Hi friends! I’m coming to you a bit tired after a race on Saturday, but that runner’s high across the finish line has me feeling all of the emotions, and I’d love to share them along with some postpartum fitness thoughts today.
Longtime readers might remember that I used to love races. In fact, I ran about a dozen of them including three half marathons before we started trying to grow our family years ago, and you can check out all of my recaps on the Running & Races Recaps page if that kind of thing interests you.
That said, after taking a good hiatus from any sort of long distance running and training, Saturday was my first official race in New York City!
Side note: Scott and I both completed the Tough Mudder four months ago, and I’m finally getting around to typing up that recap, too. I actually forgot about it for a few months — and I don’t know how that’s even possible (i.e. my body was feeling it after that one at six months postpartum!) — but I’ll be sure to share more stories and experiences on that soon.
Anyways, Scott has gotten back on a running and racing kick, and this has motivated me to do the same. As much as I fight the time and dedication it takes to train for a race, the feeling of crossing the finish line at a pace that is faster than you expected or a mileage that is further than you thought you could ever do is unmatched.
So, here I am, ten months postpartum, getting back in the saddle.
Running a marathon is still on my Fitness Bucket List, but I’m aiming for that one later in life. Post-kids, perhaps? The thought of running a half marathon seems scary to me right now, so we’re taking baby steps. For now, a 10K is plenty and proved to be just the right amount of challenge and accomplishment over the weekend.
Truth be told, I did not train for this race whatsoever. I figured I would regret it, but I also had enough confidence going into it from regular workouts at Orangetheory Fitness that has really helped my endurance, specifically with hills and sprints.
I wasn’t sure what to expect on this course, but I did know that it was going to be freezing — literally. The name of the race NYCRUNS Frozen Penguin came from the notion that the weather in NYC this time of year is fit for penguins. I totally get it, and I thought Scott was crazy when he suggested that we sign up for a race in February here.
But, the thought of crossing the finish line and having a racing buddy enticed me, so I agreed.
I’m not going to lie … it was freaking cold outside. It was supposed to get up to a high of 39 degrees, but we started the race at a brisk 18-20 degrees instead. I layered up enough, but there’s nothing you can really do for your fingertips and toes under all of those layers.
I turned to some old Michigan favorites for my running attire and wore a pair of New Balance running socks with a pair of knee-high Bombas socks over them. My leggings were thick and made for winter running (the brand is C9 purchased from Target a few years ago — similar), and I layered with a tight, moisture-wicking long sleeve (also C9) under my Moosejaw running jacket. I also had a running scarf to be able to pull over my nose (this is game-changing) and running gloves. You can find links to a variety of similar items on this list on my Workout Gear for Winter Running post.
After a cold and uncomfortable 4.5 mile run a few weeks ago, I also remembered to pack my pockets with tissues, chapstick, and gum to keep me occupied. (Not everyone can work out or run with gum, but it helps me concentrate and I often find myself chomping to the music — ha!) Last, I had my AirPods in under my headband playing my latest Workout Motivation playlist. They worked great and stayed in place the whole time!
The loop was once around for the 5K runners and twice through for the 10K distance. It’s not always the most encouraging to keep running after you see half of the runners pop off, but it’s also cool to feel like I’m really challenging myself to know that I’m still going, and that is motivating enough for me.
There were several steep hills near the river, and at least I knew what to expect on my second go around. They weren’t easy, but I kept thinking of things I’ve picked up in Orangetheory classes like leaning forward into the incline, pumping my arms, and pushing through the incline and challenge myself to keep running versus walking on the other side of it. Pair those inclines with the cold and I definitely wasn’t enjoying it until about halfway through.
I finally felt warmed up by the 3-mile mark, and my toes started unthawing around mile 4. Mile 5 was my sweet spot where I felt in my groove, and my hands actually started feeling hot! I ended up taking my gloves off for the last mile (!!!) and only walked or stopped long enough to snap this photo by the river before bringing it in for my last sprint to the finish line.
My official time clocked in at 56:42 at a 9:09 mile/minute pace, and Scott made it a few minutes before me with an 8:40 mile/minute pace. I was proud of him, and also very proud of myself for not only getting through the race but also feeling like I’d like to more of them and possibly (stressing the word possibly!) train for a half marathon sometime soon.
After doing a celebration dance at the finish line, I happily grabbed my prize in the form of a race shirt paired with a hot chocolate and bagel. I had been dreaming of this moment throughout the entire race, and it felt pretty great to get there!
I wasn’t sure what it would feel like to run on a clock post-baby, but the strategy of doing my best without focusing on it really helped me. I’m excited that I made it through under an hour, and hey, I didn’t even have to stop to use the restroom. (Post-baby perks = weak bladder. Please tell me I’m not alone here.)
All in all, I’m looking back at this day with a smile and appreciate you going through the journey of getting back to racing with me. Thanks so much for checking in and I’ll be back again this week with a long overdue baby update.