The PB [&] J- Entry #1
36 weeks, 1 day, as of Wednesday, January 18.
But I’m more than those.
Trying to break 20:00 in the 5k.
Part-time swim coach.
4th place age group finisher at my first sprint triathlon (also happened to be week 16 of pregnancy).
Have beat my Crossfit-ing sister in a “Death-by-burpees” workout.
I describe myself by many things. Mom is going to be a new description, and while I sometimes feel like it’s taking over my identity, I am prepared to keep my best feet forward to learn how to be a mother who is active, healthy, energized, and encourage my boy to be the same.
I was injured and only cross-training when we got pregnant. I found out that I was pregnant two weeks before I was going to be allowed to start running again, and I didn’t want to miss out. I found my OB through a prioritized search of 1) in-network, and 2) self-described runner.
My doctor told me that I could return to running, as long as I stayed hydrated and learned when not to push myself. (I would love to roll my eyes at that, but as someone coming off a stress “reaction,” it was probably very pointed and necessary advice.)
I wanted a community to tell me if I was running slow because I was pregnant or because I was coming from injury. I wanted runners to tell me if they still did any workouts, or if they just ran mileage. I wanted someone to tell me that swimming actually is uncomfortable if you are trying to swim laps and do flipturns, rather than “the greatest feeling.” I wanted to hear when people returned to running, and I wanted to hear that answer from more than a fellow obsessor whose answer was 11 days.
How have I changed my running habits?
1. Lower weekly mileage goal. My goal is 20 miles per week until week 36, then the goal will be to run 3-4 times a week, no mileage goal. Movement will be the focus.
2. Track running surface. With supposed balance issues, sidewalk cracks, and added weight, there seem to be many benefits for me and baby to run on a track surface. I’m not solely on a track, but I will probably switch to track only around week 37 or 38.
3. Pace. I wear my Garmin but I don’t cry (at least, not anymore) when I see the average pace. Some days are more than 1:00 slower per mile than other days. All days have been slower than my pre-20 weeks pace.
4. Workouts. Through my triathlon (week 16), I did workouts aimed for a 5k; mostly sprint pick-ups. No long and hard workouts. Post-race, through about week 24, I continued with fartleks or short intervals, like 1:00 on, 1:00 off, or a “run hard to the next bridge, then easy” workout. I kept the hard efforts short, and I kept them at a pace where I wasn’t having stabbing pains. (Sounds reasonable, I know, but they do come on quickly. I slow down as soon as I feel one.) Now, on the track, I often run 100 m strides, then a 400 jog, with absolutely no eye on pace. The stride helps entertain me more than keep me in any kind of shape.
5. Hydration. I’m more intentional about replacing fluids, and replacing them quickly. I still dislike carrying water with me, so I drink water as soon as I’m home, and try to keep a glass near me while I work.
6. Eating high-protein and healthy carbs. I’m not perfect – who can resist a good scoop of Portland’s Ruby Jewel cookies-n-cream ice cream? – but I’m finally taking the advice of my running coach in trying to teach my body to use proteins as a fuel source rather than carbs. I’m doing this after cutting it close to being diagnosed with GD and learning that Type II diabetes exists on both sides of my family. I don’t fit any of the other risk factors for GD, and diet seems to be the only thing I can change.
7. Forgiveness. If I don’t make the mileage I planned for a day or a week, I let myself know that it’s okay.
I have loved the cheers that I get while running now that I’m clearly pregnant. I get positive encouragement from neighbors, strangers, and my running partners.
"I have so many fears, too. Along with all the fears about being a good parent, what birth will be like, and whether my boy will be a swimmer or a runner or a video game connoisseur, I have fears about my fitness habits."
Are the aches and pains that are slowly coming going to fade, or will they stay through the rest of the pregnancy?
Will I be able to keep running?
Is exercise really going to help me labor easier?
Is it for myself or to be able to boast that I want to run up until the due date?
What is going to keep my baby healthy?
What is going to keep me healthy, mentally and physically?
Through all this, I’m learning that I do not have control over everything. In fact, it often feels like I do not have control over anything. Baby is going to be his own person, and one of my strongest weapons will be my hopes for him.