As I told you in my previous weekly runs & workouts post, last Sunday I ran my first race post baby! About 4.5 months after giving birth to my precious bubba I decided it was time to find out where I was in terms of fitness.
Within weeks, I got back to pre-pregnancy fitness levels, or so I thought. On average, I train four times a week. I try to do one interval run, a tempo run, a steady run with Maria in the stroller, and one slow, long distance run. My mileage is usually somewhere between 50 and 60 kilometers per week.
When I joined the local running club I realized I wasn’t as fit as I had thought. While I still have the endurance to run 20 km at a comfortable pace, I am struggling with race and interval paces. I suspect I lost quite a bit of muscle, too.
Despite these observations, I was rather confident I could run a good 10 kilometer, especially with the amazing result I booked during my last race at 5.5 months pregnant, in which I finished first lady in a time of 43:30 min.
So I started the 10 kilometer race in Cambridge last Sunday at a pace of 4:20 min/km, hoping I would be able to speed up a bit and finish within 43 minutes. The first kilometer went quite smooth albeit a bit too fast at 4:17 min/km, and I thought I would be able to keep this pace. I was surprised to be running in the front of the pack, seeing only two or three other ladies ahead of me.
During the second kilometer, my legs started feeling very heavy and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up. When I saw the hill looming ahead of me I knew I would not be just a little slower, but so much that it wasn’t worth giving one hundred percent for what would be a lousy result. Okay, there were no real hills, but the course was definitely not as flat as I was told it would be.
The rest of the race, I tried to finish in a decent time, all the while aware that my time would be a disappointment for me. It was a struggle, both mentally and physically, but I managed to keep my pace at around 4:30-4:35 min/km. I finished in 45:14 min, about two minutes slower I was hoping for and with an average pace of 4:31 min/km.
On the bright side, I did finish second lady, so that is always nice! It is good to know I could perhaps finish first next year if I manage to improve a little (and no faster ladies decide to join the race of course).
Despite my dissatisfaction, it is good to know where I’m at and improve my fitness from there. I probably shouldn’t have expected myself to be at pre-pregnancy level. That said, I am quite sure I could have done better had it not been for the heavy legs, and that makes me think I could be a bit low on iron again. I had anemia several times in the past, and one of the first symptoms I usually notice is muscle weakness while running.
I have also been feeling quite tired lately, and while I ascribed that to the sleep regression Maria is having I now think it could possibly be due to low iron.
So this week, I started taking a daily iron supplement, and in the following weeks I will find out whether I was indeed slightly anemic or I just need more time to increase my fitness level.
My next race will hopefully be the half marathon in Hamilton on October 4. I will try to run a 5-km park run somewhere in September as well to get a better picture of my fitness level and get used to running in a faster pace. So, plenty to look forward to!
Questions: Do you have any runs planned? If yes, what distance and where? Have you ever experienced low iron and how did you fix it?