Starting in 2010 (and maybe even earlier- I can't remember) I've done a long run on the 4th of July. I usually have the day off and I usually overeat at the 4th of July cook-outs so it makes good sense to burn some calories while enjoying a quiet morning on the lakefront path. I had hoped to continue this tradition this 4th of July but as you can imagine not all plans work out when you have a (then) 2 and a half month old at home! Mostly I was too tired to even contemplate a long(ish) run, plus the time it would take to get little Z all ready for a big day of seeing friends and family would have required me to start pretty early. I opted to get an extra hour of sleep. I think that was a good choice!
We had a very nice 4th of July with Adam's family and the Boyles. Z was well behaved (though a little overwhelmed by all the people to share too many smiles) and we kept her on a good nap schedule. On the ride home, the little stinker didn't want to sleep- we could hear he swishing around in her carseat. To keep her entertained, Adam sang 'The Rainbow Connection' in Kermit the Frog's voice which elicited giggles and smiles from our little backseat passenger which was awesome:)
But back to running. Despite only running 1 mile on the 4th, striving to maintain my 4th of July tradition (even though I failed at the execution) was a worthwhile endeavor. Soon after delivering in April, I made the goal of running 10 miles on the 4th, as a way to keep myself on target building up miles slowly but not too slowly. This worked well and I was on target, having run 8 the week before, at 10 weeks postpartum.
Today I ran 12. And it was absolutely fabulous which was reflected in my 8:37 min/mile pace which is FLYING for me on a run of this distance. To put it in perspective my PR for the half marathon (13.1 miles) is 1:56:44 which is a 8:54 min/mi pace. So 8:37 pace on a relatively slow easy long run is astounding. I know I will be very sore when I get up for the multiple middle-of-the-night feedings tonight, but it's totally worth it! Certainly, there is some degree of "baby doping" going on here, but I'll take it and hopefully I can continue at these faster speeds even as my blood volume goes back to normal over the next few months. As Z gets older my sleeping duration should be increasing so perhaps the two effects will balance each other out.
I must give a shout out to Adam and my Mom, who did not think anything of me leaving them with Zooey duty for a two hour run on a random week night. There's absolutely no way I'd be in this good of shape this few weeks from pregnancy without their support. I know there are folks who think it's crazy that both Adam and I still work out every single day with an infant at home but I truly believe it is better for us and therefore better for Zooey if we continue to maintain good health habits even though it means we see her a little less. We are role modeling that exercise is fun and an integral part of life, which she may not notice now but she will eventually. As she gets bigger she will be able to participate in more and more of our activities. I have no doubt we are doing the right thing by her by carving this time out for our physical and mental health.
And lastly, I want to pat myself on the back a little. I am tired. Having an infant who still doesn't sleep well or much is HARD. Pumping every 2-3 hours during the day and after every nightly feed is HARD. But I have been dragging myself through most of my workouts with the occasional pay out being a great workout like tonight. I have every excuse in the world to take some time "off" from training. But I will continue to fight that urge. One day I will not be able to run. TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY.