I’m happy to report that 19 weeks into a ~41 week pregnancy I am still happily running strong. I’ve hit up a lot of local races, with some mediocre times but all walking away satisfied with the effort brought forth. The limiting factor in overall speed in my longer 15-20K endeavors definitely had to be the overly hot Phoenix sun factor. 2 of my long races, I ended up walking at certain points, and felt my energy start to fade as I began to feel overheated past the midway points. The water stop soaking helped for some, but kept me at a 6:20-40 average on these hilly courses.
Now that I’m closing in on the halfway point, where my baby’s size has literally doubled in the last month alone and the temperatures continue to increase, I am getting away from longer stuff and zeroing in on the track. After 4 months of being track-less, I finally found an incredible facility at Scottsdale Community College. Well worth the 25 minute drive and close to some sweet coffee/breakfast shops.
About weeks 14-16 I was experiencing flashback to 2012 run-pregnancy feelings in my hips as my ability to fit in my jeans went out the window. I then went to purchase a support belt and since have backed off on running only 3-4 times a week (I swim, jump rope, elliptical and bike other days). I now rarely have pubic bone and other hip discomfort as I believe I’m getting used to my new body. I can still tell that with my body’s changes, I am running different with my center of gravity off, ineffective lower abs and added weight (up 9 pounds which may not seem impressive, but to me definitely noticeably heavy). To be safe I’m still sticking to running no more than 2 days in a row. I can definitely live with that.The one thing I haven’t dropped is the speed work sessions. I find that I enjoy these much more than a straight up run. I usually don’t have a workout really planned out until I am brainstorming on the car ride to the track. Most of the time it involves 400s because I honestly am cutting myself some slack training solo and pregnant; and one lap at a time sounds the most fun. I feel I can go pretty hard and feel great knowing I can stop in less than 90 seconds to take all the recovery I need before I gear up for another.
Solo mile repeats on a hot track sound miserable right now, so I use my stroller running days to do “longer” hard efforts. The perk there is spending time with Joanie and always having a water/electrolyte source available right at my finger tips while not having the pressure to try to match my pre-pregnant times. These stroller runs, I mix it up, but a typical one may be – picking it up a mile (~6:45 pace) then jog a quarter- half mile and repeat for up to as long as I feel necessary for a good run (as long of course as Joanie is willing to participate). Joanie seems to enjoy this more and is always saying “faster Mommy, can we go really fast again?” She’s becoming more like a run partner as well with interesting conversations and tons of songs. The dirt surface slows us down some as well, so anything sub 7 feels like I’m hauling.
The quicker workouts have been helpful in recruiting more of my calves/hamstrings and less reliant on my tendency to overstride and overuse my hip flexors. My energy continues to be stable at an all time high (beyond levels outside of pregnancy) with a noticeable ability to quickly recover. I would have to say that sadly I feel better running pregnant than often I do when I’m just in a normal state training hard. The limited mileage no doubt helps, and lack of truly intense all out efforts as well. My blood test a few months ago revealed that my ferritin levels were at an all time high. I am so proud of the changes I’ve made in my diet after having a turn around point discovering InsideTracker last fall and this also has been a helping factor in the turn around in my energy. These are all reasons I have continued to put so much emphasis on running quality efforts through the pregnancy. I don’t even have any run related race goals until 2016, yet it is not a question whether or not I want to continue to push it on runs 2-3x/week.
I have some dreams for when I return to competition in 2016, but know its a long road and will be much more challenging with my ultimate focus being on taking care of new baby and supporting my current family.
Immediate goal coming up in less than 5 months = healthy baby via natural birth, no drugs with a bring it-on pain attitude
If it’s anything like my experience with Joanie, birth #2 will likely will be incredibly tough making my little interval sessions I’ve been doing a complete joke. I actually don’t want the easy “almost had the baby in the car” labor. I know I will call upon the experience every time I start getting doubts when the lung burning sets in during my workouts and races- allowing me to push through to a greater degree I believed is possible. My last birth (Blog here) was something I never could have anticipated doing or completing. Yet without choice and with my husband’s support, I survived and it made me so much stronger. It took more than a year to even consider “if I could do it again” just based on the labor intensity factor. Yet I was completely thankful I got through it because I emerged with a new appreciation for what true pain is (and from that point on never got worked up about “can I handle” the upcoming interval session or race). I had break thrus not only in performances but also in my pre and mid-race mindset . So yes, with a good long final trimester of likely being half as active (or less) as I would like, I will hopefully be mentally and physically ready to test my limits through the event of giving birth.
In 2 weeks we will be back in Oregon and I plan to finally reunite with my teammates on runs and “workouts” (this may be keeping up with them for a 400 of their miles, etc). I may find one day I just can’t do what I did this week and am mentally prepared for the day my body says, “stop and stick to the pool”. Either way, I am embracing the present, enjoying the blood boosting benefits, extra sleep and testing my abilities of the 1 lapper one workout at a time!
I’ve been posting much more detailed workouts and race reports on my Instagram (yes I admitted I have been bragging because I am as shocked that I’m still able to do ANY that resemble the former non-pregnant running me)- so if there’s any interest in further details, check there to see my progression through this pregnancy.