Monday, January 25, 2016

Runner's Rambles: Pregnancy and Body Image-- This is real life.

Oh boy. This is one of those things that is rough to share with others. I'm sidelined from running again temporarily due to severe sciatica. Walking, sitting, laying, anything and everything hurts right now, so I've had some time to just think, or overthink rather. Many people, if not all, struggle with body image at least at some point in their lives. I am one of those people. So, let's start from the top.

When I was a teenager, I remember the taunting about being fat. I believed those words because after all, I wore a size 7, and I weighed in at 130 lbs and 5' 5" tall. Um, so that may be hard to picture, but I wasn't fat, I just didn't know that I wasn't fat. I have a small chest, and I'm ok with that, but I was teased about that too. I also have big hips, but I didn't get a whole lot of teasing about that. That is however the feature that I believe people are referring to when they constantly tell me, "but you don't look like a runner." As an adult, I usually weigh in somewhere around 150 lbs, but for the most part, I am generally concerned with the way my body PERFORMS and of course, let's be real, I do still care how I look. I don't put AS MUCH stock in how much I weigh. Usually.

Now I'm pregnant. This is ROUGH. I am fully aware that I am growing a human being, and while I think that part is pretty awesome, it's hard to deal for me personally. I actually lost weight at first because I was sick. Many people know that the first phase is bloating. I have been and still am super bloated. Sooo bloated, and I wasn't a big fan of that stage. It was hard because I felt huge all the time, but I knew that I had lost weight despite the fact that I looked like I had gained weight. It was hard. I am still in that phase where I look chubby instead of pregnant. I'm in that stage where my regular pants don't fit, but I don't need maternity pants because I don't have a "bump." It's a weird place physically and mentally for me. Gaining weight has never been a goal of mine. Losing or maintaining. That's where I'm used to being, and gaining weight is not something I have ever been comfortable with.

The fact that I am bothered by this is bad for two reasons. First, I know that I'm pregnant, and I should just accept the fact that my body is changing because even if other people don't know that I am pregnant, it doesn't change the fact that I am. Also, I know that I am going to get bigger. Much, MUCH bigger. I haven't even started really showing yet, and I am going to get bigger, and I will have to deal with that. There is also a chance that my body will change in ways that I can't even imagine yet. What I am freaking out about, and I know I can't do anything about it, is the way my stomach will stretch. Not just stretch marks that I know so many mothers are proud of, but also the fact that I have surgical scars on my stomach already. I'm not sure what will happen to those scars as my stomach stretches out. I am pretty freaked out about the whole scar thing. I mean, I'm just being real here.

I've already been told by some people that just because I didn't cherish every second of first trimester puking my guts out, that I obviously don't love my child, and that I probably don't deserve to be a mother compared to many other women out there. No joke, Go read a pregnancy forum somewhere on the internet. You will see some crazy stuff. I mean, the thing about social media is that people put up perfect snapshots of their lives, and basically all you see on social media is that pregnancy is amazing and wonderful and every second is beautiful, and that women should love every aspect of their changing body in order to be a good person, a good mother, and a good woman. Well, I guess I'm not any of those things because this has been a rough journey so far that is far from over. And my body will be changed forever, so it truly is far from over. Mostly I worry that I will never get back to running long distances like I'd like to. I know that not just my body will be changing, but so will my whole life. I know that it is possible, and I want to be that person. I am so afraid that I won't be that person though. I'm not sure why, but I feel scared that I won't find a way to make the time. I am a much better person when I run, so I hope that I have the resolve to meet the long terms goals I have for myself of  making my mental and physical health a priority while also being there for my child, but only time will tell if I can balance it all.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pregnant Lady Running...kind of: First Trimester Recap

I ran a little bit just short runs here and there after the KC half this fall, but then I found out I was pregnant. That in and of itself did not stop me from running. I ran a handful of times with Lucy between finding out and hitting 6ish weeks. I was very tired, so running just wasn't the priority for my free time. Then I got siiiiiiiiiiiiiick. Getting out of bed was hard, and I was puking... a lot. A lot.

So between 6 weeks and 10 weeks, I walked about two to three times a week, but running was off the table completely for me during that time. And when I walked, I could only make it about half a mile before I felt like I wanted to throw up or die. It sucked. I was miserable, and sad, and I didn't feel at all like myself. I also felt like a bit of a failure already. I told a few family and friends during this time, and I got some comments about me not running. Let me tell you, it's easy to judge someone else when you aren't the one throwing up in any sink, toilet, or trashcan you can find. And it made me feel like even more of a failure.

I've never been fast or some amazing runner. I have never claimed to be either. But I do love running, and I will talk about it with almost anyone who will listen. I have a running tattoo. Many people who know me are still shocked that I even got a tattoo in the first place, but I have a visible running tattoo. That tattoo led to an interesting comment from my OB at my first appointment. She told me not to run. Now, she did not say I was high risk, and she did not say there were any worries with the baby, and she didn't ask if I had just run a half marathon less than a month, and only about 10 days before the time period that was likely the conception of this child. She did however tell me not to run because I shouldn't break a sweat because it would, "boil the baby," Her words... seriously. I didn't change doctors after that because her other advice seems fine, but I am just ignoring her don't "boil the baby" remark. I am making sure to regulate my body temperature while I am running though, which is important.

At around 10 weeks I started running again, but very slowly. I am running exclusively on the treadmill for now because I don't want to drive to the trails to run in the cold and snow, and my neighborhood isn't the safest place for running the streets right now. If it were just me, then sure, but it's not now. There are no sidewalks, there are plenty of hills and curves, and people FLY through our neighborhood as if the speed limit isn't 15... which it is. So for now, I have made the choice to stick to the treadmill. I started with run-walk one day when I was feeling ok, and each day I run a little more and walk a little less, but I will take walk breaks whenever I feel like I need to, and I won't be ashamed one bit! I am excited to attend a Running Through Pregnancy Clinic at the end of January at a local running store. For now, I am taking it easy, but I am trying to run-walk at least once a week, but more often when I can and feel up to it. I know there are women who run marathons during pregnancy, and good for them, but that's not going to be me. Not even close, and I am becoming ok with where I am right now with running and not running during pregnancy.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Racing Recap: Wadell and Reed Kansas City Marathon (Shhhh! They have a half marathon too.)

Better late than never? Maybe not, but I'm going to go ahead and write this review anyway. Let me just start by letting you know that I hate this race, and I plan to never run it again. I have run the half marathon twice since I started running. This was the half marathon that I signed up for that catapulted me into running when I had yet to take a single step at the time of my registration. So you'd think it would hold a fond place in my heart. It doesn't. The first time, I didn't know much better, but still there were some things I didn't like then, and I still don't like them now. Plus, there were things I had forgotten, and now I remember, and this race sucks.

One of my first and biggest pet peeves is the shirt. I HATE when races don't have a separate shirt for the half and marathon participants. I know that there are plenty of races that don't, but there are also plenty that do. I didn't like it the very first time I ran this race, and after finishing a marathon myself, I really don't like it. I don't want people thinking I ran a marathon that I did not run. I know the work that goes into a marathon and unfortunately the pain when the work doesn't go in ahead of time. Here's the thing that puts me over the edge about the Wadell and Reed Marathon shirt; it doesn't even MENTION the half marathon. IT JUST SAYS MARATHON!!! I DIDN'T RUN THAT MARATHON, and now I have not one, but TWO FREAKING MARATHON SHIRTS!!! Can you tell it drives me absolutely crazy?!!! At least mention the half on the stupid shirt if you're only going to have one. They have a 5k as well... do those people get a shirt that says marathon on it? Seriously, the majority of your participants who are paying money to run this race are running the half. Get with the freaking program!!!!

Ok.... give me a minute to calm down.... and I will move on.

I'll give props for a few things now to try to not make this a total crap fest of a review. First, this is a small race in a relatively small city. So the lines at the porta-potties aren't terribly long either pre-race or during. That's always nice. Secondly, the medal the first year I ran it is the worst medal I own. I have received nicer medals at 10k's. I don't want or expect them at a 10k, but I have received one or two before. Medals have admittedly gone a little crazy lately, but I still enjoy a nice medal. I display them in my home, and they help motivate me at times when I don't feel like I am capable. Being able to have that physical reminder is something I personally enjoy. The medal for the 2015 race was EXTREMELY nice. It had color, a nice ribbon, was weighty, and looks nice all round. Kudos on that much. Lastly, the best view during the whole race in my opinion is Liberty Memorial, which most runners end up passing right around sunrise.

The course sucks. I forgot how much the course sucks. It's much hillier than I remember, and there are few spectators in the grand scheme of things. I enjoy races that aren't full of spectators, don't get me wrong, but I want some good scenery if that's the case. The Delaware Marathon Festival for example isn't packed full of spectators. They are few and far between, but the course is still gorgeous despite its MANY hills. Don't get me wrong. I love Kansas City. It is the city I consider my city, and running past all the World Series Champions signs and the blue fountains was something I will cherish, but my beloved Royals will not win the World Series every year.

Post race is ok. I hear they have BBQ now. I didn't actually see any, but I did see an extremely long line of people whom I presume were waiting for the BBQ. Their slogan is something like, "Come for the race. Stay for the BBQ." Let me tell you, when you're freezing cold after running, the heat sheet they give you is not enough to make me wait around for a little sandwich. I don't care how good the BBQ is.

When it's all said and done, I would likely do this race again even though I don't like much about it at all IF it were at least convenient for me. It's not. I live outside St. Louis. I can have a pick of half marathons in my area without having to drive all the way across the state of Missouri. This is not a destination race, my friends. If it's close by, and you really want to do it, then by all means. But I will also say that there are other choices for half marathons in the KC area in both the Fall and Spring.