Chicago Marathon Training 2017

I was all set to let this blogging thing go, but recently I have felt like writing and being in the throes of marathon training, I actually have something to say on one of the subjects of this blog!

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Baby Nicholas turned 1! He was also nice enough to share his cake, unlike his mommy, who does not share cake EVER.

I am currently less than 40 days out from running the Chicago Marathon. Baby Nicholas is now almost 14 months—how is this possible?!—and yet he is still not sleeping through the night. He is still nursing at least once, if not 2 or 3 times through the night. I know he doesn’t need it, but I am having so much trouble weaning. I struggled so much with weaning Max as well, which is why I ended up nursing him for 2 ½ years!

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Anyway, I’m only explaining the sleep/nursing stuff because it’s causing me to be exhausted, which of course is affecting my training. During my last marathon training cycle in 2015, shortly before I got pregnant with Nicholas, I was running really strong. I got up early every day before Max and my husband Andy got up, and I was super consistent. Things are very different now! Early runs are out of the question because Nicholas is usually up around 6 and Max is up shortly after. Andy got a new job (no more nights and weekends!), but he works from 7AM to 5:30 or 6 PM. So my runs are at lunchtime while I’m at work, post-work with the double jogging stroller or by myself after the husband gets home, or after the boys go to bed on my trusty garage treadmill J I do actually get to run on the weekends BY MYSELF OUTSIDE now, which is amazing and different and I love it!

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Another positive to my husband being home on weekends is I can actually run races without having to find childcare – HUGE CHANGE. I randomly ran a half marathon in July because I could. I was just easing into Chicago training, but I managed to eek out a 1:47:39, which I was pretty pleased with—my PR is a 1:46:39.

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Currently I am running anywhere from 35-45 miles per week, with one long run. I know that’s a big swing, but I sometimes have to take extra days off because of life. My longest run has been a 17, and I have plans to run 20 this weekend and hopefully one other 20. I was consistently doing speedwork one day a week, but in August I kind of fell off that and haven’t really picked it back up. My heart just isn’t in training for a specific time right now. I wasn’t prepared for how mentally and physically draining having two kids and working full-time would be when I entered the lottery for Chicago. This spring and summer have also brought some huge changes as far as life goes and I’ve faced some personal stuff that has tapped me out emotionally. I sometimes forget how huge of an emotional toll training takes, and how you really have to have your heart in it to be successful. I have been training for marathons since 2007, and yet I still forget how challenging it is mentally even when it’s semi-routine. I still have the desire to run the marathon, but I’m not putting the pressure of hitting a certain time on my shoulders right now!

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Double stroller run with Max and …Carl?

That being said, I am doing my best to run my easy runs easy and to do some fast finish miles during long runs. I’m also running a very hilly route 1 to 2 days per week. I find long runs with fast miles in the middle or at the end and hill runs to be confidence building, and they seem easier to me than going to the track or doing speed on the treadmill. When I look back at my old training, I realize that I was running my easy runs far too fast. Easy pace for me is realistically closer to 9:30 maybe even 10, but I was pushing to run under 9 on easy runs. This wore me out too much to really go for it or be successful on my longer runs or speed work. Now I feel strong when I run my long runs and I have something in the tank for some quicker miles in there. I also feel pretty good on my hilly runs, so I must be gaining some power in my legs. I also occasionally just feel like running faster, which I can say I never felt in my last marathon training cycle 2 years ago. I definitely had to force myself to push the pace on certain runs. All of this will help when I hit the start line in Chicago.

Hopefully I can check in again closer to the race. I’m excited to run such a huge race and to have a weekend away from my kids with just my husband. Hopefully baby Nicholas will be sleeping through the night by then! Regardless, I want to enjoy the experience, as I have never run such a large race. Whatever the time on the clock reads when I finish, I will be happy and proud that I was able to complete a marathon during such a crazy time in my life.

Cheers and thank you for reading! Anyone else running Chicago?

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Semi-Annual Update

Oh, hey there! I’m here for my semi-annual update 🙂 It’s crazy to think that the last time I posted here, I was 37 weeks pregnant and now I have this little 4.5 month old:

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Nicky is a fairly easy baby and has a smile for everyone. I feel like our family is complete now and that we are so lucky to have him.

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Having a second baby has been harder in some ways and easier in many ways than having just one. With your first baby, EVERYTHING changes. At least for me, as I’d never had a dog and only had two cats that were my husband’s, I had never really had a living thing that depended on me. Going from only being responsible for myself to having a little being that needed me to do everything for him was rough. With this new baby, I haven’t had tomake such a monumental life change, we’ve just added him right into our life.IMG_6886.JPG

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What has been challenging has been learning to juggle two kids and dealing with my little three-nager. 🙂 Max never really went through the “terrible twos,” but three has been a different story! I love him to pieces though, and he comes by his strong will and stubbornness honestly. I’m trying to give him as much love and grace as I can, while also setting limits for him. It has been super difficult, but I feel like things are finally settling down and he’s adjusting to no longer being an only child, no longer wearing diapers (YAY!!!!!!!), going to preschool and sleeping in a big boy bed. A lot has changed for this sweet boy and all things considered, he’s doing amazing with the changes. I would certainly be throwing tantrums if so much of my life had been turned upside down! I’m trying to carve out one-on-one time for him as much as possible and fortunately have some wonderful babysitters who will watch the baby so I can spend undivided time with Max.

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Baby Nicholas has been just a joy. He sleeps well at night—daytime naps aren’t really his “thing”—eats like he’s marathon training and loves to jump in his jumper. I can set him down and do stuff, which is crazy to me as Max was the type of baby who liked to be held all the time. He babbles like crazy and he loves to laugh. He’s just a fun little dude.

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So that’s the “Motherhood” part of Motherhood and Marathons, but what about the “Marathons” part? Well, I’m back to running, but I have yet to do any races. I was nervous for the return to running, but it was pretty smooth. I just can’t seem to get in as many miles as I would like to because there are not enough hours in the day. Most weeks, I am lucky to crack into the 20s as far as mileage goes. I look back at even just over a year ago when a 40-mile week was a cutback for me and I just laugh. With less time for running, I try to maximize by making every run count. So if I only have 30 minutes after both kids are in bed, I’ll do sprints on the treadmill or bump up the incline as high as I can stand. Nothing groundbreaking, but I try to mix it up.

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Me running a race. This picture is old (November 2015 – pregnant and didn’t know it!) 

I also try not to get upset when I can’t get a run in on a given day, and I take every opportunity I get to run—even if it’s only 10 minutes. I do get cranky if I go more than 2 days without a run or some kind of workout, so avoiding that is key. My husband will literally push me out the door sometimes when he knows I need a run. Hopefully, there are some jogging stroller runs in my future. I found a sweet used double jogging stroller at a consignment sale that I cannot wait to bust out. The recommended age to use it is 6 months and up, so you better believe I am counting down the days until I can use it and also praying for a mild winter. Nicky can’t ride in the single jogging stroller yet either, unless I buy a car seat adapter and a completely different car seat and I just really don’t want to spend the money. I can wait 6 more weeks. I think.

I did sign up to run the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon at the beginning of November and I didn’t make it to the start line. Nicky was sick and had a very rough (AKA no sleep) night and I just could not motivate myself to go. So I didn’t! In hindsight, it was kind of silly to sign up to run a race when I had a > 3-month-old baby, but I figured it was worth a shot. I also hadn’t done any runs longer than 8 miles at that point, so I was probably going to have a rough time at the end. So instead, I spent the morning snuggling with my boys. Snuggles are better than races any day.

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Snuggles > Running

I am signed up to run the Santa Hustle Half Marathon in a few weeks, so we’ll see if I make it. My sister and I did a long run (10 miles!) on Thanksgiving and it felt pretty good! I doubt this will be a PR race, but it will be fun to get 2 hours off mom duty on a Sunday morning. Other than that, I don’t plan to run any races until the Spring. I’m sure I have mentioned this many times, but my husband and I have pretty opposite work schedules. He works a few nights during the week and all weekend long, while I’m a M-F 9-5er. This is great for childcare, but not so great for seeing each other and definitely not conducive to Saturday morning races. Pretty much all the races around here are on Saturdays (WHY?!), so I really have to be choosy about which ones I do. I’m not paying a babysitter to run a race every weekend or even every month. Santa Hustle is on a Sunday, so the husband will be home to watch the kids! Other than that, I’m waiting until April to do anything. And I might have my eye on a full marathon because I like putting myself through insane amounts of stress trying to squeeze in runs, care for my kids and work. Really though, I LIKE marathon training and I don’t have any other hobbies besides online shopping and drinking copious amounts of diet coke, so why not? 🙂

 

Anyway, lately I am OBSESSED with podcasts. I’m on the bandwagon hard right now. My #basic status is definitely official. I listen when I’m running or when I am commuting to work. My current faves are:

One Bad Mother – So funny, so real

Another Mother Runner

I’ll Have Another – So good and the host lives in Indianapolis, too!

How I Built This – Makes me want to be a #bosslady

Oh No Ross and Carrie

This American Life

But I need your help here. What other podcasts should I be listening to? I need to add more to my list!

 

Thank you for reading my very lengthy check-in. Hopefully, I’ll be back soon 🙂

 

 

37 Week Update – Runner Not Running

In about 3 weeks, our family will grow to 4!

I’m definitely ready to meet this little guy, though it’s scary to think that another human being will be reliant on me for pretty much everything.

But, I’m so excited for this next phase in our lives. And I’m pretty much OVER being pregnant.

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I don’t hate being pregnant, and at some times I actually really like it. I’m to the point however, where I’m just ready to be able to touch my toes and chase after my kid without getting out of breath. Or you know, walk up the stairs without huffing and puffing. I get winded from talking sometimes.

Maybe I should talk a little slower? 🙂

Anyway, I don’t want to sit and complain about being pregnant. There are good things and bad things about it. The good things definitely outweigh the bad. Like people are really freakin’ nice to me lately. They hold doors for me and pick stuff up when I drop it and tell me I look beautiful. Being super pregnant has actually restored my faith in humanity.

I also give no f**ks about what I eat right now—and it’s pretty fun. I’m a frequent visitor to Dairy Queen and I have now had Chili Mac Supreme from Steak ‘n’ Shake twice this week. Because I can. And I love it.

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I also eat ALL the donuts. Just like this guy.

The only thing that’s a little upsetting is that my running is non-existent right now. I ran the very day I went into labor with Max, but as of 36 weeks this time around I am no longer running. I just have too much pelvic pain and it’s not worth it. I had so many runs the last 5-6 weeks before I stopped where I would ask myself “Why am I doing this?” It wasn’t fun anymore.

Why keep torturing myself?

So, I’m on my bike trainer everyday. I’m also walking and swimming. I feel good. As long as I get those exercise endorphins somehow, I remain sane.

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Ok, just SEMI-sane

I’ll admit that I’m a little scared about what the return to running will be like. I pushed myself to keep up the running until the end of my pregnancy with Max because I wanted to bounce back quickly. I worked back up to my usual running pretty fast after his birth, but does it really matter? No. Not at all. If it takes me two years to get back to any kind of speedwork after this baby, it’s fine. I know that, and I will keep telling myself that.

One day, I will run races again. One day, I might even run a marathon again. And one day, I might even BQ. We’ll see.

Today is not any of those days. So I will eat my DQ blizzard and ride my bike and enjoy this day for what it is.

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Living the dream – just like Lizardy (named by Max)

 

Life and Running Update

So, I can’t believe it’s been four months since I last blogged! Life has been busy, and I haven’t had much to say. Or maybe, I’ve had stuff to say—I just couldn’t tell anyone yet! BIG things are happening around here…

These last few months have been full of life and fun and exciting new things—and a lot less running. I did end up running the full at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November—I think I was contemplating whether or not to run the half when we last left off. I took it somewhat easy and I ran a 3:57 something, I think 3:57:15, but I am far too lazy to look it up right now 🙂

I felt pretty good the whole race, but it was definitely a battle between my legs, which wanted to go faster, and my brain, which knew I needed to take it easy. It was a great race though, because I wasn’t aiming for a goal time. I just ran.

A few days after the race, I found out some exciting news—Actually, I’ll let Max tell you:

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We’re beyond excited to be adding another baby boy to the Sharp family! And of course, this development is why I haven’t blogged. I can’t keep secrets very well, and it would be hard to talk about running when there is something huge that’s affecting my running!

Pregnancy has changed my running a lot this time around. When I was pregnant with Max, all I had to do was work and run. I could work all day, come home and rest for a while, run, and then rest some more. Now I have a toddler to look after, and that’s really magnified my exhaustion. Through my first trimester I tried to keep up the early morning wake-ups, but I was struggling to keep my eyes open in the evenings with Max. I now only get up early a couple of mornings a week, and the other days I squeeze a quick workout in at lunch or after Max has gone to sleep.

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Holy Bump – and ridiculous bun 😉

I’m also running a lot less mileage and zero intensity. I’m having more aches and pains than I did while running with Max, and I’ve had some issues that may lead to me having to stop running through this pregnancy completely. That’s yet to be determined.

What would my blog be without unrelated pictures mixed in with lots of rambling?
What would my blog be without unrelated pictures mixed in with lots of rambling?

In the meantime, I’ve added in a lot more cross training and rest days. You know, things that I should have been doing when I was marathon training. I got a bike trainer so that I can ride my bike inside and it’s really starting to grow on me. Cycling is certainly in my blood, as my father did the Race Across America a few times in the early ‘80s, my brother is a cyclist and manager at a bike shop, and my sister is an ironman. I basically grew up on a bike, so I know my dad is thrilled that I’m finding my way back to it!

Max is showing me how fun cross-training can be!
Max is showing off how fun cross-training can be!

I also have found that walking on an incline can be just as heart-pounding as running, and I like to mix that in as well. I’m doing yoga a couple of times a week with some modifications to the poses, and I’m lifting light weights a few times a week as well. Even if I quit running completely until after I deliver the baby, I think all of these things will make the return to running that much easier! Why didn’t I do any of this stuff before?

Anyway, I will do my best to check-in here and update on my workouts, pregnancy and one day—my return to racing!

And because I am a proud mom and am unable to stop myself – here are more pics of my favorite little dude:

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Don’t you forget about me…

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…but I’m sure you already have 🙂 I would have forgotten about this little blog by now, too.

It’s been like 3 months since I last blogged. I know. I know. I’m not the best at consistency in blogging.

I am great at consistency when it comes to eating too much candy (I do that on the regular), not folding laundry and (SHOCKER) getting up early and running.

I’ve talked about my struggle to become a morning runner before. Turns out, all I needed was absolutely no other option to force me out of bed. OK, that’s an exaggeration. I do have other options besides rising at the crack of dawn when it comes to running, but they are far less appealing.

Lunchtime runs are a challenge these days because it’s soooo humid that I pretty much have to take a shower post run or I’m wet and way too stinky for work. So NOT profesh. Does it make me sound more professional that I shortened the word to profesh? I thought so.

So those runs are pretty much out until fall. If you recall—which I’m sure you don’t because who cares?—I used to run after Max went to bed. Now Max has been pushing bedtime to 9:30 ish and that means I’m running until after 11. No bueno.

 

Max is way too cool to sleep
Max is way too cool to sleep

So this marathon training has been all about getting up early…and I’m starting to like it. And there it is, I said it, the “M” word. Yes, I’m mere 8 weeks from the starting line of the Indianapolis Marathon on October 17. How the heck did that happen?

Since you’ve missed oh, 8 weeks of training, I won’t bore you with a breakdown of every single week. But the basics of my training are this:

Monday: Off or easy, short run

Tuesday: Tempo 

Wednesday: Easy run w/ 200m repeats at the end

Thursday: Hills or workout (4 miles marathon pace, 4 miles half marathon pace)

Friday: Easy run 

Saturday: Long run – every other long run I do a progression and try to end my last mile at or faster than marathon pace

Sunday: Off or Easy run 

A recent run that was supposed to be a tempo, but turned into a progression. These are my splits from Strava - which I'm starting to love a little bit. I use it along with my Garmin, and when my Garmin is dead. At what point does a caption become too long? Right now? OK. I'm done.
A recent run that was supposed to be a tempo, but turned into a progression (with a cool down). These are my splits from Strava – which I’m starting to love a little bit. I use it along with my Garmin, and when my Garmin is dead. At what point does a caption become too long? Right now? OK. I’m done.

Sometimes I have to adjust the schedule, like the week we went on vacation I did my long run on Thursday. Every 2-3 weeks I take a break from long runs. I know most people do 3 weeks on and 1 week off, but I’ve found that my body needs a bit more of a break. It worked for me last year, fingers crossed it does this year, too.

I’ve worked up to 20 miles, which I did 2 weeks ago, and the goal is to do 3 more 20 milers. This week, my planned long run is 18 (last week was off) and I’ll shoot to do 10 miles easy with 6 miles at tempo, followed by 2 at marathon goal pace.

So, yeah that was a lot of talk about me, me, me and my training. I suppose I’ll talk more some other time about my paces and how freaking hard goal marathon pace (8:07) still feels sometimes. Instead, here’s some pics of my favorite person ever, because that’s why you’re here, right?

When I ask him to smile for the camera he makes this face :)
When I ask him to smile for the camera he makes this face 🙂
State Fair fun
State Fair fun

How has your summer been? Anyone training for a race? I’m out of the loop, fill me in!!!

Friday, Hot Mom Check-In and Randomness!

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Happy Friday! And not only is it Friday, quite possibly one of the best days of the week – rivaled only by Saturday and Sunday – it’s also a 3-day weekend. I’m doing the Mickey Mouse “Hot Dog” dance right now just thinking about it.

Did I really just reference Mickey Mouse? It’s official – I’m a mom with little-to-no pop-culture knowledge 🙂

I’ll keep this post short and sweet since this week has been fairly uneventful. Before I forget though, I have to give a big thank you to Jonesin’ For A Run for featuring me in their “Hot Mom Check-In.” What an honor! Here’s the post if you’re interested in checking it out!

Running this week has been fun. No pressure, just fun running. That’s the way I like it. I took Sunday (the day after my race) off from running, but got back into it on Monday. The running week so far:

Monday: 4.15 miles AM (9:15 pace)

2 miles PM w/ jogging stroller (9:30 pace)

Tuesday: 5 miles PM (8:20 first 3 miles, 8:00 last 2)

Wednesday: 3.5 miles AM (9:00 pace)

      4.5 miles PM (8:13 pace)

Thursday: 3.5 miles PM (8:45 pace)

Friday: TBD

It’s been a decent running week and my legs are feeling good. Marathon training, here I come!

And now some randomness to end the week:

Max is obsessed with feeding me blueberries!
Max is obsessed with feeding me blueberries!
This drink is my new expensive addiction.
This drink is my new expensive addiction.
Max becomes catatonic - or maxatonic - when Mickey Mouse is on!
Max becomes catatonic – or maxatonic – when Mickey Mouse is on!

That’s it for this week! This weekend will be full of racing parties – it’s Indy 500 weekend!!!(only the biggest weekend in Indianapolis) – hopefully some pool time, play dates and NO WORK! 

What’s everyone doing this weekend? Anyone watching the Indy 500, or better yet, coming to Indy to watch it in person? I can give you tips on where to eat and what to avoid 🙂

Have a great weekend, blog friends!

Moving On

We’re halfway through the week people. That’s cause for a celebration

Parks and Rec gifs make my life complete
Parks and Rec gifs make my life complete

This week has been chugging along and I’m feeling good. After Saturday’s Race, I was sore and tired. I took the day off and had some good times with the little dude I never, ever talk about here 😉

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We went to the new Hot Wheels exhibit at the Children’s Musuem, which was basically like heaven for my car-obsessed kid. There’s also a cool area at the museum that is specifically for younger kids that Max adores. He let out his inner monkey and climbed all the way to the top of this climbing-thing (that’s not the official name).

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We also went to my parent’s house for my brother’s dinner and had more baby time. Max spent a significant portion of the evening sitting on a chair reading. He’s doing that more and more and I can’t be more proud. From as far back as I can remember, I had my nose in a book. He’s definitely taking after his mommy in that respect!

So it was a busy rest of the weekend after my half marathon. I didn’t have a lot of time to reflect, but when I did, I realized I was being kind of silly. So it didn’t make some arbitrary time goal I had set for myself. Who cares? I PR’d by 2 minutes on a somewhat hilly—by Indiana standards—course. I got to run with a thousand of my fellow runners, see some friends I hadn’t seen in years, and run on roads I’ve known since childhood. Yes, I struggled because I went too fast, but it will just make me a smarter racer for the next one. Maybe 😉

Speaking of the next one, there will be no redemption race in the next few weeks. I can tell just on the few runs I’ve done this week that my body certainly needs a break. I’d rather just set racing aside for a few months and focus on getting stronger and faster for my fall marathon. Training starts the second week of June– let the games begin!!

Also, thank you all for your advice and encouragement after my race. It’s amazing to have a sounding board of fellow runners out there. You all rock!

Oh hey – I also forgot to mention that Hanna set up a blog roll of amazing running bloggers who are all training for fall marathons (and there are some on there running other distances as well!) Check it out here and follow along as we all get ready to crush our races this fall!