Two weeks ago I ran the Philly RnR Half Marathon for the 12th time. This was also my 4th postpartum race and I had some high hopes – not PR hopes but I was sure I would finish sub-1:50. Well, I didn’t. Not even close: 1:56:41. It was unexpectedly humid and yes, that counted for something but it wasn’t solely responsible for my utter demise on the course.
Let’s review the past year, shall we?
LOVE Run: 1:53:08 (11 weeks pp)
Broad Street: 1:23:41 (4 months pp)
ODDyssey HM: 1:57:42 (5 months pp) –> can’t count this one in the mix. There’s a definite reason for my poor performance – sheer exhaustion. Matt came back from a 2-week work trip the day before the race.
RnR Philly: 1:56:41 (8 months pp)
Notice a trend? I’m getting slower. I distinctly remember reading Dr. Clapp’s book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy and being excited about postpartum running and all the potential PRs I envisioned myself running. It made sense. Physiologically, all those adaptions that take place when you run during your pregnancy hang around for 6 months to 1 year postpartum. That’s why some women run their fastest times in that year postpartum. Right?! Right?! Wrong. At least in my case.
What gives? I’m working hard and getting slower? How is this possible? I have a few theories that came to mind while running the RnR.
#1 – Get some blood work done, maybe something is off. I have been feeling off lately – some non-specific symptoms that have been hanging around for a few months now. I’m getting the blood work done this week so hopefully I’ll know soon.
#2 – I need to re-wire my brain to accept discomfort when racing. You know…head to the pain cave, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, blah, blah, blah. Turns out my brain has completely forgotten how to do this.
It seems that all my slow running could be to blame for #2. When I say slow running I’m talking about no speed work and running all runs at a comfortable, conversational pace (think MAF training without the heart rate monitor). This is the same slow running that is responsible for all my Fall 2012 PRs (5K to marathon), an enjoyable 36 weeks of pregnant running, and my injury-free and endurance-building return to running postpartum. What?!
I did some hard thinking after the Philly RnR. While my body craves that slow running, my mind craves finish times that are within 10 minutes of those 2012 PRs. It’s time to bring back some speed work. Gulp. I’m talking 400m, 800m, and mile repeats. Gulp.
Because of my change in training, I’m not running the Monster Mash Marathon on Oct. 18th. I was able to defer until 2015. I want to put 100% of my efforts into training for the Philly Half Marathon in November. And maybe come within 10 minutes of 1:41 (my current PR)!
If you’re keeping track I’ve been changing my mind a lot about my race plans for 2014. From a 50M -> 50K -> marathon…to half marathon? I should have relinquished all decisions about racing this year to Matt. He isn’t under the influence of hormones.
There is some good news. I ran 400s yesterday that aren’t too far off from my times while training for Boston in 2012. And I still get to run easy on most days :)
I can’t end a post without unrelated pictures of Fiona!