37 Weeks- How, Where and Why I am still going strong!

At 37 weeks I am still going! I am putting in 6-10 miles a day with a day off or on the elliptical here and there. I am also happy to report too that at this far point in my pregnancy running feels much better than it did for my others at the 37-week mark. I am going to go with the theory that the more marathons you do, the better you get at them (while in your prime) and similar to running pregnant: the more times I have been pregnant, the more acclimated my body gets. Not only can I go farther but faster too! Just the other day (on the 35 week mark) I had to pace one of my middle school girls that I coach in the mile on the track. She (and I ran) 6:15 and I know I could have gone faster. It was awesome! (But also awkward because we got a lot of weird looks on the track haha!).

 

Additionally I have to pee far fewer times during my runs this time around. With my first born by 37 weeks I could hardly go 5 minutes without stopping. Ultimately it (bladder discomfort) was the main thing that kept me from running more miles. Then with each of my daughters, it became progressively less of a problem. I still experienced discomfort the last month due to the fact that uterus is located directly above the bladder- so the baby is essentially sitting right on top of it. Pretty much when running its like its like your bladder turns into a trampoline for your little baby! But this time my bladder has become so used to the feeling of a baby pounding on it that I think it has become more resilient. I can literally run 6-8 miles with only 1 pee stop (opposed to the 6 I would have taken with my first). So I guess the more kids you have the stronger you bladder gets? Who knows!?

 

MAKE “PEE” ROUTS:

Despite my ability to hold pee longer this last pregnancy, my advice to other mamas-to-be is to run on routs with plenty of pee stops. My go to “last month run” I have stop options at: the gas station, a bakery, my sister’s house and a park public restroom. Just even knowing the option is there helps me get out the door! Also, holding it too long can be bad for our bladders, so better to not be a hero. Furthermore, once I have gone, I tend to feel better which give me a little boost to get through the run.

 

PCIK RUNNING PARTNERS WISLEY

Along with developing run “pee routs”, there are more decisions to make to that will help a pregnant runner make it to the end. As I get more pregnant I am always careful about setting myself up for a successful run. For example, if I ran a really hard 8 miles with a “fast” running friend, I am sure to take the next few days easy and at my own pace. Choosing who to run with has a lot to do with how fast you run. At a certain point in your pregnancy you need to ditch your “fast” friends and keep the list of those who are willing to take a few extra stops and slow the race down if needed. While I have “ditched my fast friends” the last month, I still try to run with one of them at least 1-3 times a week (as a “hard effort”) which keeps my runner’s need for speed alive! (At times can be very uncomfortable when runs start going sub seven pace haha).

 

 

AVOID HILLS

Another hurdle us runners should keep in mind the last month (or three!) of pregnancy is that hills become CRAZY hard.   The amount of energy it takes to get up them is insane! Not to mention it makes my heart rate skyrocket! I still run them but I am just sure to adjust the pace and go into it knowing that it is one hundred times harder than running up them in a non pregnant state. This is because the uterus has expanded so much (do to child in there) that the space for our lungs has become compromised. So we are literally breathing with smaller lungs- the training effect has to be way more effective than running at altitude right!? Probably one of the many attributing factors to why we get the “mom” strength post baby.   Also, what goes up must come down. While on our cardio a system going down hill is easier, the extra pressure put on the bladder from going down hill can be quite uncomfortable. To conclude my advice on hills (for the third trimester), I would say avoid them if possible but naturally some of our favorite routs will have a few rollers- still run them but go into it knowing what challenges are ahead!

 

WATCH YOUR FOOTING!

In addition to hills technical trails can also start to become a challenge. As the “RELAXIN” hormone gets released the last trimester to facilitate an easier birth (basically the ligaments in on our bodies become super stretchy and elasticity as a way to help get the baby our of our bodies) dodging roots and rocks on trails suddenly become very challenging. It is almost like you fast twitch reactions have just been turned off. Jumping suddenly to the right and to the left start to feel like an out of body experience. It is almost like you are moving in slow motion all the time. Stopping and stepping carefully or turning slowly is a much wiser way of moving as to prevent a twisted ankle or falling flat on your face. Pretty much if you are planning on running on technical trails, BE CAREFUL and SLOW DOWN. Sometimes, even in the last month, I will find myself on a few “bad footing” trails due to hot weather days- the most shady trails around me tend to be the rocky, rooty ones through trees. Rather than just skipping the run or toughing out the heat, I still go on them, BUT knowing to keep my eyes on the ground and I am always sure to slow the pace down.

 

BRING YOUR CELL PHONE!

As everyone has probably told you by now, labor is super slow and can take even days! Well, this is not the case for everyone and also in case of emergency (a fall or water breaking!) always have your cell phone the last few months when you are out there running. I like having mine even for other stupid pregnancy reasons. There have been times when I feel a little dehydrated and start getting a few cramps (which happens SOOO easily during pregnancy) and I’ll walk in the last mile and make a few calls on the way. Also, it never hurts to have someone snap a pic of you if you are out on a trail or in front of a cool view. You can never have enough candid pregnancy portraits! Your body will only look crazy for a few months so capture as many pics as possible! Even if you are in a sports bra and shorts J. So always have the cell in case of: #1) You go into Labor! #2) Not feeling good and calling a friend/ husband/ mom/ sister etc. to come pick you up. #3) Decide to turn the run into a walk because you don’t feel good- and walking is super boring so you can chat with friends or make other important calls. #4) Take cute pics!

 

Many of my decisions that I have made during the pregnancy have kept me going all the way until the end. Setting yourself up for success (but following my advice above) will help you stay motivated and keep running possible. We have to treat ourselves like “pregnant runners” now rather than just “runners”. One mental difference between us and the rest of people out there who don’t run however is that we still see ourselves as “pregnant RUNNERS” and not just “pregnant LADIES”. I keep running until the end because running is what I love, a runner is who I am and if it feels ok (BABY ALWAYS COMES FIRST!) than I am going to GO FOR IT!

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32 Weeks! Pushing the Jogger Stroller

pregnant jogger

With just 8 short weeks to go, I am finally starting to feel pretty huge!  While I am still able to run up to 10 miles, my runs are starting to slow down a little as well.  It was just three weeks ago I could still hammer 8 miles at 6:40 pace (don’t get me wrong, this was a very hard effort for me at nearly 7 months pregnant) but I think I would be lucky to make it through 5 miles at that pace now!  (And there would be pee stops included for sure!).  The slowing down progression is all just a part of being pregnant, and it obviously nothing new to me.  Just being thankful that the baby is healthy and that I can STILL run keeps me happy though the process.

As a mother of almost four, I find myself pushing the jogger stroller at least twice a week (even at 32 weeks pregnant).  While many elite runners who have not yet had kids may think that pushing a jogger stroller while running might hinder their training, I can assure you that it won’t!  The jogger stroller is the best thing in the world.  As long as you stay flat and avoid windy days, it is almost as easy as running without it.  When I am NOT pregnant, I have pushed that puppy up to 15 miles at once!  As long as your baby is cool with it (which all of my kids LOVE it, even my five year old!) you can just keep hammering the miles!  Here are my jogger stroller tips to all of those who fear the stroller, are pregnant and curious or just haven’t given it much of a chance:

  1. DO NOT CHEAP OUT!  When it comes to getting a good baby jogger you are going to have to spend a lot. You will be horrified at the prices when you are shopping for one. The good ones literally start at $400! I was even thinking about splurging on one made of carbon (super light weight!) that costs $900 after having a third baby when we shifted to “zone” defense from “man on man”.  Now that is a “no go” however because I need to invest in a double now which will cost us nearly $600 (which we already had and sold because we didn’t think baby #4 would sneak in!).  If you can’t afford it, save up, register at the bank of America at your baby shower, beg your mom, just make it happen. I have spent miles out there with my kids with the jogger (and double jogger) and it has been a lifesaver! The cheap one from the nice one makes it so much more motivating to get out the door too. The ride is so much smoother and lighter with the high quality stroller its amazing.
  2. ALWAYS BE ACTIVATING YOUR CORE! Pull your belly button in towards your spine kind of like you are sucking in. Be sure to do this your entire run or else you will not be engaging your core to help you push. Obviously this is much more challenging pregnant but still doable.  Basically it will be time wasted when you could be getting an abdominal workout in (and attempting one if you are in your third trimester) if you don’t. Further it also helps you with your posture, which brings me to the next tip…
  3.  DON’T HUNCH! It kills me when I see women (and men) out there hunched over their baby stroller. Talk about not good! Focus on keeping your shoulders down and your head held high (and those abs tight like a mentioned before). You want your spine to be straight as a board or else you are just ruining your running form and posture for life!
  4. GET IN AN ARM RHYTHM! Get into a rhythm where you switch hands on the stroller. I usually go “pump, pump, pump with the right arm” then “pump, pump, pump with the left arm” while only having the opposite hand on the stroller at a time. The important thing about this technique is to KEEP THINGS EVEN. I naturally want to hold with my left and pump only with my right, which would cause me to develop different muscles on both sides of my body. If I was going for a walk down the street this would be ok, but 10 miles of running adds up to lots of uneven arm pumping which could really cause your body to go out of whack and eventually lead to injury. SO to conclude, pump right, then pump left, then pump right, then pump left etc.
  5. PUSH AND RUN! As long as you have your stroller leash connected to your wrist, this is a great strategy for flat smooth roads (especially bike paths). Give your baby a good push (let go of the stroller) and then run. Once you catch up to the stroller, push again and then run to it again. So this strategy should feel like, push, run, run, run, push, run, run run. I actually attached a longer rope to my stroller because the leash it came with wasn’t long enough to make this strategy work. I would highly recommend the leash so you don’t push your little guy too hard and loose him down the path!
  6. PACK SNACKS, “BABAS” (bottles) and ENTERTAINMENT! Do not forget that if your baby starts giving you a hard time and you are five miles away from your house, you will be screwed! Always have gold fishies, string cheese, sippy cups, babas, whatever keeps your little guy happy and satisfied along the way. I saw a mom the other day pushing her tot who was watching the iPad. So genius!! Imagine getting pushed in a stroller while watching a bomb movie? Life couldn’t get better! What toddler wouldn’t love that right? Better yet, down load ABC apps so that they can learn the alphabet too while you run. Everybody wins!
  7. DRESS YOUR BABY FOR THE WEATHER! This one may seem obvious, but do keep in mind that as you get hotter, your kid it getting colder. There have been times where I am sweating my brains out and my kids are like, “mama, we are cold! We want to go home!”. I always have blankies (lightweight ones on hot days) because my kids like the feeling of being in a cozy cocoon. Because you are moving so quickly (unlike a casual walk) the wind resistance makes things chilly for your little guy even on a hot day. Think about being on a boat in the summer. That breeze can give you a chill even if it’s sunny and 90.
  8. BRING A PHONE AND CREDIT CARD! Just in case of emergency (such as a twisted ankle or a poop explosion) it can’t hurt to have your phone handy to call a friend, family member or hubby for an SOS pick up. There is nothing in the world worse being stranded on foot with a crying baby!  Not to mention, flat tires can happen with the stroller too!   Having a credit card handy is also nice. There have been times where we run by a coffee shop or ice cream joint and my kids ask for some. Whatever it takes to keep them happy, and it never hurts to take a little break on a run!
  9. BRING YOUR STROLLER IN FOR TUNE UPS!  Just like a bike, a jogger stroller can have kinks, flat, squeaky wheels and misalignment.  I bring mine in every time I get a flat (which are very common on the trails) and have them tune the whole thing up.  This way it prevents wheels from falling off (always check that the wheels are on tight by the way, I actually did loose a wheel once!) and keeps your stroller rolling straight and smooth.  Also, pump those wheels up!  Wheels that aren’t completely flat but have some air, still totally suck! I keep a bike pump in my car so I can fill up right before runs for a fast ride!
  10. AVOID HILLS AND WIND- Running up hills with a jogger stroller is 10 times harder than running up a hill without one.  I am not saying to not to it (I see people do it all the time- badass!) but I personally don’t like it.  When I am out on a run I like getting into a fast rhythm and clicking off 6:30’s even when I do have the jogger.  This just doesn’t haven up hills.  IT IS CRAZY hard!!!  I suppose if that is the type of workout you like than go for it!  Just keep in mind your heart rate will go wild!  ALSO remember that what goes up MUST come down, so if you feel OK running down hill with your little guy (which can be dangerous) go for it.  Just make sure you have your safety leash around your wrist and that you HOLD ON TIGHT!  Same goes for wind.  I was running the other day with my friend Annie and literally made her take a turn (more because I was 30 weeks pregnant and running 6:45 pace with a jogger stroller into the wind and just couldn’t take it!).  I pulled the pregnant card and had her push into the wind and I pushed when it was at our back :-).  IT IS CRAZY HARD TO BATTLE A FIERCE BREEZE! Plus it also may be unpleasant for your baby/kid so keep that in mind on windy days :-)

 

Almost 28 weeks! The Third trimester and the Pelvic Floor!

28 weeks

I can NOT believe that come this Saturday I will be in my third trimester!  This pregnancy is going by so much faster than the rest it isn’t even funny!!!  So far everything has been going awesome still.  Unlike my last post, I am feeling a little less “unstoppable” due to my stomach starting to get pretty huge (check out the pic!).  I am still able to hold 6:40’s on my harder days for up to 9 miles, so I can’t complain, but for sure need to take a few easy days to recover after the harder efforts like that one.

I am also trying to keep my pelvic floor strong during this time.  Having a fourth kid is far different from having a first in that there has been more wear and tear to ALL of my reproductive parts.  While I know and feel that making babies is something my body has learned to do very efficiently, I also know that I can not take feeling good for granted and need to do exercises to support my pelvic floor to prevent injury so I can continue to run through the end.  This means LOTS of Kegels (my self-rule is that I must do them EVERY time I drive) so I am up to close to 300 of them a day.  For some people out there that may seem a little excessive, but something I have learned though my pregnancies is that if a women chooses to run throughout, there is actually more damage done down there than if they sit on a couch all day due to the extra pressure and impact.  So while us runners may appear to be extra lean on the outside (for pregnant people) with that “all belly” type of look, this does not mean that our insides are experiencing the same tight little package effect.

Luckily this is an easy fix (JUST KEGEL!) and like every other muscle in our body we can tone and tighten by these silent exercises that can be preformed literally everywhere.  Holding them for up to 10 seconds at a time (which takes a lot of working up to!) will be much more effective than doing lots of 1 second holds.  While this may be “too much info” for some people (especially guys, sorry not the best post for you guys to read) I feel that this is a topic that is ignored for women who are pregnant, and especially for athletes who train through pregnancy.  I didn’t learn about their importance until AFTER my third child.  In fact it didn’t become clear to me until I injured in my piriformis when I was out on a long run 10 weeks post baby.  Turns out the injury had a direct correlation to having the weakest pelvic floor you can imagine!  I was shocked when my doctor mentioned how weak I was.  I remember thinking, I practically have a six-pack back but my insides are destroyed!

When I mentioned to my mom (who also has gone through 4 pregnancies) how weak my pelvic floor was she looked at me like I was crazy!  “You mean you haven’t been doing your Kegels!?” She said to me in horror!  “I’ve been doing them since 1983!”.  Well after that conversation, I realized that not only was I being super lazy about doing these exercises, but they were old school!  They have been talked about for years and here I was, super-duper athlete/ runner who was doing maybe 10 a week at best after running though 3 pregnancies!

SO, going into this final stretch of what I hope to be my final pregnancy I am keeping these exercises in mind as a way to support my running now and post baby.  Additionally, I feel the need to spread the word out there to my fellow female runner friends who are planning on having a baby or have had one.  Just like the way we run and do out abs every day, don’t forget the Kegels too!  And not just a few here and there, but 100’s of them every day!  They are not only very helpful for labor, but helpful post labor in our return to competition and staying injury free.

For those of you who are like what the ef is a Kegel:

Pelvic floor exercise, or Kegel exercise (/ˈkɡəl/), consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, now sometimes colloquially referred to as the “Kegel muscles”. Several tools exist to help with these exercises, although various studies debate the relative effectiveness of different tools versus traditional exercises.[1][2] ] They were first described in 1948 by Arnold Kegel.

Thanks Wikipedia :-)

Feeling sooooo GOOD!

I am 22 weeks now and feel unstoppable. This is the best I have felt the entire pregnancy and far exceeds how I have felt (in a running point of view) during any of my pregnancies at 22 weeks. I am consistently putting 8-12 miles in a day and my standard pace is about 6:45 to 7:15 pace (even with a jogger stroller as long as there are no hills!). I think as I have gotten older, I have been able to handle so many more miles (as most women would agree once they hit the big 30) and it has really translated into my running pregnant style. Unusually I don’t even remember that I am pregnant most of the time that I am running and even most of the time during the day.

 

With my first baby it was all I thought about! How big is he now? I wonder if I will feel him kick again sometime soon? I remember thinking at the 5 month mark that it felt like I had been pregnant for years and that 4 months felt like a decade away. On the other hand with this pregnancy I literally feel like I just found out and the fact that I ONLY have four months before this baby comes freaks me out beyond words! I almost always forget I am pregnant too until I bend over to pick something up (and my huge stomach gets squished against my quads) or when I lay down at night (the only time I am not on my feet) and feel the little guy moving (which is the best feeling in the world!).

 

While this pregnancy was extremely unexpected and SOO close to my previous one, it is topping my list right now with how I feel. Pregnancy, which can be the most uncomfortable time in a woman’s life, has really been a breeze this time around so I have nothing to complain about (other than some mild heartburn). Now that I am through with morning (well more night) sickness and exhaustion I could not feel better. I think much of it has to do with the fact that my body has 40% more blood than usual (one of the perks of being preggers) so going from extreme hormone overload (from the first trimester) to feeling great from getting all of this extra blood, I can seriously fly when I am out there running! I am literally on natures form of blood doping and it’s a shame that I have 11 extra pounds hanging off my ass, chest and stomach otherwise I would seriously consider getting out there to try and PR in the half marathon!

 

In addition to feeling pretty awesome from the extra blood, I think a lot of me feeling good this time around has to do with the fact that this is baby number four. Like the marathon, the more you do and the more you train for, the more efficient your body gets. You get used to the miles, how you feel after workouts and can handle more volume and speed leading up to each one that you do. It has literally been the same for this pregnancy. The feelings and changes that my body is going through don’t feel scary and foreign. Experiencing a rapidly changing body while running is not something that bothers me anymore. Moreover because as a non-pregnant runner I am able to handle more, this has for sure translated into the pregnant runner version of me.

 

So pretty much to conclude, my advice to women out there who want to run throughout their pregnancies is just to have a lot of babies and by the fourth one you will feel great! Totally joking, but on a more serious note, I feel very thankful that this fourth one has been going so smooth. It has made me keep my eyes on my non-pregnant runner goals (the trials!) and has kept me excited to get out and hit the trails and roads.

 

Kind of a bad pic below, but here is my latest “selfie” of the bump while playing with my crew of three soon to be four!

22 weeks

19 Weeks!!!!

So I am finally feeling awesome!  After over 3 months of exhaustion, in-and-out nausea and constantly being short of breath, I FINALLY feel great!  Granted that every couple of days I will be BEYOND tired by the end of the day, I contribute that to just being a mom of three who is still running a ton while growing a baby.

 

Speaking of, running has been the best so far out of the four pregnancies.  The other day I even was able to get a real long run in!  16 miles at 7:30 pace with hills.  I felt great! (And thanks to my new friend Allison, it flew by!).  Additionally I am still running sub 7 minute pace for over half of my runs and have even started incorporating hill repeats in on the treadmill.  Not to mention my weeks are filled with fast paced jogger stroller runs too.

 

Due to my past experiences as a pregnant runner, I have learned that running during pregnancy is not “training” during pregnancy.  You cannot make goals, you cannot set a race schedule and you never know how you are going to feel.  When I do feel good however, I always go with it!  I run the extra mile (or five), pick up the pace, add in some planks and make short term running plans with local friends to keep my momentum going.   As I go threw round four, I truly do feel like an expert of not only my own body, but the art of running through pregnancy in general.

 

While I am in the best part of pregnancy for running right now due to the increased blood volume, still not huge (I’ve gained roughly 8-9 pounds) and have my energy back, I am still being cautious.  The last thing I want to do it take this momentum and run myself into injury, so I am sure to take an easy day every third day.  While sometimes I feel like I am on a roll and throw in 2 days of awesome workouts (a good workout for me at this point in pregnancy would be like a 10 mile run at 6:45 pace) I am always sure to chill a little on day three.  OR if I have plans to run with faster friends, I cut back a little the day before.  There is so much changing in my body right now and it is easy for my to forget I am pregnant!  Reminding myself that if I want run through the NEXT 20 weeks, recovery is key.

 

Obviously things have been going smooth at this point with running and everything else, but my only complaint is that this pregnancy is flying by too fast!  While it is exciting to think about having another little guy running around the house, having four kids still freaks me out a little (or a lot!)!  The organized chaos will in our house will just have to be a little more chaotic and I will do my best to keep the organized part up to par.  I have a feeling there will be a LOT of training runs on the treadmill at 5:00 AM!

 

While I am scared, I am overwhelmed with excitement however and it has not kept me from keeping some lofty running goals. The Olympic trials will be 8 months after the baby comes and I can’t stop thinking how bad I want to toe that line!  Additionally, I have had the amazing opportunity to run for NIKE trail, so hitting up some trail races ASAP after baby will be on the agenda as well.  After having Robin (baby number 3) I was in sort of a mental run funk and felt unmotivated (similar to after having my first baby).  This time around though, I am itching to race (which was a very similar place I was in when I got pregnant for the second time, which was also 8 months before the trials)! I only raced once after having Robin (do to the fast turn over in getting pregnant, the race went well too, fastest women’s time at the Dipsea) and I am feeling hungry to tap into some of my potential.  Obviously doing it with 4 little people that depend on me constantly will be a challenge, but I know I can do it.  SO here we go, one step at a time, getting a little bigger and a little slower everyday, lets see how things go with round 4!  Loving every stride of the way!  OH! And it’s a BOY!

IMG_0759(1)Me and the whole crew last night before New Years Eve adventure on Mt. Tam.  You can see the bump popping through!  :-)

13 weeks!

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:

PREGNANT AGAIN!

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:

HEART RATE:

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.

NAUSEA:

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!

FATIGUE:

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:

It was this past August when I toed the line for Beach to Beacon, a very exciting 10k put on by Joan Benoit Samuelson every year in Portland, Maine. Conveniently my family happens to go to Northeast Harbor, Maine every August, but this was the first time it worked for my schedule to do the race and I was thrilled. Finally after having my son, Ramsey, I was really beginning to feel like a runner again. I was roughly seven weeks into being coached by Magda and I was the fittest I had been in months.

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!  

What!!!! I am pregnant AGAIN!!!!

The rumors are true! I am pregnant for the FOURTH time!  Due to some IUD malfunctions my family and I are now expecting another little Peterson.  While at first my husband and I completely freaked out, we have now chilled out and realized that we are awesome parents with awesome kids and it will be a blessing for any little person out there to join our fun.  PLUS the baby will be so close in age to our most recent addition (Robin, who is now 10 months old) that we figure it will just be as if we had twins the last go round.  Unfortunately I will have to cancel my fall race schedule (and I was FINALLY in great shape after baby number three!!!) but I know if I maintain my fitness and run through this pregnancy like I did with my first three, I can still race between now and May 29th (due date) but it just may be at a little bit of a slower pace :-).

I immediately knew I was pregnant at around 5 weeks.  Now that I have been through this so many times I don’t even think there is need for a pregnancy test!  This time I was out doing my staple Friday workout to get ready for the US half marathon trail champs (coming up next week, which I will have to cancel).  The workout starts out with a hilly moderate paced 10 mile run (roughly 1200 feet of climbing with a 7 min average, hills included) and then go straight into a flat five mile tempo.  While I was thrilled that my tempo average had dropped from my usual 6 min pace to about 5:40’s,  I was very distracted by my lack of ability to get a deep breath in.  At first I thought I was getting a cold or something as I am ALWAYS able to get that deep breath in to feed my muscles air, but I literally failed every attempt.

I didn’t think too much about my short of breath issue until later that night.  I hadn’t had too much of an appetite the rest of the day (probably due to the start of morning sickness) so before stepping into the shower, I was appalled to catch a glimpse of my stomach in the mirror.  I had FINALLY got my abdominal muscles back.  Like a real six pack.  Took me about 7-8 months this time (unlike my second, I was rockin’ a six pack like 4 months later) but they were looking pretty cut.  Not on that day.  It was literally like they had turned to mush AND they were even sticking out a little around the uterus section of my stomach.  That’s when I got flashbacks from February of 2013 when I found out I was pregnant with my third.  Less than five weeks of being pregnant, the exact same thing happened!  When I get pregnant, these days my uterus doesn’t waste anytime.  It gets ready for a baby and doesn’t hold back!  It gets worse with each kid too!  I sometimes lie about how pregnant I am in the beginning because I look so much more pregnant than I really am!  SO, long story short, I happened to have an old dusty pregnancy test laying around from years ago, took it and got two bright blue lines within in minutes.

So now my journey begins.  The morning sickness hit within days of finding out.  Weird food cravings have already kicked in as well.  My need for potato chips and anything else with fat (fatty meats, avocado, buttery eggs, anything buttery, chicken salad with lots of mayo, anything with mayo, cheese and anything else that reads lots of fat on the nutrition label, is pretty much the only kinds of food that I can hold down.

I am also SOOOO short of breath on my runs.  I have stopped hard workouts and long runs for now (they say I am at “higher risk” for miscarriage due to having the IUD) so I am trying not to overdo it.  It is hard though because I started this pregnancy in such good shape (unlike my last when I was injured when I found out).  I have still been running 45 minutes to 65 minutes everyday (with an occasional day off) anywhere from 6:30 pace to 7:45’s (some days I feel terrible and can hardly move, pretty typical for the first trimester).  I also push the jogger 2-3 days a week, I think I will have to start saving up for the double again (recently sold our last double jogger due to our older two kids being in pre school and kindergarten now!  Woops!) In general this first trimester running is sooooo hard because I have been so out of breath!  This has happened to me with all of my pregnancies, so I just tell myself it is like training at altitude.  Once I hit about 20 weeks, my blood volume will have increased by about 40% back and my endurance strength will be out of this world, but in the mean time, I just have to get through the terrible first trimester before I really start taking this little guy for a real ride!