Wow. What a crazy, wonderful, unexpected year! Little B's arrival was life changing in so many ways and he's just the sweetest, most adorable baby ever! I'm so glad he's here! We've adjusted to our new normal and while we obviously don't have everything figured out, we're doing well and I've figured out how to keep running even when there's a baby in the mix.
This year, I spent the first half of the year attempting to maintain fitness through pregnancy and the second half making a comeback and attempting to regain lost fitness. At six months post-baby, I'm back down to my pre-baby weight (and in my pre-baby clothes) and my race times are just a little slower than I was in the fall of 2013 when my speed really was starting to pick up. Every race I ran this fall was faster than the one before it. So while I didn't hit any overall PRs, I did have four post-baby PRs, so I have official evidence of improvement.
A few of this year's highlights:
- Crossing the finish line of the Charleston Half just shy of 20 weeks pregnant with little B in tow.
- The first post-baby run. It sucked. It was so slow. It was sort of awkward and my thighs were uncomfortably rubbing together, but I knew I was back on my running journey.
- The first race post-baby. Not because it was awesome. It was actually pretty terrible and my pace was somewhere between slug and turtle (for me). But it was also the first race where little B was waiting at the finish line and that was awesome.
- The first time I ran sub-9 minute miles on a regular run. I know that's not super fast or anything, but running in the 8s and low 9s on regular, easy runs (including long runs of over 13 miles) is mostly where I was running pre-baby (late summer/fall 2013) and seeing those numbers again signified improvement and fitness gains.
- The first race where I ran a post-baby sub-25 minute 5K and knew I was on the upswing of getting faster and could start pushing myself more. This also happened to be the Turkey Day Run where we had family in town who also ran the race, and where D walked and pushed B in the stroller and I got to see little B cross his first finish line. There were so many good things about that race!
Next year's hopes:
- Get B in the running stroller and run a few races with him. He loves to be in motion, so I'm sure he'll enjoy the stroller.
- On a similar note, I'm excited that B is now big enough for a bike trailer, too. So now we can go back to our ride-runs as a family. D can tag along with me on runs and B can ride behind him in the trailer. I've really missed our ride-runs and I'm happy we're going to be doing them again.
- Run with Autumn! I really want to run with at least one of my dogs and she is the most likely candidate. I didn't have enough time this year to really work with her since I was mostly working on regaining my own fitness. Now that I've got a grip on that, it's time for her to start running, even if she only makes it up to a 5K.
- I want to be more strategic about my races. Racing every weekend (or nearly every weekend) doesn't really do much to improve my overall running nor does it allow time for proper training. While it was fun at the end of this year to get back into racing after missing an entire season, I was completely burned out by the end, and I'm sure my mental state affected my times. Next year I want to plan my races better and really go after each distance for a solid PR.
I'm excited for a year of hard training and hopefully, a lot of running and fitness improvements. But I'm also looking forward to spending more time together as a family while incorporating fitness and the outdoors.