Race Recap: Parkway Classic 10 Miler – my second Postpartum race

The Parkway Classic is one of the first races I ever wrote about on this blog, (read about it here) actually it may have been my very first blog post. And yet again, I am running it and writing about it. It is just one of those races that I love to run, year after year.

Of course last year, I was pregnant with Zoe, so I didn’t have the chance to race. But this year, being 8 months postpartum I was ready to take on the course again.

Earlier this month, I ran the Cherry Blossom ten miler in 1:31. To prepare for that race, I had run a couple 8 milers as my longer runs, and then 3-5 milers during the week pushing Zoe in the Bob. I ran that race, without any mental strategies, because there were no goals I was trying to reach, instead I just wanted to run it to have fun, and test my fitness level.

THE TRAINING

To prepare for this race, I considered the Cherry Blossom ten miler as my long run, and used the next three weeks doing a combination of shorter runs 3-5 milers and late night weight lifting sessions in the gym.

When I was running with Zoe, I slowed down to engage my slow twitch muscles, and tried to stay in an aerobic heart rate zone. But when I was running solo, I worked on speed, and got those fast twitch muscles fired up.  Every time I ran, I incorporated both some up hills and down hills. Unlike the Cherry Blossom ten miler (totally flat course), the Parkway Classic is a course made up of small rolling hills. Although, they are small, they are still rolling for about 8 miles.

After I put Zoe to bed for the night, I hit the gym. I never worked legs, because I didn’t want them heavy or overly tired – they needed to be ready for running. So I focussed mainly on, chest, back, and core.

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE

Like always I did my night before a race ritual, prepared my race clothes and accessories.

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THE RACE

This race is put on my Pacers, our local running shoe store. Because it is put on by runners, they know their stuff. Everything is simple, and well organized. There is no expo for this race, you just head to the Pacers store and pick up your bib.

On Friday, Zoe and I went on a short 5K run, and then headed to the store to pick up my bib. I was considering running with Zoe during the race. I had been training with her, so why not race with her. She loves our runs, so it would have been really fun to bring her. However, strollers weren’t allowed on the shuttle buses heading over to the race. And because the race is a point to point race instead of a loop, it was going to be really hard to get both of us down there and back. Plus, I had to head to the salon, to work a full day, right after the race. It would just be easier for me to run solo, so that is what I did. Now I’m on the hunt¬†to find a different race to do with Zoe.

The night before the race, I did my regular night before a race ritual. Chose my race outfit, laid it out, just making sure I have everything organized and ready to go.

Getting to and from this race was so easy. I parked my car at the pentagon parking lot, and walked across the street to the shuttle bus. The buses ran between 5:30 and 6:30 am. I got on the last bus leaving at around 6:30. The bus driver waited an additional 10 minutes for any stragglers. Two 5k ladies got on the bus. There was a little confusion when the bus driver dropped them off and then was unsure where to drop us off. All of us ten miler runners gave him directions. We eventually made it to the start- better late then never.

It was 7:30 when I arrived, the race start time was 8:00 am.  I got off the bus, and went to check my bag. It was a crisp morning, so at first, I kept my long sleeve shirt on, but then turned around and decided to check it. I was very comfortable running the race in my usual running shorts and tank top. So thankful I checked my long sleeve shirt, never during the race did I feel hot or to cold.

At 7:50 I walked over to the start to line up. I stood right in front of the 9:00-959 pace sign. I had a good idea, that I could manage that pace, considering my last race I ran, thats what I did. Also all of my shorter solo runs during training were right under a 9 min/mile.

At 8:05 I was running over the start line, pressing the start button on my garmin, and on my strava app. “Here we go!”

The course is by far one of my favorites. It is always beautiful, running under a canopy of trees, parallel to the Potomac river. The trees make everything green, and the sun hits the river making it sparkle. The parkway is also slightly rolling hills, which I actually prefer in a course rather than a flat one. My mental strategy was to consistently run under a 9 min/mile the whole course, running in the high 8s going up hill, running in the low 8s going down hill.

I stuck to my plan, and felt amazing the whole race. I walked through the water stations, eating some sports beans at mile 4, skipping the final 2 water stations. It felt so good running on the down hills – I actually felt like I was flying.

I ended up getting to the finish line in 1:28:49, faster than the race I ran earlier this month, and under a 1:30 which is always my goal for a 10 miler.

Parkway Classic

Parkway

The Finish Line

It was a beautiful day and the finish line is right by the the water. I walked¬†around, but didn’t stay long because I had to head to work. But I got my medal, another piece of bling to add to my collection.Parkway Classic finish

Next races coming up will all be in the fall. Training starts in July.

What races did you run this fall? What are you training for? How did your first postpartum races go?

I love connecting with people, especially other runners. Please connect with me on INSTAGAM, @sweat1xdaily.

© 2016 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

8 months with Zoe

On April 19th, my sweet Zoe turned 8 months old.

imageI never knew it was possible to cry and smile at the same time. When they say, “Enjoy every minute, they grow up way to fast,” – they weren’t kidding.

The other day, there were a bunch of newborns in the salon. My co-worker asked me, “Don’t you miss Zoe at this age?”

I do, but I don’t. The newborn stage is so sweet, but once Zoe turned 6 months old she became so playful, and life became the most fun ever.

Now at 8 months she is even more playful… Her personality is shining. I will always miss those unforgettable sweet, tiny, precious newborns snuggles. When Zoe would sleep peacefully on my chest listening to my heartbeat. Snuggled in ¬†her Solly Baby wrap, nothing would wake her.

From day one we have always been learning about eachother and the world around us. And now at 8 months Zoe is more curious than ever. Here is what we have been up to.

EATING with ZOE

January 19th – Zoe at 5 months old, we introduced sweet potatoes to her as her first food. The American Pediatrics says you can start feeding solids to your baby anytime between 4-6 months. However, they highly recommend you wait until 6 months, unless your baby is showing signs they are hungry.

I gave Zoe little bits of food here and there at 5 months, because I wanted to test out feeding her, so if there were any concerns I could get my questions answered at her 6 month check up.

Turns out, that although Zoe was drooling buckets, and eyeballing our dinner plates, she was not ready. So I only gave her little tastes (not every day) and decided to hold off for a regular eating routine until she turned 6 months.

At 7 months, we got Zoe a high chair. This has made meal times so much easier. The high chair has a big tray, so she can really see her food, touch her food, play with her food, smell her food, taste her food. It is important for babies to use all their senses, especially their sense of touch, in order to get use to different textures.

Now at 8 months she is an eating machine. It is my job as her mother, to expose her to as many foods as I can. (We already exposed her to peanut butter.) If she doesn’t seem to like something, I try again and keep offering it to her. I am actually having so much fun making her, her baby food. (I am going to write a separate blog post on the baby food making and recipes.)¬†¬†She loves fruit, however, one of her favorite things to eat is Puffs. She also really enjoys me eating with her. I am very proud of her because she is starting to get use to different textures.

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SLEEPING ZOE

Zoe has always been a great sleeper. (Knock on wood.) She has always given us cues to tell us she is tired – she rubs her eyes and yawns. She has one morning nap, and one afternoon nap. If for some reason she cat naps through out the day, I put her to bed 30 minutes earlier. She has a regular night time routine, and morning routine. She goes to bed usually at the same time every night and wakes up at the same time every day. She is definitely a morning person.

Mid February, I moved Zoe from her bassinet, in our bedroom, to her crib, in her own nursery. Because she was ready, she had no problem at all transitioning. I literally put her in her crib and she… “did her nights.”

Because the crib is so much bigger than the bassinet, she has a lot more space. She moves around like crazy, and usually ends up horizontal. When she slept in her bassinet as a newborn, she would turn her head in the direction to face me, and fall asleep that way. Now when I see her sleeping in her crib, she normally sleeps on her left side which faces the wall.

She loves her halo sleep sack, being swaddled (arms out), and silk blankets help sooth her. She use to always sleeps on her back, however on March 28th, I went to check on her, and she was sleeping on her side. Ever since then I now see her sleeping comfortably on both her back and her side.

SITTING with ZOE

On February 15th, Zoe sat up strongly and confidently¬†on her own. She had been practicing, weeks leading up to that day, but could only hold it for a second. She loves sitting and playing with her toys. Now at 8 months, she wants to stand. She hasn’t started crawling, but she is rolling, wiggling, and wants to see everything. Around April 15th, she started to cry when I would leave her, and she now always wants me to carry¬†her everywhere I go.

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ART with Zoe

March 4th, I let Zoe paint. I recently read an article about how the new play room is the new art room. I love this idea- Zoe definitely needs an art room. Because Zoe was confidently sitting, it was the perfect time to introduce paint to her. I stripped her down to a diaper and put a canvas on the floor in front of her. I opened some non toxic kids paint, put her pacifier in her mouth (prevent her from eating paint) and let her go to town. She didn’t know what to do at first, but once I showed her she had tons of fun.

It’s important to let babies get messy, explore, discover, and be creative. ¬†Painting allows her to play with color. Touching the paint and canvas, allows her to discover new textures. It is also great for their motor skills. Putting a canvas horizontal on the floor is a different feeling/vibe, then putting it vertical on the wall. I’m hoping to build confidence through art.

img_5451On March 19th, I took Zoe to the Wonder exhibit at the Renwick Gallery. She absolutely loved it.

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PLAY TIME with Zoe

March 5th, Zoe had a play date with her friend Sabine. She got to jump in the Jolly Jumper.

She loved the Jolly Jumper so much, that she now has a jumper of her very own. (Thanks Lydia and Debbie.) I put music on, and let her dance and jump away.

March 10th, I took Zoe to the playground for the first time. She loves the swings! She also loves people watching!

Zoe also loves to dance. Dancing is her thing. She also loves her ABC song. She loves music. Cold play is her favorite.

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STORY TIME with Zoe

I have been reading to Zoe since she was born. I am slowly growing her personal library. We are collecting Shel Silverstein books and Dr. Suess books. However, she loves The Pout Pout Fish, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Where the Wild Things Are.

On April 6th, I took¬†Zoe to her first story time. She loved it. After the librarian was finished singing a song or reading a book Zoe would clap. After the class was over, they bring out all the toys so the babies can play, and us mama’s can socialize. It has been really fun for both of us. We love it.¬†img_6477

MILESTONES

Although, Zoe is not crawling and has no teeth yet. (I’m okay with that… We don’t need Zoe growing up to fast.) On March 16th, Zoe started clapping for the first time. Now, we are working on waving hi and bye.

Anyway, that is what we have been up to these days. As you can tell we are super busy, but having fun!

Happy 8 months, Zoe! You have been my greatest adventure, I can’t wait to see what other amazing thing you will do, learn, and discover. I love you, Always.¬†

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© 2016 sweat1xdaily