Monday, October 29, 2012

Pregnancy Roundup

The last of the Running:

After that race at about 35 weeks, I did mostly run/walk interval type workouts at easy paces, just a few times each week... (you know, like run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute kind of deals). I thought about doing more or getting back into solid jogs, and really, I probably would have been fine to do so. But mentally, I was feeling done. So after about the 38 week mark, I pretty much stopped it all, minus some short walks outside with the kids for some fresh air. Other than that, I rested and prepped for the coming events.

The Birth:

I was due on October 10th, but at my appointment on the 11th, I still wasn't feeling any contractions or anything.... so they scheduled an induction for me on October 18th. But we didn't make it to that date. On Saturday, the 13th, I woke up, had some breakfast, and the contractions started. They kept going throughout the day, anywhere from 6-15 minutes apart. Of course, they got progressively more painful and more frequent as the day went on, so Adam and I left the kids with G-mom and Pa at about 5 pm, (we were visiting with them in Stafford since I appeared to be nowhere near labor... hahaha... so it goes), and we drove the 2 hours down to the hospital I was supposed to deliver at. By the time I got there, the contractions were steady and painful at about 4-5 minutes apart. And we were just praying that we didn't drive two hours only to have them turn me away and say I wasn't ready enough (which happened with my first pregnancy).

Luckily, they didn't even talk about the possibility of sending us away. They admitted me a little after 7 pm, and when the doc checked, I was at about 6 cm. We did all of the in-processing, Adam left to get himself some food (since the cafeteria was closed at the hospital), and I got into the jacuzzi tub... I had never done this before, but the nurse offered and said it sometimes helps move things along or even lessen the pain of the contractions, so I figured why not. Stayed in there for a little while, then got back out shortly after Adam returned. Not too long after that, the contractions got serious. And by 9 pm, I was asking to push. My water hadn't broken, so the doc broke it for me, and about 2 minutes later, I was pushing. And about another 2 minutes later, there was a baby crying on my chest.

This was my first ever natural birth. I didn't really plan on doing it that way, but was approaching it with an open mind. I figured, if it seems to be going fast, I'll try it without the epidural. There was no way of telling for sure, but I felt like it would be quick, so I turned down the drugs. After it was over, the nurses (and friends on the phone) were asking me if I would go natural again. To which I said, "I don't know... maybe not". Holy cow, that is one intense experience. Sooooo painful, but when it's done, it's done. And my recovery has been great. So unless the labor was dragging on slowly and painfully, I would be likely to do it again... probably.... maybe... I don't know. Ha! Childbirth is too unpredictable to decide that now.... can you tell? I prefer to just go with the flow and decide when it comes, I think. But it was nice to be able to get up and shower and go to the bathroom after, and just walk right on over to my recovery room. Definitely some good perks, but no lie... it hurts like crazy in the moment.

How running helped:

I have no science to back up my findings. This is just what I felt myself. The pregnancy itself was super easy. Being active, in shape, and healthy helped immensely. I felt like my body was able to handle carrying that baby really well. I didn't gain a lot of weight (more on that later), and I was ready for the extra burden, so I had very minimal aches and pains, and again, have had a great recovery these first couple of weeks.

Adam and I both feel like it has made labor a different story as well. Running has made me stronger, tougher, and better at mentally dealing with pain. I felt like I was ready to endure and breathe through the contractions so much more so than with my previous births. It hurt, but I knew I could handle it. My body was ready and armed for the task. Thank you, running. I even had the nurses and doctor telling me over and over that I couldn't really be in labor, since I was laughing and smiling every time that I was between contractions.

For the weight gain, my goal with this pregnancy was to keep it at or under 30 lbs. My first pregnancy was about 50 lbs of extra weight (yikes!). My second was probably 35-40 lbs. And this one, I started at a lower starting weight (thanks to my running), and was still able to meet my goal. I was right at 30 lbs when they weighed me at the hospital check in. (Starting weight was 135, end of pregnancy weight was 165). I am super proud of this! And it was 90% due to running, since my eating is nowhere near perfect.


If you can run during your pregnancy, do it! It is so worth the time and effort. It will energize you, it will give you a great stress outlet, and it will keep your mind and body strong and prepped for the craziness that is childbirth. And at the end of it all, you get an adorable, healthy, little baby to cuddle with. Good motivation.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Let's just pretend I was tapering...

Last week was a bad week in my running life. Sunday, I started to feel a cold coming on, which never got too severe, but was enough to suck the pregnant life out of me with the lack of breathing and the on-again, off-again sore throat. And whether or not it was related, I don't know, but I also had this sudden transformation into full-on pregnant mode. Like... where any movement I made resulted in a fully contracted, and fully uncomfortable, tummy. Yeah, not a fun way to try and get around, let alone exercise. I just felt down and out.

Took Monday off to continue recovering from the XC workout the previous Friday and to make sure the cold didn't attack me too hard.

Tuesday, tried to run on the treadmill, but had the extreme tummy tightness, among other discomforts, in full force. So I ended up doing a 1 lap jog, 1 lap walk deal. (Laps being the usual 1/4 mile each). And both the walking and the jogging were significantly slower than my usual. Ended up logging a total of 3 miles in 46:05. So technically 1.5 miles run.

Wednesday meant a trek to the Doc up in Fishersville for an appointment. Still wasn't feeling good. Didn't run.

Thursday, took some advice from the husband coach and tried to do a super gradual workout to try and keep the contracting discomforts at bay. And really, it pretty much worked. Walked 1/5 mi to warmup, starting at a very slow walk and settling into a pace that was just short of forcing me to lengthen my stride too much (since that makes the pelvic muscles extremely unhappy lately). Then started jogging, beginning at something way slower than I usually do, like 13:30ish or something. Then each lap, I tried to kick it up a little. Wasn't feeling great by the time I got to a 12:00 min pace, but kept pushing through it anyway, and kept speeding up each lap, finishing at 9:40 pace, which was a nice mental boost. 3 miles run.

Friday, took the kids out in the stroller, but it was CRAZY hot. I ran about a 1/2 mile, then walked 1/2 mile, then the kids were asleep and sweating, so I decided to take them back into the house so they didn't melt. Thought about getting myself on the treadmill to turn it into a real workout, but let the crappy feeling of the week take over.

Saturday, lots of things going on, and no workout motivation still, so nothing.

Sad week. Feeling depressed about the chance that maybe my running was done for this pregnancy. I know, most people don't get to run, especially for 34 weeks, but with how things have gone, I just couldn't accept the idea of it ending so suddenly. That would mean 6 pregnant weeks, plus however long the postpartum healing takes before I could even start hobbling along on any kind of run. Not wanting to think about that at all. So after letting myself feel discouraged and worried about the discomforts of last week, I talked with Adam about where I should go from here. There was a Labor Day 5k we had considered having me do for fun, but I was feeling less than excited about that idea at this point.

In then end, my decision was to pretend that last week was a taper week for this race. I was going to go out and run Monday morning, and if I still felt just as miserable as I had all week, I would consider this mostly the end, and begin limiting my running greatly and searching for other ways to get a little workout in. Or, if the magic of race day had me feeling good again, I'd try to continue the running as I have been doing and hope it was just a bad week I was having.

Pre-race... enjoying some water and my favorite Vanilla Bean Gu!
Thank heavens, the race magic was there. The adrenaline, the competitive feeling I tend to thrive on, and the fun of running with people around you (especially people you can pass and beat--told you I was too competitive), all worked in my favor. I didn't feel the pelvic pain, the tummy was tight, but not uncomfortable, and my legs were so happy to be moving at a reasonable pace. I was a little worried when I hit the first mile at 8:23 (I haven't run that fast in quite some time), and tried to tell myself it might all be downhill from here. But luckily, I was able to hold on pretty well. I finished in 26:28 (the Garmin measuring exactly. 5.00k). So my average pace was about 8:31. Amazing. I felt so good, and even had a semi-decent little kick in the last 150-200 meters.

Of course, within a few minutes of stopping, the pelvic pain kicked in, just like after the XC workout, but at least I went through that recently, and I know it just takes a day or two for that to get mostly back to normal. So yeah, verdict is that I am to keep running. Today (Tuesday), I probably won't as I am still letting the pelvic muscles recover, but tomorrow I plan to be back at it, in whatever capacity the body decides to allow. Yay for races... they are always good at motivating me when I need it most.

Post Race. Sitting, of course, since I couldn't stand incredibly well. :) But I was happy nonetheless. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quality Week

Surprised at the quality of running that I got in last week. I didn't do anything crazy mileage-wise, but even without the treadmill for a few days, I survived.

First, I have to say I felt very blessed that last week was like the coolest week temp-wise that we have had in quite some time. The mornings were actually kind of chilly. Wonderful hints of fall. Got the treadmill part in the mail on Wednesday and had a working treadmill on Thursday. Thank you, handy husband! Took a lot of messing around and tinkering, but he was quite determined, and the belt has been staying pretty much centered. Hurray!

So here's how the week went:

Monday: 3 miles in downtown BV on a nice, cool morning, pushing the double stroller of course. Went downtown for the flat, quiet neighborhood roads. Ran 3 miles, with a short 1-2 minute water/check the kids break after each one. Didn't feel amazing on the first one... some pelvic soreness (my recent uninvited companion in pregnant running), so I decided to try and relax through the next 2 miles and let my body run whatever pace it wanted. Yeah, I went from 10:45 the first mile, to 10:40 for the next two. I guess I'm not that good at consciously slowing down. Oh well. Felt fine. Then let the kids play at the playground for a while. Good times.

Tuesday: Did another 3 miles with breaks in between, this time pushing the stroller in the afternoon. It wasn't cool,, but it was a doable hot, less humid than most the summer has been. Did it on the close to flat, 1/2 mi stretch of road oustide the house. It was boring to run back and forth, but there is just enough incline in one direction to give a slight challenge followed by relief at the turnaround. Seemed to work in my favor, as my first mile was right at 10 minutes, the second at 9:50, and the third at like 9:38. Awesome. 

Wednesday: Dental appointments and such... didn't run. 

Thursday: Got to use the treadmill, and was slightly disappointed. After only a couple of runs outside, I was finding it impossible to get into a rhythm on that thing. I guess I just need to give it time. Did 3 miles in a little in like 31:05.

Friday: Adam is working at a volunteer assistant coach of sorts for the SVU cross country team (guys and girls). He was off work and went to their practice that morning, and called me after a little while saying I should come let the kids play by him and get my own run in out there while the team practiced. When I got there, I was actually just in time to run the 2 mile course with the two slower girls on the team. It was a super challenging course for me with some killer hill sections and some rough surface. But it was a lot of fun. And I enjoyed talking to and helping the girls I ran with. One in particular was struggling a bit and feeling out of shape from summer break, and I was able to pass on some tips and help her though those harder sections so that she could keep going. So fun to do that. Makes me want to find more people to run with and help. It was a very cool and fulfilling way to get a workout in. Anyway, we did 2 of those 2 miles loops. The first was in 19:30, and the second was about 18:55. Awesome workout.

Saturday: no run. And I knew there wouldn't be. I was SOOO sore after doing the XC stuff on Friday. My pelvic muscles get super sore after tough runs, and this was the toughest I've done this pregnancy, so I was plenty sore... like had trouble getting up and walking most the day on Friday. Still worth it, I think. And I am recovered now (on Monday). 

Week Total: 13 GOOD miles. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Treadmill Saga

32.5 weeks along.
Still running.
Still feeling good.

The last few weeks have been good ones. Other than scheduling issues with traveling and such, I have still been getting in 14-20 miles each week. Some were even outside while I was in Stafford... which felt amazing and were at a faster pace with less brakes than when I run on the treadmill at home. That was fun to see... although a little depressing to know that I could be doing that if schedules and kids allowed. Oh well. Still nice to know it is there.

Highlights from these weeks:
-a 5 miler outside in 45:17 (Yes, just over 9 minutes pace on hill I used to think were bad).
-a 6 miler on the Chessie trail here in Buena Vista where I fought off nature, climbed through pasture gates, tip-toed through mud/manure bogs, fought off hissing geese with a large stick, and lost a standoff with a bunch of momma cows and their calves. Okay, maybe that's more of a low-light, especially with how sore it left me... but I feel tough for surviving it at 29 weeks.
-a 2 miler this week. Short, I know... but it was about feeling the speed just for old time's sake. Well, speed is relative at 32 weeks.... so did a 10 minute warmup mile, then sped up each lap of the next mile, with the last lap under 8 minute pace... total mile was 8:47. Nothing for my non-pregnant self to care for, but great for where I am. Won't do it again this pregnancy, but still glad I let myself once.

32 weeks along... following the quick 2 miler.
 The Sad News:
My beloved treadmill has a broken part that is keeping the belt from staying centered, rendering it unsafe for this pregnant lady to use. It stopped being usable Friday, and with our busy schedules and my lack of motivation to run in the heat of day, I ended up missing Friday and Saturday. And I was SO on track for a 20 mile week, but got halted at 14. Oh well. We are ordering the needed part for the treadmill and hoping it will do the job. But it probably won't get here in time to help me this week, so I am still figuring out what to do.

The husband is usually up at 5 am for his runs, with no time in between them and work. Then by the time he returns from work, it's dinner time and the evening is consumed with cleanup, kid maintenance, Adam's study time, bed time, and prep for the next day. So really, it's got to happen during the day. Which means... heat and double strollers outside... or lame cross-training inside. Bleh. I guess I'll figure something out.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back in the game!

Hello, World.

Yet again, just putting it out there that I am still running. I won't bore anyone with the details of the rest of June and first half of July--- they were pretty uneventful. I kept up my run/walk, with recovery/cross-training days in between. I did stretches and things more. I listened to my body and tried not to overdo any of my workouts, hoping it would all give my ankle a good chance at healing. And guess what?? All that slowdown, the running only 2-3 days a week, the PT stretching, the caution---- it worked! My ankle has felt pretty much no pain over the last 2 weeks. That first pain free week, I ran 3 days, totaling like 16 miles. Then last week, we decided to see how my legs would handle adding in 2 more days of running, just light days. So last week went as follows:

Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 2 miles run, 1 mile walk cooldown
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: off
Friday: 2 miles
Saturday: 7 miles

Such a good week! And I hit 20 miles! The ankle was just fine and dandy. My leg felt slightly wobbly after a mile and a half on Tuesday, hence the 1 mile walk at the end. (Look at me, being all thoughtful and flexible in my running!) Another accomplishment: I have reconciled myself with the idea of settling into a slow and comfortable pace for the vast majority of my running, which through this healing/growing belly process has been 10 min miles. It took time to accept this and feel good about it, but I am in a happy place now. Just loving the fact that I am going into my 3rd trimester (currently 28.5 weeks along) feeling this way, running these miles, and feeling optimistic about what is to come.

So, moral of the story, you can overcome minor injuries in pregnancy if you are flexible and careful about your training. And then you can feel good running again. It is possible!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Last week's fun, then recovery

Monday: Had a glimmer of hope in me after a weekend where my leg wasn't feeling much of anything. Like... pretty much normal. I got on the treadmill and cautiously started at a 10 minute pace. And rightly so. Sure enough, running is the motion that always brings back the pain in that injury. I did 1 mile at a time, jogging that 10 minute pace, followed by a quarter mile walk/recovery. Did 5 miles total, 4 jogged, 1 walked.

Tuesday: Started out wanting to do a stroller walk outside. But it was horribly hot and humid. Seth fell asleep right away, but Ellie was already trying to convince me to go home all through that first .75 mi loop around our street. Didn't want to make her suffer the heat and boredom, so we did that .75 mi walk as a warmup, came in, laid Seth down for his nap, then found a workout on YouTube to do some cross-training since one loop on those hills was already killing my leg. Many thanks to Jillian Michaels (or her production company or whatever) for being willing to post full workouts online. I did her "Banish Fat Boost Metabolism" workout since it seemed to be a good cardio replacement. I had to watch very short commercials in between each circuit, but that worked out well and helped me make sure I stayed hydrated. With the commercials and all, it took about 45 minutes to do it all, plus the walk. So a good workout day. And I only had to modify a couple of moves for the pregnant belly.

Wednesday: Not much of a day for miles, but a fun day just to try and be a little faster. Went to a little local  open track meet at the Washington and Lee University track. Ellie won her heat in the 100m! She was a very proud little girl, since she always claims to be fastest. I offered to run with her in the race, but she said "No Mom, I too fast for you. You just watch." So young, so competitive, so cute. I, however, was last in both my events. But since I'm pretty sure I was the only pregnant one out there (and only one of 2 females competing), I'm not too concerned about it. I did the 400m in 1:22. Then after about 2 minutes of rest, I did the 800m in 3:11. Considering, just last summer, not pregnant, I ran 3:09, I'll call it good! My ankle killed in those sprints, but not enough to keep me from pushing through it. Did maybe a mile or more in warmups, cooldowns, whatevers. So not much running, but it's always fun to hit the track after a long drought. Worth a few days of pain in recovering.
Heading for the sandpit to practice her long jump. She was so happy there!
Thursday: Did the same Jillian workout online. Turns out it skipped a circuit on autoplay Tuesday, so it was a little longer than the day before. Good workout. Very aerobic and varied to keep me interested.

Friday: Same Jillian again. I enjoy this one a lot because of the mix of kickboxing, plyometrics, etc. It's good stuff, makes me feel like I'm working the whole time, and lasts long enough to give me a good extended cardio time.

Saturday: Had initially planned to try and do an easy run this day, but still felt like that same old leg needed more recovery from the track stuff, so I tried a different Jillian workout for some extra variety. Bad choice... didn't really care for it. It was the 30 Day Shred: Level 1 workout. I think it just wasn't enough cardio for what I wanted. Plus, it was less than 30 minutes, even with a warmup and a stretching cooldown. Just not enough. I was a little sore from the pushups and such the next day or two since I don't do them much anymore, but otherwise, it felt too slow and boring for my personal tastes in workouts.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Goal adjustments

Monday: So as much as I loved running with a friend Saturday, it would seem my body wasn't totally prepared for the workout on the trail. My leg was killing me Sunday. Monday, I tried to get on the treadmill, but immediately had to slow down and walk to warm up. Ended up doing 4.25 miles total... 3 of them jogging at 10 minute pace and 1.25 walking at 15 minute pace to give the leg a period of recovery every 2-3 laps (or quarter miles).

Tuesday: I did 5 on the treadmill. Happy I was able to run the whole time. I did speed up each mile, going from 10 minutes in the first to 8:30 for the last 1-2 miles. Much better than Monday.

Wednesday: Had a busy morning, followed by an OB appointment (40 miles from home), then kids and dinner to worry about, so I didn't get any running in during the day. Then I decided the kids and I would drive Adam to The Fields at SVU and get some exercise running around on the soft turf field. But of course, it started raining the minute we left the house. So I sat and played in the car with kids for the first 25 minutes, then, when Adam came back from the trails, we all put our jackets on and ran around playing soccer and running little races. Not a ton of real exercise. But it was a lot of fun. We will probably go back there often because the kids loved it so much. And hopefully it won't be raining next time!

Thursday: Better day for running. Did 6 on the treadmill, with the gradual speedups as usual. Starting at 10 min pace then working my way up to 8:30ish. Anyhow, felt pretty good and enjoyed it all thanks to Neal Caffrey and some old White Collar episodes I haven't seen in a long time. Nice way to pass the run. Even felt like I might want to go longer, but the kids had already been getting anxious for that last half mile or so, so I decided it was time to stop. Total time was just over 55 minutes.

Friday: Took an impromptu trip to NOVA with the kids to hang out with my momma. So that evening, I used her elliptical while she did the bike. did 45 minutes at a good pace, resistance level 4, whatever that means.

Saturday: Had to make the drive back home to Buena Vista, And this pregnant lady felt completely drained. Was tempted in my mind to try and fit something in, but the body said it just wasn't going to happen. The hot car ride had left me stiff and dehydrated... and hungry for dinner. So I just played with the kids at the park in the evening and called it good.

Definitely not meeting the mileage goals anymore, but I have realized the obvious and clear pattern to my workouts that has made me okay with changing the goals. It is clear that I usually have 2-3 good running days most weeks, each one followed by1 or 2 not so good days where my leg hurts again and doesn't want me to run much, if at all. So, until the leg pain finally goes away for good (which at this rate, may not be until post-pregnancy), I'm going to try to work in 1-2 recovery/cross-training days after each longer or harder run that I do. Coach Adam and I have decided that the main thing needs to be to try and get a minimum of 30-45 minutes of whatever I decide to do those days (walk/run, walk the stroller, workout videos, whatever). This way I can try to maintain my fitness level as much as possible, while cutting down the miles to try and give my leg/ankle a rest and hopefully a chance to heal itself the rest of the way. Nothing exciting, but I feel good about it all and know it's the best way to proceed from here. Then we can reevaluate later.

Cross-training, here I come.