Monday, March 17, 2014

Pregnant Half


I hope everyone has had a wonderful day.  St. Paddy's day has always been one of those days with mixed emotions for me.  As a kid, I loved the festive atmosphere and the chocolate coins, but these were also accompanied by the overwhelming fear that I wouldn't have enough green and I'd get pinched.  I even remember begging my mom at 10 years old to buy me a big, bulky green sweater from the Goodwill in November just so I'd have a good green item for the holiday.  This year, though, I celebrated things differently.

While I still wore a bit of green, I did the majority of my celebrating yesterday.  Yesterday, I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon.  Yes, I'm 27 weeks pregnant.  Yes, I had clearance from my doctor.  Yes, I finished.  Yes, I feel fine.  No, I don't think I'll shoot for another one this pregnancy.

This half did not start out well.  The day before had been a bit warm, and a heavy work load had left me very tired.  I was still a little swollen and stiff when I woke up.  What I really wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep, and instead I was preparing to run 13.1 miles.  There wasn't the usual excitement.  In fact, if anything, I was cranky about having signed up.  I kept telling myself how bad ass I was, and that helped, but I really just wanted to call it a day.  

The first four miles felt miserable.  My goal was under 13:00 min/mile, and I was holding at around 12:00, so that was fine, but it just seemed so hard.  My legs hurt, I was out of breath.  My running buddies were far ahead of me (it's a race, so we don't stick together), and I was lonely.  I kept praying I would find my groove, and for the first time ever I actually wondered if I would finish the race.  

Then, around mile 4 I started to feel a bit of my old groove.  Things didn't feel so off.  And, right as I was starting to get comfortable, I saw a familiar site.  I saw a girl that I had run with on Marathon Training Team.  She's actually the daughter-in-law of one of Hans' coworkers, so there was that cool connection, too.  I ran up to her and struck up a conversation.  

Honestly, we must have both been needing a distraction, because we started to chat and continued to chat the rest of the way.  After that, the miles just flew by.  I ticked them off, one after the other.  Mile 6, mile 7, 8, 9, 10.

Feeling great around mile 7.

It was around mile 10 that general fatigue began to set in.  I was stiff and tired.  Luckily, though, I was a bit mentally prepared for this, as the same thing had happened in training runs.  I took in some extra fuel, had a bit more water, allowed myself to walk through a water stop, and continued on.  Mile 11, 12, 13...

And then, there it was, the finish line.  There were flags and balloons and tons of people.  As I crossed the finish, I heard the announcer call my name, and I cheered a little.  They don't call everyone's name, so I was just lucky to have mine announced.  It was like my own little victory.

I just finished!
So, how did I feel afterward?  Not bad.  Actually, I felt surprisingly similar to how I felt after my last full marathon- stiff, but able to move.  I could have felt better, but I also could have felt much worse.  That said, I definitely stiffened up more throughout the day, but food, water, and rest helped a ton.  Today, I'm feeling pretty good.  I still have sore spot or two, but not too bad.  I don't really want to do it again any time soon, but I'm still planning to continue running- just not that far.  All in all, I'm happy.

Oh, and just so everyone can see, here's a gratuitous belly shot taken the day before the race (Saturday).

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pregnancy and Exercise

Let me start by saying I still feel great after that much needed rest last week.  I need to do it again, but the next few weeks are easier overall, so that shouldn't be a problem.  I also want to talk a bit, though, about exercise during pregnancy.

As you may or may not know, before I became pregnant, I ran.  I ran regularly.  I ran marathons, I ran 10ks, I ran at least 4 miles twice a week.  I would often do other things in addition to running (swim, bike, etc), but running was what made me happiest. I wasn't fast, but I still went out. I enjoyed the feeling afterward even when I didn't enjoy the feeling during.  So, when I got pregnant, I was really worried everything would change.  Would I be able to run?  How long would I be able to run?  How slow would I end up being?

When I first found out I was pregnant, one of my initial thoughts (the ones based on fear instead of the overwhelming joy I was also feeling) was, "I'm supposed to run 2 marathons in the next 27 days.  What am I going to do?"  Well, the first one was a week and a half away, so I decided to just go for it.  Play it by ear.  Listen to my body.  I felt pretty good, I'd trained well for it, so why not?  Hans was on board with the plan too, even if the rest of our families were a bit more hesitant.  While that was certainly not my greatest race (I didn't fuel well), it also didn't kill me.  So, I planned on doing the second one, but I figured I'd ask my doctor first.  As soon as I asked, she looked at me like, "Are you nuts?"  Then she asked how the last one went.  How was my recovery?  Was I still running?  All my answers seemed to be green lights, so I got the go ahead.  It was slow, but it went really well.  I definitely planned it better.

So, I've continued running (and swimming on the side).  I'm pleasantly surprised at how little I really seem to be affected.  I mean, yes, my pace has slowed.  Some days it feels as though I can't catch a breath and my heart is beating out my chest.  Other days, though, while I can tell I'm pushing things a tad, I end up feeling great and have decent results.  My running buddies have been a huge help in that they've graciously slowed their pace to accommodate me.  I'm still going out 2-3 times a week though, and this weekend I'll be running a half marathon (Go me!).

Before you say anything, I've continued talking to my doctor, and she's on board.  My fuel plan is different (I need a lot more), and my pace is definitely slower, but I'm well-prepared.  I ran 10 miles 2 weeks ago and felt great afterward if not ready for a nap.

And here's the kicker: The exercise helps me to feel better.  I can cope with extra weight gain when I've had a decent run.  I can handle mood swings way better because I'm getting a bit of an endorphin rush.  I can take some time to clear my head and improve my mood.  And I'm able to eat pretty much anything I want because running plus baby equals bring on the food!  Oh, and in addition to the running, I've been doing prenatal yoga.  It's not super-strenuous, but it's been a great addition to everything.  It complements the running well, it gives me a great time to stretch, and it really helps me clear my head.  Some of my most focused days are the ones that start with running and end with yoga.  That's how I battle baby brain!

So, if you're pregnant or considering kids, but aren't sure how to handle exercise, know that there are plenty of options.  The general consensus is that if you did it before pregnancy, you should be able to do it after during pregnancy, but of course there are exceptions to the rule.  Talk to your doctor, but don't be afraid to get on out there either!  Good luck!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Much Needed Rest

This morning was wonderful!  After 2 1/2 weeks of working every. single. day, I finally had a break.  I had a whole morning off with nothing else scheduled or planned.  So, what did I do?

Well, I started the morning at 4:30 a.m.  I woke up, got dressed, and was out for a run by 5:15.  I was tired, getting up was hard, and the run was strenuous, but I felt good afterwards, and I was happy I'd done it.  Then, I came home, had breakfast, showered, and...

...did absolutely nothing!

I watched Netflix, I read my book, and I ate a snack, but the entire time I stayed hidden in my bed with the dogs and cats around me.  It was beautiful!

Honestly, I know I needed the physical rest dearly, but almost more than that I needed a chance to turn my brain off.  I needed a time wear I didn't have to drive, talk to people, see people, think about people.  I needed time to just be.  If I'd had longer, I would have taken the dogs for a hike, but I think they appreciated the quiet snuggle time too.

It was a wonderful morning.  I slept, I read, I decompressed.  I laid there feeling the baby move (which is almost as weird to say as it is to feel).  All in all, it's been a great day!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Day by Day

And more time has passed since my last post.  I seriously don't intend to let so much time pass between posts, but sometimes life gets away from me.  Well, let me tell you how life has been lately.

Really, I'm just taking things day by day.  Overall, things have been good.  Business has been going well, the dogs are great, projects around the house have been getting accomplished.  Running has even been going well.  That said, I have been so very, very tired.

Last Tuesday I felt surprisingly good.  I had a beyond fabulous run, I had a wonderful doctor's appointment, and I was ready to greet the day.  And then it was 10:00 a.m., I'd already been awake for 6 hours and had accomplished 7 things, and I crashed.  All of a sudden, I was so tired I could barely function.  And that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the week. 

Since then, I've had about 1 1/2 good days where I've felt really on top of things.  Otherwise, I've been tired, foggy, and in a funk.  Work hasn't gotten done, laundry hasn't been folded.  I did get in a great workout on Saturday, but the evening ended with me breaking down into tears about having to go out to the theatre (we did go out, and I enjoyed it, but there was much crying beforehand).  I feel so behind on everything, and that's making me even more exhausted!

So, how does this relate to baby in ways other than I'm pregnant and that's to be expected.  Well, there appears to have been a significant growth spurt.  My belly is definitely no longer a hint or something that's only seen in the right clothes.  It's there, full force.  The movements I feel are more like waves instead of pokes or kicks, which is pretty trippy to be honest.  Of course, with all of this, I also experiencing more and more baby brain.  The worst actually happened last Tuesday.

I was headed into Target, and I realized I had to use the bathroom (for the 5th time that hour).  I quickly popped into the ladies' room, did my business, and went to leave.  Upon leaving, I stood in front of the bathroom door, waiting for it to open.  I stood there for about 30 seconds before I realized the door wasn't automatic, and I had to pull the handle.  Yeah, that was special.

All in all, though, I don't have much to complain about.  The dogs and cats have been wonderful, Hans has been fantastic, and, even though I'm really tired, my body is handling things fairly well.  It's just taking some time to adjust.  So, things could definitely be worse.

Well, that's my current life in a nutshell.  What's happening with you?