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ZOOMA Napa Valley 13.1 – race week!

ZOOMA Napa Valley 13.1 – race week!

I’m pretty much a broken record these days (always?), but like I think I wrote in one of my recent posts about running while pregnant, and particularly in the third trimester, if you would have asked me in my first tri — particularly in the second part of my first tri — what my running would look like late in pregnancy, my two-word response would have been: what running? As I’ve said time and again, pregnancy is such an unpredictable experience, potentially a new adventure every day, and I have no idea how I’ll feel from hour to hour, much less from day to day or month to month.

You can imagine my elation, then, at how healthy and strong I’ve felt, both in my running capacities and in my normal, everyday life capacities, as my pregnancy has progressed. I just very comfortably capped off my second-highest training volume week of my pregnancy — just shy of 40 miles — and while that is inconsequential compared to my usual volume, that’s huge for me for pregnancy. I am so floored, so grateful, and so happy to be running so comfortably and fairly effortlessly that my words fail to express my gratitude. It is unreal. Realistically, had you asked me in late December or January if I’d be up for running a half marathon in Napa in late June, I would have told you that there was no.fucking.way., that pigs would surely fly first. I felt like ass, and when the world wasn’t spinning wildly out of control, my head felt like it was going to explode, making spending any amount of time upright — much less any time running or being physically active — just dreadful. To my hormones: thanks for what you do in my body, because you all are super important and do a lot of essential and critical stuff, but you guys sure can be assholes sometimes.

Barring whatever life and/or pregnancy might throw at me between now and race day — because let’s be honest, anything can happen — I’ll be toeing the line to run, not race (this is operative), on Saturday at the second annual ZOOMA Napa Valley half marathon as a social media ambassador. I had the pleasure of being an ambassador last year, for the inaugural, and this year, and both years, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other women and promoting the 13.1/6.2 footraces. I’m approaching the ZNV half much as I approached the SLO half I ran at the 24 week mark — not so much for a particular time goal (though if I’m being honest, I’d really be thrilled to run 13.1 at a sub-1:55ish at 31 weeks+ pregnant) but more just for the fun and experience of it all. I mean, c’mon, the hell does it matter how fast or slow I run at this point? I’m really just thrilled to be out there, to be able to be out there. Fuck, I could argue that I should spend as much time as possible running just to prolong the enjoyment factor! haha

Pretty badass to score a side-5 with the one and only pro runner (and fellow pregnant mama!) @stephrothstein mid-race at San Luis Obispo this morning. @ericaagran and I had so much fun chatting her up post-13.1 today. Good gracious, how I love this community. #raceSLO #runningwhilepregnant #stravarun #letsgoHOKA #Idigstrongwomen
There is one professional runner in this pic from the SLO half, two pregnant women, and three women who had a good experience on a tough course.


Napa = hot air balloons on Saturday mornings
Napa = hot air balloons on Saturday mornings


Anyway, ZNV put on a good race last year, and I’m confident that there will be a repeat performance this year, too. My RA pacing buddies will be there again this year as well, so between seeing the other ZNV ladies and my pacing friends and running a good race in a pretty location, it should make for a fun morning.  Plus, Meredith, a Chicago-friend-turned-Berkeley-transplant, is also running 13.1, and these things are *always* funner with another.

I think the women’s running community and in particular, the women’s-centric racing scene, can be kind of a tricky thing to navigate. I’m personally all for women taking up running — I mean, why the hell not, right? if you want to run, then run — yet at the same time, I cringe at a) how many women’s-centric races self-promote and b) at the messages inherent to their advertising. It’s difficult for me to adequately pinpoint what it is that I see that often makes my skin crawl, but suffice it to say that there’s a lot I’ve seen that I do not like. I’ve read some interesting articles about the topic, and I often find myself agreeing with some of the authors’ points yet hesitate to fully subscribe to all their ideas. It’s complicated.

case in point: when you ask me about the Nike women's HM in SF I ran in Oct, I think of this pic ...
case in point: when you ask me about the Nike women’s HM in SF I ran in Oct, I think of this pic: a well-organized race, tough course, fundraising for TNT …


... not this
… not this, doing a race to earn a Tiffany necklace (though don’t get me wrong, it is pretty!)


Ultimately — and what matters most — at the end of the day, women’s-centered races have one purpose: to inspire and motivate women to take up/continue a healthy lifestyle by training for and completing a running/walking event in a safe and supportive environment, for a distance ranging from 1 mile all the way up to ultramarathons … and this, this central purpose, is something I can get behind (and absolutely support). I’ve run women’s races before and have always enjoyed the ones I’ve done, yet it’s still hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I enjoy about ZNV that sets it apart. I’ll have to think about it and get back to you.

Napa-ing last year
Napa-ing last year [PC: RA]

Anyway, yay race week! Yay, Napa! See you on the other side!

Pony Express Marathon 2016 (#PEM2016) ambassador, baby!

Pony Express Marathon 2016 (#PEM2016) ambassador, baby!

A bit of a delay to posting this super fun news, but I’m totally stoked to announce that I’ve been selected to be an ambassador for the inaugural Pony Express Marathon (and half marathon, marathon relay, and 5k), scheduled for May 1, 2016, in California’s capital, Sacramento!


I’m really excited about this opportunity for all the obvious reasons (I like to run, I like to support new races, and so on) but also because like other social media race ambassador opportunities I’ve participated in since moving to California, I’ve been able to begin to “meet” many other CA-based runners (and Wes from Seattle), some of whom I already know from other race ambassador programs. These people are just great! Ah, running community, you are awesome.

Sacramento is a bit of a haul from SJ — maybe a couple hours, couple hours and change, depending on traffic’s level of “awful” — but I’m excited to run in a new-to-me place in CA in a year-ish from now. You might recall that I was supposed to run CIM ’14, which starts in Folsom and ends in Sacramento, and was actually signed up for it, but opted to bail for some family conflicts and instead ran the 50k in Woodside. That just means that PEM will be my introduction to Sactown (which I’m not sure if anyone there calls it that, but I heard 2pac say it in “California Love,” so I’m just rollin’ with it). Anyway, you should totally come with; with all the different race distances, it really looks like it’ll be one of those inclusive, “something for everyone” race weekends. Win, win, win!

In the months leading up to the race, some Sacramento breweries are also releasing some special beers to help promote the PEM as well as “9run6,” (a play on the Sacramento area code, 916), a free, fitness-focused group that Chris leads, so I hope to be able to make it out to some of these beer-y promo events … though we’ll see how life with a newborn fares (ahem). At the very least, I’m shooting for the first event in July (7/31)! Details forthcoming!

PEM beer 1

I’d love to say that I’m committing to running the PEM 26.2 in 2016 — because how awesome would it be to run an inaugural marathon?! — but it’ll all depend on how postpartum life fares. By race weekend, I’ll be about 9 months-ish out, but the whole labor and delivery and having a newborn/infant thing can be a little unpredictable, so I’ll make the call later as to which event I’ll do. You’ll see me there for race weekend, though!

And of course, I have a discount code to share for #PEM2016 — AMGRUNS#PEM16 — for $10 off. Who loves ya!?

Hope to see you in Sacramento on May 1!