So I am 13 weeks along and FINALLY starting to feel better out on my runs. Those first few months of pregnancy are the worst! (but also the best). My kids (not counting Robin who just turned one) are totally pumped and talk about the baby all the time. They come up with names and talk about how big it is going to be. My three-year-old daughter wants to name the baby Joe Joe (after her BFF in school) or Jake (after Jake and the Never Land Pirates, a show on Disney Jr.) and thinks the baby is going to be the size of a tiny mouse. My son, who is five on the other hand has more rational predictions (he thinks the baby will be the size of a bunny) and thinks it would be smart to stick with an “R” theme for names (so far our kids names our Ramsey, Riley and Robin. Had be know we were going to have 4 kids, we make have re-evaluated that name theme, but its all good). At first however, he figured because Robin is a “superhero” name (as in Batman and Robin) we should go with something like “Wolverine” or “Ironman”. After I mentioned the “R” idea his agreed it was probably a better idea :-).
As far as running, this trimester was tough! Not as tough as my last pregnancy as I was coming off an injury (see below a post I had made back in 2013) but it was tough due to exhaustion, nausea and shortness of breath. In the first trimester, all of your blood is going to the baby making it much harder for the mommy to breath. As an elite runner, this is ALWAYS my FIRST symptom. (Read about how I found out I was pregnant for the second time below, it was in a race, not good!). It makes running so hard! Running up hill was easy breezy before I got pregnant, and now when I run straight up my lungs start to burn! Crazy and so not me! Around month 4, the blood volume almost doubles and this goes away, but until then I just have to get used to feeling winded. Kind of like altitude training! (Always a silver lining). Despite my shortness of breath however, I still managed to get out there and crank out some miles. While I held off from speed workouts and temp runs (just due to lack of motivation), I was still running 50-65 miles a week with paces ranging from 6:15 to 8 minute per mile pace. Thing really vary how I felt depending on the day. Some days I could get up and crank out 10 miles at 6:50 pace, while others I could hardly hold 7:30’s for a 5 mile run. Like I have said to all other pregnant mamas, LISTEN to your body. If you feel terrible, it is because something wonderful is happening within, so just embrace it and take the day of running and relax (if you can, I can’t due to three other children, but I do my best). Below is an example of one of my better weeks during this first trimester:
MONDAY- easy 8 mile run from the house 7:00 pace
TUESDAY- treadmill run (with baby sleeping by treadmill in her stroller) 7.5-8.0 mph 8 miles total
WEDNESDAY- fast 9 mile run with speedy friend Annie Beck at 6:35 pace
THURSDAY- feel tired- 6 miles on treadmill @ 7.5 mile per hour
FRIDAY- 11 mile run on Mt. Tam, feel awesome! 7:00 pace on hills
Saturday- easy 6 miles while coaching middle school girls
Sunday – 11 mile run on Mt. Tam, feel great! 7:15 pace
So this was literally one of my BEST week this past trimester. Around weeks 8-11 there were weeks where I would have to take more than one day off a week due to feeling so tired! While this was not as ambitious as my second pregnancy’s first trimester (no track workouts) I feel like I met the limits (without going past them) my body wanted this time around and I am very pleased with how things went. As far as “comparing” pregnancies, please read post from my first trimesters from baby 2 and baby 3. So fun to compare! The main difference with the “pregnancy symptoms” this time from my last pregnancies are pretty much that I get sick at night not in the morning (which makes me think its a Boy!) and that I am still waiting for my pancake flat boobs to turn into small C’s. Common already!!!!
Blog from my First Trimester from the Third Pregnancy:
Being pregnant for the third time has been exhausting! I have been so sick and so tired this pregnancy its not even funny! They day I found out that my IUD failed (which has turned out to be such a blessing, love the thought of having a third!) was literally the same day that I finished taking eight weeks off from running to mend a stress reaction. Granted that I was working out 90mins to 2 hours a day pool running, spinning, a variety of elliptical, the elliptigo, core, and lots of strength stuff, it still was no impact activities so I knew that I had a rough road ahead. With the combination of pregnancy hormones and being completely out of running shape, the first trimester of this pregnancy was a runner’s nightmare!
The awful side effects of the first trimester:
Similar to my first two pregnancies, my heart rate immediately shot up. I had even noticed it before I found out I was pregnant. My heart rate was so high while cross training and I would find myself winded while walking up staircases or chasing after my kids. If you check out my last pregnancy blog (clarapreggers.blogspot.com) you can read all about how I figured out I was pregnancy with my daughter because at Beach to Beacon (a road race in Maine) I found myself running 5:51 pace when I should have been running 5:15 pace! While I was in no condition to even run 5:51 pace in the beginning of this pregnancy, I still felt the same heart rate jump which was not going to help me get back into run shape.
When I was pregnant with my son I had less of this and then my daughter it was in and out from weeks 7 to 11, but this pregnancy the nausea hit my like a freight train! I would wake up in the morning and if I didn’t get food within the first five minutes, I would be swelling back the saliva build up preparing for the hurl! I no longer felt hunger anymore, instead my hunger signal was sickness which was just very confusing because when you are sick one would think that eating wouldn’t be the right thing to do. In my case if I felt sick that meant I needed food fast. The worst part about it was choosing the food to eat. If I picked the wrong thing it would make me feel 10 times worse to the point of vomiting, but if I got it right, then I would have a few hours of feeling like a normal person. Almost always the foods that made me feel better included LOTS of fats both healthy and not.
This whole sick signal was much different than my first two pregnancies. I do recall getting the very specific “pregnancy nausea” feeling with my daughter but it was never so extreme that I wanted to just lay in bed all day and hide from my two adorable kids and their needs. Not being able to be a good mom is such a bad feeling! Obviously I somehow got through those first three months taking advantage of every minute that I felt good to give them as much love and attention as possible, but for the most part my husband really had to step to the plate!
Unlike my pregnancy with my daughter (the second time around) I was sooooo tired the first trimester of this pregnancy! This was the same with my son. I remember one day going to bed when I was pregnant with him at 8:30 and then sleeping in past noon one day! For someone who is normally a pretty early riser this was so crazy for me. Similar to my son’s pregnancy, I was exhausted this time around again. If I woke up before 7 I would spend the rest of the day 10 times more nauseous than if I had allowed myself to sleep in. While sleeping in or taking naps while I was pregnant with my son wasn’t an issue because I didn’t already have two kids, this time I did! My daughter always wakes up first, so when she wakes up that means I wake up. She has been able to sleep as late as 8, but for the most part she wakes up at 7am on the dot (unlike my son who can sleep past 9 on a regular basis). For me, this was not enough sleep. My body wanted at least 12 hours a night that first trimester and I do believe that a lot of the extra nausea was in part do to not sleeping enough (who thought 9 hours wouldn’t be enough!? I guess not when you are trying to make a baby).
BOOBS AND BUTT
Right about 10 weeks, it finally happened. My boobs went from being pancake flat to a small C cup. For a runner this can be very shocking. Having to use muscle to pull sports bras on is a very unfamiliar feeling (sort of familiar for me though due to two other pregnancies and breast feeding) but nonetheless not too much fun. In addition to that, I think a lot of that extra fat that I crave that first trimester goes straight to the rear. When training for marathons my butt is just sort of connected to my leg with no noticeable place of separation. Literally overnight however with all three pregnancies, the butt just pops out like a bubble the same time the boobs come out to say hello. I swear this time it popped out a little extra too. At least its temporary (lets hope!).
RUNNING HAS NEVER BEEN SO HARD!
Like I mentioned before, I found out I was pregnant the day that I was ready to start running again after taking 8 weeks off. When I was pregnant with Riley (second child) I found due to a poor race performance so I obviously was in pretty good shape. Training this time around was a different story. I began with short 15 minute and 20 minute runs just to wake the foot up paired with cross training. Everything just felt weird because it had been so long since I had experienced impact. Slowly I built my way up to 45 minutes, but it was all very slow! I was so winded and my legs felt so heavy! Never sure if it was just me or me being pregnant, I was in a serious battle with my body!
Finally after the twelfth week rolled around I started getting into a grove. I was finally up to running an hour comfortably (sometimes a little more) and my mile pace went from about 8:15 to my usual 6:45 to 7:15 pace (depending on the day/ hills). I also began running again with my training partners, which was a tremendous help! (Chelsea Riley, Magda Boulet and Brian Pilcher, all studs, Google them if you don’t know who they are, which you should ☺). I also began doing a few work outs (very slow and easy, example: 4×800 @ 2:45 pace, hahahaha!) and even had the guts to sign up for a 5k (which I of course didn’t even win and ran 18:05, still not bad though considering how running felt just a short few weeks before). Once I started running again I really began feeling like my old self. It is painful to look back at those first three months of running, they were by far the hardest of my life. I literally fought my body everyday just to move forward. Granted that I know it is very important to listen to your body when you are pregnant, it was too soon to not start building towards the base I knew I would eventually get to. “Just make it through 12 weeks” I told myself on a regular basis and I did! It was at this 12 weeks mark that my body (and my husband ha-ha, I was super cranky as you can imagine) and I could all become friends once again!
Blog from my First Trimester the SECOND pregnancy:
Month Two: Found out I was pregnant! Found out due to poor performance at Beach to Beacon 10k in Portland, Maine. (Was over two mins off what I planned on running!) My heart rate just elevated like crazy. Also started feeling a little fatigued. I noticed in my training log that I made a comment that I slept 12 hours a few days before the race! That is crazy and not like me at all! (Similar things happened to me around the time I found out I was pregnant with Ramsey). Aside from the elevated heart rate, most of month two was pretty easy breezy. It wasn’t till the end of this month (August), that I began to feel a little queasy off and on throughout the day. I also began to become ravishingly hungry at random times for salty/ fatty foods, and anything with chemicals, artificial ingredients, and too processed literally made me want to puke. Some of my favorite things like frozen yogurt, puffins (the cereal), salads, trident gum all taste inedible!! Here is a sample training week from August:
Training Week of August 22-28th
SUN– 75 mins total @ 6:55 pace on trail called Crown Road (flat fire road, 3mile long, did out back + almost all the way out and back again). Super Hot!! (Not good for being preggers, oh well!) 11.5 miles
MON– 50 mins @ 6:50 pace in San Francisco (Crissy Feild) (part way with buddy Keith). Again, very hot!!! felt great. 7+ miles
TUE- WORK OUT! 25 min (3+miles) warm up with Magda and Jake. Super Hot!!! Workout is 16×400 with 30 sec recovery Worked out at Cal Berkeley’s Edwards Stadium
200 #1-83 200 #5-82 200 #9-81 200 #13- 83
200 #2-82 200 #6-82 200 #10-81 200 #14- 83
200 #3-82 200 #7- 81 200 #11-82 200 #15-83
200 #4-83 200 #8-82 200 #12-80 200 #16-80
6 x strides at the end with a 1 mile cool down (too hot for more!!) Madga brought me ice to hold in my hands to keep core temp down STRENGTH- TRX+ Light lifting 9 Miles
WED– Ran 52 mins @6:50 pace in San Francisco (Crissy Field) with buddy Keith (super fast guy from Asics Aggies) 8 miles
THUR– am- pushed jogger on Crown road 6 miles
pm- 2 miles on treadmill 8 miles
FRI– WORKOUT 3 miles to the track, 3 miles of jogging curves, fast strides the straights, 3 miles back home (worked out on Edwards track on the Cal Campus, near Mom’s House) 64 mins total 9 miles
SAT– 6 miles on the treadmill 7.7-8.0 mph (Jeff was on bike trainer and Rams was sleeping :-)) Starting to feel really sick today!!!! 6 miles
WEEK TOTAL: 58 miles
How I Figured out I was pregnant with my SECOND baby:
After the three-hour drive from Northeast Harbor to Portland with my husband, dad and Ramsey, everything was going perfectly. A delicious pre-race dinner, stroll through the cobble stone streets of Portland and very restful night sleep, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It wasn’t until the warm up that I knew something was off. Nothing specific hurt, but nothing felt especially good either. Granted that I didn’t feel great, I brushed it off as nerves. Just to be sure however, I asked my husband if he could run it with me (he is a professional triathlete and former UNC runner, so he can still school me any day of the week). Plus our anniversary was the next day and I thought it would be fun for us to run together, somehow having him there made me feel better about not having a great warm up.
A mile into the race, which is roughly all down hill, I knew something was still off. It was so hard to breath! I am one of those runners who never has breathing issues; it’s always my legs that get me first. I have always considered my endurance strength to be my best quality as a runner, so sucking wind in the first mile of the race was a foreign feeling for me. The first mile certainly wasn’t slow (5:08 or so), but it was downhill and I was hanging on to the back of the elite pack of women for dear life. Before I knew it, I was loosing the lead pack by the second. My husband looked over at me and asked why I wasn’t going with them. Under my very heavy breathing, I just said, “I can’t” and I think that was the last thing I could mutter out the entire race.
Mile after mile just kept getting slower and slower. Finally there was only one to go, and I barley pulled off a 5:30 (which was a vast improvement from the 5:50 I had run before). Before this race, I was sure this race was going to be a PR for me on the roads. “Low 33’s for sure at the worst” I believe were my words in the car on the way there. When I looked up at the clock coming through the line I couldn’t believe my eyes. 35:42! I hadn’t run that slow since, well ever in my life! I literally had no excuse. I was over two minutes slower than what I had planned on running and nothing like this had ever happened to me before.
It was at that moment it occurred to me what had just happened. It was at this time two years earlier that we found out that we were pregnant with our son Ramsey and two years before that that we got engaged. The only excuse I had and was sure about was that I was pregnant! There is just something about early August in my life when exciting things happen, planned or not! After a trip to the drug store as soon as possible, my prediction was correct. I was pregnant.
I was relieved to have a terrific excuse for my poor performance (your heart rate goes up close to 20 beats per minute when you are pregnant in the first trimester, this explained my inability to breath), but I was also confused. Finally on the right track to running fast after being injured, then pregnant, this next pregnancy came as a bit of a shock and felt like the wrong time. After some self reflecting and embracing the news however, I realized as a runner, there is never a “right time”. I decided that I am thankful to get the whole baby chapter of my life done in my mid-twenties, as my long-term goals are to have success in the longer distances, which usually comes with age anyways.
Additionally, the journey of being a mother is so much more rewarding and fun than I could ever have imagined. By having another baby close to the first, my family will be complete (for at least the next 6-7 years at least, not ruling out a third) and I can truly focus on running goals and perusing a career as a professional, something I still have yet to do since graduating from Duke in 2006.
At almost six months in, my training has been going tremendously. I have been able to hold 60 miles a week with two effort-based workouts (much more than I did during my first pregnancy). It was also inspiring to read about Carrie Tollefson, Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher through their pregnancies. I am in good company as well with Deena Kastor who is due a few weeks before me. Of course it always helps having a coach who has been through it also (Magda has been a tremendous support for my pursuing my running goals despite this nine month detour!)
Running pregnant is an interesting process. Your body is slowly growing and hormones are changing- all in a way that makes you feel a little less comfortable everyday. Obstacles such as constant bladder pressure and flat feet get worse by the day. Sticking to it and knowing it is only temporary always helps. The reward of a baby (Girl in our case!) reminds me that that every time eight miles feels like twenty, it will all be worth it in the end.
People say that having babies makes you a stronger runner. I think that they immediately assume that it is because if you can endure the pain of labor, then the pain of a 10k is nothing. I don’t think it is the labor specifically that makes you stronger, but the pregnancy itself. Getting out there everyday and putting one foot in front of the other during a time that your body really just wants to lay down and get fat, is the best time in the world to truly get tough.
Starting to look pregnant already!! Man, you really start to show early the second time around!