Sunday, October 23, 2011

A mile run is still a mile no matter how long it takes

Lacid came about when I couldn’t even pronounce my own name correct. My husband can attest to the bizarre word mushes that I utter. We tend to refer to Lacid as my alter ego. A well-tested technique many athletes use is visualization which is a method of mentally visualizing your goal to improve real life performance. Ah, the workings of the brain! Somehow it really works. I used it quite a bit during training for my first marathon. Now I’m taking it a step further. Lacid, my alter ego, is who I visualize I will be in March and I think of her often…as an ultramarathoner!

My first attempt at ultramarathon training came to a doctor-ordered halt when I became pregnant. A part of me really thought that I would be able to do it. If women were able to run full marathons while 8 months pregnant then what’s another 6 miles if I walk most of the mileage? However, once the doctor started talking about oxygen deprivation to the fetus I backed off that idea. Apparently if you reside below 2,500 feet and go above 5,000 feet you may wind up compromising your cardiopulmonary system, especially when you are pregnant as the fetus increases your demand for oxygen. I hadn’t realized I was pregnant at the time but a few weeks earlier I had gone on a camping trip at about 4,000 feet with my running group and ended up with badly swollen hands and feet. On my next camping trip when I only would have been a month pregnant, and also at 4,000 feet, I had the same swelling which quite frankly was freaking me out. I can only imagine how my body would have reacted running at 5,500 feet during my 2nd or 3rd trimester. I did, however, get the doc’s approval for a full marathon, as long as it was at a sea level where I reside.

With my ultra goal postponed, I immediately signed up for a marathon as well as warm-up races. I started to read everything I could get my hands on dealing with prenatal exercise. I wanted all the facts. I abided by doctor’s orders to stay sea level for the marathon, but I couldn’t stop myself from hitting the trails for the first two.

@12 weeks ran Dirt Devil Race#3 15k – 2:27:20  

@17 weeks ran Camp Pendleton Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon – 2:40:29 

@21 weeks ran Camarillo Marathon – 6:36:43

A mile run is still a mile no matter how long it takes – I repeated this over and over as it about killed me to be so far back in the pack. I sucked up some humility and ended up doing approximately 60% running and 40% walking at each event. Looking back I could probably have done more, but I’m okay with my efforts back then. There was only so much fatigue I could push through and back then it was so easy to give up and walk. There was one defining moment between miles 15 and 16 during the marathon when my baby kicked. I had an anterior placenta so it took longer than the norm to feel those precious kicks. I had only felt a few at that point so I was quite overwhelmed to feel kicks mid-race!

Fast forward to today. Those kicks are now precious little Milla feet. My daughter is 8.5 months old and is my everything. Ultra training has taken a back burner to raising my daughter, but I’m finally at a point where I can kick it into gear. I used to laugh at women running behind strollers. Now I have a BOB stroller that has been tricked out with an aftermarket dirt bike brake lever and I’m well on my way to being a fitness instructor with a company who’s a leader in prenatal and postnatal fitness.  Yes, life is forever changing…but I’m loving and embracing it.

Training is in the very beginning stages as I’m still building my base up postpartum, but I feel strong. The Oriflamme 50K is in March 2012, so I feel I have time to get the job done. I’m working on a rhythm to training as I continue to breastfeed my daughter. I have no plans to wean before then so I am very cautious about overtraining which I have been guilty of doing in the past. I know I will sacrifice performance for my daughter if need be but perhaps I can find a balance. 

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