2015 Marathon Training – Weeks 4 & 5

Moving right along…weeks 4 and 5 flew by in the blink of an eye.  5 weeks down, 11 to go.

WEEK 4 – I don’t recall much about this week other than unrelenting humidity on Monday and Tuesday.

Monday
8 miles tempo easy (9:46 avg pace)
pre-hab

Good lord.  91% humidity and I tried to do a GMP tempo run.  It was awful.  After 2 miles of GMP(ish) pace, I switched to easy running.

Tuesday
4.5 miles ladder workout (1600, 1200, 800, 400) with run club

I was all over the place for this run.  I was trying to get my own workout in, coach, and we had a little snafu with the track.  I think I even cut my recovery short for one of the repeats.  The result was a positive split:  1600 (7:25), 1200 (7:42), 800 (8:18!), and 400 (8:00!).  Oh, it was humid too :)  No more coaching and getting my workout in at the same time!

Wednesday
4.5 miles easy (10:00 avg pace)

Thursday
8 miles with 5 miles at 8:00 pace (8:07, 8:04, 8:03, 8:01, 7:53)
pre-hab
1 hour yoga

Not too shabby!  I was pretty pleased with this workout.  It made up for my positive splits on Tuesday night!

Friday
Rest.  I love rest days.

Saturday
20 miles (9:17 avg pace)

I fueled with Tailwind for the second week in a row and supplemented with some Shot Bloks.  I promise a review of Tailwind soon but so far, so good.

Sunday
3 miles recovery with Fiona (Garmin-less)

It was Father’s Day so I brought Fiona along with me to give Matt some time alone.  My favorite picture from that day (although Hawk doesn’t look too happy)…

FullSizeRenderWeek 4 mileage = 48

WEEK 5 – I had a come-to-Jesus moment about my GMP this week.  Initially I was aiming for 8:20 as my GMP.  It’s just not realistic for me right now based on my current fitness.  I want to set myself up for success in the Fall and, although this is a bitter (bitter) pill to swallow, my GMP is looking more like 8:30-8:40 pace.  Which means PRing in the Fall isn’t likely.

Monday
barre

Did a 45-minute barre blast class which was the perfect amount of shaking and burning.

Tuesday
6 miles easy (Garmin-less)
pre-hab

I was supposed to do another 2-3 miles in the PM but run club was cancelled due to severe storms that rolled through.

Wednesday
8 miles with 4 x 1600 (7:40, 7:36, 7:39, 7:20)

I think the last repeat is a total outlier.  It felt the same, effort-wise, as the others so I doubt it was truly 7:20 pace.  My legs were heavy – residual soreness from the 20-miler?  Or just week 5-shit’s-getting-real fatigue?

Thursday
5 miles easy with Fiona (Garmin-less)
pre-hab

I can assure you this was around 11:00 average pace.

Friday
8 miles with 5 miles at GMP (8:28, 8:18, 8:22, 8:24, 8:25)
pre-hab

You probably can’t tell but I was shooting for 8:20 pace here.  This was the come-to-Jesus moment.  This felt hard (humidity was also 88%).  I wasn’t very kind to myself either.  In fact, I was an asshole.  Instead of running myself into the ground with unrealistic workouts (and, subsequently, setting myself up for a big, fat bonk on race day), I should instead recognize where I am right now, embrace it, and run with it (literally).

Saturday
13 miles with miles 6 & 7 at GMP (8:30, 8:34), mile 8 easy, miles 9 & 10 at GMP (8:26, 8:30)

This was so-so.  Mentally, I wasn’t into it.  Physically, it was 91% humidity.  (I know, I know.  Complaining about the humidity is pointless.  It’s summer…I get it.  But I feel it’s noteworthy on some days.)

Sunday
Rest!

Week 5 mileage = 40 (cut back week)

2015 Marathon Training – Week 3

Matt traveled for work this week so my goals were to be flexible but aim to get all the miles in and squeeze in a few days of pre-hab.

Monday
9 miles with 4×1600 at 10K effort (7:39, 7:40, 7:35, 7:31)

Matt didn’t travel until Monday night and I knew there would be lots of BOB-running in my future so I had to knock out a speed workout.  Mondays are generally 8 to 9 easy miles because of Saturday’s long run and Sunday’s barre class so I figured this would be interesting to say the least.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well my legs held out!  They were trashed for the rest of the day but this workout was encouraging.  

Tuesday
rest with pre-hab

Definitely needed a rest day…

Wednesday & Thursday
6 miles and then 5 miles (Garmin-free) with the BOB
pre-hab on both days

Nothing much to report about these runs other than very. slow. running.

Friday
more rest and Matt came home!

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Saturday
17 miles (9:43 avg pace)

Today was day 2 of a 5-day stretch of unrelenting humidity.  I was running by 6:15AM and, overall, it wasn’t so bad.  I used Tailwind for the first time on this run – I’m going to do a detailed review in another post – and loved it.  I definitely think it contributed to me feeling so well in these conditions.  My only goals were to cover 17 miles and feel good for the rest of the day (check! check!).  In order to do that I had to take it slow.

Sunday
8 miles recovery (10:07 pace)

No barre today since there was a sub (I really like my instructor) and I needed to get another run in.

It was a pretty boring week training-wise – 45 miles total – with only 1 speed workout.  I just couldn’t fit a tempo run in unless I hit the treadmill.  I thought about it but I just can’t bring myself to run on it in June!

 

2015 Marathon Training – Week 2

Week 2 brought much cooler temps and small glimpses of my old running self.  Taking training one day at a time is working wonders and I stop myself if I start thinking too far ahead.  Dare I say that I’m enjoying myself?!  Yes, that is the old marathon training Kristy speaking.  I hope she hangs around.

I wanted to mention where I’m getting some of the speed workouts and target times from.  Although I don’t agree with the philosophy of the book, Run Less, Run Faster has great no frills speed workouts with target times based on your goal finish time.  I’ve used these workouts in the past and had a lot of success.  I also want to keep my training simple – track, tempo, and GMP work.  Sometimes I completely alter the workout and sometimes I look at the target time and laugh (this usually happens during a track day).

Monday
AM workout 1:  8 miles easy
AM workout 2:  2.5 miles of hills + plyometrics

So workout 1 was at a super easy pace.  My Garmin died halfway through but I swear my pace was around 10:30.  I was pretty tired so I ran whatever I wanted.

A few weeks ago I started teaching a Run Strong class.  Think running (different workouts each week) + strength training (sometimes prehab-type stuff, sometimes good old squats and lunges).  I often run with the class and generally don’t “count” those miles.  Today was an exception.  2.5 miles of hills and then plyometrics.  I slept very good on Monday night!

Tuesday
7 miles with 5 miles at 8:23 (8:22, 8:23, 8:14, 8:06, 8:04)
prehab

Guilty as charged on this one.  This was supposed to be a GMP tempo (although GMP should be closer to 8:15-8:20).  I held back for the first 2 tempo miles – the pace felt really easy.  Then I just let it go.  Definitely not a smart move – GMP workouts are supposed to feel easy – but it felt damn good.

Wednesday
Rest (and Fiona’s newest trick)!

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Thursday
6 miles with 4x800m @ 3:23 (3:27, 3:28, 3:32, 3:30)
prehab

This was one of those workout where I looked at the target time and laughed.  My raw speed is not there…yet.  I rallied hard for the last one – fueled by sheer frustration over the 3rd repeat.  I looked at my training log from Summer 2011 (the last time I did 800s with any consistency) and my times were 3:24-3:27ish.  So today wasn’t awful but there’s definitely room for improvement.

Friday
3 easy miles with Fiona in the BOB
arms

I leave the Garmin at home on these runs and take it very easy.

Saturday
15 miles (9:13 avg pace)

A really nice run!  I started with 10 miles of rolling hills and then a few miles on flat, gravel trails.  Perfect prep for the Via marathon.

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Sunday
barre

I’m enjoying my Sunday barre days but my legs are shot the day after a long run.  It’s funny – I never realized how tired my legs are from running until I did barre.  Every time we begin the legs segment, I need to stop and rest.  Today was heavy on quad work and I wanted to cry.  See how attractive I make barre sound?!  I did lots of modifications today.

Overall mileage was 41.5 for the week which isn’t much different from week 1.  All those extras take time and I will gladly sacrifice a few miles for them.

 

2015 Marathon Training – Week 1

Someone told me that May is on record to be Philly’s second hottest May.  Ever.  I haven’t done any fact checking to see if he’s right but it sure feels like it.  We went from really cold to really hot in an instant.  Which makes acclimating to the heat a real bitch.  It was a wring-the-sweat-outta-your-shorts kinda week.

Monday
9 miles total with 3 x 1600m at 10K effort with 800m recovery (7:42, 7:44, 7:32)
pre-hab

I like doing speed work by effort, rather than pace, for 2 reasons:  (1) if it’s hot and humid it’s impossible to maintain your 5K/10K pace from the cool, crisp Fall.  Why set yourself up for failure?  Instead, stick with effort and you’ll still get the full training benefit.  And (2) I don’t know what my current 5K or 10K pace is :)  It was a little humid on this run so I kept the effort to 10K.  The last repeat felt amazing, for some reason.  I was not pushing it and was really surprised by the time.

Tuesday
AM:  7 miles easy (9:25 avg pace)
PM:  3 miles easy (8:50 avg pace)
pre-hab

I usually do two-a-days on Tuesdays.  I coach a track workout on Tuesday nights – sometimes I do the workout and sometimes I just stick to an easy run.  When you’re coaching or teaching, that’s your focus.  Not getting your own workout in.  And, come 6:30PM, I’m pretty spent!  So I like to add in some extra miles in the morning.  My PM run was a little fast – that’s not my standard easy run pace.  I got caught up in part of the workout (suicide fartleks!).

Wednesday
Rest day and zoo day!

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lions, tigers, and bears

Thursday
AM:  8 miles total with 2 miles at 7:35 (7:40, 7:34)
PM:  1 hour yoga
prehab

Not much to say about this run other than the humidity was creeping up.  My shorts were sticking like glue after mile 1.  Ick.

Yoga!  This was amazing!  It’s been way too long since I took yoga and this class was just what I needed.  A nice flow class – outdoors (!) – taught by my yogi (and runner) friend Katie.  Seriously – how amazing is this view?!

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Friday
strength train

I was short on time (Fiona didn’t nap very long) and was feeling a bit run down, so I kept it short and sweet.  A few walking lunges, squats, a barre ab video, and some arm exercises.  My arms were sore on Saturday so I definitely did enough!

Saturday
13 miles (9:37 avg pace)

Sneaky humidity.  It was one of those runs where it felt OK in the beginning and then you get smacked in the face later on.  I ran an out-and-back and stopped at the halfway point to text a client and could barely keep my iPhone dry – the sweat was pouring off me.  The run back to my car was brutal.  I was depleted.  I should have kept the pace a lot slower on the way out but instead positive splitted my way back to the car.  I was glad to reach 13 miles and be done.

Sunday
1 hour barre

Barre kicked my butt!  In all good ways though.  I know I say this all the time but barre is the best strength training for runners.  I modify most of the leg work since there is always lingering fatigue from running.

Week 1 done!  Total weekly mileage was 40 which isn’t much different than pre-marathon training.  The intensity was there so I’m fine with it.  I’m just hoping for a break in the humidity or acclimation to occur ASAP!

 

pre-training

Happy Memorial Day!

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It’s been 4 weeks since I stopped MAF training and today begins marathon training (officially)!  I plan on doing weekly updates but feel the need to update on the “in between” (if you care) and where I’m headed with marathon training (again, if you care).

I’m feeling better about training overall since my last post.  I’m going to take it one day at a time and make a decision closer to the race about goals.  There’s no way I can pinpoint a goal right now.

My body is getting used to speed work again.  Over the past 4 weeks I slowly worked it back in…beginning with strides and building up to mile repeats.  In fact, I did those dreaded mile repeats last week and this week!  They’re not as bad as I remembered.

I’m definitely not as fast in regard to track work.  No surprise.  MAF training wasn’t intended to help out there (not directly at least).  That doesn’t concern me so much since the base is there and I just need to stress the right systems to get faster.  I have 16 weeks for that!

Mileage.  Hmph.  I go back and forth on this one.  I truly believe in running high mileage (“high” being relative to the runner…one runner’s high mileage is another runner’s low mileage and vice versa).  I’d love to max out at 65-70 mpw but that’s unrealistic for me right now.  Especially since I’m turning up the intensity this cycle – I don’t want to manipulate too many variables at once.  And I want to focus on “extras” – extras that take up time but are vitally important.  It’s worth sacrificing a few miles for them.  So I would imagine this training cycle being a low mileage one (40s/50s) for me.

Speaking of extras – I’m talking about pre-hab (I plan to do a whole post about this one), strength training, and barre.  Ideally, I want to drop down to 4 days a week of running (I always run 5) to accommodate the extras but that might not always happen, especially when my mileage picks up.

I guess that’s where I stand.  Of course this could all change!  I’m finding that pregnancy (blame it all on pregnancy!) has made me very indecisive and I’m constantly changing my mind about everything.  That’s why training will be taken one day at a time :)

 

 

Truth

I’m #keepingitreal today.

This week and next week are “pre-marathon” training weeks.  The only goal of these 2 weeks are to add some speed work back in and acclimate (reacquaint?) myself to higher intensity workouts.  After that I’m doing a traditional 16-week plan.

I should be excited.  I’m always excited to begin training for a marathon.

I’m scared instead.  Add in anxious and doubtful too.

My last marathon was December 2012.  Ages ago.  Pre-Fiona and during the best Fall racing season I ever had.  I look at my training log from 2012 with my mouth wide open.  I really did all that?

So, in no particular order, these are my scared, anxious, and doubtful concerns:

And now I have a kid
Yes, lots of people with children train and run marathons (i.e., most of my clients).  Totally doable.  I’m more worried about being tired all the time.  I’m already tired with regular training and running around after Fiona.  I don’t want to be a zombie.  Not really looking for a magic answer here other than suck it up.  Everyone does it.  And everyone is tired.  Right?

MAF training – the land of happy, low intensity
MAF training was awesome.  I build a solid base and got faster.  And before MAF training, I spent all of 2014 base building.  My base is built.  The foundation is solid.  But I’ve become very comfortable with low intensity training.  Other than a few half marathons last year, I’ve spent very little time in the pain cave.  I fear the pain cave.  (If I can think of any drawbacks to MAF training, this would be it.)

How should I go about this?
Obviously, I want to PR at the Via Marathon (September) or Monster Mash Marathon (October).  That’s the goal.  But without a recent half marathon time, I’m kinda lost on an exact goal time.  (My PR is 3:41.)

The only thing I figured out so far is how I want to approach marathon training.  I mentioned using a (modified) Pfitz plan but decided against it.  What I need is the exact opposite of what I have been doing.  No more base building.  Instead, it’s track work and tempos.  Every week.  Simple and uncomplicated (but tough).  It worked wonderfully for me in the past.  And I’m really hoping that layering in these speed workouts on top of a solid base brings me to that PR.  If nothing else, I’ll spend time in the pain cave and build some mental toughness.  Gulp.

Or maybe I should shut down all this thinking and analyzing and Just Do It?!

Fiona enjoys the track…with snacks, of course.

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MAF Training Update (Part II)

I’m feeling rather giddy about yesterday’s MAF test.  (What MAF training is and why I’m doing it, see here.)

The last time I did a MAF test was in February.  It went OK – I didn’t think it was indicative of my progress but you get what you get on testing days.  Then I got sick, didn’t run for 2 weeks, etc., etc.  I spent the last 3 weeks getting back on track.  It was frustrating to say the least.  My HR monitor would beep incessantly.  I was running 10:00-10:30 average pace on most runs.  Then, last Monday, I had a really great run (9:32 average pace).  I waited a week (was it a fluke?!) and decided to do a MAF test yesterday.

MAF testing days always make me nervous.  You can have a good day or a bad day and it is what it is.  No redos (at least I don’t allow redos).  I generally run a 3-mile warm up at well below my MAF HR (~ 130), then run 4 to 5 miles at my MAF HR (143).

Baseline MAF test from November 30th (when I started MAF training).  Shown below are the MAF miles (purple) and their corresponding HR.

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Month 2+ MAF test from February 8th.  This was a blah run.  My stomach was rumbling (note the GI issues!) and I felt that my paces were faster on other runs.  There is definitely progress though.

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Month 4.5(ish) MAF test from April 13th.  I felt amazing yesterday and decided to add a 5th MAF mile.  I got so excited about seeing 8:xx pace that my HR was a smidge high for miles 4 and 5!

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I do take yesterday’s results with a (slight) grain of salt – it was a good run day.  Just like February 8th was a blah run day.  But you cannot deny the data!  MAF training – it works, folks!

I still have 6 more weeks of MAF training.  Unless I plateau…then I’ll stop MAF and start adding in speed work.  Part of me will be sad to set aside the HR monitor but I’m actually looking forward to moving my legs (fast) again!

 

 

Fall Plans

Once you put it out there on Facebook, you’re committed.

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Honestly, this makes me very excited.  My last marathon was before I got pregnant (December 2012) so I may as well get back at it.

I chose Lehigh Valley Marathon as a last ditch effort for Boston 2016.  I ran it in 2011 and BQ’d so the race means a lot to me.  It’s also a great course and a not-too-crowded one (although it has grown in popularity since 2011).  I’m not sure yet what time I’ll be going for (PR is 3:41).  With MAF training and missing out on the LOVE Run, I have no clue where my speed is right now.

Then there’s the Monster Mash Marathon in DE…5 weeks later.  This was a deferral from 2014.  If I can snag a PR/BQ at LVM, then maybe this will be a fun run.  If LVM goes bad, then maybe this will be a redemption run.

I’ve never done 2 marathons so closely together but I think this will be my new standard (well…we’ll see).  I love to run 2 marathons per year and generally do Spring and Fall but, after the winter we had and being sick, I don’t think I’d ever do another Spring marathon (outside of Boston, of course).

And then there’s the Philly Half Marathon…because I look forward to running it each year.

I’m taking the next 7 to 8 weeks to build my mileage back up to the 40 and 50s.  Slow, gradual, and strictly adhering to the 10% rule.  I’m still MAF training too.  My intention all along was to continue MAF though May and then add some speed work back in when I began marathon training.  Last week I hit 40 miles for the first time in over a month.  And on Monday, after 2 weeks of thinking I was back to square one with MAF training, I was finally hitting my pre-bronchitis MAF paces.  (And then I thought it was a fluke, but it wasn’t!)

I’m still mulling over how I want to train for these marathons.  I’m tossing around the idea of following Pfitzinger’s 55-70 mpw plan, with some modifications.  I find that I’m very bad at coaching myself after creating plans for clients all day.  It totally falls by the wayside. Pfitzinger’s plan is pretty much where I would want to go with my training this time around.  But we shall see :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

50K out. Marathon in.

Turns out I’m running a marathon on October 18th.  Something I distinctly remember saying that I would not do this year.

Months ago I registered for the Blues Cruise 50K after much research.  I scoured photos of the course and read every race recap I could find.  The course was hilly but not technical (per the race website).  And the terrain didn’t look technical in course photos (the leaves on the ground were hiding something).  I’m a terrible technical runner.  I have issues with uneven sidewalks. The Blues Cruise 50K appealed to my clumsy side…and the hills I could handle.

So for 10 weeks I logged lots of slow miles on trails (some technical), ran up and down hills, and got 2 20-mile runs under my belt.  A few Sundays ago I headed out to do a test run on the course itself.  I wanted to see if my hill work was adequate or if I needed to step it up a notch.

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bad omen (and I was wearing blue)

Turns out my hill work was adequate and the course is technical (in my opinion)!  I did email the RD to see which portion of the course was the hilliest.  I didn’t really notice the hills too much since I was too busy dancing around tree roots and rocks.

So this picture does not show how technical the course was.  To add some perspective – I could only manage about 11:00 minutes/mile due to all the “dancing”.  Feel free to mock me and my clumsiness.

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I drove home defeated and not one bit excited about the race.  I couldn’t imagine running 31 miles of terrain like that.  I do have access to some technical trails but not 20+ miles of them.  I emailed the RD (who was awesome) and found out they did offer refunds.  Score!  Now I could sign up for something else…

I knew another 50K around the same time and location would be unlikely so I settled for the Monster Mash Marathon in Dover, DE.  Local?  Yes.  Good timing?  Yes.  These were my top requirements.  The race had decent reviews on marathonguide.com but it’s the complete opposite of what I have been training for – flat, fast, and on roads.

I am excited though.  This will be my first marathon since December 2012, a few months before I got pregnant (which was oddly also a DE marathon).  Might as well rip off the bandaid and get back at it!  And it will be good prep for a PR/BQ in Spring 2015 (my goal).

I’ll write a whole post devoted to training soon, including the challenges I’m encountering with training post-baby.

Speaking of baby…an unrelated picture of Fiona!

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Finally Here!

The last time I posted I was 37ish (?) weeks pregnant.  Little did I know that I would go to 41 weeks and 1 day before giving birth.  The wait was agonizing and there were frequent bouts of hysteria.  In the end, just like everyone said, it was well worth the wait.  

Fiona Catherine was born on 1/9/14 at 5:50AM.  An early riser, just like her mom and dad.

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She’s 12 days old today and I’m finally getting the chance to sit down, gather my thoughts, and write a post about it.  It’s hard for me to adequately convey in words how life changing labor and delivery was (I seriously cannot stop thinking about it) and how blissfully happy I am getting pooped, peed, and spit up on.  I have discovered there is nothing in the world better than baby snuggles, the smell of her head, and how her tiny hand grasps my finger.  Matt and I are both smitten.

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I feel obligated to share some of the birth story.  But since this is a running blog, I’ll spare you the gory details and instead give you the cliff notes version.

Since I was late and my OB didn’t want me going too much past 41 weeks, I was scheduled to be induced on Tuesday night (1/7).  The plan was to begin Cervidil overnight and then start Pitocin on Wednesday.  I wasn’t thrilled with the plan but I knew Fiona was not coming out on her own.  My big concern throughout pregnancy was the possibility of being induced, not progressing, and ending up with a C-section.  I know a C-section is always a possibility even if you go into labor on your own, but I’ve seen far too many friends go down the induction-not-progressing-C-section road.  I was terrified.

I was actually surprised to learn I was having “contractions” when I went to the hospital on Tuesday night.  I say “contractions” because I felt no pain whatsoever.  I remember the nurse saying she didn’t consider them contractions if I didn’t feel any pain.  I agreed with her although the doctor felt differently (note:  this OB was NOT from my practice).  The OB felt that since my “contractions” were 1-2 minutes apart, Cervidil would send me into abrupt labor and put the baby in distress.  It was best just to monitor me overnight and maybe I would progress on my own and we could start Pitocin on Wednesday morning.  I was still not dilated at all but Matt and I were hopeful with this news.  Even though my gut was telling me otherwise.

On Wednesday morning I met with an OB from my practice.  She was on call for the next 24 hours, thank god.  After hearing that my cervix was still thick, hard, and uninducible (her words), I pretty much lost it.  This was the exact opposite of what the doctor told me on Tuesday night.  She also said Cervidil would not be effective enough for me and suggested we start Cytotec instead.  Matt and I knew a little bit about Cytotec and had reservations – it’s a nasty drug – but talked with the doctor and decided we really had no other choice.  My cervix needed to be prepped for Pitocin and my OB felt that Cytotec would do the job.  I was still not dilated.

The next 12 hours were pretty much uneventful.  I was still having “contractions” but felt no pain and was still not dilated.  I was beginning to think the baby would never come out without a C-section.  In fact, around 6PM on Wednesday night, my OB came in to check on me and I was all prepared with an argument for a C-section.  I didn’t want another dose of Cytotec.  I had been at the hospital for 12 hours at this point and was still at square one.  During the check I had dilated to 1/2 a centimeter and my OB went ahead and broke my water.  There was no mention of breaking my water, she just went ahead and did it.  She also told me to give her 12 hours and she would have the baby out.  I never got my chance to argue for the C-section.

After that my “contractions” were no longer painless.  My pain level was about a 5 but I could still walk around and talk with Matt.  The contractions were still 1-2 minutes apart.  Around 9PM they started the Pitocin.  I was terrified of the impending pain since my contractions were so close, I hardly got a break from the pain.  Let’s just say that Pitocin is no joke.  Before I knew it, my pain level was a 10 and I was shaking and nauseous.  I have never experienced any pain like this before.  I would oscillate between sitting on a medicine ball and standing.  All I could do was look forward to the brief, pain-free moments between contractions.

I immediately asked for the epidural.  I was only 1 cm dilated at this point (typically too soon for an epidural) but my OB agreed to it since my contractions were so close and my pain level was so high.  Ahh, the epidural!  How can I convey in words how wonderful it was?!  I was a completely different person afterward and it allowed us to get some sleep and let the Pitocin do its job.

Around 3AM I started to get nauseous, shake, and vomit.  I repeated a cycle of shake-vomit-sleep about 6 times.  I think it was due to the epidural but the nurse said it was due to pain (even though I felt no pain).  But the good news was I was progressing fast and furious!  I was about 8 cm dilated.  This was the best news I could have ever heard.

Around 4:40AM I began pushing.  This is the part that was life changing.  It was like an out of body experience – like the last 6.2 miles of a marathon.  Your mind is sharp but your body is tired.  I was exhausted and kept falling asleep between pushes.  I felt no pain, just some pressure.  I kept thinking give 110% every time you push and it’ll go faster.  Kinda like the faster you run, the faster you get done.  Even though Matt and the nurse were right there with me, encouraging me every step, I felt like it was just me in that room…on a mission.

One hour and 10 minutes later, I pushed 4 last times and the baby came out with a small cry.  The feeling of her exiting my body is something I will never forget.  I heard my OB say it’s a girl which confirmed what Matt and I instinctively knew for the past 10 months.  And my OB made good on her promise – Fiona was born just shy of 12 hours after my water was broken.  She was perfect – 10 fingers and 10 toes – and all ours…finally!

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PS – To answer a burning question that I was always curious about:  which is more painful – racing a marathon or labor?  Labor, hands down.  No comparison there!