole 26.2 miles for once in my life!) Congrats for doing this half in an excellent time! I think you'll be back to running "in no time" after your baby is born, because I know lots of "mom runners" in my area who are doing just great!

  9. i would think people would be cheering LOUD for a pregnant lady, strange. I love how you reminded yourself to enjoy the run since you don't know when the next time is you'll get to do that distance- we often take things for granted so I'm glad you were able to just revel in the moment. Great job!

  10. Funny that people didn't know to say to the preggo lady. I'd be pretty excited to see you if you were in my race or I was spectating :). So fun with all your friends on board for some great adventures. You are looking amazing....the weeks are flying by! Way to go, girl!!

  11. when i saw your time, i was AMAZED!! i am proud of you for finishing. and little man finished his first race too :) thanks for keeping me in the loop during the weekend. I missed yall. So surreal to SL with all my blogger friends. kinda funny!

  12. I love this. Good job, mama!

  13. Congrats on your finish!

    For what it's worth, I've been reading/hearing that kicking is a good thing. It's when baby *doesn't* kick that you need to worry. I'll bet he LOVED the ride. :)