Summer of Speed

This sounds crazy, but maternity leave was the perfect time for me to train for Boston. No, I wasn’t getting great sleep, but I wasn’t working so my day consisted of running and spending the rest of the day cuddling with Jane on the couch. When I went back to work I knew there was no way I’d be able to balance marathon training, being the Mama I wanted to be, and being a Principal. I’ve been focusing my attention on something that doesn’t come as naturally to me. Short distances.

Instead of 1K repeats on the track and 8 mile tempo runs I’ve been busting out 200s and 400s, chasing these speedy ladies. It’s really put me out of my comfort zone, but I’m loving the challenge. I do think in the long run this will help my marathoning. Screen Shot 2019-08-10 at 8.44.04 AM.png

 

My first race post Boston was the Leslie Cohen 5K. The best thing about this race is that I won and got $100. The course was long though, and it would have been a PR at like a 18:10 but I ran more than a 5K. It was a fun morning and the race was in my neighborhood, so it was a nice speed workout. 5kleslie.jpgLeslie.jpg

In May I raced the Armed Forces 5K in Torrance with Tania and Cambria. I came away with the win again, in 18:05. It made me think sub-18 was possible!

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Torrance Local News. I’m a celebrity!

The Brentwood Run in June was going to be my next shot at a PR. I wanted sub-18 but wasn’t feeling great during the warm-up and wasn’t too optimistic. That negative energy caused a positive split. But the beauty of a 5K, just get out there any try again in a few weeks.

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We then switched gears and got into 1 mile training. I have CRAZY respect for short distance runners. I was legit nervous for that race. 5+ minutes of PAIN. I wasn’t sure I was tough enough. Those track workouts, though short, were ROUGH. 3×300 sounds easy to a marathoner, but when your training buddies are running them at a 4 minute mile pace it’s humbling. That’s me chilling in the back.

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The mile race started at noon, which was different for me. I spent all morning thinking about the race. To be honest, I don’t remember much about it besides about 3/4 of the way in I thought to myself “What if I just stop?” which means I probably pushed myself pretty hard. I ran a 5:21 which was meh. I’d be curious to run a mile on a track rather than on the road with a hairpin turn.

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Pre-race candid

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What the heck am I doing here?

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100 Meters to go

Last weekend a bunch of Janes ran the Pride of the Valley 5K. I was hoping my 1 mile training would help me out and I was FAR more relaxed for this race. The gun went off and I just felt good. I ran a beautiful negative split (which I rarely do in a 5K) and it served me well. 17:58 official time with a 5:47 overall pace. It felt good to break 18!

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Breaking 18

So what’s training looking like these days? 3-5 mile easy runs, track Tuesday (12 x 200 or 4 x 400 and 4 x 200), maybe some hills or a 20 minute tempo on Thursday, and easy longer (Emphasis on longer. Not long.) runs on the weekend. I feel like I’m getting my running (and competing) fix without taking a bunch of time away from Brent and Jane. It’s less the training and more the marathon maintenance of massages, yoga, stretching, foam rolling, meal prepping for 3000+ calorie days that I’m enjoying taking a break from. Will I run another marathon, absolutely yes. I’m not done with 2:54 😝 

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Boston Marathon Race Recap 2019

Boston Marathon, you have a special place in my heart. For so many years you were the ultimate dream. I failed on multiple occasions in my quest to run this iconic course. Monday I finished the course for the fifth time. What keeps me coming back? Yes, the tradition and the history, but also because the Boston Marathon = GRIT. PRs aren’t given, they are earned. Don’t be fooled by the net downhill course. The Boston Marathon course is designed to put the odds against you.

The gun goes off and you run 100+ meters downhill in the first mile. Sounds nice huh? That downhill pounding on the quads and pushing of the toes against your shoes comes back to haunt you in the teens. You go up and down the first few miles before evening out until the 15ish. Mile 16 is a major downhill, again trashing your quads as you easily run your fastest mile right before tackling Newton Hills. For 16 miles you’ve been running scared, knowing Newton is approaching. You see the “Welcome to Newton” sign and you get a little nauseous.

Everyone talks about Heartbreak Hill, but what really makes it a heartbreak is that you’ve run 3 hills prior and you’re convinced it’s over and then boom, heartbreak. It’s just a punch in the face. So you conquer the hills. You’re rewarded with another downhill. Sounds nice, but at this point your quads are trashed from the early downhill miles and your hamstrings feel like they’re about to pull from climbing so you’re pumping your arms like crazy and using the crowds of Boston to send you home.

You see the Citgo sign and the Prudential Center and you choke up. You just ran from Hopkinton to Boston. With less than a mile to go you escape the crowds in an underpass, then make the infamous right on Hereford and left on Boylston. That final 800-meter stretch is surreal. For those few minutes you escape reality. You try to soak it all in. For those few minutes you’re not “Principal Lowry” or whatever your day job might be. If I had the writing talent of my Papa or Carmen maybe I’d be able to describe it!

This year I ran a 2:54. A 4 minute course PR and finished 98th woman. I was hoping for top 100 😜 I’m determined to master this course, but I’m not there yet. This year the strategy was a planned positive split. Run hard for the first half, ignore the watch from 17-21, and then give whatever I’ve got for the final 5. The plan served me well as I got the tiniest of PRs. A PR is a PR though and considering I’m a new Mama and ran fewer miles than in past training blocks I’m super excited! Plus it’s BOSTON! It’s no Revel course!

So how did I feel? I ran a little scared. Scared I’d hit the wall. Scared my hamstrings would lock up, scared I wouldn’t be smiling at the top of heartbreak, and the early miles just felt so aggressive. I had a pit stop around mile 16/17 because I didn’t get to use the porta potty before the race (the line was crazy long) and I was really thirsty from the humidity. I remember around mile 17 fantasizing about how easy my life would be if I just gave up marathoning and slept in and went to brunch on Saturday mornings instead of training. I forced myself to ignore those negative thoughts and did my positive self talk. I looked down at my JANES tattoo and thought about my daughter, I told myself I was tough, I thought about Brent and how much he believes in me, and I thought about Mama and Papa and all the cross country meets they took me too and how much I love them. I did a bit of math around mile 24 and knew I’d have to hustle for a PR. Alaina sent me a text that popped up on my watch and it said “Fire up those buns and GO GO GO!” and I just went for it. I busted out a fast final mile and finished in 2:54. I cannot believe I ran 26.2 miles at a 6:37 pace. I feel so grateful and lucky.

I’m getting closer to that ultimate goal of 2:48, 2 hours faster than my first marathon in 2008. But will I ever reach an ultimate goal and feel 100% satisfied?

For now I’m gonna take a bit of a break from high mileage running, but I’ll see you in 2020, Boston.

A few pics…

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Jane did such an amazing job on both flights! She’s the best baby!

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Obligatory bib pic.

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Ellen my running BFF!

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It decided to pour the morning of the race. Thank goodness it stopped by 10am!

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Min my Salt & Straw and wave 1 buddy!

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Walked to the start with Hungry Runner Girl and Tina Muir!

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Yup, that’s Blue randomly in my parent’s photo of Jane and Brent!

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Less than a mile.

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I can see the Citgo sign!

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Always fun to see Lucy in Boston!

Sweet Baby Jane

I was sitting in a summer training session at at school on August 21st when my phone rang. It was the adoption agency. I ran out of the room to the playground. “Hi, this is Mia with AdoptHelp. I’m calling with good news. You’ve been selected by a birth mother in Florida who is giving birth to a baby girl in December.” So much to process in that loaded sentence. Someone picked our profile? A girl? But I always thought of myself as a boy mom. December? I’ll be a Mama before the end of the year?! This is the best early birthday present ever. Mia gave me a few more details, none of which I remember. I was just anxious to get Brent on the phone. We officially accepted the placement and scheduled a call with the birth Mom.

Let’s flashback to January 2018. After an informational meeting with AdoptHelp, Brent and I decided our philosophy aligned perfectly with the agency. On January 15, 2018 we officially joined the AdoptHelp family. This is something we’ve talked about since before we were married. It was hard to believe it was actually happening. We were sent a THICK packet of paperwork. Applications. Home Visits. Profiles. Family photos. SO MUCH PAPERWORK. With the stress of school, it felt like a second job. We could have been a bit more urgent about finishing everything, but didn’t finalize all the work until the end of May. Brent was a bit of a perfectionist with the profile 🙂 After submitting all of our paperwork we were told to expect a 9-12 month wait. It was up to a birth mother to select us. To celebrate being done with all the initial work we went on the most amazing trip to Namibia and lived a “yes” lifestyle. This translated to running too. Run Cross Country for the first time since high school? Why not? Chicago Marathon with the American Development Program? Yes! Day trip in Sacramento to watch Ellen crush the California International Marathon? Absolutely!

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It was all well and good, but does not compare to the fun of being Jane’s mother. My whole world changed when Jane was born on December 30, 2018. Not having experienced pregnancy, I wondered if I’d feel like Jane’s mom. I wondered if she would bond with me. I worried that my mother instincts wouldn’t kick in. It didn’t feel real until I held her in my arms.

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I feel so blessed to have been there for Jane’s birth and to be the first to hold her after she was born. It was an honor to hold Jane’s birth mother’s hand through labor. We’ve built a strong relationship with her, and I know we’re going to be a part of each other’s lives forever. I love Jane more and more every day. Nothing beats the feeling when she laughs and smiles at me. I absolutely am Jane’s Mama, and those mother instincts definitely kicked in. It’s Mama and Jane all day everyday until April 1st. Oh and side note, yes, I’m a proud Jane, but Jane was not named after my running group. Jane met the name requirements for both Brent and I. I wanted a timeless family name (my Grandma and I both have the middle name Jane) and Brent wanted a female scientist. I love that she is named after a scientist who worked in Africa 🙂 For these next few weeks I am soaking it all in and taking advantage of every moment. Oh, and it turns out I love being a girl Mama too 😉