Wednesday, April 07, 2010

By Choice

Today marks the entrance into my 25th week of pregnancy!

The other day I had my 24-week check up and I was in and out of the doctor’s office in a record 12 minutes. I gave urine – just 2 ounces this month, I hope Nurse Ratched noticed that – and then they took my weight. This just in: I have now gained around 20 pounds. I’m no mathematician but I might end up with 35 pounds when this is all said and done. You know what that is - AWESOME!

I’ve found the best way to deal with the weight gain is to accept it, embrace it and make friends with it. You can spend 40 weeks hating the bigger version of yourself or just getting over yourself. I choose – b. And therefore lovingly call myself Jumbo or Lunchbox.

The doctor measured me again. I still measure perfectly. She also gave me a bottle of orange stuff that I am supposed to drink before my 28 week visit. Something about my placenta might be diabetic and it will only let them know at 28 weeks. The placenta is a very mysterious breed. Likes to keep things hidden like that. I warned Chris not to drink it because it looks like sport drink. I fear I’ll come home one night and find him frothing at the mouth, naked and running crazy laps with Boss because of a monster sugar high from a product made entirely of glucose.

But it looked like Gatorade.

As the doctor examined me, she told me I looked sporty. Coincidentally, I’m a sporty gal. She asked if I was going running. I said yes, even though I’m getting big I am trying to keep up the running. She told me about another doctor in the office did a 5K last year. On a really hilly course. Yes, I know that course. I was at that 5K and I won it. It made me hungry to run fast and light again. But alas that will have to wait many, many more weeks.

Until then, I continue on with the pregnancy runs. Character builders for sure. Nothing like carrying around an extra 20 pounds, a whole new gait and an entire running wardrobe that no longer fits. When I went out to go running, I realized that my shirt covered HALF of my stomach I also realized it was in the upper 70s. Do you have any idea what that means for a pregnant woman?

Instant cankles.

Running + pregnancy + heat do not mix. Just when I thought I couldn’t get any slower, I had to implement the 5 minute run, 1 minute walk today. Insert the :30 pee every 10 minutes and you get…not a whole lot of forward progress. I will not be running in the heat again. Looks like it’s back to the treadmill or early morning runs for me.

Aside from that, I’m keeping up with the swimming, biking and running though every day I have to approach it with even more flexibility than the day before. I still do something every day for 45 to 90 minutes. I know I don’t “have” to do anything and as I get more uncomfortable I wake up every day thinking – I don’t have to but I choose to because it's good for me both during and after pregnancy.

Now, I do not have any delusions about retaining fitness with what I’m doing. I might be crazy but I am not delusional. My fitness left me about 20 pounds and 24 weeks ago. Right now I go through the motions and I enjoy it. I know I’m not as strong and I know I’m not fast. Speed has no place in pregnancy. Don’t even try. And worrying about it? Totally useless. Just keep moving. One foot in front of the other, it counts.

Maybe I'm crazy to keep up with it but I don't think what I'm doing is all that unusual for an athlete. Heck, Carrie Tollefson is 4 months pregnant and still runs 40 miles per week. She cut that back from 80. You read stories of women who ran 8 miles a day every day in pregnancy, women who ran marathons, did cycling trips, my sister in law is training to walk a half marathon…the bottom line is that every woman is different but no one should expect anything less of herself. You can do what you normally do within reason. It’s at a much easier effort and you might not go as long but if you are used to doing something every day, pregnancy does not need to take that away (unless you are told by your doctor).

And I think women need to hear this. I talk to a lot of women who maybe are planning to start families and it’s always the same – the look of fear in their eyes, in their voice. They seem to think that what they love to do will no longer be possible. Or that their doctor will tell them to keep their HR under 140 bpm and they’ll be walking from week 4 and on. If you do have a doctor that tells you that, find a new one who understands where your fitness is at and what you are used to doing. There is no right or wrong way to approach fitness in pregnancy. Everyone is different.

Keeping up with workouts while pregnant has completely changed the way I see workouts. I don’t think I will ever have a bad run again after pregnancy. There is no way it could get any worse than my run today. I peed on my shorts and then on my hand! Nor will I ever fret about being lapped at masters. Get over it – you'll swim again another day. And you know how sometimes you feel so uncomfortable on your bike on a windy day – I’d give anything to feel the wind while I’m riding right now, a basement fan is not cutting it. From all of this, I’ve got something now…perspective.

I know many women who are pregnant now or will try in the near future. Don’t give up on your “training”. You’ll have days where you are tired and feel like it won’t matter if you skip a day, or two days, or an entire week. But keep up the consistency. It’s worth it! I know I must look ridiculous out there in running shorts that are too small and a top that no longer covers my stomach. But no matter how I look or how slow I go, I still feel like a freakin’ rock star when I get back from a run. I still feel powerful, “light” and like I've done good for myself. It gives me the illusion of control and even adds some confidence.


Oh BOO I feel heavy, I have to pee a lot or I’m tired. Times like that I tell myself to get over myself! True, there are times you truly do need to rest but everything else is just whiny excuses that you want to feed yourself because you’re pregnant. Trust me, I’ve battled many times with myself – I don’t have to do this. I could sit on the couch and gain 60 pounds and it would be OK! I could but I really don’t want to. And I don’t have to do this, but I choose to.

Which is the best reason of all – choice, not chance or obligation. By choice.

It seems like a sentence – 40 weeks of going slower than slow. But what I’ve found is that while it’s frustrating at times and monotonous, it’s an opportunity to do the sport in a different way. To use fins when I want. To explore a new trail. To make new playlists to entertain myself on the bike. It might be the same old 3 sports but I’ve never done them like this before.

All that said I am fired up to “train” tomorrow. Tomorrow I am giving myself the opportunity to swim a really long set. The good news is that my swimsuit covers me – ALL of me (unlike my running tops). The bad news is that for the rest of the week I’ve 21,000 yards of swimming to go. Yes, to celebrate my 25th week of pregnancy, I’m taking on 25,000 yards of swimming. I agree, that’s a little crazy. But I’d like to think that if you ever have to elect the mayor of Crazytown, you’ll choose me.

PS - if you don’t hear from me by next week’s end, please check under the giant pile of foam noodles on the pool deck.

Until then, I’m going to rest up in my compression socks. Gotta get rid of these cankle that appeared right after running 57 minutes. The old me would have run until that clock hit 1 hour even. The pregnant me ran towards the car like it was a giant class of red wine only to find out that I could not drink it. Dammit! I didn’t feel the need to run around the cul-de-sac until I hit 60. I will run again another day – and pick up the 3 there. Or not. But then again, if I hadn’t stopped my watch during pee breaks I would have been at 60 even….next time….crazy, yes, but crazy by choice (there is a difference, sort of).

5 comments:

Kim said...

Great Post ELF. There is a girl at my gym who is about 14 or so weeks and it took her awhile to find a doc who would tell her that it was ok to still workout and if she watched her heartrate (ie nothing over 155) then she would be fine. I encouraged her to read your blog because I'm finding it so interesting right now! So exciting to see your mindset and how you are still an athlete / still a pregnant athlete / still have that fire (within reason!). You're doing great! Keep it up lady!

Wes said...

A dose of humbleness, whatever the cause, source, is always a good thing :-) Have fun getting that massive swim on!

Bob Mitera said...

Keep up the exercise. From what I hear, it makes the birth easier. In 2002 I ran with a woman who gave birth 6 WEEKS before the Chicago 1/2 and then WON it. You're gonna be great parents and a real inspiration for women to stay fit in their pregnancy's.

Beth said...

Perspective is always a great thing isn't it? I love how you said no run after pregnancy will ever be considered "bad" again! :) Good luck with the 25K in the pool! I'm sure you will do it with style!

Sarah Giacomarra Schrader said...

I peed on myself this weekend too, but I'm not pregnant. I stopped for a light and peed just a little bit right in my pants! It was like the Lamborghini of peeing where you go from 0 to 60 within seconds. While I am not pregnant now, I can thank my previous pregnancies for that wonderful episode. Your bladder is never the same. Thanks god I am a "sweater" so there was no obvious pee spot.
Keep it up rock star!