My feet are falling heavily. My stride is too short. A small stitch in my side comes and goes. My shoulders are tight and clenched. My breaths feel forced and inconsistent. My pace is all over the place. I used to be good at running!! What happened?? Continue reading
I laid in bed listening to the rain and was excited to get up and run in it for two reasons. One was that it was going to be my first post-partum run sans stroller and sans walking. The other was that I was eager to try out a new jacket from Under Armour designed for the exact purpose of running in the rain. Continue reading
It’s nearly impossible not to ask a pregnant person, or a person who’s just had a baby, “how are you feeling?” So I will start this post by saying that with the exception of being tired and feeling a little flabby in the core area, I feel great. And because I feel great, I decided to try some jogging. Post-jog, I can now add that I also feel a little tender still in the pelvic floor area but by no means is it painful. And the feeling I had for the majority of pregnancy that my ligaments were ripping apart is gone, so I consider that a good sign of being on the mend. In order to really start running again I have to start somewhere and a walk-jog combo on a beautiful fall day that also happens to be my last day of maternity leave seemed like a good place to start. Continue reading
As I enter into my fourth week post-partum I am struggling to find the balance between physically letting my body recover the way it needs and mentally keeping myself from pushing too hard too soon. I’m also trying (obsessing perhaps) to figure out the best way to running and cross-training. Continue reading
About this time last year I put a reminder on my calendar for Sept. 8, 10am EST to register for the 2015 Boston Marathon. As luck would have it, I was out on maternity leave when 09/08/14 rolled around and had nothing much to do other than watch the calendar for registration to open. In preparation I visited baa.org to make sure I knew the process. Continue reading
For well over a year now, Wednesday nights have been my “me” nights. It started because I played beach volleyball with work friends on Wednesdays last summer and then over the winter it turned into my night to get drinks or dinner or work late, whatever I wanted to do. In January my best friend forwarded me an email of a new spin studio opening in Baltimore. So when we decided to check out the new Rev Cycle Studio, Wednesday was the natural night to go. Continue reading
It was a couple hours after my second piece of red velvet cake at a friend’s birthday dinner that I started to feel guilty. I had started the day with an invigorating rooftop yoga class and slowly throughout the day cancelled out the benefits of my morning fitness session simply by making stupid food choices. Pregnant or not, one piece of cake is totally fulfilling and sufficient. Post-birthday dinner I vowed to start over on Sunday and start the day with a ride. Continue reading
I hit 30 weeks yesterday, on July 4. A day when I can distinctly recall running in early morning shaded routes to get the run in before the big party. Last year I remember running in 100% humidity and high heat doing track work as part of marathon training. I remember Fourth of July runs just for fun, because its a holiday, and why not? This year, there was no run for me. Continue reading
On May 3 I joined colleagues and a few hundred other cyclists in Howard County for a challenging but totally gorgeous ride. After four months of as much training as I could, I decided at essentially the last minute to ride 32 instead of 22 miles. I felt ready. No doubt it was the right decision. This event was the first athletic event I’ve done that wasn’t a race and I can genuinely say it was just as rewarding. Part of the reward was in being part of something bigger. And part of the reward was the feeling of accomplishment at the end.
Riding in packs is always a hair intimidating at first; a lot of people in a small space going at a relatively decent speed means you have to really have situational awareness of your surroundings and confidence in your ability to control your bike. We headed out around 8:30am on a brisk but beautiful morning with a group of about 100. Our team from r2i was divided between a 32 mile group and a 10 mile group. Within the first three miles things started to space out which was helpful as we were on roads without much shoulder, but at that hour also without much traffic.
By mile 10 or so my co-hort had taken off ahead of me and I kept up as best I could. The course was pretty darn hilly–much hillier than I expected–so while I could cruise at 25mph downhill there were plenty of uphill moments where my GPS read a depressing 6mph. We reunited at the well placed rest stop at mile 21 and finished the rest of the course together. At 21+ weeks pregnant during the ride, I was much more comfortable than I anticipated I would be. Most of my training rides had been midday while our son naps and I think midday pregnant work-outs are just not for me. I’m full and bloated and generally uncomfortable. So doing this ride at the start of the day was perfectly enjoyable.
As we made our way up the final hill within site of the finish line we could hear the music and festivities of the finish line. The volunteers of the day made for an awesome “welcome back” committee and the music made all the difference for having a powerful finish. We reunited with the rest of our r2i team for a group photo and to celebrate the accomplishment.
Riding for a Cause
This event was also one of the first where I’ve ever had to seriously fundraise prior to the event. I set a goal for myself of $500 which would go toward our team’s goal of $5000. I ended up raising $706 and am incredibly grateful to each person–family and friends–who donated toward my ride and the cure for diabetes. Our team made it 88% of the way to our goal which is darn impressive in my opinion. I’m proud of what we did as a team and I am humbled to have been able to ride for a cause.
I started spin class in January in part as training for the May 3 Tour de Cure ride but also to give myself some cross-training focus. I added in a weekend outside ride when the weather started to allow it and with this routine have been riding on average two days a week all through pregnancy.
For the first trimester it was mostly fine and I was spinning/cycling as normal. I found outside riding a tad easier to “monitor” than spin class but I think the reason I go harder in spin class is because I love being pushed by the Rev instructor, Esther Collinetti. I asked Esther at one point what she’d recommend for spinning pregnant and much like my doctor suggested, she said to follow my own comfort level. Technically the doc said I should be able to hold a conversation and I know that in spin I go harder than that level but it’s for short bursts as much of the class is in a form of interval training. Esther’s other suggestion was to simply raise the handlebars a little as the belly gets bigger to make leaning forward more comfortable.
I’ve been trying to ride between 15-20 miles outside in prep to ride 22 miles in hilly Howard County on May 3. For the most part, it’s been ok but as I’ve made my way to the 20+ week mark of pregnancy I’m noticing that any decent speed is definitely harder to maintain, aero position is comfortable and effective for about a whopping 20 seconds and I need to really stay hydrated.
Here are a few things I’ve learned to make spinning and cycling more manageable during pregnancy:
- Expect to maintain the same level of comfort or speed
- Force into tight cycling gear if you don’t have to–I’m not sure yet how to deal with a growing belly and tight cycling shorts but it is definitely uncomfortable
- Ride too far without enough hydration or snacks–I’ve found that by the end of a 20 mile ride I’ve gone through a full water bottle and am hungry; to ride further will require more fuel
- Keep doing what you’re doing–as frustrating as it may be, keep cycling, keep spinning, keep running
- When riding outside: wear a helmet, ride with your cell phone, water, spare tubes, etc (all things you’d ideally normally do)
- Work to maintain cadence; use your gears–speed may get slower but at least you can maintain turnover
- Invest in clip-ins at least for your road bike (I still use the cages in spin class and one day might invest in spin clip-ins)
Focus on your form and breathing
- Sing along or count with the instructor; it helps you know if you’re in “conversation mode” or pushing too hard
- Raise your handlebars to accommodate for a growing belly (I have yet to try this on my road bike and plan on at least removing the aero bars so I can use the middle part of the handle bar in a more upright position)
- Take the time to stretch properly post ride; hip flexors seem to get even tighter with pregnancy so compressing them in a riding position requires extra attention