Monday, March 20, 2017

My running life, halfway through pregnancy

I'm completely shocked how quickly this pregnancy is going by!  I'm a lot busier than I was the first time around, but still.  It feels like the calendar is whipping by me.

Last week, I hit the 300-mile milestone in my pregnancy miles.  Not too bad considering I was at a low point in my volume of running at the time I got pregnant.  I've actually managed to increase weekly mileage over the past few months, which I never saw coming.  I'm averaging 25-30 miles per week right now, and it feels comfortable and relaxed.  I only run 4-5 days a week, and a six-mile run feels like it's right in the "sweet spot" for maintaining fitness but recovering quickly.  I'm running based on heart rate and avoiding going over my anaerobic threshold for any significant period of time.  This means going slower.  I'm cool with that. 

Track club group run on this Saturday, March 18.  I'm hiding in the back by the tall guy.

I'm still accumulating a lot of that mileage during my track club's Saturday morning long run.  I'm doing a bit of cross training to replace midweek runs, and LOVING spinning.  I'm still holding back from going completely nuts with cross training, because I know there may/will come a time in the third trimester when that will be all I have left.

Here's a quick rundown of last week:

Monday - 6 miles @ 10:16 on trails.  Halfway through, it started pouring rain.  Of course, I was...three miles from my car.  I finished the run haha.

Tuesday - Rest.  Snacks.  Stretching.  You know the drill.

Wednesday - 70-minute spinning class with a friend.  It was all cardio intervals, which I love right now for my current goals of maintaining my cardiovascular base.

Thursday - 6 miles @ 10:28 on trails, in very cold weather.  We didn't get any snow from the huge Nor'easter that blew in...just some unexpected sub-freezing temps.  I had to get tights back out, boo hoo ;)

Friday - 4.8 @ a variety of paces.  I met a friend at a local jogging trail, and we only made it about a mile before she realized an old injury was flaring up and she needed to walk back to her car.  I went with her.  Then I logged another 3 miles @ 9:27 before work.  Flat pavement and nice weather felt great after a week of muddy trails.

Saturday - 10.2 @ 10:52 with the track club.  Another downpour!  My pace group and I stopped to bag all our electronics and car keys with dog poop bags, and didn't hit our target 10:30 pace.  This was a very hilly run, as the track club is preparing for a challenging 15k race, the Statue 2 Statue.

Early spring weather conditions, actual baby bump.

So, there you have it.  Last week was 27.2 miles.  I'm on target to meet or exceed that again this week (ran 6 on trails today).  I very rarely see paces below 10 minutes/mile anymore (and it pains me to consider that I used to be part of the 8:30 long run pace group!).  I am trying to MAINTAIN cardiovascular conditioning through pregnancy.  I am running by heart rate and perceived effort.  I am 100% committed to making it through labor and delivery uninjured.  And yes, I am likely heaving another huge, hulking baby through my little pelvis.  I need to be in awesome shape -- mentally and physically -- to make this happen.  I'm wearing a support band (the Gabrialla Medium Support) for hard exercise now, to help distribute some of the extra weight on my hips.

I've gained nine or ten pounds so far...hydrating for longer runs and the general weirdness and bloating of pregnancy make this hard to quantify exactly.  I'm a full fifteen pounds up from my "racing weight," though.  And yes, I definitely feel it on steep inclines or soft surfaces.  I am definitely aware of the extra effort it takes to haul a heavier (and top-heavy) body around.  I hope it's making me strong as hell.   I'm carefully tracking nutrients and hydration, taking a multivitamin, and making sure I "eat back" all the calories I burn during exercise.  I try not to let myself get hungry or thirsty at all during the day.

Other than that, (running) life goes on.  Work is exciting and lucrative lately, and I am grateful for a career that lets me care for my family so easily.  I count my blessings every day.

I'll post soon with some actual baby bump photos from 20 weeks, and about our planned move to the mountains this fall (!).  Have a great week, everyone! 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Running in the first trimester and beyond!

As of today, I have run 250 miles with this baby!  

17 weeks and change
I went into this pregnancy with low mileage/a lot of cross training.  I had some health problems near the end of last year that required some rest, so I took one day at a time.  I think it's safe to say that I've hit my second trimester groove now.  I'm 18 weeks now and I can't believe I'm nearly halfway done with cooking this baby!

First Trimester Recap

During the first trimester, I generally ran three miles at a time (sometimes as little as two, which I haven't done in years).  My greatest obstacles were just extreme exhaustion and the need for extra sleep.  This caused problems with motivation, and some days I could barely get out of bed with enough time to make breakfast and dress myself and my son for the day.  I got through workouts by basically turning off the part of my brain that was reluctant or worried, and forcing myself to lace up my shoes and get running.  During these early weeks, there was absolutely no joy in running.

I want to get through pregnancy with my cardiovascular fitness intact, though.  That is what kept me motivated.

I averaged 15-18 miles of running a week, took at least one yoga class, and tried to mix things up with the stair mill and long walks.  Like I said, the mental game was very rough.

For weeks 9-11 of pregnancy, I had some pretty extreme nausea.  As with my first pregnancy, I only vomited a handful of times, generally right after eating breakfast.  The nausea was much worse in the evenings, and sometimes I was incapacitated for most of the night and unable to rest.  I'm not sure this is the same for every woman, but for me the nausea of pregnancy comes with vertigo, hot flashes, and headaches.  During these weeks, I just tried to rest and get a few workouts in when I could.  Oddly (and also a reminder of my first pregnancy), hard, sweaty workouts made the nausea go away.  At least during the exercise, I felt like myself again.  Once I discovered this, it was hugely motivating.

Right around 12 weeks, I had a little breakthrough, felt more motivated to run, and got my mileage back up over 20/week.  I was even able to get out for a few early morning runs on weekdays, which made me feel human again.


Right now, I'm running 4-5 days a week, and averaging 22/week.  It's not a lot, but I'm really encouraged by how running feels right now.  The fatigue and nausea are completely gone, and the only thing I'm really struggling with is pressure on my bladder.  The sensation is annoying, and causes fairly pointless bathroom breaks every 20-30 minutes.  The baby just wants a completely empty bladder for running, I guess.  I'm still going to the Saturday morning track club long runs, and I haven't missed a single one yet.  I generally run 8-12 miles (with plenty of bathroom stops) and stick around to enjoy everyone's company.  I'm working to preserve my running fitness AND my running friendships, I guess.

Before pregnancy, I generally did my midweek runs around an 8:15 to 8:45 pace, and my long runs closer to 9:00.  Right now, my long runs are generally right at 10:05 (a random pace that I keep hitting without trying...I guess that's how fast the baby wants to go right now).  I have some runs that are as slow as 11:00, a pace that I haven't seen since the last time I was pregnant.  I slog through these runs by feel, watch my heart rate, and try not to beat myself up.  I'm trying to maintain the status quo, not be a hero.  I still see some paces in the 8-minute range.  I'm still doing some intervals and speed ladders on the treadmill, just to keep my legs turning over.  I have slowed down, though, no doubt about it.  I've gained nine pounds, and while the extra weight doesn't "feel heavy" yet (does that make sense?), I know it's part of the reason.

I'm faithfully going to yoga.  Mostly for the breathing exercises, which I relied on to get me through labor with my first child.  And also to keep my hips strong and stable.  I'm doing my physical therapy exercises whenever I feel instability or soreness creeping in (but honestly I think my running mileage is so low that there is no danger of injury).  And spinning is AWESOME.  I've found that I can achieve a similar heart rate profile to a tough run while seated on a bike.  It is good strength training, helps me maintain a good cadence, and gives my hips a break.  I foresee a lot of indoor cycling and swimming as things progress.

I haven't made any changes to my running wardrobe yet, except for retiring a few pairs of XS Pearl Izumi shorts that are way too tiny now.  And I'm also avoiding wearing short shirts that leave my belly hanging out if I can avoid it.  Not making any promises, though.  I just ordered a running support belt (Gabrialla brand, just like I used and then gave away the first time around), and it should arrive tomorrow. 

That's all for now!  I've stayed away from the weekly recaps lately, because I feel like there hasn't been much to recap.  I'm enjoying every minute of pregnancy right now.  I can't wait to meet this new little guy, and I'm already planning some fall races for when I will be much, much lighter :)

Have a fun week, everyone.