Sunday, September 25, 2011

Third Place

It was perfect racing weather this morning: overcast, dry, negligible wind, low 50s with the slightest nip in the air. I wasn't really racing, but I was participating in a neighborhood 5K. It was a new experience for me because I didn't run alone - Baby came with me in the Bob!

I signed up for this 5K knowing that they had a lenient policy re: strollers, dogs, kiddos, headphones, you name it. It was a fun run/walk, and I knew that if I was going to "race" with Baby, this would be a great one. Not only were strollers allowed, it was a short, flat 3.1 mile course. Baby was obviously thrilled to be a part of this. Her half-mast peepers clearly indicate her joy ;) But to be fair, I did wake her up early and disrupted her leisurely morning routine. Since she's not one to complain, she simply rolled with it and even snuck in a mid-race nap.

pre-race stretching
The start was a little congested for me. I had to start in the back due to the stroller, which meant that I did a tiny bit of weaving to make some space. I certainly didn't want to run over any kids! I was extra careful and looked both ways before veering left or right, but the first mile was a little slow, not that I was aiming for any kind of speed. I picked it up for the middle mile, knowing that it would be over soon. The only challenges were the copious turns; it seemed like every few feet the course abruptly swung to the left or right. This would slow down any runner, but with the Bob, it's a bit more complicated. I tackled the turns pretty well, staying clear of other runners and keeping Baby safe.

Throughout the race, a number of spectators informed me that I was the "first stroller." They were impressed with my "speed" and congratulated me with roaring cheers and applause. As soon as I knew I was the first stroller, I decided that there must be a "stroller division" and I was going to win it. I pressed on and passed a number of people. With the finish right around the corner, I slowed to say hi to my folks and encouraged some kids who were running next to me.

kickin' it to the finish

When I crossed the line, it was time to celebrate. Baby completed her first race and there were friends and family to celebrate with. Here are my stats according to the garmin:

Mile 1: 9:03
Mile 2: 8:42
Mile 3: 8:52
point 1: 1:23

Official time: 28:04 (9:02 pace)

After the race we hung out visiting, nibbling on goodies, and half-listening to the awards presentation. I hardly expected to hear my name for the 30-34 age group winners, but there it was, being called for the third place finish! When I was sure it was my name they were calling, I grabbed Baby and went up to receive our award.

3rd place!

with a very proud Grandma
What a day! I couldn't have asked for a better experience. While it's fun to compete in races and go all out for a fast time or PR, this was really gratifying. I am so not in race shape at the moment, but being able to do this race with my daughter was even better than setting a PR. I hope there are many more mother-daughter races in the future.

Friday, September 23, 2011


As a new mom, I am slowly discovering the secrets of "success." Most of the time lately, it's been a constant struggle to get necessary things done on a daily basis. I sometimes find myself staring at a blank wall wondering what to do first. Obviously running and workouts that help with running have been a big part of my life. I never really struggled with fitting in the workouts before. But now I am realizing that it takes a special kind of talent to juggle motherhood and my desire to stay fit along with everything else on the schedule. I am lucky that I am not working this year; I cannot imagine adding my career to this mix!

Because I can now run with the Bob, I am feeling a little bit better about accomplishing some goals. And yesterday, I felt like I managed to combine a necessary evil (shopping-- and not the fun kind) with a necessary task (running!). In order to do both and make good use of my time, I ran my errand. Though I've done this before and applauded my ingenuity, this time I'm really blowing my own horn with regards to my achievement. Not only did I flawlessly find the store on my agenda, but Baby came along in the Bob, I got in a two mile run, AND we picked up the things we needed (and, arguably, some things we didn't need, but doesn't that always happen? ;)) I can't say I'll use this strategy all the time (Chicago is serious business in the winter), but it's nice for now because it helps me explore the city while getting stuff done. Here's another picture of beautiful Chicago..note: this was not our destination but merely something we passed along the way.
soldier field from the path

Recap of the week~
Monday: I finally lifted! I was able to do most muscle groups (biceps, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, back, obliques, & abs). The downside is I suffered from DOMS..which is primarily due to the fact that I am out of shape. 
Tuesday: Ran 5.5 miles with Baby in the Bob. It was a gorgeous day! 
Wednesday: Swam half a mile. I was able to find out that the pool is approximately 53 feet in length, so there are about 100 laps to the mile. I'm working up to that. 
Thursday: Ran 2 miles on my errand detailed above. 

I may or may not get out on a run today. There is rain in the forecast, but I might be able to sneak in a short one before the skies open up. 

Cheers to the freakin' weekend..(I drink to that, yeah yeah)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Dream Come True

When I was just out of college and babysitting regularly for a family with two girls, I got the chance to take my first run with a baby jogger. The baby was somewhere between one and two years old and the day happened to be a sunny 85 degrees. I just remember it was unseasonable hot and very challenging. I was also on suburban sidewalks with perilous obstacles like monstrous cracks, annoying curbs, and the occasional tree branch. I think I went about 3 or 4 miles and called it a day. My only other experiences running with a baby jogger have been with my friends' kids: JH and baby W and L of Team Stick and Baby R.

But now it's MY turn. After years of dreaming about it, I finally took Baby out in the Bob yesterday. Not only was it the most gorgeous day imaginable, it was also very meaningful because it was a family run. That's right, my husband came too. I could not have asked for a more perfect way to take Baby out on her first run. Besides the fact that I was running with my favorite people, Chicago also provided us with a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop. Every time I run on that Lakeshore Path I am just amazed by the beauty of the city. I love looking at the skyline and hearing the lake splash around (though sometimes it splashes around more angrily than is desirable). It almost reminds me of the Caribbean with its bright turquoise tint, but the skyscrapers add a stunning contrast to the miles of surrounding solid blue water.

But let's cut to the chase. This was Baby's first time "running" with her parents. I got the thumbs up from both my old and new pediatricians to take her jogging; they just suggested I make sure she is secure in there since she is so tiny. To my surprise, she fit quite nicely in there.

I used an additional head support to ensure her safety and comfort, and we were ready to go. Yesterday's run was 4 miles long, but we did stop for pictures ;)


In another post I'll go on and on about the sailboats I get to see ALL THE TIME and how awesome it is to watch them in action while running. But for now, I'll say that I'm pretty excited to have the option to run this way. Special thanks to my siblings-in-law for providing me with this awesome baby shower present - they obviously know me quite well ;) 

Besides this special run, I've been doing what I can when I can. I got out for a 5.5 miler last Saturday and did two mid-week runs of 4.5 and 5 miles Wednesday and Thursday. It's far from impressive and and barely an acceptable frequency, but I have been completely immersed with unpacking, getting settled, learning a new city, taking care of baby, and trying to have fun. I honestly don't know where the days go. I cannot believe we are two weeks away from October. Huh?! But it's a good kind of busy..and I'm enjoying every minute with my sweet baby girl. 

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Running IS happening! I just haven't had time to review it on the blog. Since my last update, I've run on many surfaces and in many locations. My distances have been short, but I'm working on consistency. Life is still in transition due to the move (and baby), but it's all been very exciting. One thing I realize is how running is such a constant in my life. If everything is nuts and out of my control, going for a run somehow makes me calmer, relaxed, more alert, and gives me energy. I also love the fact that you don't have to think while running; I find that my mind just clears and all the craziness disappears for a while. Priceless. So here's the recap in bullet format :

 * Wednesday, aug 24: 4 miles on the treadmill. It was 95 degrees that day and I have no intention of running in blazing afternoon sun.

 * Thursday, aug 25: 3 miles out and back on a shady, windy road. Had to fit this morning one in quickly before a busy day.

 * Saturday, aug 27: 6 miles through the woods and in noticeable sunlight. Held 9:20s though.

 * Sunday, aug 28: 4.5 miles with the husband on a gravel path through the woods with a few hills. Legs were tired and kind of dead.

 * Tuesday, aug 30: 4 miles out and back on flat ground. Too sunny. But breezy. Dad came with on his bike. Yeah!

* Friday, sept 2: swim. 40 laps in the pool. But I don't know the distance of one lap so I can hardly calculate 40. It was about 15 minutes of swimming. This was fantastic!

* Saturday, sept 3: 4 miles on Lake Shore Path. The one in Chicago. My new stomping grounds. It reminded me a little of the west side highway path, though there is really no comparison. Chicago is extraordinarily beautiful! And there are boats everywhere! There were also many marathon trainees all over the path. It made me a little sad that I am not in that place right now, but also gave me a deeper appreciation of the dedication required to pursue a marathon. Go chi town marathoners!

 So that's my deal. I'm out of creativity right now, so things are pretty bland, but I'm maintaining and trying to keep my weekly mileage in the low 20s. I'm also looking forward to adding swimming to my repertoire. And running with baby in her jogging stroller. Soon. Very soon.