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  • Writer's pictureLesley

The return of my neck

Updated: Sep 30, 2019


This post was originally inspired by a former coworker of mine who is just about due to have her own child and doesn't believe that I put on any weight during pregnancy. Hahahahaha. I finally sat down and wrote it thanks to Lauren Fleshman's #keepingitreal campaign.

As a baseline, I usually compete at about 118 lbs. I tend ot run faster at 114-116, but I start getting violently hungry at 114 and it is usually very short lived. The day before I had Dexter I weighed in at 168 lbs. Some of this was Dexter, who weighed in at 7 lbs 10.9 ounces, and a lot of it was water weight (my feet and ankles were like memory foam), but once the baby and water weight was gone, I was still weighing in at 148 lbs.

I stayed in the 140s for a long time. While most of my fellow running buddies dropped to pre-pregnancy weight almost immediately, I hung onto my double chin for awhile. I had people assuming I was pregnant for a solid 10 weeks. I finally dipped into the 130s when Dexter was 2.5 months old and into the 120s at four months. Now at five months, I am still in the upper 120s.

Ok, weight schmeight, that shouldn't really be the focus of a running blog. My first run back was three weeks and one day post-partum on October 4, 2013. My total distance was 2.67 miles. M y first two miles were 8:30 pace and my last .67 was a struggle home in just under 9:00. I was 145ish lbs, I hadn't run since August 31st, which was my last attempt at a walk/jog while 38 weeks pregnant. In retrospect, I am not sure what the rush was. I am not sure I achieved much by starting back as soon as I rationally could.

My first race was a month later on November 2nd. It was the Dash to the Finishline 5k the day before the ING NYC Marathon and I was so excited to be racing not-pregnant again that I forgot how awfully out of shape I was in. I was out in a "blazing" 6:11. My avergae pace was 6:32 and that included contemplating walking around 2.5 and a 6:57 last mile. It was really great to be out on such a beautiful day, but I did have to awkwardly pull my tank top down over my belly periodically. In fact, you can see my belly hanging over my shorts in my Marathon Foto pictures, which I refuse to spend $25 on.

My first track workout was a set of 8x200 in Boulder over Thanksgiving weekend where I nearly passed out getting myself down to a 40 second 200. Around this time I would attempt runs with my teammates wherein they would jog 7:30 pace while I felt like I was racing to keep up. I ran a 15k race in December in which I stuggled with all my might to run nearly 7-minute pace. Again, my teammates humored me and a couple of them "let" me beat them.

Neadless to say, this has been an incredibly humbling experience. And to be completely honest, I have been sub-par for so long that it's starting to feel like normal. My first glimpse into how mental fitness is was a track workout I did a couple weeks ago. It was a simple 3 x (1000, 200) on the indoor track. My first 1000m was 3:40. My second 1000m was 3:38. During my third 1000m I was feeling sorry for myself, thinking about how i used to cruise through 8x1000m in 3:20ish, not struggling through just three at 3:40 pace. Halfway through the repeat, I did some bad math and thought i was going to be lucky to come in at 3:42. When I finished, I looked down at my watch and saw 3:32. It was still a long way away from where I should be, but it was an eye-opener. I am so used to holding back for the sake of the fetus, and then coming back slowly and calling it "smart" that I haven't been pushing myself in the way that you are supposed to push yourself in a track workout.

A week later I raced a 5:22 mile and following that a 24:00 four-miler in Central Park. As a benchmark, my fastest Central Park four-miler is just under 22:00 and even when I am in just decent shape, I can usually tick off 5:35 miles for 5k to five miles.

So, I still have a ways to go, but I am making progress. I eeked out a 35 second 200m the week before last. I haven't been on the track in over a week now because the Armory is a pain in my ass and keeps closing for "renovations" and "painting" on super-snowy sub-20 degrees days. However, I have managed a 14 miler and a 12 miler mostly sub-7s, which is another piece of the puzzle.

Short-term goals:

1:20 at the NYC Half Marathon on 3/16/14

120lbs by my wedding on 3/22/14

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