Running while pregnant…

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The holidays are full-on in motion and I’m over halfway through my 2nd trimester but I’m still running right through it all!

Last weekend was an amazing racing weekend in San Francisco, specifically in the Marin Headlands for the Northface Endurance Challenge.

I’ve ran this event 3 times now:

The Northface marathon in 2012

The Northface Gore-tex 50 mile in 2014

And the Northface marathon again this year.

The biggest difference this year is I ran the marathon at 22 weeks/ 5 months pregnant!

I have been blessed and lucky to feel strong, solid and energetic for most of my 2nd pregnancy, not unlike my 1st actually (which I ran Boston marathon at 23 weeks pregnant).

The Northface marathon is run on all trails, single-track and fire-road, some technical parts and over 5,000 feet of climbing!


  
So it’s quite different than a road race. But I am always up for a challenge and have the support of my OBGYN, husband, and awesome family and friends to do what I feel is right.


I ran in 4:29:10, 12th female and 4th in my age group, which is an awesome pace for this hilly, trail marathon and for carrying some extra baggage. If anything I felt under-trained in my legs, but never felt awful pregnancy-wise or cardio-wise. That all stayed fairly comfortable!


  

This pregnancy so far has brought me to the end of my biggest year in training and racing ever. It’s crazy to think the 2nd half of the year I have pretty much been pregnant and still running a lot of the volume I can normally handle, slower paces at times, but still enjoying ‘racing’ a lot too!

I’ve ran 2 (trail) marathons; the Golden Hills in October (and Northface in Dec)

2 (trail) half marathons; the Inside Trail Berkeley Half in September

The Inside China Camp Half in November

As well as a 5k road race (which I PR’d late in July)

The Mt Tam hill climb over Labor day

And my first cross-country race with my team (super fun!)

And a lot of training miles up and down Mt Tam, in the Headlands and all around.


  

I know as the year winds down and the kick off of 2016 will bring much slower paces and less mileage and I’m OK with that. But I am just enjoying all the moments of running and feeling great that I can right now because I KNOW it won’t last forever. I have 4 more months of pregnancy left to lighten up, so we will see what it brings.

I will say I was able to run up to days before my 1st was born, so I’m banking on the fact that I’m even more stronger now than I was 2 1/2 years ago to keep at it! But I’m always ready and willing to do what is best for myself and the little one I’m carrying.

Along with running, I complete a lot of strength/ weight training (3-4x a week), light yoga (2-3x a week), core work (very specific pregnancy friendly core-work), and a lot of post-run exercises with resistance bands, etc. I also ‘cross train’ with cycling and the stair-master in between run days. So I maintain a wide variety of activity, all along with running after a 2 year old toddler!

So just a little update on this past weekends great marathon and lots of kudos to all my friends, training buddies, teammates and all out there last weekend racing, cheering and volunteering! I’ll use this adrenaline and endorphin’s to get me through the end of the year!

My week of running…

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Happiest of Fridays!

I had a great week of running, for me, an average of 50 miles a week seems to be the sweet spot that I can maintain when I’m not training for anything in particular. (which I’m not right now)
My body stays fairly healthy/ injury free and I get in lots of trail miles and ‘easy’ road miles when I’m not training for a race, so it’s doable to keep a good base. 
I do have a couple of trail half marathons coming up in the next few weeks, but they are ‘for fun’ and nothing I can’t handle with a few days taper beforehand. 

I’m lucky to live/ run in a gorgeous area with trails and views that are quite enviable.

(SF and a peak of the GGB in the background) This week, amid some easy road miles, I fit in 2 sunrise trail runs: Wednesday at 5:30am and today at 6am. I run with a mixed group of runners (I’ll never run on the trails in the dark solo) and it’s really great QT to chat and start my day, especially because I don’t get to go into an office or work environment where I can talk with adults all day long! 🙂 I’m chatting it up toddler style at home instead. Running gives me much-needed sanity and patience for the day!

(Top of Mt Tam, view SE across the Bay)

Wednesday’s run was the classic Tam Summit, starting 2500 ft below the East Peak in downtown Mill Valley we climb 4miles up up up to the summit… in the dark most of the time!

  

But starting the run at 5:30am gives us enough time to get to the top (55min-1hour) and take pics and watch the sunrise over the Bay and SF. It’s breathtaking; each ‘rise is different.  

    

Then we get to descend a longer route to get in the remaining of our mileage for the day, 7 miles down Railroad Grade is easier on the quads and gives us 11 for the day- all by 7:30am!

Coffee and egg/ avocado sandwiches are consumed with happiness after a Summit.

 
Friday’s run is a bit of a ‘sleep-in’ start of 6am (I mean, it’s Friday!) and we ran the Ninja Loop.  It’s a loop through the Marin Headlands that was created by a group of runners who wanted to get in a quick(er), easily accessible trail run before work (start is on the NW side of the GGB- easy access for city runners and Marin).   

The loop is a total of about 2500 ft of climbing but spread out over almost 12 miles of up/down/up/down. A bit easier on the legs than a Summit but has its own challenges. The views make it worth the climbing! 

     These 2 longer trail runs, along with some easier miles in between, take me into the weekend with about 34 miles already!

I’m heading to Austin to meet the husband for a big work event he has, so I’ll fit in some 8-10 milers along the Lake, but nothing too aggressive or crazy.

It’s a kid-free weekend for us (a rare, rare occurrence!), so I’m going to enjoy the lack of responsibility and hopefully not see the sunrise 😉

What is your favorite time of the day to run?

Any running plans this weekend?

Happy Friday! (The 13th!) 

Total Body Workout 15 or 30min

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I try to get in some strength training 3-4 times a week, preferably right after a run. I will use free weights on my bench independently, complete a round of post-run ‘power’ exercises (I’ll share those soon), or some glute and hip work with a resistance band, core-work and/or a ‘boot-camp’ or ‘HIIT’ type workout to get it all in.

Below is a total body workout that you can do in 15min (1 round) or make it a 30min workout (by completing 2 rounds).

All you need is a set of hand weights (5, 8 or 10+lbs) and a clear space to get in this total body workout. Especially great right after you get back from a run and are already warmed up and ready for some additional work!

Total Body Workout-15 or 30 minute

Finding Inspiration

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I have had a huge 2015 in terms of running and racing.

PR’d in both the Half Marathon (SF Kaiser Half 1:32xx in February) and Marathon distance (Boston 3:15xx in April) ad well as completed the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge then 3 weeks later ran Rim 2 Rim 2 RIm in the Grand Canyon

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I ran my first Dipsea race

a 5k road race, first in a looooong time (another PR of 20mins at the SF marathon open 5k)

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The Mt Tam Hill Climb (first to the top wins!). As well as several trail races, half marathon in September and October, a trail marathon in October and my first cross country race with the Bay Birds racing team. Whew!!

Not to mention big changes coming with our family of 3 expanding (more on that in a later post).

I was just reliving my past 10+ months of 2015 and realized all the ways I find inspiration to continue running and achieving my huge goals.

I am lucky to have an awesomely supportive husband and I’m naturally a morning person, so I can get in a lot of training by the time the sun rises. As a mom and particularly a stay-at-home-mom, I have to fit in what I can before the day gets upon me.

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My inspirations include, my 2 yr old daughter and her never-give-up attitude, my husband and how hard he works for our family, my Mom who is going to be running her 2nd marathon next Spring in Big Sur under my tough-love coaching ;), many of my friends but specifically a friend who lost a lot last year and seems to pull through each day keeping her family afloat and herself sane. And thinking back on my HUGE and busy year of training, racing and adventures I am not afraid to say myself! I inspire myself in how I’m not afraid to take on challenges, push my limits and explore a new distance, race, experience.

I am proud of my 2015, I have a few more races the next 2 months to cap off my year and am excited on what 2016 will bring me as changes come in my life.

What inspires you?

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Real food, sunny days and a soup recipe

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I couldn’t agree more…
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Speaking of real food, all the veggies last night plus sweet potatoes and some grilled chicken…. Pretty much one of my fav meals.

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And the weather is almost too nice in January…

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Some sunny ‘soccer playing’ with my toddler…

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And another favorite soup recipe I’ve been eating all week! Easy to make a big batch and freeze for later too!

Springtime Minestrone soup

Serves about 6-8

Total Time: 6-8 hours (in crockpot)/ 1 hour or less on stovetop.

Ingredients:

1 sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
3 cups water
*8 ounces of uncooked ditalini pasta (I eliminate the pasta so the soup lasts longer- the pasta can make it too starchy over days in the fridge or freezing/ defrosting)
12 thin asparagus spears, stems removed and cut into thirds
1 cup of frozen sweet peas
1 (6 ounce) bag of fresh spinach
1/3 cup freshly grated romano cheese + more for topping
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add diced onions, garlic, carrots, the whole can of diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, stock and water to your crockpot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring once or twice if you can. Or cook on medium in a pot on the stove for 45mins or so.

About 10-15 minutes before serving, add in asparagus (I like mine with some crunch, add it earlier if you want it softer), spinach, peas and pasta. Cook on low for another 10-15 minutes then stir in grated cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. I used about a 1/2 teaspoon of each, but it will depend on the sodium levels in your stock, tomatoes, etc.
Serve immediately with additional cheese on top!

Here’s to a happy Friday, a great Super Bowl weekend and an awesome half marathon race on Sunday!

January Favorites

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Running, visitors, birthdays, and more!
I started off the new year with a great training plan that I created for all the races I have coming up later this Spring.(Boston, Big Sur marathons and R2R2R in the Grand Canyon). So far things are feeling great and strong running-wise and since it’s been a busy month, I’ve seen many 5am mornings to run.

January has been full of visitors, from my mom to my father-in-law from England. Celebrating birthdays (friends and my husband) And chasing after an energetic and challenging toddler. 😁

I’m doing a mini taper this week for a Super Bowl Sunday half marathon, the Kaiser Half, which is always a fun and a fast one. I may or may not be gunning for a PR!

February is right around the corner and plenty busy, with the start of Tuesday track workouts with the Bay Birds (running team), more visitors (parents and in-laws) and a trip to Hawaii for a good friend’s wedding!
Here’s to the start of a fantastic 2015 with some of my favorites so far!

Favorite snack- almond butter from whole foods and Granny Smith apples

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Favorite headlamp  for these early morning runs during the late sunrise season

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Favorite visitor this year… My mom!

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Favorite birthday boy… My hubby’s 32nd!

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Favorite Leggings… I need these in my life!

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Favorite motivating quote. So true…!

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Favorite January running weather… Shorts running weather!

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Favorite moment that makes all the hard ones easier to handle (all you mamas with toddlers can relate!)

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Favorite Recipe to try… I sustain on kale salads and eat sweet potatoes on a daily basis (see below). It’s time to mix it up!

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Any favorite running gear, trips or workouts this month for you?

Back in the saddle (running shoes) again!

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Back out to the trails!
This past weekend, after a 2 week hiatus, I got back on the trails after my first 50 mile trail race. And it was worth the wait… It was beautiful since we’ve had so many storms and rain, the waterfalls were in full force!

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We ran a point to point, a friends generous wife got up early and dropped us off at the furthest point and we ran back to our cars. From Pantoll to Ross, a 14 mile trek around the North side of Mt Tamalpais.

 

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It’s time to start thinking about my training and race plans for 2015… It’s going to be a busy first 5 months!
February 1st is Kaiser Half Marathon, on Super Bowl Sunday- such a fun race and great way to test out the speed in the beginning of the year.
April will bring back to back marathon weekends, Boston Marathon on the 20th and Big Sur Marathon on the 26th (I’m part of the Boston 2 Big Sur group)
Then 3 weeks later we have a great group of running friend heading to run the Grand Canyon, Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim. An epic 46 miles and 11,000 feet of elevation change each way.

Happy Holiday week and go get in a run!

Anyone else already planning their training for 2015?

Anyone else use running as an excuse to escape the house for a bit, free of family and some time alone?

Yes please! 🙂