Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Baltimore Half Marathon Recap

Back in the day, I used to carefully plan out my meal the night before and after any race, attack my pre-race hydration with a vengeance, spend the week before in compression socks, that's all over. I remembered I should be drinking more water Friday at lunch (although hydration is one thing I'm actually good at 24/7). After work, my friend and I met for happy hour. Sort of. We met at the McDonalds playplace, because it turns out there's an awesome one a mile from my house that I've never been to. But don't worry, I didn't actually get to consume anything I bought there (just a fruit smoothie, I was really just using them for toddler entertainment).

This guy took it all. 
She asked if I was carb loading and I was like ehhh I'll probably just have some leftovers. But then Eric texted and suggested we get pizza from our favorite place and he would pick it up so...anything in the name of race preparation.

Mainly I was concerned about pumping, because what else? In my case, I wasn't worried about Royce having enough milk, because we had enough in the fridge that I'd pumped Friday at work. The concern is just dealing with my own body. 

Here's a quick tutorial, for those unfamiliar. 

  • While breastfeeding, your body is constantly making milk.
  • That milk needs to come out at regular intervals, one way or another. 
  • Whether or not it comes out, it still continues to be produced. 
  • If you don't remove it somehow, your boobs just get larger and harder, not unlike small canonballs attached to your chest. 
  • Canonballs are very uncomfortable in general, and running with them is essentially hell.
Think of it like peeing. If you're about to go into a situation in which you have to hold it for a long time, you want to get everything out as close as possible to the beginning of this holding period. Unlike peeing though, where you can just stop drinking and keep it at bay, the milk just keeps building up no matter what. 

Somehow we've derailed and this race recap has turned into a very non technical lactation 101 tutorial. Anyway, that's why my concern was pumping rather than what dessert to eat after the race. To make this even more complicated, in addition to the confusion of approximately 25K runners descending on a city with very limited public transit, something called Fleet Week was happening, so a ton of roads were shut down. The race start, about 10 miles from my house, was now something like an hour away with no parking. To pump, drive an hour downtown, get to the race start would have put me at something like 5-6 hours without any relief and that's much too much, and as I've previously stated, I was not going to be pumping during the race because I'm not trying to go viral as a ZOMG #MOTHERRUNNER.

Thank goodness for amazing friends. Not only did Jackie sign up for the half as soon as I told her I was running (she's training for the Marine Corps full marathon in two weeks!), she and her husband also moved their cars out of their garage the night before the race so that I would have somewhere to park, and so would Eric when he brought the kids to the finish.

Ok, the actual recap.

But first, the medal.


The half starts at 9:45am which is fantastic because I didn't even have to set an alarm. Royce woke to eat about 5:15, and usually once I'm up past the 5am hour I'm up for the day (except I can't seem to wake up to my alarm during that hour to exercise....weird). However, I managed to fall back asleep and slept until 6:45. Glorious. I was totally refreshed and got some time to sit around snuggling my baby and drinking coffee.

At 8, my friend Mandy (who was running her first marathon and did AWESOME) arrived at my house and we headed downtown to navigate the craziness of traffic and police checkpoints. It all worked out, I parked in Jackie's garage, pumped at her house, and her husband drove us to the race start. We arrived about 5 minutes before the first wave of runners (the fast people) started, and it was absolutely perfect. 

Even had time for a picture. 
While I do love small races, this is one big race that I love, parking nightmare and all. When you cross the start, music is blasting, confetti is thrown, and there are tons of people cheering. It's pretty exciting. I also love that I've run the course a million times, both in previous years doing this race, and also on training runs. I know what to expect. The whole city comes out and cheers and it's just fun. 

As far as the race goes, it was perfect. I stuck to my strategy of not wearing a watch, so I had no idea of our pace. I felt like I was pushing it, but we also could maintain a conversation (which we did, the entire 13 miles). We walked through all the water stops, so I used the same mental strategy as I used to during ultras - just focus on getting from one stop to another. Other than that, no walking! We did take one bathroom break. I feel like I don't have a ton to say, since my goal was just to finish, it wasn't a crazy PR attempt or anything. I did have one awesome moment when I saw the mile 5 sign when I had been sure we were at mile 4. We both kept saying how we couldn't believe how fast the miles were flying by (fast referring to our perception, not actual pace). 

Sounds cliche but before I knew it we were at mile 12. The race finishes through Camden Yards, the baseball stadium, which makes you feel like a celebrity. Jackie pushed me to "sprint" at that point, and I was dying (but of course I was glad after). As we approached the finish, I did get juuuuust a tad choked up, because I truly wouldn't have though I could run a half marathon 5 months after having a baby. 

We finished in 2:17! A good half hour slower than my glory days, but I feel good about it, and it leaves plenty of room for improvement.

I was sore after I finished, but I didn't feel like I was going to die, so, win. We hung around the finishers area, found Mandy, and Eric met us with the kids. I was definitely on a post race high. We walked back to the car and Dalton demanded that I carry him the whole way (which I secretly loved since he is in a bit of a daddy phase currently), so I got a good upper body workout too.

These two.
After the race, we got to watch the Blue Angels practicing from Jackie's rooftop deck. They're navy planes that go faster than the speed of sound and perform all these amazing tricks and do shows. Possibly the coolest part of the whole day. Dalton loved it.

The rest of the day, we just hung out and played at home.

It's not always easy being a #motherrunner, and I just need to say that there is NO way I would have been able to do this if I didn't have a #fathersupporter. Eric totally supported me and encouraged me every step of the way. While training, Jackie commented that she was impressed that I always seemed to be able to meet whenever/wherever to get our long runs in (her work schedule is waaaay more intense than mine), even with two kids. It's because I wisely chose a baby daddy who's just as much of a parent as I am. I've struggled with how to say this because it gets into that prickly territory of praising fathers for just doing the bare minimum to keep their kids alive. I truly hate that. But on the other hand, I am in several way too many Facebook mom groups and I constantly see posts from women talking about how they have to do all the childcare, their husbands don't know how to do basic parenting duties, etc. So while I'm certainly not saying that's what makes Eric a great dad (he's a great dad for so many other reasons), I do appreciate that when it's time to run, I can just...leave, and I know he's got it under control. I already have two kids and teach middle school, if I had to give directions to one more person in my life, I couldn't handle it. I'm not sure if that all made sense, how long can I cry sleep deprivation as an excuse?

TL:DR I appreciate my awesome husband continuing to be awesome.

Of course the question everyone has is...when's the next one? Honestly...I'm not sure. It was such a wonderful experience, both the race and the training. I really loved getting back to my hobby and feeling like "me" again, not just "Mom", since clearly I have been all consumed by motherhood. But actually racing wiped me out. Yesterday at work I was so tired it hurt. I'm really surprised how exhausted I've been since doing it. I'm thinking of aiming for spring, when Royce is older, (hopefully) starting to rely more on solids than on me, (REALLY HOPEFULLY) sleeping a little more? Maybe? And also at that point I'll be more in the swing of things with my new job. So we'll see. But overall, I rate the experience A++++.


  1. Nice work, lady! Such a #motherrunner, you are :)

  2. Where did you rank compared to other nursing moms? I joke.

    Glad it was a good race and fun day overall.

  3. awesome, AWESOME job to you and your friends! loved the recap, love this blog :)

  4. You rock! Absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  5. Great job! I ran my first half a year after giving birth to my daughter and I nailed it. :) So happy to have done that after what my body had done lol Also, I totally agree re dads and I am a lucky motherrunner too, my husbandsupporter is the best!


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