Wednesday, May 18, 2016

March of the Pregnant Lady...similar to a penguin, but much less adorable.

I can remember, though likely not quite as strongly as I'd actually like to, what it felt like at mile 25 of a marathon. The two miles I walked, or waddled rather, around my neighborhood today felt akin to those last 2.2 miles of a marathon. I remember the pain in my quads and hips and entire core. And I may have answered my phone at mile 25 to talk to my brother who was calling to find out if I'd finished yet, and I even told him during that exact phone call that if mile 25 of a marathon felt that bad, there was no way I'd ever be able to have kids. He assured me that he has two kids, and it would be fine. My brother thinks he's pretty clever. Let me tell you, the pain was shifted to slightly different places because being a giant pregnant lady changes how the weight is distributed, but my hips and low back were both still aching, so that was the same. Oh joy! It absolutely baffles me how much pregnancy has changed my body and my ability to do things that should be so simple. It can be frustrating at times, but I am in the homestretch, and I am excited to have my baby on the outside for walking and hopefully running in the not too distant future.

So much shadow for one person...good thing
I'm technically two people.

I am still being surprised at how much earlier different symptoms have set in, even though at this point, you'd think I'd have realized that I don't know anything about being pregnant. I have thought I was huge pretty much ever since the first trimester bloating set in, but every single day I hit a new level of, "holy crap....I'm HUGE." I should have accepted it at this point, but I'm still struggling through it. I just can't imagine how I am going to keep getting bigger. It just doesn't seem physically possible, but then I wake up the next day, and there it even bigger version of myself. At 30 weeks I had officially gained 20 lbs, but my doctor has told me over and over ever since the first appointment that she thinks I will probably end up somewhere around a 35 lbs weight gain. The weight gain seems to be slowing a little. It was almost nonexistent during the first trimester and I actually lost a couple pounds at first, and then it exploded during the second, but it seems a little slower, yet still steady during the third. Baby's gotta pack on that fat, and I'd prefer he does so on his bony, sharp little elbows and knees first because these jabs are quite painful at this point!! I keep expecting to find bruising after prolonged concentrated jabs!

I didn't expect my hips to become so uncomfortable this early. I just sort of figured it wouldn't be until the last few weeks that my hips would start feeling like they were ripping away from my body, but it seems that is as well a process that starts much earlier than I had anticipated. I mean, I've had pretty bad sciatica pretty much the entire time, and I have had issues with sciatica pre-pregnancy, but this is a whole new level of being uncomfortable. The low back pain is something I'm pretty used to with the sciatica and all, but the new pains in my legs from my hips and pretty much everything else on my body shifting is not my idea of fun. I know that things will only get worse...much much worse if you count labor and delivery, before they get better, but I am counting down the weeks!!

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more frequent updates and lots of pictures of my four-legged running partner, Lucy!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Runniversary 5 Years Strong

I have made it 5 years as a runner! I started running simply to prove my family wrong. My sister was challenging my brothers to run a half marathon, and when I chimed in that we should make it a family affair, my whole family laughed and said there was no way I could ever run a half marathon. Since then I have become a lifetime Half Fanatic by running three half marathons in 50 days, and I finished a marathon while raising money for ALS research in memory of my grandma.

The races aren't even the best part of my running journey. I have had so many amazing runs in amazing places with amazing people. There have been difficult runs that challenged me mentally and physically, and those runs may not have seemed amazing at the time, but those are the runs that have made me a better person. I have met wonderful people in the running community who will be friends for life no matter the distance or time between us. I have found gratitude and strength through running. I have had the opportunity to contemplate deep philosophical and spiritual questions, and I have had the opportunity to just zone out. I have gained so much from running that I never anticipated when I started this journey.

I usually try to do some special run for my runniversary. I run my favorite route or challenge myself at a time goal for my run that day, or I run with a friend to celebrate. This year was different. I didn't run at all. I walked. Not only did I walk, but I went down to the treadmill in my basement still dressed in my pajamas, bathrobe, and flip flops. Yes. That's the truth. That's how I spent my 5 year runniversary. I am 29 weeks pregnant, tired, and relegated to walking. I didn't want to walk that day, but I dragged myself down to the treadmill to walk, slowly. I didn't really feel like it in my current state, but I did it. That's the thing. There have been times in my life when I didn't want to run, and there have been times like now when I couldn't run for various medical reasons, and in the beginning, I used to take winters off just because it was easier. But despite my groggy and tired days on the treadmill, yes sometimes in my bathrobe and flip flops, I am still looking forward to getting back to running.

I have no clue what my postpartum running journey will be. I have no clue how long it will take me to return to running, and I have no clue what I will be able to expect when it comes to distance or races in the immediate future, but I do know that I want to return to running. I am looking forward to the routine that grounds me, challenges me, opens my eyes to gratitude, builds my self-esteem, and helps me manage stress. I am happy that running will also give me the chance to set an example for my son. I will show him how to set goals, put in hard work even when it's difficult, and follow through until my goals are met. Running has done so much for me, and I know that it will be one way to set a good example for my son. I am excited for my future as a runner even though I can't run right now, and I have no idea what that future will look like, but I am excited to see where it takes me.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pregnancy Hormones: Emotional Hill Work

I have had a rough couple weeks since my shirts quit fitting, but it's more about my activity levels that are rough. I guess Mom Guilt can set in early, and I have had some experiences that have left me feeling defeated and some that have been super mood boosters!

I guess Mom Guilt has already set in for me because I feel like a terrible person anytime I leave Lucy at home instead of taking her with me for a walk. That has turned into just walking on the treadmill in the basement so she can stare at me while I walk. This has also led to issues for me when I do end up walking outside because I don't use the incline on the treadmill, so being outside in our hilly neighborhood sometimes sucks once I actually make it out the door. Matt has been helping me take Lucy for walks since I'm not really comfortable taking her alone at this point with her leash issues that have popped up. My stress levels go through the roof when she freaks out at the sight of another dog, and I am afraid of her accidentally hurting me again when she goes crazy jumping to try to get to other dogs. So I have to learn to get outside more on my own, and I will have to check my guilt at the door. Literally.

Pregnant Lady Favorites: Compression socks, Support belt, Hokas,
Nathan Insulated Hydroflask

I have had some great experiences lately and some that have left me feeling really defeated. I'm going to blame some of it on the hormones that have made me feel that way about everything for the past several months, and I will also blame them for causing me to start crying during a walk through my neighborhood while listening to an interview with Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb who was the first woman to run and finish the Boston Marathon, which she was only able to do because she bandit-ed the race in the first place. It has been rough transitioning from the treadmill to back outside because round ligament pain creeps up way more going up and down hills. On the super bright side, I remembered that I got a belly support belt when I thought I was going to be able to run more, and that has helped me to be more comfortable and excited about getting outdoors some more. The other downer recently was that I felt so great with the support belt and inspired by Bobbi Gibb that I decided to run again, and the sciatica has majorly flared up again. But I have a chiropractor appointment already on the books, so I guess I will ride my high from my tiny one mile run, and then try my hardest to refrain from getting too excited in the future because this sciatica is really not my favorite feeling in the world.
Post Run 27 Weeks
Mommy in Training!
The takeaway from the last couple weeks is that I am both excited and terrified. I have been nervous ever since I got pregnant that I would end up forgetting how much I love running and that I wouldn't make time for it after having a baby. The bright side is that I miss running so much, and I can't wait to be running again even if I am slower than slow. Running really helps me connect with nature, God, and myself. When I run, I am introspective and my heart is filled with gratitude. I like the person I am when I run much better than when I don't. Matt probably does too if we are being honest. The terrifying part is that I have extreme Mom Guilt from going out for a walk and leaving my DOG at home. Lucy is such a big deal in my life, but my son will be an even bigger deal, and how will I learn to check my Mom Guilt at the door when it comes to him? I'm not sure yet, but I will Let you know once I figure it out!

If you have not checked out the new podcast from
Runner's World, then you need to!
They've also got another one coming soon
called Human Race.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Well, SHIRT!

I have reached the point where my shirts no longer fit. It has been a rough week for me no longer having anything to wear but my husband's shirts. I've been wearing maternity pants for a while because I couldn't button my regular pants, and one of my friends wisely suggested that if I was going to buy any pants, I might as well get as much use out of them as possible. I also very graciously received some pants from one of my friends from PA. My friend Anne sent me her old maternity pants that she didn't see a need for herself anymore. I am beyond thankful! I have been able to get by wearing any bigger shirts I own, or shirts that are long that become a normal-ish fit with my belly, and then I also used long tanks to layer to make sure my belly was covered. Now, I have way too much tank top showing at the bottom to look like normal human being.

And then there was the St. Louis Blues Game Debacle of 2016. I had two shirts that fit relatively well up until last week. One was a KC Royals shirt and the other was a St. Louis Blues shirt. We were going to the Blues game with friends last Friday, and I prayed all week that it would still fit on Friday. It didn't. I may have had a little breakdown and a little bit of pregnancy rage fit throwing. This resulted in The Hubs taking me to get a new Blues shirt before we went to the game, and very briefly I felt better because I went from the women's medium shirt that no longer fit to a men's small shirt that did. I went down a size! Kind of... but not to barely fits already... and it hasn't even been a week since I got that shirt.

Mommy and Baby's first NHL game in person!
He didn't seem to care for all the noise.

I have very graciously had some maternity shirts given to me from a couple different people, but unfortunately they are all a size large. I generally wear a women's small or sometimes medium shirt. I'm not that tiny in real life, but I have very small boobs, so I don't need any extra space to accommodate like many women do, so though the rest of my body is proportionally a medium to large, my chest is an extra small to small, so I usually end up with a small shirt. Because maternity clothes account for the expanding belly and boobs (PS my boobs still fit into my very small bra just fine at this point), I need a small maternity shirt. I have two maternity tanks that helped in wearing normal shirts up to this point, and I recently bought a single maternity t-shirt. The tanks are a small and a medium. I bought the medium first because I felt HUGE at the time, and I feel like I am showing so much faster than most other women I see around the same stage as me. Again, I know every pregnancy and pregnant body is different, but my stomach just sticks out like crazy. Well, the medium tank is too big, and I get the feeling it will always be just a little too big even as I keep growing...unless my boobs decide to catch up suddenly, which probably won't happen, and that's ok!

After spending several days in The hubs' shorts and shirts lounging around the house without any makeup and barely fixing my hair (I keep it short and have to straighten my otherwise very unruly hair-think Hagrid from Harry Potter),I was feeling pretty gross and unhappy with my current state. Then I realized that I have been spending a lot of time this week just looking at old pictures of myself. Pictures from the last few years leading up to this pregnancy just to check and see what I used to look like. I just wanted to reassure myself that this giant belly that is starting to get in my way hasn't always been there because it's hard to remember what simple tasks were like before. I spent so much time all bloated, and then I suddenly had this giant stomach sticking out, and I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't always there. I can't believe I still have SO FAR to go. Granted, I was asked to fill out the hospital registration for L&D this week at my doctor's appointment, so I'm sure the rest of this pregnancy will begin to really fly by. *Fingers Crossed...sort of.* If it could fly by without my belly expanding any further while the baby continues to grow, then that'd be great, but that most obviously won't happen.
See! Proof!! I used to be able to see my feet
and bend over without having an obstruction.

Oh, and washing the dishes was much easier back then.

But I seriously need to stop looking at these.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Stepping Up

Here's a comparison from the week previous to this post.
No stretch marks yet, but I was scratchy before the picture.
I have slowly been gaining energy over the past few weeks, and with Spring upon us, I get the help of nice weather between rainy days to get out the door instead of grumbling about another day on the treadmill in my basement. I am so thankful for access to a treadmill in my own home. It can be boring, and it is nowhere near as good for the mind as being outside, but I am truly thankful to have the option especially now that I don't get to do whatever I want whenever I want. And I know that it will come in handy with a small baby in the house when I am trying to get back to the old me after pregnancy.

Running is once again not really an option, but I am doing my very best to walk every single day. As I have mentioned before, I have pretty severe sciatica, which is often worsened by running, and I have to see a chiropractor regularly when I'm not pregnant just because running takes a toll on my imbalanced hips. Now that I am pregnant, I am seeing my chiropractor SUPER regularly... twice a week regularly. And still I end up out of alignment when I run, and occasionally even when I don't. My hips are popping all the time, so there are times when I am in pain practically as soon as I walk out the door from the chiropractor's office. Running just isn't happening for me during this pregnancy. I ran a couple times a week and walked the other days at first, but the pain and sleepless nights just aren't worth it right now. I NEED my sleep. So walking it is. When you can run, then run. When you can walk, then walk. That's what I keep telling myself.

The other downside is that I seem to have a really great, high-energy day followed by a tired, low-energy day. The fun part lately has been trying to beat the hubs in steps every week on our Garmin Connect. We both have Vivofits, and I may be pregnant, but he has a desk job, so we both have to put in some actual effort to win. I am getting pretty close to averaging 10,000 steps a day, which would have been nothing at all pre-pregnancy, but after all the time I spent sleeping and throwing up during the first trimester and first month of the second trimester, I am just so thankful to be moving and productive again. Body image is still a major issue for me because I am running out of shirts that fit, I've already been wearing maternity pants for awhile, and I am really starting to gain weight since I didn't really gain much with all the throwing up I did through the first 20 weeks or so. I really am looking forward to the day that I am no longer housing my child inside my body. I am looking forward to holding him and loving him from the outside.
Pre-pregnancy Shoe Shot
Pregnancy Shoe Shot...barely...
Don't mind my surgical scars!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Runner's Rambles: Pregnant Rambles 2.0

So how have things been going this week? Well, I finally shared a full-on picture of my pregnant belly, which has brought an onslaught of body image issues again. I haven't seen my family in a few months, and I'm taking online classes this semester, so there are just a handful of friends who have seen me recently. This has been coupled with feelings of sadness that running for me throughout the rest of this pregnancy is not going to be the running I usually do in the Spring and Summer. There are STILL so many times that I don't really realize that I'm pregnant. It doesn't seem entirely real lots of days except for the limitations that I experience. It has just been such a bizarre experience so far, so let's just explore it a little today.

So body image issues have resurfaced full force. When I look in the mirror, I keep catching myself thinking, and sometimes saying aloud, "I wish I was skinny still." That is actually comical in itself because before I was pregnant, I have never in my WHOLE LIFE described myself as "skinny." Pre-pregnancy, I would probably describe my body as "not quite chubby." I was always sort of just slightly smaller than being described as a chubby, not fat, but chubby person. Now, I keep feeling like I am slacking off and just letting myself get "fat." I know deep down when I actually stop to really think about it that I am not "fat;"  I'm pregnant. It's just so hard for me to reconcile the reality with the thoughts that run though my head when I see myself. There's also the issue that I feel like I am HUGE for the stage I'm in. I know every body is different during pregnancy, but I just feel like I'm so much bigger than I should be at this stage. And then there's the fear that I will never be ok with my body again after giving birth, but I'm sure that's a journey I will share with you as it unfolds.

I just want to take a second to get out some more feelings about general pregnancy before I transition into my current pregnant running update. I know that I have done quite a bit of complaining about pregnancy. And I know that there are people who are angry with me for expressing my feelings so far. I get it. I do. I know that there are some women who desperately want a child, but cannot have biological children. I am very close with some women in that situation. I know some women have had miscarriages, and I am close with some women who have experienced that tragic loss as well. I am not in their situation, so I haven't felt that deep aching sorrow. At the same time, this is my journey. And I feel like I have a right to express my feelings and experience as well. Here's a big part of the reason for my being very vocal; I didn't really know anything about pregnancy! I thought I did! Turns out that I didn't. There have been some things that I've heard about from friends, family, and movies and whatnot, but there are SO MANY things that nobody ever actually gave a real picture of to me when I learned things about pregnancy over the years. And yes, every pregnancy is different. And YES, I have had it relatively easy when you consider some women are hospitalized for different reasons or put on long-term bed rest, but as I said, though I am thankful that I was able to conceive a child, and I have had relatively few issues so far, I still feel like I should be able to voice my experience, and maybe other women who hear my story will gain a few tidbits that nobody else shared with them, and they will feel better knowing they are not the only one to have that experience.

Last thing on general pregnancy: Why do we as a society feel the need to constantly tell pregnant women that they will "miss it," and "it's all worth it," and other similar phrases? Why isn't it ok to just tell someone, "yeah, that part sucks."And why are there so many men who will never be pregnant and women who have never been pregnant who feel the need to repeat those annoying phrases!? Also, I will let the world know if I change my mind, but I don't believe for one second that I will miss being pregnant. Seriously! Why? I love my child already, and I get that this is what it takes, and it doesn't mean I won't love my child just because I don't like being pregnant. The best analogy I can conjure up right now is that my husband HATES grad school. Will the reward be worth the suffering he is going through now? YES! Will he regret having a Master's degree? No. Will he look back one day and think, "Boy, grad school was so uncomfortable and miserable, and I really miss working nearly 50 hours a week AND going to grad school on top of that." I really don't think I'll ever hear him say that. Again, I get it. Not exactly the same, but isn't it possible that some women just don't enjoy pregnancy even though they love their children? I do believe they are not mutually exclusive.

Also, if one more person asks me about my future reproductive plans while I am STILL pregnant with the first one, then I might just seriously snap. DO NOT EVER EVER EVER ask a woman, man, or couple about their reproductive plans or situation unless you are their healthcare provider or entering into a serious relationship with the person. DON'T DO IT!!!! Why is that so hard for people to understand? Alright, I lied. That was one more thing beyond the last one. But just stop if you are one of those people. You never know what a person is going through, and IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!! If a person wants to talk about their reproductive choices or situation, then they will tell you. If they don't invite you into a conversation about it, then DON'T ASK!

Now let's talk about running briefly since I went on a pregnancy rant. But hey, I'm pregnant, so it happens. I made the mistake of continuing to take Lucy with me. She just gets so sad when she sees me getting ready and can tell I'm not getting her ready to go too. I feel so bad. I know that I need to start taking her out for just a regular walk and then do my "run" separately, but it is so hard to fit everything in some days. It is so frustrating as it continues to become more Spring-like, to go out to run and to end up having to do a lot of walking. And I am only going out for a mile at a time most days. In the past, I have actually felt uncomfortable calling myself a runner even though I've been running for a few years, I have a blog, I'm a lifetime member of Half Fanatics, I've completed a marathon, and I worked in a running store. I'm normally slow. I'm a back of the packer, so even though I talk about running all the time, I still never REALLY felt comfortable calling myself a runner. And even though running has been an integral part of my life for a few years now, I didn't really realize how much until I found myself in a place where it has become increasingly difficult to continue doing what I love. If I hadn't been so miserably sick during the first and part of the second trimester, then I think I would be in a different situation now, but it is what it is, and I think in the near future I will need to resign myself to being ok with walking. For now, I will just try to be thankful for what I can do even if it is EXTRA slow and filled with walk breaks.

That was a long one! Sorry!! 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Choosing a Running Partner

We both love the Spring weather!
Ok, so I know my posts have been a little bit of a downer in regards to my fitness levels and overall disposition when it comes to pregnancy. And while pregnancy is still not my favorite thing, I think that the winter weather and my yearly bought of SAD has had a little bit to do with my annoyance and grumbling. Obviously all the things about pregnancy that were awful, like 17 weeks of "morning" sickness and random but frequent nose bleeds, still remain unfortunate symptoms of pregnancy that I will NEVER look back on with fondness. However, we have had several days in a row of spring and almost summer-like weather, and it has been glorious for my mood and my activity levels!

I have been wondering when my energy would come back because I've heard that your energy gets back to a more normal level in the second trimester. Well, for me that is apparently at 19 weeks because I have been waking up before my alarm, getting quite a bit done around the house each day, going for either a run or a walk every day, and meeting or exceeding my step goal on my Vivofit! Yay!! I am loving it! I still go to bed early, and sometimes take a short nap in the afternoon, but I don't feel like a zombie all day long.

So, with all the running and walking that I have been getting in, what are the new things that I am experiencing? Round ligament pain shows up in full force now and again. When I tried to run on the trail with Lucy the other day, we ended up just going for a nice long and slow walk because round ligament pain kicked in as soon as I tried to run. When I am able to run, I have a new mental barrier to overcome! I constantly feel like I need to pee so bad when I run. It doesn't matter that I just made a pit stop in the bathroom and tried to squeeze out the tiniest bit of urine while also trying to keep Lucy from sneaking under the stall door and exploring the ladies room! As soon as I take those first "running" steps (let's be honest-- I am slower than slow these days) I feel like I need to pee again. I taped up my little belly with KT tape today before my run, and I'm not sure if it was a coincidence or not, but I didn't have any round ligament pain. Lucy and I were able to do a run-walk that was more running than walking!
My running partners!

The down side is that I know pit stops to the bathroom will be more frequent, and Lucy made it very clear today that she isn't going to cooperate in the bathroom stalls. On top of that, she did cut across in front of me to look at something that caught her eye, and though she doesn't do it often, I would hate to trip over her and get hurt, so it appears at least on days when I am going to be trying to really run and not just walking, I will need to stick to just one running partner in the near future. Sorry, Lucy Goose! I can't leave my other running partner at home yet, but if I could, then you'd be on the trail with me all the time because you might trip me up a little every now and then, but at least you don't push on my bladder the whole time!