KG: It's hard to tell what our pace is. The last time I did a hard session on the AlterG, I put the weight at 128 pounds (which is still more than I would normally weigh), but I was still able to do a six-mile tempo at 4:55 pace, and it felt so great. The next day when I ran outside, I was running only 7:30s, and that felt really hard. But there are days when I can run under 7:00. It's not this steady decline -- I still have great days, but then I also have these amazingly awful days. There's no control over it.
PR: To be honest, it just doesn't matter. I've got no idea about pace.
Are you running by feel?
KG: Yeah, I don't use a heart-rate monitor. I feel like I'm pretty much doing what I can do. I haven't ever gotten to a point where I'm gasping for breath. Paula has more experience with heart rate.
PR: The first pregnancy, I didn't do anything without the heart-rate monitor. I had the beep set to go if I went over a certain amount. I was really focused on that, but this time around I'm more relaxed. Sometimes I will just go out for a run and I can gauge by my breathing whether I'm working too hard, whether I need to back off. But I still wear the monitor if I'm on the treadmill or the track.
Are you enjoying the pressure-free training?
PR: It's different. There are some times I think, Well, it doesn't matter if I'm running slow, or if it's a run that's not measured. I'm taking the opportunity to explore new trails. So it's nice to have that side of it, and to have the pressure not there. It's good for your body to have a break. It's a way to recharge. At the same time, because we're so used to being in control of our bodies and being able to push them to perform, it's kind of frustrating. Like, Oh God, I just don't want someone to see me running so slow. The last time I was pregnant, I missed being able to just go out and run hard and that feeling of really pushing your body.
KG: There are days when I appreciate that I'm running just because I love it. And then there are days where I'm running so slow. But it's good. In our sport, we don't take a break. There's always an other race, there's always something to be reaching for and another goal. So this really forces us to just take a break from it all. Watching the spring marathons was tough though -- we were both itching.
What has it been like to not be the leaders of the pack?
PR: The last time when I was pregnant, I ran 5-Ks and 10-Ks for fun. Obviously you're never going to beat the buzz of winning. But it's a whole different race when you run with the pack. There are women who have different goals, and I liked being a part of that and that camaraderie. A couple of times I paced groups. It's fun to see a much more relaxed side of the sport. That's what we both love about running -- that it's this whole big family and that it's fun.
KG: In this time away from racing, we've both taken advantage of that -- to interact with people who, normally, as elite athletes we don't get to interact with. I've gotten to travel to different races to experience that. It's been really rewarding. It reminds you of why you started running in the first place. You meet people who are running because of their pure passion for it. It's been really fun to be a part of that other side of the sport.
How have people reacted toward you -- and your bumps?