I normally spend my time pining after the next race, obsessing over the next training plan. I go from one race to the next whether its a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon focus. I love planning out my race schedule and aligning my training plans to go with them. Sometimes that training focus is on building a base; many times my training focus has been on simply working the plan–tempos, speedwork, hills, LSDs. Being pregnant doesn’t really lend itself to having a “traditional” training focus. I won’t be focusing on speed or logging big mile weeks. And I won’t be training for any particular race (though there are a few on the schedule). Continue reading
I’m somewhere around 5 weeks as I write this post and am having many mixed emotions. Excited about baby number two, fearful of losing my fitness, all that I’ve trained for and the work I’ll have to do to get it back but also ready for the challenge of making it all work. I said in the very first post in this series to keep it honest. So that’s what I’m doing here, for better or for worse.
One common piece of advice to pregnant women with regard to staying fit is that you should be able to continue doing the same things you did pre-pregnancy during pregnancy. So if you were always a runner, keep running. If you bike, keep biking. If you did pilates or yoga, keep at it.
In my particular case, running is my “go to.” I was always running pre-pregnancy so I will continue to run throughout pregnancy. What is holding me up this time, is that I didn’t go into this one in marathon shape; half marathon shape at best. My longest run in December was 7 miles. I had high hopes of taking on a pregnant half marathon in March, just to do it, but with each run I am trying to rationalize with myself that 10ks are a smarter choice if I have to race. I am hopeful to maintain my 3 days a week of running and use one of those as a weekend long run, preferably staying in the 7-10 mile range for as long as possible. The frustration I have is that even in these early weeks I can already feel a little more challenge in the runs. Maybe not so much a challenge as an innate understanding that I need to go slower. I mentally want to push myself for my sub-8 minute pace but the last few runs it’s just not been the right thing to do. I want to warn runners that if you had been used to pushing yourself, to doing speedwork, tempos, hill work, training for a pace–it all changes. There is a major shift in what your body will allow (and want) you to do comfortably. And it is ALL mental. If you think hard enough about while you’re running, you can stop focusing on pace and just enjoy running. I know I sound like I’m complaining. And I also realize this makes it sound like “running just to run” isn’t worth it but for me it is a readjustment. For the next 8 months I cannot consider running a competitive outlet. It simply as to be my outlet. It will keep me grounded, keep my mind clear, give me fresh perspective, and hopefully help keep me in shape to bounce back fast.
I also went into this pregnancy with a tiny bit of cross-training under my belt and I knew full well that if I was in shape to do certain things pre-pregnancy that I could continue doing them throughout pregnancy. These last few weeks I have been pushing it a bit to “get in” more cross-training in the early weeks so that I can tell myself I can continue to do these things for the next 8 months. I took back up rowing 1-2 times per week with my mini circuit training of squats, lunges, push-ups and core work. I added in a spin class once a week at a new spin studio in Baltimore (which is awesome by the way, check it out: Revuup). I also took on yoga for runners with three different videos on RW.com hosted by Rebecca Pacheco.
The early weeks are hard. They’re hard because they’re so early that you’re not supposed to tell anyone you’re pregnant so you feel like you’re keeping a secret and yet all you want to do is shout it out. They’re hard because you want to keep doing everything you would normally do but you’re not sure of any new limitations. They’re hard because depending on the woman and pregnancy, you may be zapped of energy to even think about staying fit. They’re just hard. But perhaps they’re also the ideal challenge to see what you’re capable of powering through.
If you’re in your early weeks of pregnancy and feel like it’s just hard, I understand. If you wish you could run faster again, I hear you loud and clear. But keep running. And stay honest!
P.s. This post was written January 15 and held for a post-date publication until we were in the “safe zone.”
Ok, maybe not “day one” exactly since I’m not sure you can ever say exactly when a woman’s first pregnant day is, but nonetheless, I’m starting this at the beginning this time. I’ve already been through pregnant running before and I did a poor job of capturing that experience. There is also not a lot out there (that I can find) that is helpful, or honest enough, about what it’s like to run pregnant. So here we go. Welcome to my no-holds-barred, probably TMI most of the time, log of running pregnant with baby number two.
Step One: Be Brutally Honest
I apologize in advance to my unborn child but the day I found out I was pregnant I cried. And when I told my husband, I sobbed for a hot minute and wiped the tears. I wallowed in self-pity, doubt, frustration and general “bummed out-ness” for the first day. We’d been talking on and off about a second child for a while and I resigned to myself that I am a one child woman but that if it happened, it happened. Time to be brutally honest in order to just move on: my biggest fear of having a second child is losing myself and losing my “freedom” to race and train. Work? I can definitely keep doing that, and want to. Time with friends? No problem. They all have children, some of them with more than one. Travel? Not as easy but we’ll figure it out. Training and racing? There’s my real challenge.
How do I ask my husband to give me those 3-4 hours on a Saturday morning so I can go for a long run, stretch and shower later while he mans two children? How do I work out my morning logistics so I can still get up and run and get two children ready for daycare plus myself ready for work? These are truly my biggest fears and questions when it comes to being a working mother of multiple children. One has been almost easy now that I think about trying it with two.
Step Two: Keep Running!
With baby number one I was well into marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon and carried on with the training. I ran that race at the very end of my first trimester. From there I kept running as long as I could with no real rhyme or reason to the miles.
The day we found out about baby number two I’d just been trying to figure out my 2014 race plan with the goal of doing a spring marathon. I can easily recall the runs the week prior to January 5 and they were still at about the right speed but low in quality. On at least two of them I was hungover (hey, it was the holidays!). On another, a 6.66 mile long run I put in my log notes later how I felt sluggish. I did 5 miles on January 4 with a hunch that I was pregnant and my legs felt heavy and my breathing off. Pace was still staying below 8 minutes which made me happy.
On “day one” of being pregnant I went out for a four-miler and made some resolutions. I will try to do a March half marathon and two spring 10ks. I will do my absolute best to run the June Father’s Day 10k in Annapolis. With this baby due in September, if I can manage the Annapolis 10-miler in August that will be amazing. I’m not ruling it out yet. This plan forces me to keep running. I know that it will get harder and that I will lose speed. But there are some things I plan to do different. Namely, I will be doing kegels starting now! No one told me about the total loss of bladder control that pregnancy causes. I had to pop one too many squats during and after pregnant runs with baby number one. There’s no way to tell if kegels early on will fix that but it can’t hurt to try! I have already started doing yoga and more strength work so I plan to keep up with all of that though I know it will become modified with time.
For now, my plan is to absolutely keep running. Keep moving. Keep working on strength and flexibility. I will report back regularly!
Ps. This post was written on January 5 and I waited the obligatory “safe time” before publishing this post as this makes my news very public!
This spring I went on the hunt for as many 5ks as I could find for my return to racing post-pregnancy. The earliest one I could find, that I thought I would be ready for was the Run Awake 5k in Annapolis, MD. As I think is often the case with me, I set out to run and race for selfish reasons and ultimately realize there are so many more reasons to run beyond the “because I like to” reason. The Run Awake 5k put me in my place pretty quickly for two reasons. 1. The story behind the race and the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund where 100% of proceeds went to is the type of human kindness story that is motivating, inspiring and makes you grateful for what you have. And 2. Despite having only been ‘back to running’ for a few weeks I stupidly thought that I might be able to hit a fast pace like I had pre-pregnancy. Continue reading
When I found out I was pregnant I was about two thirds of the way through marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon. One of my first questions to my doctor was whether or not I could run that marathon at the end of October which would be the start of my second trimester. I was mentally prepared to run it regardless of the doctor’s answer but I knew I’d feel better having his approval. The doctor confirmed what I believed, and what I’d heard from others–it would be fine to run the marathon, just slower than I was planning. Because I had been training already, but more so because I’d already been running for years rather than having just started mid-pregnancy, my body would be able to handle the miles even while carrying a growing baby. What I really wondered is what running pregnant would do to my pace. Continue reading
When I found out I was pregnant I decided that I would run as much and as often as I could throughout my pregnancy. In the first trimester this was not a big deal as I was already training for the Marine Corps Marathon and my body was adapted to frequent runs. By the time I was in the third trimester I was running at a significantly slower pace with less frequency and one additional, major change…pit stops. Continue reading
You know how sometimes you think of yourself as a certain age regardless of how old you are? In my head I am usually 27, sometimes younger, and don’t feel nearly old enough to have the adult life I actually lead. Well apparently the same mind game applies to being pregnant. Only the other morning did it literally hit me that I am not actually 5 months pregnant. I am a full 7 months pregnant but in my head I have been stuck at 5. All of a sudden it made sense why running was more challenging, I am a little more tired, hungry and well, bigger. Continue reading
It has been almost a solid six months since my last blog post. I believe I once read (or wrote) that a blogger, especially one who blogs as a hobby, need not necessarily apologize for not blogging regularly. However, I am genuinely sorry and I feel terribly guilty for not writing often. I don’t expect that anyone has been waiting with bated breath for my next post but I want you to know that I think about this health and running blog nearly every day. My mind is constantly whirling with posts I want to write. I have 17 drafts of blogs to come. Continue reading