A Bun in the Runner’s Kitchen Oven
Hello! Long time no talk, right? I still have no idea what I’m doing with the future of this blog, but I want to document how things go with pregnancy + running (if only for myself), so if you find yourself here, welcome!
So, obviously I’m going to have a baby. I’m actually about 24 weeks (6 months along?), but have been struggling to know if I should blog about pregnancy (does anyone care? How much is TOO much info?). I’m going to try to keep things mainly focused around running while pregnant because the topic is fascinating to me and I know I love reading blogs and articles about the topic, so why not share the love?
A photo from a few weeks ago (20 weeks pregnant) – finally a bump!
Starting from the beginning
I trained for Boston all last winter (2015) and it was….mostly awful. We had ice pack on the ground from early January – late March and the average temperature for February was 12 degrees. 12! More times than not, I woke up to negative temperatures. -17 degrees, for example. But that’s what you get when you live in the northeast and train for a spring marathon, I suppose. The training cycle wasn’t the best of my life, but I managed to complete 3 x 20 milers, some tempo runs, and a half-marathon at goal marathon pace. On marathon day, Boston was cold and rainy and even after training through the tough winter, the weather felt less than ideal. Because I didn’t want to be weighed down in the rain, I ditched my long sleeve and sweatpants at the starting line and ran the race in a tank top. EL OH EL. This was a bad idea. The temperature was around 45-ish, but it was windy and rainy, so by the halfway point I couldn’t feel my arms. Around mile 14 I started scanning the ground for discarded shirts (which would be soaking wet, of course) or garbage bags. I even contemplated asking a spectator for clothing or a poncho. It was BAD. I couldn’t even open GUs after about mile 14 because my hands were so numb. Anyway, that was just a whole lot of complaining. Sorry. I ended up finishing in 3:27:50, which actually, I didn’t think was that bad! It’s about 10 minutes slower than my marathon PR (ahh, youth!), but it’s the fastest I’ve ever run Boston. Despite feeling panicky about my freezing and numb arms/hands, I managed to hold it together (mostly) until the end. That post-race hot shower was probably the best shower of my life.
|In Gender||2039/12022 (Female)|
|In Division||1638/6011 (F18-39 Age Group)|
Anyway, why am I recapping a race that happened, like, 11 months ago? I decided that I wanted 2015 Boston to be my last marathon for a while, so I stopped taking birth control in early 2015. I had been on birth control for over a decade, and I knew it could take awhile for my cycle to regulate, so stopping the pill before we really started trying seemed like a good plan. As predicted, it took a few months for my period to come back (TMI alert: if you don’t want to read about periods and babies, maybe now is the time to hit the road). Surprisingly, my period decided to reappear during my peak marathon mileage week. And about a week before we moved into the new house. I thought running and stress were supposed to delay your period?! Anyway. I was really excited that my body seemed to be acting as it should, so we decided to start actively trying after the marathon was over.
I started tracking my cycle and using ovulation predictor kits and I just assumed that I would get pregnant like, the first month. Hahahaha. Nope. And not the second, third, fourth, or fifth month of trying either. Even with perfect timing. There was some stress. I started to think something might be wrong. But luckily, after about 6 months, things finally worked as they should and I found out I was pregnant.
The month that I got the positive test, I was actually pretty surprised. I took a test about 10 DPO (days past ovulation), which is generally the earliest a sensitive test will be positive, and it was stark white negative. I knew 10 DPO was a little early for testing, but I have a pretty short luteal phase (the time between ovulation and your period), and I was expecting my period in about 1-2 days, so I figured the test would be positive at that point if I was pregnant. I stared at the negative test for a few minutes, threw it out, and then had a big glass of wine. The next morning, I flew to Seattle for a wedding. I felt kind of tired that day, but chalked it up to jet lag and a 6am flight. The next morning (Saturday, October 24) my husband and I went for a run along the Seattle waterfront and stopped for breakfast in Pike Place Market. And on the walk home, I thought, maybe I should just buy ONE MORE test, just to make sure I wasn’t pregnant. I was already envisioning all the tasty Washington State Pinot Noir and champagne I was going to have at the wedding and I wanted to be able to drink without worry. So, I bought the cheapest test that Target sold (one that I had never used before, amateur move) and we went back to the hotel. I peed on the thing and….HOLY CRAP….there was a blue plus sign. I showed my husband the test, we read the directions three times to make sure we were looking at it right, and then we decided we should go buy a different brand, just to make sure. So, I chugged a bottle of water, and bought a box of $$ first response tests, and lo and behold, another positive test! The lines were pretty light at this point (my pee was diluted and it was still pretty early in the pregnancy), but clearly there. Needless to say, I did not have any pinot noir that weekend, but I didn’t care, because we were going to have a baby!
First Trimester Recap
Week 4- We found out I was pregnant just around 4 weeks along (doctors start counting pregnancy from the date of your last period, so when the egg is fertilized, you’re actually already 2 weeks along, weird, right?). We traveled cross-country to Seattle this week and I felt pretty exhausted, but it’s possible it was all just jetlag. No nausea or food aversions, my only real symptom at this point was fatigue and having to pee about 17 times a day. I figured since I’ve been running for more than half my life and felt good, I might as well keep it up. My doctor later confirmed that it was A-OK to keep running as long as I felt up to it, so that was reassuring to hear. At this point, I had been running about 15-20 miles a week, so I just continued doing what I was doing.
Week 5- Still feeling pretty good (and in disbelief!), no real symptoms to report. I had started taking a prenatal vitamin at the beginning of 2015, so I just continued with that, cut out the wine (SAD), and ate normally. Still running, feelin’ good.
Week 6- Through out the first trimester I was very very lucky on the nausea-front. I was a little hungrier than normal in the mornings (I craved EGGS!!), but for the most part I had no real aversions. Thankfully I was able to keep drinking coffee (1 cup a day), which was a godsend. Still running ~5 days per week, 3-6 miles at a time.
Week 7- This week we had our first ultrasound and my anxiety was OFF THE CHARTS. Between my lack of symptoms and my general anxious personality, I was convinced they wouldn’t find a baby in there. Sadly, I know how many pregnancies end in miscarriage and I was terrified of something bad happening. Luckily, the ultrasound showed a perfectly sized and healthy embryo with a heartbeat of 144 bpm. We celebrated with 5 Guys Burgers & Fries for dinner, because #healthyeating. This was also the week I had the most nausea (which admittedly, was minimal). It would mostly hit in the late afternoon and things like an empty stomach would make it worse. A few days this week my pants felt tight, but I’m pretty sure it was bloating and not the start of a baby bump. 5 days of running, felt good.
Week 8- Still battling some slight nausea, but luckily nothing too bad. Still running and feeling good.
Week 9- Week #9 started on Thanksgiving Day and I felt good enough for a 5k turkey trot. I ran with my husband at a pretty easy-for-me pace and we finished in 27:18 (8:48 pace, I think). It was fun, but sort of frustrating to take it easy. I felt SO good, I just wanted to run fast. I know I could have pushed the pace a bit more, but since this is my first pregnancy, caution is the name of the game. I feel like there isn’t a ton of research on what’s okay and what’s not when it comes to running during pregnancy. So much of it depends on your pre-pregnancy training and how high/low risk you are. I also think you could ask three different doctors and get three different answers on how far/how fast to run. Anyway, I feel lucky that I was able to run on Thanksgiving (and eat tons of yummy food). This is also when we told some extended family. Parents knew a bit earlier on. Still keeping the pregnancy under wraps from friends and co-workers, but I am ITCHING to tell the world.
Week 10- Another cross-country flight and a bunch of driving (~4 hour drive from Las Vegas to Palm Desert and then a few days later ~3 hour from Palm Desert to Northern Los Angeles). Between the jetlag and the travel, I was pretty tired this week. Still peeing a lot (not fun with a window or middle seat….) and an unfortunate bout with feeling err…blocked up. Running is going well, only fit in 4 runs this week, but considering all the travel, I’m fine with it. I also LOVED soaking up all the SoCal sunshine. Get on me, vitamin D.
Week 11- More traveling (this baby needs a passport ASAP), this time down to Charleston for a quick work trip. More sunshine and warm temps and I ran a Reindeer-themed 5k in 26:37 (8:34). Again, I didn’t push the pace much, just ran with the goal of enjoying myself. I had a doctor’s appointment this week and they found the heartbeat with a Doppler (165 bpm). I was so relieved! I get so nervous before appointments…worrying something will be wrong.
Week 12- This week we went in for a second ultrasound and the first trimester screening. The screening is two parts – a measurement of the back of the baby’s neck (called the nuchal translucency measurement) and some blood tests. A higher than normal nuchal measurement and/or weird protein/hormone levels could indicate a risk for Down Syndrome, trisomy 18, or heart defects. Unfortunately, the baby would not cooperate and the ultrasound tech couldn’t get the nuchal measurement. I was pretty bummed because I was hoping to get some reassurance at this appointment. We talked about our options for different tests and decided that we’d try again for the nuchal measurement in a few days. On the bright side, we got to see the baby move and dance around, so that was neat. Heartbeat was strong at 160 bpm. We went back in for a third (!!) ultrasound on December 22 and the tech was able to get the measurement (perfect at 1.5mm). I felt a lot better once we knew the measurement was good and at this point we started telling more and more friends. Between my first prenatal appointment (7 weeks, 4 days) and the appointment this week (12 weeks, 5 days), I gained about 2 lbs. Doc says that’s normal (most women gain 1-5 lbs in first trimester). Still waiting for a bump (vs. bloat)! 4 days of running this week, felt pretty good.
Week 13– Christmas Day marked the beginning of week 13 and so far, so good. Lots of family time over the holiday, which was nice. The baby even received a few Christmas gifts! Unclear if the second trimester begins with week 13 or 14, but either way, things are moving right along. At this point, I still don’t have a bump, but sometimes at night my stomach feels larger than usual. I’ve been having some stretching pains when I move suddenly or sneeze. Eating gummy worms like they’re going out of style (#nutritiongoals…or not). 6 days of running this week!
Week 14 – Feeling more stretching pains, lower abdomen feels kind of…hard? Still fitting in to all my clothes, although if I stick my stomach out, it looks like I have a bump. I ran 7 miles over the weekend at ~8:45 pace, something I was pretty proud of. Felt good afterward, although my joints feel looser these days. Increase in thirst this week!
The plan for the next post is to really focus on how running has gone throughout pregnancy (specifically the 2nd trimester). It’s been mostly good, but there have been some surprises and bummers. Every day that I’m able to run is a day I’m thankful. I have no idea how long I’ll be able to keep it up, so I’m trying to stay flexible. I’m obviously not a doctor or a prenatal fitness expert, but I can share what worked for me. I already have a draft put together, so look for it soon!
I know I’m not regularly blogging, but I’m an avid Instagrammer (oversharer?), so you can always find updates there. Also, I contribute regularly to Active.com, so if you miss Runner’s Kitchen running posts, a lot of the articles I write for them are very similar to how I used to blog.
Finally, it’s March!! And Spring racing season is upon us. If you’re running a late Spring race and are looking for a training plan, I’m still doing some coaching, so check out the coaching page for rates and options.