Pregnancy does a number on a woman's body. I say that, now 11 weeks postpartum, only minutes after trying to find professional clothes to wear to a formal event. It, obviously, changes the abdomen. Even though everyone swore I was "all tummy," my legs and arms feel deflated.
Posts tagged ‘ambassador’
I'm going to count myself in the minority of new parents who get MORE sleep after welcoming a baby. I've been an insomniac since my first year of grad school. I rarely, if ever, sleep through the night. Instead I usually wake up four or five times, barely get back to sleep and then wake up again.
I don’t hide my love of the San Francisco Bay Area at all. After two years of living in Oakland for graduate school, I found it hard to come back to the valley after spending a summer doing an internship, after graduation, in Dallas. Everything just seemed to slow. I went from areas where there were 100 things to do each night to an area where there were limited opportunities after 8 p.m.
I’ve adjusted better in the past couple years to suburbia. A move to a neighborhood where there were more commuters than not helped. What’s also helped is having easy access to the East Bay, including my favorite haunts in Oakland and Berkeley. My husband works in Richmond every day, so if I really, really need to do something, I can meet him in the East Bay.
I’m more connected to that area than I am my own some weekends. That’s probably why I consider Bay Area runs my “home” races. I know I work in Stockton, and have since I took my first job years ago, my most the races I sign up for and run are close to home the opposite way.
I run the East Bay because I love the East Bay.
That’s why it was easy for me to decide to apply to be a race ambassador for the Let’s Go 510K on Oct. 19.
I was so excited when I got accepted to be an ambassador with a group of other fantastic runners. I was more thrilled that I got to be part of this inaugural race representing the 510 area code. The race comes from a team sponsorship with Represent Running (which also puts on the 415K and the 408K) and Brazen Racing.
The 10K route is probably the most beautiful one I’ve ever run. It starts at the back of Golden Gate Fields, in the parking lot right along the waterfront.
My husband dropped me off early to make up some time at work, so I had about 40 minutes to enjoy the scenery.
Yeah, my 10K location was probably so much better than other people’s that weekend. Not even kidding.
Although a mostly “flat” course, runners go on a significant uphill in the first .20 miles. But that’s it.
BUMP ON BOARD
First things first, before I continue my recap, I need to talk about the elephant on the blog: I’ve been running pregnant.
I’m at 14 weeks now. I was at 12 weeks then. I’m still kind of in the “Is she just gaining weight or is she pregnant category?” with my work and home clothes. I’ve only had to buy a couple maternity shirts because I have a closet of clothes that once fit me when I was 200 pounds, four years ago, that I just couldn’t bear to part with.
In my running clothes, though, it’s a different story. I’ve been bumping out for about six weeks now. Spandex doesn’t do women any favors in hiding a mini baby bump.
Running pregnant has NOT been easy. I always thought I’d be one of those women who ran through her entire pregnancy. But the first trimester left me so exhausted that I did little running. The one half marathon I did took me 3:21 minutes because of fatigue and injury.
Also not easy? The morning sickness that seems to creep up on mornings when I have races. Imagine how happy I was when the 510K started at 10 a.m. and not only gave me time to sleep in, but also to pull myself together in the morning.
BACK TO THE RACE
One of the biggest selling points of the 510K is the location. It starts and ends, as mentioned before, at Golden Gate Fields. In fact, the finish is actually ON THE RACE TRACK.
The route moves along the waterfront, never crossing over the Eastshore Freeway (Interstate 80) and taking runners around Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley. This inaugural race had about 1,000 people sign up for it, which I learned at the volunteer shift I did the day before the run.
That meant that there were always a good amount of people around during the run, even though I was a little slower than my fastest 10K time. I was glad too, if only because I’ve been very cautious about racing since finding out baby is on the way.
The first two miles were a little too fast for me right now: I ran a 10:00 and a 10:07. Yikes. It was already an odd warm day in the Bay Area, so I was starting to overheat a little pretty quickly. I carried my water bottle with me, which I normally don’t do in 10Ks, but figured with extra blood pumping through me I would need it, I was right.
As we made our way into the park, I started to slow and take some walk breaks. I probably should have went out at an even 11 pace and then worked my way down and pushed it at the end if I felt good. Instead those two 10-minute miles, which are pretty common for me in 10Ks, were kind of killer.
My next two miles were reflective of that: 11:46 and 11:32.
I definitely went out too fast and buy the time we were working our way back up along the scenic San Francisco Bay, my heart was beating a little too heavy and I was fading fast.
I may look strong in the photo above, but by then I was dying. At the second water station, I chugged down two cups of water and two cups of electrolyte. I was also sipping from my bottle more frequently.
My last two miles were similar: 12:38 and 11:42.
That said, I wasn’t disappointed by my finish time. I ran a solid 1:09:17, averaging 11:11 miles.
The best part, though, was finishing along the race track. The material on the track was interesting, to say the least. The last .20 included something of a single-track finish-area as people didn’t want to carve out new tracks on the track.
I actually ran ahead of quite a few people and kind of created my own path. I don’t want to say it was hard, just weird. I’m definitely not used to running on that sort of surface.
Represent and Brazen had a great finish-line festival after that included the typical Brazen set up of food and refreshments. And the medal was ridiculously awesome.
It’s bigger than some of my marathon medals!
Since my husband was still at work, I stopped by the Represent Racing booth and said hi. I also sat down for a little bit and took in the scene. The race track was a vastly different environment than I’d ever finished in.
The best part was the interaction with betters.
Case in point was a man who stopped me to ask what was happening.
Him: “Did you get in free? What was happening here?”
Me: “The runners got in free. It was for a race.”
Him: “Was there betting on it? Did I miss it?”
Me: “No. There was no betting. At least not that I know of … “
Awkward. When I mentioned it to my husband, he laughed for a good while.
The Let’s Go 510K quickly became one of my favorite races this year. I was actually excited to run a 10K instead of a half marathon. I was happy for the 10 a.m. start time and more excited for the course that kept it close to the bay.
The aim of Represent Running is to showcase different parts of the Bay Area by offering races in each of the area codes. Runners can get a “Run the Bay” medal if they complete all three races in a year period.
I would be all over the challenge, because the medal is pretty sweet, but I haven’t registered for any races after the Nov. 24 Berkeley Half Marathon. I think I’ll still be running, but not racing into my mid second trimester and my third trimester.
This is a GREAT race, though. And the first year event went off so well. I haven’t seen a first-year race so organized in a very long time.
Overall, the 510K was an amazing experience. It is definitely a race I’ll sign up for next year.
Disclaimer: I was given a free race entry as part of the Let’s Go 510K ambassador program, but the thoughts and race report are my own opinions.
To say running has been a struggle lately might be an understatement. It’s been impossible on most days. In four weeks of scheduled races, I only made it to two. But the two I made it two were like night and day.
Two weeks ago, I ran a horrible half marathon. To make matters worse, my running buddy was having such a hard time with the race that she kept telling me to go ahead. I didn’t want to. As much as I had invested in it, I didn’t feel the need to do run away from her or go on without her. Nope. Wasn’t happening.
So Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose didn’t go well for either of us. She was trying to keep me at a slower pace, too. If she hadn’t have paced me through the first eight miles, I probably wouldn’t have finished.
Today, though, marked the inaugural Let’s Go 510K.
So many things were amazing about today. I’ll write a race recap later, and hopefully be back to regular blogging, but a couple standouts included:
- An excellent turnout of people: I was given the chance to volunteer thanks to my race ambassador duties at packet pick up on Friday and was told that around 1,000 people signed up to run the event. THAT’S AN AMAZING NUMBER! Especially for a first-time event.
- Good running conditions: The race start was at 10 a.m., which meant that I could sleep in! It was still cold and slightly windy when we started our trek from Golden Gate Fields toward the Berkeley Marina.
- Plentiful support: The East Bay really came out to celebrate this run. We passed members of the Oakland Raider’s Black Hole, young soccer players and avid bird watchers — all cheered loud and proud.
- Location, location, location: A start along the San Francisco Bay? A route that winds around Albany and Berkeley’s picturesque shoreline? A finish ON THE TRACK at Golden Gate Fields? I haven’t run an in-city 10K with that much to offer ever.
The best part, though, was that I ran decently. Not well. Not PR status. But good enough that I feel better about running again.
I haven’t had such a “runner’s high” in quite sometime. But today, surrounded by a group of ridiculously excited first ever “five and dimers” I found a new spark in my passion for running.
I received some incredibly exciting news last week that I wanted to share immediately, but I figured pink-shoelaces would do the talking for me.
I’m now a Sweat Pink Ambassador!
For the longest time I followed the Fit Approach website hoping to apply to become one of the company’s brand ambassadors. I was handed a pair of pink shoe about a year ago at a Bay Area event. It’s what led me to the website initially.
Fit Approach has an amazing philosophy.
The company’s “mission statement” is very similar to See Jane Run’s approach to running for all women.
“We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick.”
That philosophy completely fits me!
So when Fit Approached opened up applications again on the website, I jumped on a chance to apply. I filled out the application during the long holiday weekend.
I found out last week that I had been chosen as a Sweat Pink Ambassador!
I received an email with a TON of information from the company, including how to sign up for a couple accounts to connect with Sweat Pink Ambassadors.
Today, I received the pink shoe laces I get to hand out to fellow runners to continue to spread the #sweatpink love! I also received my tank top.
I’m kind of in love! I’m going to take the bright orange laces out of my Nikes and add a pair of these pink laces pronto.
The best part is that I’m now connected to an amazing group of awesome women who share similar fitness goals. I’m being exposed to so many new blogs and philosophies.
I’m so excited that I decided to try on my new tank after my five-mile run (and shower) today.
They say black is slimming, which is good because I feel like I’m carrying a tire around my stomach from a summer of working at home (I’ll be relieved to go back to teaching in exactly one month.)
I’m so fortunate that in the past couple months running has allowed me all these new opportunities and connections. I’m looking forward to spreading the #sweatpink love along with my #seejanerun love at my upcoming racing events!
That moment when you realize that you’re going to have to go out of order on your race reports because you’re just so excited about the half marathon you did today? That’s happening now. Never happened to you? Too bad.
Today, I ran the See Jane Run Half Marathon in Alameda. My PR streak is now officially over, standing at my 2:16:41 half from last weekend, but that’s OK. I had business with this specific Bay Area race course. I had a score to settle. For chocolate. And champagne.
In 2011, I ran See Jane Run as my third half marathon.
If I’m counting right, today marked my 19th try at the distance.
That first See Jane Run experience wasn’t exactly what I’d hope for. It wasn’t because the race was bad. Or the people. All of that was great. Amazing even.
I was just very ill prepared for my third half marathon. That was around the time I discovered moisture-wicking socks. And started wearing running clothes that weren’t made out of cotton. It was basically around the time I started taking running more seriously.
And you know what? I learned a lot of lessons that day. But I ended up walking most of the end of the course and being near tears at the finish. My official time was 2:42:16.
So I had a score to settle.
Note: The face of a woman with a score to settle. And a really bad selfie. You get my point.
I also knew two things: 1) It was going to be hot day. As in, an hour into the run it would be creeping into the 80-degree range. As in, I should run faster to avoid being struck down by the sun. 2) My legs were tired. After two record-setting half marathons in two weeks, they were, essentially, out of juice.
So what did I do? I lined up with the 2:15 pacer hoping for the best.
Probably not the greatest idea.
Let me go back to the beginning of the day.
My husband dropped me off at Washington Park around 7:15 a.m. I’m kind of a pro at this race, since I’d done it in 2011. And I don’t like to wait forever for bathrooms, plus I like my privacy, so I remembered the finish line wasn’t too far from the start. So I headed to the row of toilets I knew would be there.
Behold: Glorious portable toilets and only ONE person in line. This would change later when it seemed other ladies caught on to my clever “avoid the lines” plan.
Ten minutes before race start, I wandered back up to Washington Park where the pre-race aerobics were already in full swing. This is one of my favorite parts about the See Jane Run race.
Because you CANNOT go wrong with Cyndi Lauper-fueled warm ups. It was nearly time to start the race, so the half marathoners headed over to the corrals. I found myself way to close to the start, so I meandered my way back to the 2:15-2:20 groups.
Once there, I lined up the aforementioned 2:15 pacer. The race started promptly at 8 a.m. And we were off, with a slight downhill on the street toward the bay-front trail that would lead us around Alameda.
Mile 1: 10:06 — I could already tell it was getting warm. I was wearing a lightweight Lululemon shirt and my MPG capris (from See Jane Run in Oakland). No heavy clothes. I hung in with the pacer.
Mile 2: 10:37 — I literally got to the end of the second mile then my leg cramped up. My first thought: This is the end. I’m going to bonk this course again. I can’t bonk this course AGAIN!
Mile 3: 11:23 — Up and over a walk bridge leading to the second island. We hit a congested path, but it’s not too bad. I think the heat was more than anyone expected. “OH MY GOD, WE’RE RUNNING STRAIGHT INTO THE SUN,” a woman next to me said to her counterpart. Yes. It was going to be a hot one.
Mile 4: 10:33 — Gu. Feeling a little better. My left IT band, which I swear hates me with a passion lately, starts to show signs that it’s going to be fussy. Of course it’s going to be fussy on a day I have something to settle on a course. OF COURSE.
Mile 5: 10:57 — Then I made the conscious decision to slow it down. The 2:15 pacer was nowhere in my sight. This would not be the day to PR. I was going to make the most of this experience. And you know what? That’s when it started getting fun. I started chatting with women along the course. This is also where there were some trees…beautiful, amazing shade.
Mile 6: 10:49 — Picking it up again. Feeling a little better. Again, slowing it down.
Mile 7: 11:15 — I started walking more slowly through water stops. And pouring cups of water on my head. I would grab two cups of water just to throw on my head, then a cup of water to drink. And a Gatorade.
Mile 8: 10:40 — This was one of my favorite miles. It’s right along the shoreline. The air comes at you in a nice breeze. And you get an amazing view of San Francisco, the city I’ll be running 26.2 in next week barring my IT band doesn’t decide it really hates me. More Gu here.
Mile 9: 10:53 — Making our way back to the bridge crossing. I started talking to a couple women running their first half marathons. They said they weren’t prepared for the heat. I told them I wasn’t either. By now, even though I was hydrating well through the stations and hydrated well the day before, I was feeling really, really parched.
Mile 10: 11:30 — Back across the bridge, into the neighborhoods. I’m feeling better. Then I see the 2:20 pacer pass me. Yikes, I think. In March I ran Oakland in 2:20. I did another Gu. I also had a guy refill my water bottle and pour some water on my head again.
Mile 11: 11:15 — I picked it up a little, but by this time, the sun was baking me. I was getting tired. My leg hurt. My body was tired. I was spent. I started walking.
Mile 12: 11:14 — Then I got the greatest pick-me-up ever. The 2:25 pacer started encouraging me. “You’re almost there! You have this,” she said. Then we ran together for a minute or so. She told me my form was good and that I looked strong.
Mile 13: 11:18 —And those words of encouragement propelled me into the finish. Just like that.
Mile .18: 1.43 — I was exhausted, but incredibly happy. The moment I crossed the finish I was handed a super cute medal that has shoelaces as the band (see above). The actual “medal” is detachable, so you can hook it to your gym or running back, which I definitely think I’m going to do.
Official time: 2:24:11
And I’m honestly, totally fine with that. Because it’s a course best. Plus, it was really hot by the time I finished. I was hot nearly the entire way on the course. But I redeemed myself from my ill-prepared first journey on the See Jane Run course.
I also had a really, really good time.
Then I got See’s Candy and two glasses of champagne. Who can argue with that?
In case you’re wondering, my shirt was so drenched in water (and sweat … gross) that my husband brought me my bag with my race shirt in it. I promptly shed the very wet shirt and opted for the drier version to enjoy my chocolate and champagne.
I’ve always said I’m not a fan of big races. I’ve never much loved any race that welcomes more than 9,000 people to it. That’s one of the reasons I choose to race smaller ones, including the Oakland Half Marathon, California International Marathon and the San Luis Obispo Marathon.
That’s one of the reasons See Jane Run appealed to me when I registered for it in 2011. It’s not incredibly small, but it’s intimate enough to not feel overwhelmed. It also brings together an amazing group of women with a “go get it” attitude. That’s one of the reasons I signed up to be an ambassador this year. According to the results, 1,570 people finished the half marathon. It’s kind of like going for a run with a very large group of encouraging, fun friends.
Fun friends who have the same love of champagne as I do, as evidenced by the lengthy (yet quick moving) lines to fill up those awesome glasses that are part of the race rewards at the end. (On a side note, I will again say how impressive the medal is this year. Two years ago I heard women complain about how small the medal was, but I thought it was a more than fair tradeoff for the chocolate and champagne glass at the end. I was extremely impressed by the medal/glass combination this year. Plus the race tech shirt was high quality and well designed. You definitely get your money’s worth with See Jane Run.)
Today, I could be dwelling about how I didn’t get that 2:15 personal record. Instead, I’m glad to be part of a group of women who pushed through some ridiculous Bay Area heat and battled the sun to have an epic good time. (And women who pushed me to the end when I was ready to give up and walk it in.)
I also got to partake in the views, minus the trash cans in the first image, before heading home. Today was a good day. It was a win in my book.
Even better, my race bib scored my husband (and race driver) a buy one, get one deal at Chipotle, one of the race sponsors. You better believe we took advantage of that.
Chicken burrito. Yum.
See Jane Run’s manifesto states that one person finishes…everyone else should have a good time. I don’t think that’s anywhere more obvious than on the course with 1,500-plus other women who are helping push each other to their goals. So to celebrate, I bought myself a “course PR” shirt. Or at least that’s how I justified it. (I don’t really NEED a reason to shop, but it’s good to have one.)
I’m wearing it now — proud to be a part of what happened in Alameda today, proud of myself for hanging in there with tired legs under a sweltering sun and proud to be am ambassador for an organization that promotes running for all types of women. Especially all the women I had a “rockin good time” with today on the 13.1 mile course.
(Disclaimer: As a See Jane Run Ambassador I was given free entry to this race, but the views reflected in this blog are my own.)