I usually do a year-in-review type of post, summing up all my races for the year, but I almost forgot about it this year, since running and racing seem like kind of a distant memory at the moment.
I am starting to really miss it, though, now that it's been 9 weeks since I last ran. But I know that soon enough, the baby will be here, and then I can begin the countdown to my first postpartum run. I know it won't be an easy road back, but I'm excited to at least be close to getting on that road.
In the meantime, a quick recap of what I accomplished in 2009 -
January was a month of no racing, simply because there were no good local races that I was interested in. But I was busy gearing up for the Super 5K, where I was bound and determined to set a new 5K PR, and was hoping to break 23 minutes. I fell a bit short of the sub-23, but did set a new PR of 23:11 - a PR that still stands today, and one I'm extremely proud of.
The day after that race, I found out that I was pregnant. Unfortunately, a few weeks later, we learned that the baby had no heartbeat and I ended up having to go in for a D&C. It was a horrible time for us, especially since it was the second time we were going through this, having gotten pregnant and miscarried the previous spring.
As with that previous miscarriage, I found running to be very therapeutic, and continued to do as much of it as I could, including signing up for a St. Patty's Day 5K in Providence. My body had been through an awful lot at that point, and I wasn't expecting a great race performance, but ended up running the race in 23:36. And more importantly, the experience of the race was very cathartic and very healing.
In April, I was feeling a lot better emotionally, and really threw myself back into my training, and it paid off when I ran the very hilly Celebration of Life 5K organized by the local hospital, and despite the challenging course, managed to win 2nd place in my age group. This was my third age-group award, but just as exciting as the first two.
May was my second running of the Cox Providence Half-Marathon, and I was on a mission to either set a new half-marathon PR, or run the race in 1:48. The 1:48 finish didn't happen, but I did set a new half-marathon PR by 3 minutes, finishing in just over 1:50. It's a tough course, with lots of hills, so I was thrilled to take 3 minutes off my previous year's time.
And then, somewhat to my surprise, the day after the half, I discovered that I was pregnant again. We had planned to get pregnant again, but hadn't expected it to happen so soon. And after having two miscarriages in a row, it was tough for me to be excited and happy at first - and it would prove to take quite a while for happiness to outweigh my fears and nervousness.
But I was determined to keep running and racing through this pregnancy, so I did just that, starting with the Matty Siravo 5K in June. At 9 weeks pregnant, I ran the race in 28:05, which I thought was just fine.
In July, at 13 weeks pregnant, I ran the Camire's 4th of July Firecracker 4-miler. It was a relatively hilly course, and since it was July, it was relatively warm, so I made sure to take it really easy. I had seen my pace steadily decreasing as the weeks went on, and I was adjusting to running closer to the back of the pack. It felt strange at first, but I gradually settled into the new rhythm my body was forcing me to adapt to. I completed the 4 miles in 37:39, and felt great afterward.
After a lot of hemming and hawing, in August, I decided that I was feeling well enough to attempt a return to the triathlon that was my first entry into the sport last year - the Newport Naval Station Sprint Triathlon. It was an incredible experience from start to finish, and although I felt terribly slow and sluggish, I completed the race in what I think is a very respectable time of 1:34:37 (1/3 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 3.5 mile run). I still take a tremendous amount of pride in completing a sprint triathlon at 17 weeks pregnant, and probably always will.
September saw me growing rapidly larger, and slower and slower, and running less and less. But I wasn't done yet. I got out for the CVS Caremark 5K in Providence, and had a blast! It was the largest race I've ever run in, so it was a whole new experience for me - and obviously my first time running a race at 24 weeks pregnant, so that was a new experience, too! I took it nice and slow and easy, finishing in 31:53, and was so happy to have been out there!
I had set a goal early in my pregnancy to run until I was 30 weeks pregnant, and to try to run a race every month during that time, and I almost met both goals. I didn't run a race in October, but I did run right through my 30th week, capping things off with the local YMCA Pumpkin Run 5K on November 1st. My running had become much more infrequent, and even slower, so I knew this would be nothing more than a fun run, and it definitely was fun, especially with the shirt I had made myself, with a huge pumpkin drawn across my belly. I knew this would be my last race, and most likely, my last run while pregnant, so I made sure to really truly enjoy every minute of it. And much to my surprise, I actually ran a few seconds faster than I had run the 5K in September, finishing in 31:25.
But I knew I was done after that, and I haven't run since, so that's where my look back at 2009 comes to an end. I'm really happy that I was able to run as far into the pregnancy as I did, and to do so many races, and although I am really missing it now, it's nothing like the feeling of being unable to run due to an injury. As my body grew larger and more cumbersome, all the aches and pains associated with running got to be too much, and by the end, I was somewhat relieved to say I was stopping.
And now I'm 39 weeks pregnant, on the verge of having a baby, and already looking forward to what the next year will bring. Obviously it will bring a baby, which is beyond amazing!
But I also hope it will bring a relatively smooth return to running, and a fun entry back into racing (hopefully in March), and a busy schedule of 5Ks, longer races, one or two more triathlons, and with any luck, a 4-hour marathon in October.
It's shaping up to be a busy year!