Race Recap: 2013 Reno Galena Fest

Race Recap: 2013 Reno Galena Fest
Reno NV Sunday
September 29, 2013

This was the 5th year of Reno Galena Fest but my first year running it. I was training to run it last year but found out I was pregnant just a couple of weeks before the event. I am a little shaky on trails and have been known to fall down regularly so I made the decision last year to back out. So, this year was my chance to conquer my first trail race.

From the Reno Galena Fest website
The Wicked Thorn – 7.25 mile Trail Run
Taking advantage of the most scenic trails in The Galena Forest, “The Wicked Thorn” trail run accommodates runners of all calibers. Participants will find the entire 7.25 miles challenging and rewarding.

Galena Fest Map
Galena Fest Profile

The race was scheduled to start at 9:30am, so we arrived at the park nice and early to pick up our race packets, watch the start of the mountain bike race (another huge attraction of this festival) and make sure the baby was happy and secure with his grandparents who graciously came with us to allow both of us to run. When I stepped out of the car my first thought was “damn its cold and yuck it’s windy!” but I quickly embraced that cold running is still 1000 times better than hot running. This is a pretty small race but check-in was super easy and organized and there were a decent number of clean portable bathrooms, a totally happy pre-race situation for me!

We don't want to get out of the truck!

We don’t want to get out of the truck!

As we started to line up at the start, the race provided approximate areas to start based on your expected mile times. Being my first trail run and still being unsure since I have started running again, I positioned myself just behind the 12 min/mile pace flag. Final results show that there were 210 runners.

My husband, who ran this last year, said his biggest piece of advice was to pace myself and remember that since the majority of this run was an out and back, any hill I climbed I would get to come down and anything I came down I would have to go back up. This actually proved to be really motivating for me. The trail itself had some tight, relatively narrow areas. A couple of time I ended up behind some athletes walking which forced me to change my strategy, it wasn’t all about when I needed a break but instead how to manage myself with the others around me too. Since I was running this for fun, I didn’t totally mind this but if in the future I can run more competitively, I will make sure to start in a faster pace group. The majority of the trail was fairly protected from the wind expect the top peek where the wind provided me with a huge gust dirt to the face! There were also probably four times where I was sure I was actually going to fall but managed to save myself (and my knees and palms) by flailing my arms and finding my balance and I’m sure looking totally amazing at the same time. Those were my only downfalls of this race (and weather and my lack of balance cannot be controlled!). The trail was beautiful, the volunteers along the course were friendly and encouraging, and there were a couple of water stations along the run. The race used chip timing so my results were accurate and the finish line was surrounded by cheering spectators and an announcer welcoming you in. The post-race festival was stocked with food and beer and results were being placed almost instantly. I ended up finished in 1:32:29, 153rd overall and 39th of 55 in women’s age 30-39. My husband finished in 1:18:06, 80th overall and 13th of 22 in men’s 30-39.

Post race family picture!

Post race family picture!

I can’t wait to run this race again next year! It was not super expensive, especially because the organizers offered Groupon and Living Social deals and also offered discount codes for following them on Facebook. It was really organized and on time. They had a fun festival atmosphere set up that was fun for runners and also for spectators and supporters. Overall, this is an event I would highly recommend to anyone who likes to run trails or anyone looking to try it out. Thank you so much Reno Galena Fest for a great first trail race!!!

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Reunited with the “Dreadmill”

Right now, here in Reno, NV, our air quality is awful. Due to the Rim Fire in Yosemite, our atmosphere is nothing but hazy smoke. Schools are eliminating recess, outside sports for both high school and college are being postponed, cancelled, or moved, and everyone is being encouraged to limit outside exposure. This sucks for anyone who hates the “dreadmill” as much as I do. Running in place feels like torture to me. I can be on a treadmill and can be totally convinced that 20 minutes has flown by only to look down and see that only 4:53 has passed. I can throughly enjoy and outside run of 6 miles one day and then, the very next day, feel like I’m going to collapse after only 2 miles on a treadmill. Ok, ok, you get the point! Well as I am currently training for my first trail run, I need all the training I can get. The climbs and uphill battles I am sure to face in a couple weeks really don’t care if my air is currently smoky. They will still be steep. They will still kick my butt. So this last week, I have been reunited with the treadmill to continue getting ready to hit the trails.

Wish You Were Better

This is the race I am training for. Galena Fest. September 29, 2013

Wicked Thorn

Wicked Thorn

With the baby and my work schedule, at the moment I only have an hour at lunch, which is when I work out. This includes driving to and from the gym and showering so my coworkers don’t hate me. Basically I have between 35-45 minutes for my workout. These are the two treadmill workouts I have been using.

#1
10% incline
2 minutes warmup @ 3.0mph
15 intervals: 1 minute @ 5.2mph, 1 minute @ 3.0mph
Total workout: 32 minutes

#2
5% incline
2 minutes warmup @ 3.0mph
10 intervals: 2 minute @ 5.5mph, 1 minute @ 3.0mph
Total workout: 32 minutes
I am the first person to criticize my speed and to look at that 5.2 mph or that 5.5 mph and scoff at the idea of these being too easy but right now, these are kicking my butt and I love it! They are shorter workouts that are hopefully getting me ready for my race. I am slowly working at increasing the speeds and maybe even lengthening the faster interval and shortening the rest interval. One great thing about these types of workouts, they make the treadmill a little more entertaining. I don’t have time to think about how much I hate it because I am constantly increasing and decreasing my pace and looking forward to whatever part of my interval is next. These have almost made me like the treadmill for the consistent incline and set paces it offer. For the record, I said I ALMOST like the treadmill!

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Family Version of HIIT

We are on the HIIT (high intensity interval training) bandwagon! This is what my husband and I did last Sunday morning with the baby. We alternate with one person watching the baby in the stroller (who is usually fast asleep! He loves his Bob!) while the other is moving through the set. We did stair sprints, alternating toe touches on the bench for 1 minute intervals, incline sprints, broad jumps up stairs, and then more stair sprints. Total was about a 30 minute workout (not counting time out for pictures)!

Stair Sprints x 4
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Alternating Toe Touches on Bench (1 minute intervals)
Amber-Hitler1
Wes-Hitler 1

Incline Sprints (sprint up, light jog down)
photo 11
photo 12

Broad Jump up Stairs x 4
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Stair Sprints x 4 (2 sets= every step, 2 sets = every other step)
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And of course we have to have a picture that includes the baby! Afterall, this was a family workout!!!
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I’m Back!

So I have been gone from this blog for about three months. Why? Because I had a freaking baby! An adorable, precious, sweet-as-can-be baby boy who has captured both mine and my husband’s hearts totally. I was gone from work and real life for three months as I was busy learning that becoming a new mama really does change so much in your life. But, as the time went by so fast, it is now time to come back to the real world. My real world is the balance of my amazing husband and incredible baby, a full time job, fitness goals both related to how I look/feel about my body and about how I perform in races and my weight training, and tons of other random stuff I throw in just to make sure there is never any down time!

Before I actually had my son, I had these amazing visions of giving birth and then rapidly returning to the fitness level I remember pre-pregnancy. I was sure I would spring right back up and it would be like an 8 lb 14oz baby had never actually been housed in my body. Well, surprise surprise, it hasn’t happened quite like that yet. I did not jump out of my hospital bed to run 8 min miles around the hospital. While I only have about ten more pounds to lose before I am back at pre-pregnancy weight, my stomach and body does not look like it did before it became a hotel. The weights I was once able to bench, squat and generally workout with have all been ridiculously lowered.

I don’t want to feel like I am starting over because I am trying to take pride in what I can still do and I have faith I will get back to where I once was. I can still run a 5k (as my husband and I pushed our baby in his first race just this last weekend), even if it is way slower than I have ever ran before. Baby's first 5k with Mom and Dad!

I can still get to the gym and push myself as hard as I can even if the numbers on the dumbbells are lower. I can still find races and workouts and all kinds of active things that I can work for and compete in, even if I am now doing it (happily) while pushing a running stroller!

17 days until my due date….!!!

17 days left until my due date…but it’s not like I’m counting down or anything!

THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT SAY TO A HORMONAL PREGNANT WOMAN…..

“You are huge!”

Gee thanks! I know you don’t see me every day so my belly is more shocking to you than to me but this should never be uttered to anyone, ever! And no, there is no nice way to take that!

“Are you having twins?”

No, I’m not but thank you for telling me I am huge. See above!

“How much weight have you gained?”

Are you really kidding me? Unless you are my close friend or family member, just because I am pregnant does not mean that I am going to talk to you about what I see on the scale in the mornings. Would you walk down the street and just ask anyone that question? 

“Are you going to eat that?”

Well, that is why I have it on the fork and in its way to my mouth. Being pregnant you can’t win this fight. I am always eating too much or not enough or not enough of whatever someone else wants me to eat.

“You’ve been pregnant forever!”

Nope. Just almost 38 weeks so far. See, human woman are usually pregnant for about 40 weeks total. Not forever, just 40….and it totally feels long to me too so just shut up!

 

THINGS I WILL MISS ABOUT PREGNANCY…..

Stretchy pants with no zippers

Maternity pants are like jeans or slacks with extra stretchy material at the top and a lot of them have no buttons or zippers. Like a work appropriate version of your most comfortable sweats.

Baby movements and kicks

I love feeling the baby move around! One of our favorite nighttime activities in these last few weeks is watching the belly move and change shapes. Such a crazy experience!

The anticipation and excitement of a new adventure

I am so ready for our baby to be here but sometimes the anticipation and preparation time is really exciting and dear to me too.

 

LOOKING FORWARD TO….

Snuggling the new baby and dressing him in all the cute outfits

Sushi and a Corona with lime!

A nice long run and a shorter faster run

Actually planning for, registering for, and training for a race……I can’t wait!

Being able to reach my toes without making funny, grunting sounds!

Not always having crumbs/food drop on my belly!

I swear, a larger belly is really just a magnet for dropping food on it no matter how careful I am trying to be!

The eventual return to my normal wardrobe

While maternity clothes have come a long ways, I’m still looking forward to my normal clothes and shopping in more than one small corner of the clothing stores!

 

Let the countdown continue!!!!

8 More Weeks!

8 more weeks and counting! One of the hardest parts of my pregnancy has been the anticipation. Time seems to be going so slow! It feels super long to wait 40 weeks to meet the little guy! It is also more than that. It is a combination of wanting to meet my baby and wanting to get back to running and hard workouts and a more physical lifestyle. I feel like I am sitting and doing nothing! Even though I have maintained some working out throughout my pregnancy, this is the least I have done in years. I am not working out every day. Sometimes I am too tired or sometimes I am feeling sore. It is really frustrating to have sore muscles when you know you didn’t make them sore through a hard run or a great workout! I am working out when I can. I am decorating a nursery and reading baby books. I am trying to get me and the husband as ready as possible for this new change but all I can tell you for sure, is that I am horrible at waiting!

Sometimes it feels like all I can do is plan, and think, and think about planning what I am going to do when my pregnancy is over. Yes, I am a type A personality!  I realize that I will have a little boy who needs me in a whole new way than I have ever needed before but I think it will be important to me to make some “me time” also. I am already thinking of what races I want to try for later this year and next. The husband and I are already talking which one of us will have baby duty/cheering duty for which events. I’m already thinking and counting days until I can start working on my post-baby body.

Some of this may sound selfish. Some may think I should be solely concentrated on our new little one who will be here is approximately 58 days. I am enjoying this pregnancy as much as possible although I will admit to having a hard time when well intentioned people feel that need to comment on the size of my belly! Common sense, no matter how pregnant a woman is, she never wants to hear “You’re huge!”. However, despite this time of calm, I am looking forward to having a training goal again. I am already looking forward to chatting to my newborn son about the run I have planned when his Daddy gets home.  I am looking forward to sweating from a workout rather than from hormones and I am excited to start tracking my body getting smaller again rather than larger!

27th Annual You’ve Gotta Be Crazy Run!

Even though I am not signing up or participating in any new races, I am trying to still support some friends and local races I have grown to love. My husband is still running and it is a totally different experience to just go watch but I believe that supporting local races is important. Supporting these events and groups is the only way to ensure that they stick around and I want them here next year when I can race again!

A local running group, Silver State Striders, annually puts on a race call You’ve Gotta Be Crazy Run. This year’s race is Sunday February 17, 2013 at 10am. I was intrigued to try this race last year because of the rumors I had heard. I was told that the theme of this race was to run in as little clothes as possible, such as short shorts and a sports bra for the girls and totally topless for the boys. Considering it is February and average temperatures in our area are usually between the mid 30’s and mid 40’s, I had to check out how crazy I was. I partly chickened out and ran in shorts and a long sleeved shirt but found a great race I really enjoyed. There were a couple others much braver and showing more skin than I was however all levels of exposure (within decency) and non-exposure were welcome! Last year was the first time I ran this race and I am super bummed to be missing it this year!

The race is located just a couple of miles outside of Reno in Verdi. This is a beautiful area with a 5k loop or a 10k two loop option. While this race is somewhat smaller, I was so impressed last year with how it was ran. The group does a great job with registration, organization, a post race picnic and prizes. Entry fees are totally economy friendly with early registration ranging from $10 to $25 depending on which event you would like to do and whether or not you want a shirt. They also offer race day registration at just a slightly higher price. This is a fundraiser for the Silver State Striders Junior Striders and Community Junior Running.

While I will be cheering on the runners from the sidelines, especially my husband and a couple other friends, I highly recommend this local event for anyone in the area!

My Non-Existent Training Plan Sucks!

One thing I am really struggling with is a training plan. I am a total Type A planning, organized, overwhelming type personality who can and likes following a training plan like no one’s business. I am not very good with “go with the flow”. I plan my workouts. I plan my running routes. I am an over planner! My running and fitness has a very mental side to it that can make or break me at any point. Establishing a training plan based on my goals is the only way I know how to get it done. Some of issue is that it gives me something to be accountable for and another part of it is that it gets in my brain and reassures me that I am prepared and on track. As I am on a self imposed race hiatus and a lot of my workouts have had to be modified until after our baby boy makes his arrival, I am struggling to create and stick to a plan that works for me. My workouts are unorganized and all over the place!

I have made training plans for numerous reasons.  I have done it to accomplish a new race distance, such as when I ran my first half marathon last May. I have done it to improve my mile times in relay races. I have set up training plans to tone certain areas before bikini season. I have had specific plans to drop weight and others to get stronger. I took whatever was my specific goal and organized the cardio and strength training I thought would get me to my goal. I usually follow these almost religiously. I occasional switch out a day or two, but more often than not, I am doing exactly what I planned on any specific day. Sometimes the plans worked, sometimes they didn’t, but it always helped me feel like I did everything I could to try and accomplish whatever goal I was chasing. Well, pregnancy has thrown me a major loop! I can’t define such a strict regimen if I can’t specifically define my goal. I can’t concentrate on getting faster, taking on a new race distance, shrinking my waist or thighs, or really even pushing myself with weights. I now have to listen to, feel, and absorb the changes my body is going through. I am chasing fitness and health is a more abstract way than I am comfortable with. I can’t tell myself to quit being a whiner and push through a workout, even if it hurts so bad (or good!). I have to track my heart rate rather than my times. I have to remember that stopping before it hurts is better right now.  I have to remember that even if I plan a workout for today and even if I didn’t work out yesterday, my body might be tired and need an extra day of rest. It might not be up to doing everything I want it to do today. To say this is frustrating is an understatement. It is brutal for someone with my personality.

The good thing about this is that it is finally getting me to listen to my body. The human body is amazing and will give you tons of signs when something is wrong. I never liked to listen before. I just relied on the fact that I made it through my training plan last week so pushing through it this week and pushing harder was always the right thing to do. This method has gotten me to reach many goals but it has also let me down sometimes. It has prepared me for races physically but let me down in how to understand my body and adjust to things outside of my control, such as weather and out last minute changes. It has added more unnecessary pressure on me which has sometimes taken the fun out of a race or event.

For right now, I’m going to keep moving forward without a strict plan.  I am committed to a couple of workouts a week because I feel it is important but I am slowly and painfully learning flexibility in my training. On days I feel like doing a spin class, I sign up. I try to get a day of upper body strength moves in the mix and don’t freak out if I am using the lightest weights in the gym. I try to keep to 2-3 days of running a week and know that if I don’t feel it that specific day, then it is ok to walk or to jump on the elliptical or the stair master. Sometimes it is even ok to go home and jump in the recliner and put my feet up if I need an extra rest day!

Pregnant and Still in the Gym

A couple questions I get quite a lot are “If you are pregnant, why are you still working out?” and “Isn’t working out dangerous for you and that baby?” I have also gotten some questions that come off a little more rude such as “Don’t you think your being selfish by still caring about your body and working out?”  

One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was to search online for “exercising while pregnant”. Then I went and got some pregnancy books and I looked up whether or not I could exercise. When we got to meet with our doctor, I was sure to talk with her about what my workouts were like before I was pregnant and what I was hoping to keep doing during pregnancy. We talked about what to watch out for, what to avoid and what to include. The overall, common answer I got from all these sources? Exercising during pregnancy is good for mama and baby! Exercising can help with common pregnancy complaints such as minor aches and pains, bloating, and constipation. It can also help with all those hormones raging through a pregnant woman’s body and help prepare the body for a more efficient labor (fingers crossed on this one)!

There is definitely a difference to working out before pregnancy and after pregnancy. Before I would go on training runs and constantly try to push my mile times faster and look for hills to add to my routes. I would look for new races to enter and craft training plans to try to reach new PR’s. During pregnancy I have had to embrace running for its simple pleasure of getting moving. I don’t look at the mile times on my watch. Instead I check my watch to check my heart rate to make sure it is not getting too high (I talked to my doctor and a trainer about an acceptable heart rate range). I did one race while pregnant. At four months I ran our local Turkey Trot 10k.

4 months pregnant!

4 months pregnant!

My husband ran with me, we started at the very back and we also waiting for about the first quarter mile before we actually started running. It was a way to make sure we had a good warm up and to let more competitive runners go ahead. It was also a good way for me to not let myself get sucked into the racing vibe. We did lots of walking breaks and stopped at every water spot for extra water. I continue to do spin classes and use the treadmills all the time. Spin class and treadmills have been great for me because I can push as hard or as easy as I want, I am not holding anyone else back, I am not worried about falling due to an uneven surface, and it is really easy to have lots of water with me to stay hydrated. Proper hydration is critical during pregnancy. I still do a modified version of weight training. There are certain machines that are no longer good for me and certain exercises that should make my body more labor ready. The amount of the weights I use for some sets have drastically decreased (if not disappeared entirely and replaced with body weight moves only) but I can still do weights. I can still do almost everything I could before I was pregnant, it is just a matter of modifying it to accommodate my changing body and the changing demands on my body.

I really don’t want to use pregnancy as my excuse to forget or give up on my fitness and my fitness goals. It may change some of those goals and it may affect the timelines for some of those goals, but I’m ok with that. Working out through pregnancy has helped me to feel good about myself as my body is starting to change in ways I have never experienced. It is helping me deal with an obnoxious level of hormones that is completely new to me. It is helping me remember that to be a good mom and role model, I need to be happy with myself and I need to make healthy choices.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not total gym rat crazy and I am totally enjoying a little pregnancy ice cream here and there!  I just don’t think pregnancy means the end of fitness and healthy choices!

***The opinions here are a combination of my own research and consulting with my personal doctor and a friend who is a trainer. Please do your own research and consult with your healthcare provided for recommendations as to what is best for you! ***