23 May 2015

Weekend happenings and Running During Pregnancy

Happy long weekend, friends! I hope that there's something fun on your calendar.

We're going to do a little gardening-- planting just a few things in pots in our backyard. Long gone are days of big gardens at the lake, because we just don't spend enough time there any more to give it the love and attention it deserves. And, while we love seeing all the deer and rabbits constantly at our house, they love the veggies we grow just as much as we do. So we're resorting to doing potted tomatoes, lettuce and herbs (and a few other things if I can convince the Sailor).

I also am bound and determined to get two things done on the baby's nursery. We're ordering the hardwood floors to be installed in there, and we'll be making the sixth trip to the furniture store to order the glider that has turned into the never-ending story. The customer service has been extraordinary. This week, the woman we're working with over there called the factory and the mill to find out if they had any leftovers of the three fabrics we selected. So we now have an option! This chair better be the piece de resistance in that room after all of this back and forth. And I promise you it will not be white!

Now on to fitness! After a few bad runs last week, I thought at 24 weeks pregnant, my days of hitting the pavement were numbered. I was slow, sore and tired.  But as always one good long run, and my hope was restored! Back in the game!

We met with the doctor earlier this week for my six month pre-natal appointment, and she said KEEP RUNNING. At the beginning of pregnancy, there's some research that shows that running flushes from your system some of the extra pregnancy hormones that give women morning sickness. And now, looking forward to an easier labor is reason enough to keep me going.

I'm certainly no expert, and every pregnant woman should check with their doctor to determine what's healthiest for their body and baby. But here are a few tips that have helped me keep running through the first and second trimester.

Buy a heart rate monitor. The old rule of keeping your heart rate below 140 bpm is outdated, but the heart rate monitor is a reminder of keeping the intensity in check and also helps me ensure that I know how many extra calories to consume after a longer run.

Use the bathroom before you leave the house and set your course to make a pit stop. I cannot emphasize this one enough! At about 20 weeks, I realized that 20 minutes into a run, I'd have to make swing by the house. There are some days that Baby just bounces on my bladder with every single step!

Listen to your body. Between weeks 14-18, I experienced a fair bit of what I think was round ligament pain. When I felt the pain, I listened to my body and stopped running or slowed way down until the pain subsided. After week 21-22, the pain disappeared. But during those few weeks, it was critical that I listened to my body and walk rather than run on days when the pain was the worst.

Although my mileage per week has only decreased a little, my pace and intensity has decreased a lot. And any hip or lower back pain while running has been minimal since I've cut back on intensity. It's a no-brainer for most runners but not for someone who used to push through most pain.

Invest in a supportive belly band. I'm not there yet, but I've already started researching bands that will support my back and belly during runs. I've also read that some runners who don't gain a lot of weight are able to double up on belly bands to get the support they need.

Hydrate and fuel. Charley horses or leg cramps are common during the second trimester, and they get worse without proper nutrition and hydration. Last week during my not-so-great runs, I also experienced leg cramps several nights in a row. This week, I've been more in tune with both my water in-take and increased my calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Embrace (or at least accept) that there's a new "normal"-- or is there? Just like pregnancy, where energy level, soreness, hunger, moodiness can fluctuate day to day (or hour to hour!), running is different every day. I've stopped setting distance or time goals and just appreciate the fact that I am active and still able to run. I generally still find my groove (closer to pre-prego pace and improved energy) after three to four miles, but some days I can't make it that far. I just remind myself that every day I can get out there and move my body is a blessing.

Have a great weekend!

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