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Finding Yourself in a Failed Workout

Last Saturday I had one of the worst workouts I’ve experienced in probably the last 4 years of my career. By worst I mean, how I felt, how I failed the paces, and how I was so far off of what I expected to be able to accomplish on the day. Coach Ben had written the workout as 3 x 3 mile with 1 mile jog rest at 5:35 pace. We drove down to Camp Verde dropping from 7000ft to 3500 feet. A pleasant reprice from the oxygen deprivation we so encounter on a daily basis. However this fateful morning there was no reprieve for me. 

 

As I warmed up with my teammate Scott, who by the way is in ridiculous shape, I felt nervous but excited for the challenge of the workout. We jogged the 3 mile loop that we would run for our workout to get a feel for the wind. We felt it.. big time. It was gusting upwards of 15-20mpw on some sections which meant we would have a headwind for half of each 3 miler. The temperature was also rising as is the case in the high desert of AZ in April. 

 

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I went through my set of drills and strides, slipped on my flats, took a few sips of water and headed into battle. At least that’s what it turned out to be. It’s a pretty amazing phenomenon how within a few minutes of certain workouts you know whether it’s going to be a good or bad day. Races can also go like this sometimes. 5:34 through the first mile and I knew it was going to be a bad day. I can’t exactly describe how I felt but I was just off, sluggish, and tired. I came through mile 2 in 5:42 and tried to keep squeezing down the pace. 5:37 for my last mile which had an incredible tailwind for the last 800, thank the lord. Ben handed me water, I choked it down breathing laboriously and wiping dryness from my mouth. I told him the effort felt like I was reaching and not comfortable or relaxed. He said, “today’s a day to grind”.

 

I set off for the 2nd set and tried to compose myself. 5:40 for the 1st mile, and then the doors fell off, 5:55 with Ben barely reading my split, clearly discouraged and yelled “tried to rally” last mile. I told my legs, get your crap together and go. I made the last left in which you have about 1200m of open road ahead. On days where you are hurting this long stretch of road felt so daunting I had to keep my eyes and head focused on the ground just to carry my feet from one step to another. 5:43, all was not lost. 

 

I grabbed my water bottle from Ben, chugged as much as I could without filling up my belly, wiped the sweat from my eyes and coach Ben was relieved to see I brought the pace back down. He was close to cutting the workout but could tell I was fighting. He jogged with me for a minute and then said one of the best lines I’ve heard from a coach “well you’ll find something out about yourself on this last one.” Try to run 5:45s. Clearly my target pace of 5:35s was out, I was nowhere near this. I thought if I could go into it relaxed and with a slower pace I could hit it. It was hotter and windier as the minutes went on and there were excuses all over the place to throw in the towel. I came through the mile at 5:55, turned into the wind and here’s where the workout was defined. My legs and arms were swinging in tandem but my body wouldn’t give me anymore. 6:15 through mile 2, a time that I could run at the end of a long run up in Flagstaff. I felt embarrassed, frustrated all within a span of a mile stretch of road. My brain never gave up. I had 1 mile to go and my pain and suffering would be over. In that moment it would have been easy to run another 6 something mile and call the workout a wash. Then I pictured myself out on the race course, in the middle of a bad patch in the marathon and remembered one bad mile can’t define your race, but fighting through to find one good mile can make it. As I made the last right turn I knew I’d had that friendly tailwind behind me so if I could reach within myself I could run a respectable last mile. Everything hurt. I was tired and thirsty. I closed the workout with a 5:45 mile and a revelation about bad days. 

 

babies

 

Bad days will happen in training cycles. They are inevitable. I didn’t know at the time but this workout fell on the end of my first 90 mile week in 3 years. That’s huge, that’s a win. I was also probably a little dehydrated. My fault? Yes but some morning with the kids, getting out the door with just my watch on is a win. Days in which weather conditions are tough make for good excuses to throw in the towel on a bad workout. Letting go of your goal time and just getting through the workout is far greater practice than quitting. Although I came nowhere near hitting 5:35s, I didn’t question Ben prescribing that pace. He was testing my fitness to see where I’m at. He has the big picture of The Olympic Trials in July at the forefront and everything is geared towards that. I don’t think I’m not in shape because of that workout. I think I fought to train another day. 

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grinding

yes_made_it

The Olympic Standard 10k (in my own head)

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So what does running the Olympic Standard mean anyway? Not as much as gets hyped up on some Olympic Year. Well at least not in the Women’s 10k in the US. Let me break it down for you in case you’re not a big running nerd, I mean fan:)

pre_race_game

Every 4 years when the Olympics roll around the organizing committee sets standards pertaining to each event in track and field/ marathon. In the US, you have to run that standard in order to compete in the Olympics. However simply running the standard, like I did last Friday evening does not mean you made the Olympic Team or are automatically in the Olympics. In the US, you still have to be top 3 on the day at the Olympic Trials. So why does getting the standard carry so much weight? In just about every other distance event aside from the 10k, most races at the trials are tactical and the top 3 don’t always run under the standard. In this case having the standard is huge.

 

For the women’s 10k, in the last 3 Olympic Trials the top 3 have run under 32:15 to make the Olympic Team. The point of all this running jargon is that running the standard for me 2 weeks ago at Stanford doesn’t make a huge difference. Yes it’s a little less pressure on me, an affirmation of the hard work I’ve been putting in, and a confidence booster knowing I ran it off the strength workouts we’ve done and not very much specific track work. Yet let me be real.

 

The performance I ran at Stanford is not one that on the day would have made the Olympic Team. In order to do that in July, you’ll most likely have to be in 31:30 shape and have an arsenal of tools in your bag. That’s what we plan on working on over the next 2 months. US distance running is so deep and talented right now that its going to take one heck of a performance to make that Olympic Team. I have a spot on the line, a dream in my heart, and fire in my legs and lungs that I’m counting on to get me close.

 

I’ve been trying to go back to that night and relive it in order to give an accurate race recap and capture the feelings and emotions I experienced on April 1st at 9:04 p.m. I can’t. I can’t fully get my mind and body back in that place that I wanted to live completely and fully in for those 32 mins. Instead I’m going to describe my race in 25 laps or less:) 

the_race

Starting line: Do I have to pee, shoot? This is amazing I can’t believe I made it here healthy.

Lap 1: wow did that gun go off quickly and I did not get off the line. (watch race replay for comic relief)

Lap 2: I’m mixed in a pack of about 8 girls and not behind my teammate who is pacing me, awesome.

Lap 3: Get up to Rochelle Steph

Lap 4: 5:10 through the mile, right on

Lap 5: Don’t look at the lap counter, it says 19 laps to go..barf!

Lap 6: Finally on the rail and in a rhythm

Lap 7: Still not on Rochelle, but you’re fine

Lap 8: 77s for days!!

Lap 9: Just burped some of my Starbucks

Lap 10: I missed this Stanford track

Lap 11: I just peed a little, awesome

Lap 12: I hope Hudson doesn’t wake up tonight

Lap 13: Stay relaxed

Lap 14: Ok, Rochelle is gone, you’re all alone. Thinking of the last 8 weeks working out solo.

Lap 15: Hey, who was that cheering my name?

Lap 16: Dang my right glute is losing steam

Lap 17: Just get to Ben, another lap

Lap 18: Keep pressing, there’s another girl right ahead

Lap 19: My feet are on fire

Lap 20: Gosh these fans are awesome

Lap 21: Come on Steph, squeeze the pace down

Lap 22: Seriously another 77

Lap 23: It’s go time

Lap 24: I’m hurting so badly

Last lap: I’m not gonna get it

200 go: just maybe…

100 to go: holy crap this hurts

Finish: I got it! WTF this is crazy! 32:14.42!!

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after_math

And thats how the 10k broke down in my mind, seriously. You think some crazy things during 25 laps on the track. There are moments of doubt, fear, extreme discomfort, toughness, and one tiny speck of belief deep in your soul that you can push through all the pain and come out on the other side on top!

 

(Watch post race interview on FloTrack)

steph_feat

Going Viral in my Own Words

So last week was pretty crazy, thanks to you guys! I ran a track workout on Friday, looked down at my beautiful shiny Hoka spikes that I just broke in and the first thing I saw was my stomach. In that moment I felt years of self image, self confidence, mental and physical changes of having 2 kids, putting my career on hold, and how the world viewed postpartum bodies all roll into one thought: how many other women see what I see and either feel embarrassed, self conscious, disgust, or confusion? So I posted those thoughts and the photo to IG. Then the internet broke. Well sort of….

instagram

Self Magazine contacted me via IG and asked to do a post on my latest picture. Thank you Nina! Apparently the internet world got wind of the article, and Tuesday morning when I woke up, my inbox was flooded. Requests and emails from People, Today Show, CBS, The Doctors, Fitness Magazine, Huffington Post, you name it they sought me out. So I’m on my way down to Camp Verde to do a killer session and my brain is buzzing. Why me, what in the world did I do to elicit this attention and interest?

 

The workout btw was awesome. Alexi Pappas (known for her bun hairstyle and film making skills) joined me for this session and holy moly was I thanking the stars for her company. We had a 3 mile tempo @5:35 pace and then the real workout started! 1 mile @5:15, I ran 5:08. 2 x 800 @2:34, we ran 2:33, 2:32. Finish off with a little 4 x 400 for dessert, pace @74s, we ran 72s.  Solo suffering, together triumphant was our motto for the morning.
Alexi and Steph

Now back to the real world, or at least the world that was about to become mine. The messages kept coming in, all day everyday for 3 straight days. Women emailed me about their own stories with diastasis recti and how some had been dealing with it for 10 years and hadn’t a clue how to heal it. Private messages from FB and IG: “It made me cry seeing your post. I thought I was a freak and the only one who looked like that.” Thank you for sharing, hopefully I will feel as confident as you in my own skin one day.” It was overwhelmingly humbling and I have teared up trying to read the hundreds of IG messages and FB posts, emails and tweets. I want to reach out and hug you all and respond to everyone but truthfully I’m emotionally and physically exhausted.

 

On top of all this Ben had just left the country to compete for the US at the World Half Marathon Champs and I was a single mom for 5 days, attempting to train and keep my house from exploding. It did just a little:) Riley was sick one of the nights and I was up with him almost all night. But so is the life of a parent, juggling working full time, so no complaining.

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Riley Watches Steph
Here it is a week later and I’m scrambling to make sense of it all. How do I go viral? A girl who is as nerdy as they come in regards to running, laughs at her own jokes, mom of 2 baby boys, and working towards a dream of making the US Olympic Team on the track? Raw honesty, willingness to share, and no BS. That’s what I envisioned when I started my #journeywithsteph 2 years ago after giving birth to my first son. I wanted people to have a way to connect with me, follow my journey, and if so inclined share their story. So it’s still going, and now it seems stronger than ever.

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So my message through all of this is own the skin you live in, don’t be ashamed, support others, don’t body shame, know you’re not alone, and flaunt what you have. I know some of the negative comments and there are very few in comparison to the positive are “why do you have to share that, it’s gross, keep it to yourself.” You know what happens when you keep it all to yourself and bottled up: isolation, depression, negative self image, perpetuating eating disorders, and worse conditions. It’s healthy and cathartic to share. If you don’t want to see if, flip through your social channel and just breeze over it. There’s no need for negative feedback. We are people behind computer screens, behind social media are hearts beating and feelings affected. So try to leave the judgements at home.

 

Lastly I want all those who have recently followed me and been inspired to know it is you that are the inspiration. You inspire me and hopefully others to be real and share your struggles and triumphs. Being a parent is a blessing, but there are also days it feels like kids suck the life out of you and that’s ok to admit. I love running every morning I wake up but there are days the workout or task ahead gives you the gag reflex and the cold sweats just anticipating how hard you are going to have to work to reach your goals. The postpartum body is a complicated and hot mess but also one that brought life into this world. Yes it’s the most natural part of existence yet what happens to women after is not natural.

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There’s a hole in information on how women are supposed to cope with the changes they’ve experienced both physically and mentally. I’m hoping to fill that gap. With the help of all you sending stories and messages I’m inspired to use a platform you’ve given me to make more of an impact than just posting on IG. I’m not sure at this moment what that looks like but maybe I’ll look down at my spikes one of these days and have another vision.

 

For now, I’m off to chase one of my dreams and race the 10,000m this Friday at the Stanford Invite in Palo Alto. It’s been 4 years since my last track race (2012 Olympic Trials) and aside from forgetting how to turn left I’m confident I’m ready to fly. Thanks to my coach Ben, NAZ Elite, and Oiselle for supporting me through this journey, all of my pregnancies and my return to training.
NAZ Teammates

Stay tuned for follow up blogs where I’ll delve into more details about my experience with Diastisis Recti and share what I’ve learned and how I’ve been working on it. If you have any topics you’d love to hear above please comment below.

Dream Big,

steph-sig

 

 

 

 

 


 

P.S. My sponsors have exciting product launches and promos this week so don’t miss out!

 

HOKA Flatsoiselle_braMy training flat, the Tracer comes to market April 1st and is available to public. Check it!

Oiselle is offering 25% off all bras, use the code BOOBYAH (yeah I said that). Shop Oiselle bras here.

 

 

march2016

Run free tomorrow, you have nothing to lose.

go mom 15kI ran my first US Road Championship out of college in 2007. I was 23 years old, naive, nervous, and eager to see what this whole ‘professional running” thing was about. Let’s set the scene: Boston in October, a cool and rainy morning at the Women’s US 10k Champs, Tufts 10k. I had run the 10k on the track that summer at NCAAs and USAs. The first went well, the 2nd ugly. When you’re a rookie on the roads your best chance at survival is finding those girls you were rivals with in college just months ago and putting your differences aside and attempt to become best friends over the course of 2 days. I was surrounded by intimidating 30 years olds and a few familiar faces, Des Linden (nee Davila) who I ran against many a times in college. Des had joined the Hanson Brooks project after she graduated and was here racing along with her teammates. I was solo, figuring this post collegiate running thing out, so I was like a tail wagging puppy when they gave me a nod on the warm up. Hey I have friends! Stephanie, they simply nodded don’t go making friendship bracelets. I considered myself a pretty outgoing person but this experience was nerve wracking, scary, and intimidating. I was a rookie.

 

With this being my first US Champs I respected the caliber of the women (let’s call them my elders) who had the experience and the years of racing. I knew my best race strategy would be even pacing, listen to my body, and try not to key off anyone. When I ran 33:23 months earlier I placed 5th at NCAAs. Surely if I could run 5:20 pace today that would land me a good result. I was 5:20 at the mile… and in 22nd place. What?! Apparently out of college, as pro a lot of women can run 33:20s and faster. I didn’t panic and just said keep trying to run that pace. So I did, coming through 5k around 16:45 and I had moved into 12th place. I remember the next mile as it had my most memorable moment of my pro career. I found myself in a pack of 5-6 women who I had caught and a girl looks over at me baffled at who I was and how was I running with them. I would later meet Nicole Aish who was a phenom runner and I think 31 at the time. She came up to me post run, congratulated me and said “I was like who the hell is this girl?” I was 23, didn’t know her, didn’t care, and just raced my heart out. I ended up finishing 7th in 33:23 right behind Desi.

 

start of gate riverFast forward 9 years later to last weekend. When I arrived into Jacksonville  for the US 15k Champs I couldn’t help have nostalgia for my first pro race. Here I was 32 years old, one of the oldest in the fields (thanks Ali Williams for being in your 30s) and thanks to having 2 babies I’ve been MIA for the last 3 years. As I sat in the technical meeting I only recognized a handful of faces. Man I was old and maybe old news to some of these youngsters. There was a new crop of distance runners, hungry, naive, and possibly scared. You know what? I was some of these things too. I was hungry to return to racing and have a chance to show all the work we’ve been putting in. I was naive to the fact that I had a baby 6 months ago because I had 3 nights of uninterrupted sleep and thought I could conquer the world. I was scared that I would forget how to race when it got tough, that I would have an accident mid race (pee or crap my pants), and scared that I wouldn’t be as good as I once was before my children. But I let it all go and remembered what my husband told me to do. “Run free tomorrow, you have nothing to lose.”

 

US 15k champsRace morning was warm and soupy. That’s what the locals call the stagnant humid air. We knew it was going to be unfavorable conditions so coach Ben had us do some heat training the last few weeks in Flagstaff. This involved wearing extra layers on runs so our bodies would get accustomed to sweating. We were pretty much Rocky Balboas out there training. I got up at 5:15 (about 3 hours before the race) made a little coffee, ate a Picky Bar and pumped. (pumping breastmilk because I left Hudson at home). I’m also confident none of the other ladies I was racing were expressing breastmilk hours before the race. We took a short bus ride to the holding area for elites. In this hour before racing, Craig and I discussed how much you doubt every ounce of fitness and confidence you have been building over the last few weeks and months. On Wednesday we did 20 x 400 @10k pace both feeling great. 4 days later we said “we’re not fit, how can we do this?” It’s absurd! So you see we all doubt, even up to the very moments before the gun goes off. The difference: letting go of that doubt once you are in the race and believing in yourself.

 

fierce runningCoach Ben and I had a race plan to try and run between 5:25-5:20 pace and wherever that put me in the pack so be it. From the gun the pace felt stiff and I drifted from the lead pack of 8 women to be just off. I went through the mile 5:21, as they were around 5:13. I knew if I could keep running that pace it would win the race. It did, it just wasn’t me. The humidity started to weigh heavy on my effort and the splits were looking slower than I wanted (5:28, 5:27, 5:26, 5:29). Splits didn’t matter anymore in these conditions, racing the women did. I caught up to the pack around mile 4 as it started to dwindle and lose a few women. I remember a moment of who’s that, she went out fast. Tara Welling who ended up winning in a dominating fashion broke away around 5 miles and then there were 4 of us chasing. I battled with 2 ladies from 10k to the bottom of the bridge at 8 miles. I knew these women but hadn’t raced them heads up before. I had a Nicole Aish moment thinking “who is she, this chic is tough as nails.” I was now the older experienced runner I once didn’t acknowledge. This girl didn’t care who I was, 32 years old, mom of 2 and a veteran in the sport. She simply wanted to beat my ass out on the race course. That’s the greatest part about racing that sometimes people forget. When someone won’t fall off or you can’t drop them they push you to be the best version of yourself racing. So now we’re at the bridge. I moved into 3rd place as we began the long grind up the bridge. 2nd place was just ahead but was not backing down. The hurt really began to set in half way up the bridge which keeps climbing for 3/4 of a mile. My body was full of lactic acid, legs heavy, stomach churning and 2nd place climbing away from me. As I crested the hill every part of my being wanted to relax, now that there was downhill. But in 4 months I’ll be trying to make the Olympic Team in the 10,000m and to do that you have to be able to close fast when you’re body wants to shut down. So every race before then is an opportunity. I took a few quick steps, put the accelerator on and found myself running faster than I had in a race for years. I kept saying keep grinding (#lutzgrind) and don’t look back, look ahead. At mile 9 I hit my split, was in 2nd place and kept hammering. I rounded the corner with 200m to go, the crowds were yelling. I wanted to savor this moment in the finishing stretch, freeze time and look back over the last 2 years with having kids: the months of sleep deprivation, hours of corrective exercises and pelvic/core work, bouts of mastitis, poop my pants runs, bladder incontinence, and the days of questioning is it all worth it and will it ever come back to me? Hell yes it’s worth it! I kept sprinting, and just about tossed my cookies after I crossed the finish line. I found out later I had won the fastest last mile in the women’s field, getting an extra bonus and a boost of confidence. I ran 4:56. On this day I found my wheels again and intend to use them this season on the track.

 

Next up, Stanford 10,000m on April 2nd.

 

Dream Big,
Steph

 

 

 

craig and I post raceOiselle fan post race

 

family feb2016

The 10k that was more than just 6.2 miles.

I’m almost 5 months post partum and just ran my first competitive race since 2013. I ran the Cardiff Kook 10k and won in 33:44.  I experienced a moment on Sunday that I had been missing for the last 2 years of my life: self doubt. Standing on the starting line, I reflected back upon my last race in July of 2013. It was the Utica Boilermaker 15k and on a hot, humid, muggy morning I found myself in a pack of 8 East African women racing down the streets of Ithaca, NY. These women were some of the best in the world (one Lineth Chepkurui with bests of 14:55 for 5k, 67 mins for half marathon). They outclassed me on paper, in prs and stats. But on that day I raced like I belonged there, getting dropped from the pack and surging back a mile later. I finished 6th in 51:26, 50 seconds behind the winner, and then got pregnant 3 months later and my running career has been on the back burner since.1st mile

 

My return from my 2nd pregnancy has gone smoother than my first. Why? The learning curve. There’s no cliff notes for coming back from a baby and most of it is trial and error, 2 steps forward and one step back. The positive of having 2 babies so close together is the process was so fresh in my mind. The negative was my body experienced far greater trauma, stretching, loss of muscle strength and stability, and I now have to chase a toddler around while raising the newborn. However I also have an army of help. We are fortunate to have a great childcare situation for Riley and found a few amazing babysitters that have worked around our schedule. My team of chiropractors and massage therapists have worked one on one weekly with me to figure out my biggest weaknesses and focus their efforts on strengthening those. It began with my very intrinsic core muscles the first few weeks post partum and as I grew stronger, we targeted the large group of muscles that contribute to core stabilization and general hip and glute strength. My coach Ben, unique to any of his other athletes met with me weekly from about 6 weeks postpartum to 12 weeks so we could approach training at a very gradual progression and had to take many steps backwards in order to keep a minor setback from becoming major. He asked me about my “life stresses” outside of running that I think get pushed aside when women are trying to return to training. For example as I started to get pretty fit around 15 weeks post partum, Hudson entered the dreaded 4 month sleep regression and I went from getting 5 to 6 hour stretches of sleep to waking up every 90 minutes. It was an exhausting few weeks and I had to back off training or else I would have tanked and gotten injured. I rode out that storm and after a few weeks he started to sleep better and I in turn recovered better.

 

So how did I get to racing 5 months post partum and have the result I did? Part of it was a surprise to me, I’ll be perfectly honest. The other part is since running is my career and my love, the motivation for me to do all the little things it takes to stay healthy and train was very high from the get go. Sure I had days where I was in a sleep deprived cloud but I tried to nap most days at least 30 minutes when the baby slept. I also have the luxury of running being my job so my time management and flexibility allow for a schedule centered around being a full time athlete while also being a full time mom. I still approached the actual training in a training sdconservative manner (for me). I averaged about 60 miles a week for the last 6 weeks compared to a normal 90 mile average before babies. I took a day off every 7 to 10 days, shortened a run if I had pelvic or back pain that didn’t go away. No matter how busy I am, I eat something (anything) within 30 minutes of finishing my run. That part is huge in your overall recovery. Lastly, I believed. I had run performances before children that made me believe when I came back, chasing fast times and the chance of making an Olympic Team was still in my wheelhouse.  Yet in the moments standing on the start line at the Kook Run I experienced that self doubt that anyone who has been away from racing for years would. But as soon as the gun went off, the feeling floated away and the confidence I felt at the Boilermaker 15k came back. I belonged out there again and it became a race against myself.

 

Here’s how it played out: First mile, Canadian runner Natasha Anzures took the lead and I was about 4-5 seconds off her coming through the mile 5:23. Training at altitude you never actually run race pace for very long intervals so this would be the first time my body was running in the 5:20s for longer than a few minutes. The course runs along the coast and mile 2 dropped gradually and I clicked the watch 5:21. I was feeling the rhythm now controlling my breathing and telling myself to run strong and relaxed. A slight breeze from the ocean was blowing in and cooling the 70 degree morning sun. Natasha was still about 5 seconds ahead of me looking strong. As we approached mile 3, I  began to feel a pep in my step and I decided to go with it. I caught her around 5k and as we came upon a sharp u turn on the course, I put in a surge to test the waters. She seemed to be laboring a little so I felt this was my chance. I was ready to start pushing the last half of the course as it climbed back up the highway and awaited its finishers. Mile 3 5:21 and as I pushed to Mile 4, split my watch again 5:19. With the course being an out and back, the entire last 3 miles I was running by the runners who were still heading out. This feeling was electric. They were in their own moments, yet cheering and encouraging me as I climbed the grinding hill from 4 to 5, 5:38. By now the racing “hurt” was very much back and I welcomed the pain with open arms. As I crested the hill I could smell home and knew I had just over 6 minutes of running left. I wanted to high five every spectator in that last mile so they could feel the joy I had simply from being back out there racing. I also wanted to keep running as hard as I could to display my fitness. So hearing the announcers I checked my form, said run tall, pump your arms and I crossed the finish line after a very long journey. I didn’t feel like I just ran the 10k distance, it was years in the making.

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Don’t worry to those women who affectionately called me “not human” and superwomen after running this 5 months post partum, you’ll take solace or a good laugh in this. As it is my journey to “keepitreal” and remain transparent with my audience I must share how the last mile of the race really shook out. I’m one of those blessed women (sarcasm) who get their menstrual cycle back while still breastfeeding. So 3 days before the race I got my period. No problem I’ve raced on my it before. Yet any woman who’s had children know there’s a bit of stretching and loosening that goes on and let’s just say tampons don’t hold as well as they used to. Sorry to those reading if its too much info. I reached back at mile 5 to wipe sweat off my butt and returned with a bit of red on my hand. Looked down and yes my thighs were covered as was my luckily “red” Oiselle uniform. So if there’s not enough to think about the last mile of a race, I had to try not to focus my attention and let embarrassment of this happening overcome me. So I kept running hard to the finish, crossed the line and immediately found my husband Ben and asked for his jacket to tie across my waist. I’m being approached for post race interviews and using baby wipes to clean myself up. Keep it real ladies!cardiff kook

 

Dream Big

 

Steph