Friday, October 10, 2014

Baby Tot’s 10th Marathon WAYYYY into the 3rd Trimester

Last Sunday I ran the Portland marathon for the 5 time myself and the first time with baby tot.  Being 34 weeks pregnant and preparing for a marathon is a lot of fun.  Apparently not a lot of pregnant women, or late 3rd trimester pregnant women, run marathons.  So my mother in law mentioned this to the local new crew and they called me up wanting to do a TV interview with me at the expo on Saturday before the race.  While this was pretty exciting, I am not the type of person that likes to make a big deal about my racing before I actually complete my goal!  I ran my first 100 mile race with only 1 other person, who happened to be in another state, who actually knew what I was about to go do.  I just feel that the right time to talk up what you did is AFTER you actually do it- not before.  I also don’t like the pressure and expectations that go with knowing that you have talked up what you are doing too much.  IronMan was the worst about this, when I did that in 2012 we got there and everyone was celebrating and making such a big deal BEFORE the event.  HUMMM I thought, well none of us have actually done anything that cool besides show we are pretty silly for spending this much time and money to get here.  But I digress.  So I did talk to the reporter on the phone and gave them a little background on me, but declined the interview on Saturday and said I would be happy to do one on Sunday when and after I finish and there is something to celebrate! 

Sunday morning I was up at 5am and ready to run, little tot was excited about the event as well and was a mover and a shaker in the early hours before the event.  I was able to do my normal start relaxing at my husband’s office down town and even had time to write in my hand written baby book about my pre-race marathon thoughts.  I headed to the starting line and got in my coral with 3 minutes to spare, which is perfect timing for me, who wants to wait around that many other crazy runners that are not actually going anywhere for long periods of time?   The start went off great and I was feeling pretty good, well as good as you can with an additional 20 pounds sitting on your bladder and internal organs while running.  I loved looking around and seeing all the people out there watching and the crowd of runners.  In a big marathon like this, I am totally entertained just people watching for the first 6 miles.  So that is what I did, I took in the sunrise, the people, the course, and feeling little tot move around and talking to her or him in my head about the day and what we were doing. 
By mile 8 as we got to the industrial district I stared to feel the weight of my front put the pressure on my back.  I started to throw in some walk breaks to allow the pressure to relax a bit and give the tot and my body breaks.  At this point I did get a little worried.  If I was already having back pain at mile 8 I did start to question my ability to actually complete a marathon, especially when you are doing the math.  It is never good to do the math, especially bad to do the math at mile 8 and realize you still have 18.2 MILES to go!  OH DEAR.  That did sound a bit daunting!  So I did what any smart runner does and decided not to think about it and to keep plugging along running and checking out the crowd and the surroundings.   The thing that I really stared to notice for this section of the race as it is an out and back and you start to see those front runners in front of you, and the other folks that are behind you.  I started to think about how fast and how great the front runners are doing and how easy it is for them because the will be done MUCH sooner than I will be!  Looking back at all the folks behind me gave me great strength.  To know that they were also out here getting it done, and it didn’t have to be fast.  These were my people.  I loved that we all were going to put it out there together and get to that finish line.  I didn’t have to be pretty; we just needed to cross that finish line because we are getting the same medal and finisher shirt that the people at the front of the pack are getting.  And so I was determined to carry on and get that shirt and the medal. 
As I had so much time to think during this race I also realized that I really love running, and running really does feel better than walking to me.  I don’t know how this is possible, but if people saw me out there I was still “running” or making my attempt to run when some people could probably walk faster.  Stilly I know.  I also realized that I had to be patient for this race.  I was not going to just fly across that finish line.  It was not going to be easy and it was going to be a long hot battle in the sun and I was going to have to slog it out for the long haul in order to cross that line.  Once I accepted this, I just kept moving forward and was pretty happy.  I crossed the big bridge and only once thought about jumping off of it, hey at mile 16+ with 90 degree heat and being super pregnant I thought this was pretty good!  I made it through the east side and somehow that side felt faster, as if I knew I was now headed towards the finish line, not away from it made all the difference.  I was eating and drinking great and the baby was doing awesome with me. 
I came across the bridge back into downtown knowing there was only a mile or so to go just thrilled.  I was moving slow at that point, totally sunburned, hurting all over, but so very happy that I knew that I was going to finish and that I would finish well in any cut off they put out there.  Coming across that finish line for the 5th time with baby tot inside my tummy kicking along happily was just the most special wonderful moment.  The announcers read my name and I indicated to them “AND BABY”  and they announced “Melissa Kistler and Baby crossing the finish line!”   It was all I could do to not cry as I smiled and claimed my medal and shirt!  Baby tot did a wonderful job at their 10th marathon and we had fun.  It was a very good race!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Boring Marathon with baby Tot!

Yesterday I completed the first ever Boring Marathon here in Oregon.  It was a wonderful event that benefited a local high school.  Rhiannon also made the trip with me waking up at 4am and driving out there to be my support person just in case since I am running in my third trimester and you never know what can happen.  I thought it was a little crazy as who in their right mind would like to spend their Sunday morning doing that, but Rhiannon was up for it and Jash really appreciated that I would have help there just in case.  Rhiannon is a wonderful friend and I am so lucky to have her and she was a great help for the event!

They offered an early start which I loved and took advantage of as the temps that day were foretasted to be very warm in the upper 80’s or low 90’s. 
Not sure what we actually hit, but it felt much better than that.  The course only had a few rolling hills and starting so early you didn’t really see the big ones on the way out, but man they looked huge on the way back in.  I started out the race running with another gal named Anne who I started talking to before we even finished our first loop of the track.  She was running her first marathon at age 63 because her oldest daughter wanted to train for one and her brothers told her she was too old to do it.  Well she did it!  We ran together for the first 14 or 15 miles and talked about life and everything in between which really made the first part of the race a real treat.  I was able to meet her daughter at mile 13 who was going to run the half marathon back with her.  I had to part ways when I needed to make a potty stop and they needed to keep going.  I figured it was about time and I was lucky for the discussion I had for that long.  It also kept us running really good and we did no walking for that first 15 miles which I didn’t plan for initially, but was happy that I was feeling great. 

Things got a little rough after I lost my chatting buddies and I stared to realize there were not many other options out on the course of others to interact with.  I asked at the next aid station and they informed me that only 39 people were out doing the marathon, I think there may have been more support people than actual runners!  It was a little disheartening to hear that as I was under the impression that we had 300 out there and for me that made me worry less about holding up the whole race if I really had to slow down.  I know not a way that I should have been thinking anyways, so I just kept going.  I could feel much more in terms of twinges and other such things and your mind can really start to play tricks on you when you are out there alone and wondering.  I started thinking about the baby and making sure that I was drinking and eating enough, which of course I was and had been the entire race up to that time.  I think the more scary thoughts were when I got a side stitch and thought “are these contractions” which took me a good 5 minutes or more to realize if they were then I probably would not only be feeling them on ONE SIDE OF MY BODY!  LOL I did have to laugh at myself and say wow freaking out over a run of the mill normal runner side stich huh?  And with that I continued to make my forward progress, but it was slower than what I was doing before. 

By mile 20 I was getting tired, but I was off the trail (paved) and onto the main roads in Boring heading back to Barlow HS for the final 10k of the race.  At this point my belly had really taken a bouncing and was just feeling pretty sick of running.  I could feel the pulling and twinges, which didn’t really hurt anywhere, but more just felt uncomfortable and made running not and exciting prospect.  I ran walked for a bit and tried to power walk, but wow I am not a good power walker and that started to feel just like running in terms of the pressure on my tum tum so I just would run or walk, the power walking was not happening.  I was happy still at this point because 1. I knew I was going to finish, it would be only a matter of time, 2.  I was feeling really good on hydration, nutrition, music, mind and body, 3.  I was totally happy to be totally prego and out running a marathon!  I also got to talk to many marathon maniacs along the way as well as some very nice fire men at an aid station that were pretty excited about the pregnant marathon runner.  Rhiannon came out to the 24 mile mark which was another school and met me and finished the last 2 miles of the race with me, which was awesome to have someone to talk to and know that the end was so near.  It is crazy how chatting really makes time fly!  Even though the half marathon and 8k were long over by the time I finished the race team still made the finish very special for me.  The announcer did a special note about how I have been running marathons all through my pregnancy and the RD personally gave me a hug and congrats.  It felt great to feel so much love and support out there and it is really just another reason that I love this sport so much!  Fun pictures from the finish of the race to follow.  September marathon complete and a marathon a month since 2008 streak still intact! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Prego Running Summer!

So much to catch up on over the last 6 months!  Jash and I have been very very busy as we found out in March that we have a baby on the way due in November!  We are just thrilled with the news as it was planned and we are very excited to start a family together.  Now let’s get into the 6 month flyby!

March I ran a wonderful little trail marathon up in Washington with my good friend Margaret, we just met up at the start and kept running together the whole race!  It was wet and muddy and cold, but with our great convo and catching up that we had to do the hours just flew by. 

For this race I had no idea at all that I was preggers and no warning symptoms or anything, it was just good old normal running fun!  Later that month on Jash’s birthday we decided to take a test and we passed!  We then knew our little one was on the way! 

In early March we had already broken group with permits approved for a large remodel project on our house so we are continuing on that project with the goal of having it mostly or as much complete as possible before our little tot arrives!  It is certainly keeping us on a schedule and focused on efficiency.  Jash is doing a wonderful job with the building and I am helping out as much as I can, I did the demo of our master bedroom as well as removed all the shingles from the roof.  Apparently I am better at taking things apart vs putting them together, but it all needs to get done!  Below is our before picture stay tuned for the after and progress pictures!

In April I ran the Vernonia marathon for the second year in a row and just loved it!   Knowing that I was prego for this one was an interesting mind set because I didn’t yet really “feel” different and could still run great.  I just made sure that I was eating and drinking a lot and listening to my body and had no problem with it.  It was interesting to think about the little person in there while I was running but still just a vague concept really.  This race was really nice because I was able to take the early start to stay cool and had a lot of time on the trail out there by myself.  It did get hot at the end which goes along with the hot summer that we have had this year in the NW.  I was still able to go back to the house after this race and work all day on the remodel with Jash and are awesome friends that were helping us take down a giant 150 foot tree! 

In May I ran the capital city marathon on my birthday which was very cool!  I have never done this race before so I was excited to get in a local event on my day.  I was able to drive up that morning to the start and pick up my bib which was super convienent and I love a race that I get to sleep at home in my own bed the night before.  At this event I also met up with Margaret at the starting line and we did a celebration picture as she was also celebrating her birthday. 

At this point we still had not told anyone about the baby tot but I was starting to feel a big preggo and it didn’t help that for this race the original weather forecast had rain and colder temperatures, but then when I showed up it was 65 and sunny at the start and only getting warmer.  They were off on their timing of the storm and it hit on the entire drive home, which made for hot running conditions and bad driving conditions, what a treat!   The marathon felt different for sure this time as I was thinking about the little tot and worried about the heat.  I hadn’t gained much weight yet at this point, but I was trying to be very careful with my exertion level, probably a little more cautious than what I needed to be, but I still got it done and had fun doing it!  It was a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday and after I drove home to be with my Jash and celebrate with a cake he baked me!

In April I also landed a new job and promo that I had been going for at work.  This was thrilling news for both Jash and I as I was looking to do something different at work and had been working on getting the promotion.  It caused a bit of mixed emotions about the pregnancy for me, as now I had to consider when to tell people and how, which is harder when you are new to a team, but also I was really excited about this new job and group and could not imagine taking time off in the future when I was having so much fun!

Later in May we took a trip to AZ for some fun in the sunshine!  It was a totally relaxed time where we spent time lounging by Billy D Miller’s pool, hanging out with friends and family, and running around.  I also was able to tell my family in person about the baby to be so that was pretty exciting and great timing of the trip even though we planned it before we even knew we were preggers! 

In June I ran the Vancouver USA marathon where I paced for the first 18 miles and then handed it off for my partner to take them home.  I was pacing the 4:45 group and was a bit nervous about the baby as we still had not told many people, but I was starting to perhaps look a little prego.  If anyone did notice they did not say anything to me which was nice.   I was hoping that I could hold the pace for the entire race as I have done in the past, but I set a goal of at least making it to the half way mark totally on point.  I was pretty happy to run strong to mile 18.  My tummy felt totally different for this race as it was to me obviously there and I could feel it move.  Not the baby exactly but just having it be bigger than normal was a strange feeling while running.  I enjoyed the event and it was much cooler towards the end than it had been in years past (I have run this race as a pacer every year since it started in 2010!), but I was still a bit warm for my prego self!   I had fun on this one and am very happy that I was able to pace it and help others achieve their goals!  I was also very happy this one was close to home as I took a very nice long nap when I got home! 

In June I also race directed Intel’s Great Place to Run event for the millionth year in a row- I am losing count, I think that is because I have done a lot of them, but it could just be because I am prego.  I love this event and sending 3,000 runners out there each time is just an amazing experience that makes all of the work that goes into it so very worth it.  I am so lucky to have a wonderful team of ladies that I work with on this event that are not only smart, beautiful, and driven, but they are also a TON OF FUN!  Which of course makes it just a joy to plan and execute year after year.  I big thanks to them again this year and looking forward to putting on another awesome event in 2015!

My July race was the Fleet Feet Marathon out on Sauvie Island on the 4th of July.  I have run this race every yeah as well since 2010 (I moved here just a week after it in 09 or I would have done that one too!)  This race is historically hot, so I was very worried about that going into it, but just figured that I would do the best that I could do and take I easy for the tot!  We still had not told very many people about the pregnancy so I couldn’t announce it, but I was feeling like I was pretty obvious to everyone else.   I just kept truckin along and did finish the race in the heat but I also met a lot of cool people along the way that ran and chatted with and got to see a few friends out there that I shared the pregnancy news while we were running, what a better way to tell your running friends?  After this event I was able to go home and work on the house more which was awesome and means that I didn’t push it too hard and still had some left to continue building the remodel with my amazing husband Jash! 

7/13/14 we celebrated our first year of marriage and decided that the timing would be good to announce the baby.  By this time we were only 4 months out from having the baby!  We wanted to get the girls involved so we through it would be cute to let the chickens announce that they were going to be big sisters:

Which now brings us to August in the NW and it has still been hot.  I am so glad we did get AC for our house because it has really made all the difference in ensuring a great night sleep and keeping this hot pregnant runner chick cool!  We are still hitting the warm days here but it has been really good for building the house.  The only time it really rained was when we first started taking the shingles off- go figure, but we were able to tarp it all up and the house was safe!  This month we traveled to CO for AJ’s wedding and while we were these I snuck in a marathon the day after.  It was a Sunday after the wedding all day Saturday and we had so much fun at the wedding all day in the sunshine that my feet were a bit tired from playing volleyball and running around and I had probably already gotten enough sun.  Nonetheless the marathon had a bright and early start of 6am which meant a 3am wake up for mama so Jash could get me to the bus drop off site at 4am to ride up to the course start on this point to point new marathon.   All of that was fine and even though I did not get enough sleep the night before I did get a lot of sleep the day before the night before so I was not too worried.  The race started out nice and easy up in the mountains in CO about 12k above where we already were, but the air was not bothering me at all and I felt like I could breathe just fine.  I knew that this one was going to be a challenge for me due to the travel to CO, and being as pregnant as I was as well as the strict cut off time they were enforcing and the forecast of 95 degree heat on an exposed course.  So I stared off really easy and knew what pace I needed to maintain to get me there.  I relaxed into it and by mile 5 after a quick pit stop on the forest I was feeling great and doing fine.  I am so happy that I do carry my own water because the first 2 aid stations on the marathon ran out.  You never know what you are going to get with a first time marathon but this is really just unacceptable from a big race company on a day that is going to get so hot.  They had a lot of people drop out of the marathon and I bet my running shoes that it was a lot of those people that were not able to get in their proper hydration at the beginning of the race.   On the positive side the course was really good for this race and had plenty of police support out there if anyone got in trouble.  There was also a roving ambulance that I felt like was following me with how often I saw it- but at this point I am visibly pregnant so I may have worried some folks that don’t realize it is perfectly healthy for me to be running marathons right now.   I loved the views on the course and was really happy post-race that they gave you all of the pictures from the course- none of this click to buy crap!  Now that is a great model all races should follow!  Overall the race was awesome and I fought through some hot low points to finish in the cut off and totally not even last which I feared I would be.  The baby felt great and I am more used to feeling my tummy out there so running was more normal with it.  My body also felt great overall and I was just so happy to be out there running.  Below are some of the fun pictures that we took from the trip.  This was my last flight before the baby is born as I don’t want to go to far from home in the third tri.  I am happy we had such a fun last trip and got to spend time with our good friends in CO!  More updates to come as we are nearing the countdown of baby tot the growing moving jumping bean! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Fav Running Month

February is my favorite running month.  Not only is my favorite marathon The Lost Dutchman Marathon this month, but also my favorite relay race Ragnar Del Sol with my second family Sole Sports Ultra team.   This also means its time for me to get out of the NW winter and to the sunny 80 degree sunshine in AZ!  

From this:

to this:

Jash and I were lucky enough to stay with our great friend Billy D Miller in AZ which was so very nice and he made us feel right at home.  He also doesn't have any pets so that is awesome for Jash and I because there are no breathing issues!  Oh yeah and here is his view and back yard:

Yeah I spent a lot of time by this pool!  We had so much fun staying with Bill and catching up on life.  It really made the trip perfect!  

Sunday we had the marathon it was forecasted to be very hot! We were both very excited either way as it was going to be fun and the first time Jash got to experience my all time fav marathon!  This was the 7th year in a row running this one for me, and still I get so excited for it.  The start was beautiful as always and we got together for a maniacs picture pre race with the awe inspiring superstition mountains in the back ground.  The camp fires are always such a unique and pretty way to start!

 (i am in the middle with hot pink socks)

The race started out wonderful with perfect temps and just enjoying the views as always.  I ran into maniac Mike from TX who was taking pictures of the beautiful views that I always wish that I have a camera to capture.  This year we ran into each other about 2 miles in and ran together for the next 20 or so.  The miles flew by as we talked and got to know each other, both vegetarian crazy marathon runners who are having fun out there.  His wife and my husband were both running the half so that was fun as we both knew we had our favorite people waiting for us at the finish line.    Here are some of the awesome pictures Mike got of our adventures. 

It was awesome to see Jash at the finish line because it got really really hot the last 5 or so miles.  He had a great race himself and we were able to get food and celebrate our accomplishments for the day. 

Post race we had a relaxing day at home with Bill and went out for a very tasty Mexican food dinner.  The rest of the week I had off and Jash went back to Portland to work and take care of our baby chickens.  Rhiannon took care of the girls and the house while we were away and it made all the difference as we were not worried for a second and she sent us updates of the fun in the NW.  For the rest of the week I enjoyed getting lots of great sleep, running daily in the sunshine, reading by the pool, and doing a bit of shopping.   Bill and I had fun getting some running in together and hanging out and we cannot wait for him to come back and visit and stay with us in the NW! I also really enjoyed spending time with my family and seeing the boxer pups, working on an assignment with Derek and spending the day with him, and meeting my sister’s boyfriend.  Kristy and I also met up for a hike (after she had to work all night!) and it was great to get out there together and catch up!  

Thursday we headed over to Kim’s house for our traditional Thursday night pre Ragnar dinner.  This year she also was kind enough to host practically the whole team for a sleep over party as we had to leave the house at 4am!  It was tons of fun getting back together with this great crew.  And we were able to leave right on time this year which was a huge plus and I was thrilled because I was also the lead off runner.  We made it to Wickenburg in just enough time to check in and they sent me out and running.  I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise on my first leg and really enjoyed the 13 or so miles. 

The day really warmed up as we went but the team was solid and everyone nailed their pace and had a wonderful fun time doing it.  I really loved hanging out with all of them and just soaking in all of the beautiful AZ sunshine!   Our night legs were a bit tricky as always but nothing that we could not handle and this year we did not lose any runners- a total plus.   We had some fun ok LOTS of fun along the way taking some pretty silly pictures, especially when EM had to run 20 miles straight.  Such a rock star!

My last leg was at 4 in the morning and if that was not bad enough, I started out by encountering a pack of coyote’s screaming at the top of their lungs and coming straight at me.  I didn’t plan on getting eaten this year so I turned back and decided I would have to get back up.  Another guy came running along and said he would scare them off so I ran behind him for just a second and then he was gone.  For the rest of the leg I was scared to death running in the dark by myself that I was going to get eaten.  It was a pretty scary night, but makes me appreciate all my non eventful runs that I do have.  I made it though and was really happy about meeting up with another runner I met on the previous leg that we had run together throughout the night.  We finished up the last couple miles together. 

This year we had an amazing treat which was the ability to stop at Bill’s house and shower.  We headed there right after I finished my last leg and I enjoyed a hot shower and a couple hour nap.  It was AMAZING and made all the difference in traveling home that same night.  The finish at Ragnar was awesome and we again finished another Ragnar.  6 years and running and I have the stickers on my car to prove it!!! I LOVE running with these guys- Bill, Em, Kim, Julie, Magi it has been so much fun and you are all my family for life!!!  xoxooxox