Thursday, December 11, 2014

Running and Braxton Hicks

First, some images from our recent 5K. My dad ran with me again which was awesome. This one was far harder than the last one we did at the beginning of November. I'm carrying another 5ish lbs. in the middle of my body, so no wonder running is getting hard. I finished ahead of my last time though, in a smoking 26:35. Many thanks to my dad for keeping me going when I really, really wanted a walk break. 

If it looks like my dad is dragging me to finish, it's because he is.
If I flap my arms enough, maybe I'll fly. Also, so much slouching.

Something I didn't mention last week in my pregnant running post was contractions. At that point, I hadn't felt any, or at least I didn't think I had. I probably had been feeling them for a while but I hadn't given them much thought. Now that my belly is getting huger, I've started noticing painless tightening, known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Per the ever wise Wikipedia, BH are tightening of uterine muscles and are thought to aid the body in preparing for labor. I've been having these off and on, and I've noticed they seem to be associated with running. Mine aren't painful or even uncomfortable. A full bladder and a lot of activity are two things commonly associated with BH, and that is definitely true for me. From a totally scientific poll of the internet, running seems to exacerbate them for others as well.

The consensus is that BH are a normal part of pregnancy (hence why they have a name). Mine go away immediately after I stop running, although if I slow to a speedy walk, it takes a lot longer. I'm staying very well hydrated. I'll bring this up to my midwives again at my next appointment. I mentioned I was having BH last time and they were not worried. I was bragging about them YAY MY UTERUS TOTALLY WORKS AND IT'S GONNA GET THIS BABY OUT SOMEDAY and they were not impressed. Oh well. Until then, I'll keep listening to my body, slowing down and enjoying the days when running is enjoyable. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pregnant Running

I am incredibly fortunate to be able to run, comfortably, up to this point in my pregnancy (28 weeks! 80 days to go, but who's counting. Not me. Totally not freaking out over here). I plan to keep on going as long as my body lets me, although I know there is an inevitable slowdown coming, and I am totally ok with that. My "running" currently consists of walk/jogs a couple times a week and sometimes a "long run" that's a continuous 3 or 4 miles on the weekend. No one will accuse me of being an overachiever.

Pros of running while pregnant
Low expectations- It doesn't matter if I run 30 seconds and then start walking. I have zero expectations for myself. Last night, on the treadmill, I was doing "intervals" where I ran a quarter mile then walked a bit. I managed to press the stop button on the treadmill in the middle of the run and I took that as a sign that I should just walk the rest of my planned distance. That was a-ok with me.
Anyone else remember this from Mad TV? Anyone else remember Mad TV?

Energy surge- For now, at least, I get a pretty good energy surge following a "run," even if it's a run/walk.

Quality TV watching time- I am pretty sure I'll forever associate this pregnancy with Gossip Girl. It's my go-to show for treadmill workouts. Nick would never dream of watching it (he hears bits of it from time to time and asks me if it's really as melodramatic as it sounds. Yes, totally is.)

Food intake/timing barely matters- Obviously I need to eat well during the day if I'm going to run in the afternoon. Before, that meant that I needed an afternoon snack at 2pm, no later, or else I'd be nauseated for an afternoon run. Now, I eat whatever, whenever, and go about my day.

Better sleep and less restless legs- I had mild RLS prior to pregnancy and it's gone crazy lately. I find my symptoms are milder on days I've done something active. The promise of better sleep is a huge motivator to get my butt off the couch these days.

It's good for me and the baby- Of course. Sometimes the only thing that gets me going is knowing the benefits that working out, even for just a little bit, carries for my health and my little fetus's health. 

Cons of running while pregnant
Funky aches- Nothing feels the same right now. My arms and legs are chunkier so I'm getting chafing in all sort of unusual spots. My boobs are huge and move in ways I'm not accustomed to (to be fair, they were so little before, they really didn't move at all. It was nice). My ankles and shins have been aching weirdly during most runs and occasionally during walks. My midwives said it's most likely just changing body mechanics, but it sucks. The aches resolve immediately after running.

Extra weight- This is the cause of the funky aches. And the chubby arms and legs. And slowness. Being many, many pounds heavier than my normal running weight is... challenging.

Slowness- It's not fun to go out for what used to be a "quick 4 miles" and now takes almost an hour. Nothing is quick anymore. 

Needing to pee- I go to the bathroom immediately before a run and by the time I've hit "start" on the treadmill, I need to go again. I know this will only get worse, so I'm just trying to power through it and try and remind myself that I am capable of going more than 40 minutes without peeing. Really.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Alexandria Turkey Trot Recap

I apparently only blogged about this race last year, but I've participated in it 5 out of the last 6 years. I did a different trot in 2010 so my streak isn't perfect. Boo. My paces for previous years are: 2009- 11:28, 2011- 10:12, 2012- 8:37, 2013- 8:18.

Last year, I ran this race just before my big (second) marathon of the year. This year, I ran it as my second run of the week. Times have changed. This year, it was also much warmer than last year and there was another fun addition (aside from my extra tummy girth)- my dad joined us! Yay!

Sorry, Dad, this is the picture I chose. So glad I come from a family of models.

My dad's a really good cyclist who also runs when his plantar fasciitis isn't bothering him. He was a very good sport to join us this year even though the drive is pretty long for him (45 minutes to our house, then another 45 minutes to the race). I ate a banana, 2 eggs, and Kashi cereal before the race because I figured the long-ish drive would give me plenty of time to digest. That was partially true, but I was still a little uncomfortably full while running. 

I've mentioned in the past that this race is a pain for parking because you have to park on surface streets and you're never super close to the race start. We parked with an ok amount of buffer before the race start, but then things fell apart. It's always good to have a concrete plan for your group before you all go off in different directions. Lesson learned: Nick, my dad, and I all have different priorities for pre-race to-dos Mine: pee. Pee again. Drop off my sweatshirt so I don't have to carry it all race. Then, pee once more. Nick's: Stay warm. Drop off coffee cup at car so he doesn't have to carry it all race. My dad's: Pee. 

We lost each other when we split up to get our bibs. My dad went to find bathrooms, I went off to find my dad, and Nick looked for both of us. This was all happening about 20 minutes before the start of the race. After many, many curse words and much fretting, I finally decided to go back to the car. This was about a half mile away, so I needed to jog to get there and back in time. Waddly pregnant woman running at her top speed (10 minute miles!) + loudly cussing = a really, really attractive sight. Luckily, I found Nick at the car, ran back to the start as quickly as possible, used the (more convenient) volunteer bathrooms (sorry, volunteers... it was that or {seriously, not kidding even a little} squatting on someone's lawn) and Nick was able to somehow find my dad in the crowd of 5000. He was wearing a yellow jacket, which definitely helped. 

The race itself went well. I was already a little tired from my 1 mile warm up, plus there's always a million people to dodge at the beginning of the race, so things did not get off to a speedy start. I think the first couple miles were slightly over 10 minutes per mile. My overall goal was to finish under 50 minutes (10 minutes/mile) so I knew we needed to pick it up a bit in the second half in order to accomplish that. We did, for a finish time of 49:32- 9:55 pace. I was very pleased, but very tired. 5 miles is the upper limit for distance for me lately. Post-race goodies included granola bars and Larabars. It's a Thanksgiving tradition.

I posted this photo on Facebook after the race and got a lot of "Congratulations!" not realizing I hadn't previously mentioned my pregnancy on there. Oops. Better late than never? Also, hellooooo belly. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Second Trimester Summary

I'm now 27 weeks pregnant and at the tail end of my second trimester. Yikes. Also, hooray! The little bundle of flailing limbs in side of me is about 2.25 lbs and over 15 inches long. That's pretty hefty. The second trimester is supposedly the sweet spot of pregnancy, and that has definitely been true for me. We went on our epic trip to Italy this trimester, I ran a 5K and am doing a 5 mile race later this week. We went on many hikes and shopping trips to indulge my sudden need to nest and have my house look like Ikea. Those Swedes know how to organize.

Belly progression, a.k.a. That time I grew out a pixie cut for the whole internet to see:
8 weeks (first "belly" picture- this is just IVF bloat/OHSS. Only shirtless picture. You're welcome)

14 weeks 

21 weeks (the boobs really came into their own around this point, and people started telling me I'd "popped")

 27 weeks
27 weeks. A little more protruding happened in the last 6 weeks, right?

Front view 8 weeks and now. Not too much wider in the belly, but I'm pretty sure my face has gained 10 lbs. Also, I miss my short hair so much. 

Hair and nails- Still going strong, literally, despite my actual haircut being terrible.

Energy levels- For the most part, I feel wonderful! I can move around most of the day without pain or discomfort. Running is still going fine (slower, but fine).

Skin- Still "glowy" and pleasant overall.

Baby kicks/punches- Having this little person moving around inside me is THE COOLEST THING. I love weird little squirms. I wear a badge at work that rests on my belly and the movements have recently started moving my badge around. I love it.

Special treatment- my coworkers have started offering me chairs all the time. The other day, my excuse for being late to a meeting was "sorry, had to pee!" (this elicited knowing smiles and chuckles. Also, it was a lie. I'm just bad at time management). On one hand, being pregnant isn't a disability and I feel great. On the other hand, sitting down is awesome.

Gradually slowing down- Despite my decent energy levels, I am starting to drag a bit. I have the strong desire to get stuff done around the house, which has always been the case, but now I am most definitely ok with not doing stuff. I can veg out on the couch, no problem. I wish my energy matched my motivation all the time, but I know I need rest, too. I'll take the energy bursts when I can get them.

"How are you feeling?"- I like to answer this one with "I'm fine! Work is busy!" and watch people try and figure out how to ask me directly about how pregnancy is going. I truly understand that people are worried about my well-being, and I appreciate it, but good lord, I am more than just a baby vessel.

Awful labor or pregnancy stories- this usually comes up when I mention that we're planning a homebirth, but sometimes people just tell me anyway. I know my belly is about to get huge, and I'll be uncomfortable. Please don't share how your ankles swelled so badly you couldn't put on your normal jeans. And please, please, keep your labor horror stories and how you "would have died" if you hadn't had your baby in the hospital. I'm sorry it was so scary, I'm glad you and your child are ok. I understand the risks.

Heartburn- Still there, most of the time. Nothing helps. The midwives are holding out the "big guns" of Zantac for third tri when it supposedly gets worse.

Poor sleep quality- I hear it'll only get worse from here. Between needing to pee, having crazy dreams, and needing to wake up to heave my body from one side to the other, I don't sleep in good solid stretches anymore. It causes a feeling of general bleh-ness until the end of the week when I can finally sleep in!

Lower back ache- As I have been told by many coworkers and strangers, I am indeed carrying low (hooray for being tall-ish!). The little one definitely settled into my pelvis. The plus side is that my breathing is unimpeded and my ribs are avoiding kicks so far. The minus side is having the weight hanging so low on my body has given me a mild back ache every day for weeks, and a monster backache on days when I spend too much time on my feet. I'm trying to alleviate this with pelvic rocks and trying to have good posture.

I know I have more dislikes than likes listed, but that's just because I'm a complainer by nature. I adore being pregnant- I have been so, so lucky to have had an easy time with pregnancy. I love feeling the baby move and knowing that I'm nurturing a little life that'll someday learn to read, ride a bike, do a science fair project, vote (!!!!) and maybe be a parent him/herself. That blows my mind. With 90ish days left in this pregnancy, the end result is starting to hit me and I'm a little overwhelmed and incredibly excited. I can't wait to be a parent with Nick!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My brain is still broken

In a recent post that surprised no one, I expressed dismay at my body and how it seems to change daily. I mean, I get that growing a human requires my belly to expand, but my upper arms? That part is lame. I'm not 100% recovered from the restrictive/obsessive/destructive thoughts that led me to have hypothalamic amenorrhea (over a year of typing that word and still can't spell it correctly on the first try...). This was reinforced the other day when I mentioned to Nick that I'm thinking about marathons next year, as in, the year I'll be birthing our child and (hopefully) being the sole source of nutrition for him or her. I have been reading lots of blogs lately about fall marathons and thinking to myself, "I could do that! I could totally run a fall marathon next year! That'll be 7-8 months after giving birth! That's like 32 weeks! That's 8 weeks of birth recovery, 8 weeks of base building, and 16 weeks of training! Totally doable!" (there are lots of exclamation points during my internal conversations) When I shared my marathon fantasies with Nick, he said, um, maybe don't get too excited, you'll be feeding our baby an awful lot so you don't want to do anything to adversely affect your supply.

On one hand, duh, of course I don't want to sacrifice feeding the baby/affecting my supply to pursue my own goals. On the other hand, my brain sucks and got really excited to go back to my old ways once pregnancy is over. I daydream about taking long walks with the dog and the baby in a carrier or stroller. Then I'll start running on the treadmill during naps. Then running outside when Nick's home from work. Weekends will have long runs.... I'll be back in some sort of marathon shape mere months after giving birth! Of course, "marathon shape" implies major weight loss. Knowing me, that wouldn't be from slowly, steadily, naturally losing weight, it would be from reverting to my old ways.

I know that my screwed up thought processes are still there because I struggle with them every day. The difference now is, during pregnancy, I easily recognize the destructiveness of the thoughts and I can  realign to my #1 priority, which is maintaining a healthy pregnancy. This doesn't mean I easily dismiss them- just last night I was freaking out over going out to dinner. I looked at the restaurant website and planned out what I'd eat and how many calories it would be, which is not necessarily a disordered thing in and of itself, but I took the extra step of figuring out how I'd make up for those "extra" calories and how it would effect my weight gain. Wtf, brain? You're pregnant, stop being stupid. Luckily, I was able to realize I was being crazy and just ordered what sounded good and I enjoyed it. There was still guilt, but I didn't let it overpower me.

However, the tiny sane part of my brain that's active right now is only active until February 22. After that, all bets are off. Admitting that I am having these thoughts right now, and knowing they are likely to only get worse is half the battle, right? After reflecting on that conversation with Nick, I have decided that I need to make a couple rules for myself or else I'll justify doing crazy things.
Rule #1: NO MARATHONS IN 2015. Not even "for fun." The first year of this little person's life is precious to me, and I will not sacrifice it for my selfish desires (TOTALLY not saying people who run a marathon soon after giving birth are selfish. But I would be doing it for selfish reasons). Rule #2: Run ideas by Nick. He knows me and my tendencies and will be able to tell me if I'm being unreasonable.

I have no idea what I'm going to feel like in 3, 4, 5, or 6 months. I do know that my life will be light years different than it is now and I will need to adjust. Setting goals is good. Setting them blindly, for silly reasons, is destructive and will end up with me back in a bad spot. I know this, and I will be on the lookout for those behaviors popping up again. Hopefully I'll be so madly in love with my infant, running and/or weight loss won't even be on my mind. And now I'm crying. Pregnancy hormones are fun.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I lied.

Subtitle: If there's a woman in front of me, I will try to catch her. Disregard Friday's post about being reasonable.

For the 5K on Saturday morning, the weather was drizzly and grey. It was a little chilly, a nice temperature for running. The rain worried me, because my bras have been chafing me like crazy lately (curses, pregnancy boobs!) and I knew rain would just make that worse. My attitude was "I paid for this race, damn it, I'm going to run it and then eat some snacks." Fueled by a chocolate cake donut (perfection) and coffee, we prepared for the race by warming up thoroughly...KIDDING! My dad did that. I sulked in the warmth until the last minute.

This is Nick's "I haven't run in months but I'm about to go kick your asses" face

We gathered for the start and I scoped out the "competition." This was sign #1 that maybe I drank too much coffee and was letting myself get too psyched. I noticed there weren't a lot of women, and there really weren't a lot of women around my age. Still, the plan was to keep the pace comfortable, stay with my dad, and just enjoy it, rain and all. Nick took off with the front guys and had a great race (there were a lot of men... he was 7th overall and 3rd in his age group!), especially considering he hasn't been training, and has hardly run at all lately. He's my hero.

I did the first mile a little faster than I'd anticipated, around 9 minutes. My dad was sticking with me, but told me I could take off if I wanted to. He was keeping my pace, no problem, and I didn't want to run on my own, so we stayed together. When we got to the turnaround, I noticed there were a couple of women just in front of me. My pregnancy-addled brain thought that had to be fixed, so I focused on passing them. My second mile was also 9 minutes. Go me, I thought, nice and even. Probably the first time I've ever done that in a 5K. 

The second half of the race tends to be more uphill overall, so I figured I'd slow down a bit. I saw one more "woman" in front of me. Woman is in quotation marks because she was a little girl. I didn't have a lot of juice left in me, so I sort of tried to pass her too. It was too late to really put any heat on, plus I felt bad passing a child so I gained on her a little bit, but definitely didn't kick. 3rd mile was 8:31, overall time of 27:15. As I was rounding the final corner, someone said "1st place, pregnant division! 3rd woman overall!" Umm, what? You mean I could have passed more people and been first woman?! Why didn't anyone tell me this sooner? The first place woman was about 45 seconds ahead of me, which doesn't sound like much, but I was already going at a pretty fast pace for my current fitness. I'm really proud of how well I ran, and placing in my age group is an added bonus! The fetus and I celebrated by eating eggs. 

...after reading all this, I realize that I didn't emphasize that this was a SUPER tiny 5K. So small! That totally makes the whole situation different. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A 5K with a new kind of goal

On Saturday, I am running my first 5K my first short race my first race in almost 11 months. It is a local 5K that I did in 2011 and 2012. Last year, around this time, I PR'ed in the 5K, a week after running my marathon PR (Note to self: maybe don't read old blog posts, you'll just be sad).

This year, there's a tiny difference. First of all, I don't look like this anymore.
I have so many questions about this picture. Most importantly, why didn't anyone tell me I looked like a bobblehead? Second, will my boobs ever return to that tiny, manageable size? Please tell me they will. I hate sleeping in a bra. Third, did I not even TRY to brush my hair that day? Ugh.

Now, I look like this:
Boobs, belly, butt, and thighs? Check x 4. (and apologies for the classy bathroom selfie) Also, yes, I know I'm carrying low and mostly in front and boys tend to be carried low but I don't want to hear your old wives' tales. Hush.

Obviously this won't be a PR race, but I do have a little tiny goal. I know, can't I just be a normal person who runs for fun? No. Here's my goal: I would like to finish in less than 30 minutes. That'll make it my slowest 5K ever, but it'll be right in line with my recent running paces (10ish min/mile with the dog, 9:30ish without). Those paces are comfortable for me. My dad will be running too, and 30 minutes is a comfortable time for him. It'll be great! My secondary goal is to not walk at all, but I'm not 100% sure I will be able to do that, so if I need to walk, I will. 

I have a 5 mile Turkey Trot I'm doing later in November, which will have similar goals. I am taking this time to just be active and enjoy "racing" and the race atmosphere. It is a nice change from last year, where I killed myself to finish first. Maybe that competitive side will come back some day (year), but right now, I am so happy where I'm at.