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Running Pregnant

This is the post excerpt.

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So I’m pregnant. And running. And I’m signing up for a half marathon to run at 26 weeks pregnant. In North Carolina. In June. But there’s a little more to it than that.

I am not a super runner. I ran my first half marathon and marathon last summer. And I’ve only done one 5k. I have been running for a few years, just not much of a racer.

I have somewhat of an emotional connection to running as well. I  got into fitness when my husband first deployed. I had to waste time, so I worked, hiked, and lived at the gym with my friend. She actually gave me confidence to get on a treadmill. Thanks, Jess! Anyway, that progressed. In 2013, after my husband had been home for about a year, my sister (Karen), sister-in-law (Rosa), and I all decided to do a 5k together. We all lived in different states, but found a race the same weekend in each state. So the training began. A few weeks later, my sister got diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. She had surgery mid-March to remove the golf ball sized tumor in her brain and by May 11 she walked that 5k LIKE A BOSS! So this is where it began.

Brain cancer is a bitch. Glioblastoma was the type she had. There was no race for the 3 of us in 2014. Instead, we spent the last few months with Karen as she slowly slipped from our fingertips. After a huge journey for her, for all of us, she left this earth June 10, 2014. And a little piece of us went with her.

During all of this, my husband and I had a newborn, moved to Alaska, bought our first house and found out he was deploying for 10 months. My daughter was 8 weeks when we moved, 6 months old when Karen died, and 9 months when my husband left. Not to mention the 3 week training he went to when she was 5 weeks old, and the month long training he did when she was 4 months old while I was still unpacking the house. There was A LOT going on in a very condensed amount of time. It took me a little while to process this, get into the groove of motherhood, and simply figure out how to get through each day.

Fast forward to February 2015. I finally had a feeling of stability in my life. But knew I needed an outlet. My daughter was 14 months at this point. Husband was still deployed. So I decided to start running. I put studs in the the bottoms of my shoes to handle the ice, bundled my daughter up in our BOB stroller (under a windshield attachment that my husband gave me for Christmas), and we were off. After a little bit, I decided “hey, I think I can run for 13.1 miles pushing this almost 30lb kid. And along with that, I think I’ll bully my brother (Barry) and sister-in-law into a race I know they can do.” Rosa didn’t take much convincing as the idea had been put in her head before. But Barry? Ha! Man…he’s stubborn.

We all signed up for a June 2015 race in honor of Karen. Barry ran his first 5k, Rosa ran her first 10k, and I ran my first half marathon. When I crossed that finish line….whoa. So many emotions wanted to come out. I cry every time I think about it. I have never been more proud. I pushed my daughter for 13.1 miles along the coast of AK, my husband would be home in a matter of 4-5 weeks, I made it through one of the hardest years of my life. I felt like I could do anything. The year of 2015 was proof that I was more resilient than I thought. I pushed myself and blew past my goals. It took work, tears, tons of heartache and tons of support. But I am stronger than I realized I ever was. I think we all had some pretty amazing feelings of accomplishment after our races. Barry and Rosa had their own share of sacrifices and hardships throughout the year. Running brought us together even though we were thousands of miles apart.

So that brings me to today. March 29, 2016. I’m 16 weeks pregnant. And running. And I THINK I can do a half marathon in June at 26 weeks pregnant in Raleigh, NC (spoiler alert…we moved again…army/military life…). Rosa is the one who got me REALLY thinking about it seriously. She thinks I can do it, and my husband thinks I can too…and now, I’m starting to believe in myself. So let’s find out!

I will be documenting this journey for a few reasons:

  1. I scoured the Internet trying to find someone to draw off of and find inspiration. I found a few women who I could relate to and it made all the difference.
  2. I wish I would have documented better how I felt while running last pregnancy. So that’s what I’ll be doing this time around!
  3. Running pregnant is SO different than running not pregnant. And it chips at your pride a bit at first. And it’s important to talk about the ups and downs of all of this.
  4. It’s a great way to gauge how I’m feeling, recovery expectations, etc.

So if you know anyone that might draw inspiration, please pass this along. And please, feel free to reach out! I’d love to hear your experiences! All tips, comments, and questions are welcome.

Email me at: runningpregnantblog@gmail.com

Follow me on Instagram at: off_n_running

…and here’s a shot of my daughter and I after my first half marathon. She beat me, but we were neck and neck the entire time πŸ˜‰ The other is me crossing the finish line during my first marathon.

Birth Story

Here he is!

Edward Patrick was born on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 9:43 am. 

I was 10 days overdue with this little guy, and I was READY by the end. I was pretty stressed the last 2 days leading up to the birth. Walking had become almost impossible. I crawled up my stairs. I limped and braced myself around my entire house. Walking from the kitchen table to the counter was difficult. My back was the problem, and I even was driving an hour north twice per week just to go to our chiropractor.  My mom had to go home the Saturday before Eddie’s arrival, so Monday and Tuesday was the first time in 5 weeks that I had to parent alone during the day. It was rough. Ev is pretty self sufficient, but the kid needs her exercise. So it was a challenge. 

By Tuesday night, I was exhausted. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow at 10pm. An hour later, I woke up with Braxton Hicks. This was odd. I usually woke up around 2am. I had a few but just fell back asleep. I woke up again at 2am with Braxton Hicks. They did not go away after I used the restroom. They were about 5-7 min apart, but mild. I didn’t want to get too excited, because this happened a week earlier. I layed awake for a while, thinking about how I would make it through another day with an active toddler. Eventually, at 3:45am, Ian’s first alarm went off. I was waiting for it, and then asked, “Ian, will you stay home from work?” This is the Army. That’s not an option. But I asked anyway because I was desperate. He said no. So I told him I’d been having Braxton Hicks, and it was somewhat consistent, but really mild. So he said, “I tell ya what. I’ll make a compromise with you. How about I stay home from PT and we’ll see how you’re doing.” It was also racing out, so I didn’t have to twist his arm too much πŸ™‚ I immediately felt a sense of relief come over me. I finally felt my hips and pelvis relax. All of that pent up stress and constant pain was making me very tense. Not even 5 minutes later, I had my first real contraction. 

We monitored it for about 40 minutes, then decided to call the midwife. My contractions were 5-6 min apart, and I had a quick labor with Ev, so we figured we’d let her know so she could make the 45 min drive to our house. I wasn’t convinced she needed to be there yet, but she did. That’s how I felt last birth too. On her way to the house, my water broke (5:45am). Funny side note: I could almost sense that it was going to break. As the contraction was coming I could almost feel the fluid moving and it felt like it was going to pop. Luckily I was a few steps from the bathroom, so it didn’t get everywhere. 

Nancy, the head midwife, arrived (at who knows what time), and Tina, the other midwife, arrived shortly after. Nancy checked to see how dialated I was and she said I was about a 5/6. She said he was facing one of my hips, and showed me some ways to move him. That sucked and I was not shy about telling her that I disliked it πŸ˜‚ I tried though, and she was very supportive and encouraging, so that was nice. Meanwhile….Ian was getting Ev ready for the day/feeding her breakfast/getting her set to go hang out with our neighbor friends. Thank goodness for them! Ev was out the door and shortly after, Ian came back and we filled up the tub. 

During a lot of this, I kept thinking/saying, “it’s too early for that.” I thought it was too early to get in the tub. I didn’t want my labor to stall. However, I felt somewhat out of control this go around and like I couldn’t relax. I voiced this feeling and Nancy encouraged me to get in so that I could relax. I got in and the first contraction I had, I felt like I had to push. My body was kind of doing it already. I said, “it’s too early for that!” I asked nancy and she asked if I wanted her to check and see how dialated I was. I was 8 cm, but where he was sitting made me feel like I had to push. She told me to do a modified push-up position in the tub for 2 contractions, and I would dialate more. That did the trick. 

Somehow, I found myself squatting and pushing in the tub. I had a small push, and then a big push and his head was out. As his head was coming out, I thought, “isn’t it too early for this?” His head shot out, and with one more push, the rest of his body came out. He came out so fast, that he burst some blood vessels in his eyes. They were red for about 2.5 weeks. 

The first thing I said was, “I’m so glad that is over!” I just really REALLY wanted him in my arms instead of my belly. Pregnancy is a beautiful miracle, but nothing beats having a warm snuggly baby to hold. So that was my prize. 

Now that I have had about 3.5 weeks with this little man, it is safe to say that it will take a bit for me to get running again. I’m giving myself 8 weeks, at least. I’ve been walking, but recovery is slow this time around. I keep overdoing it, causing more bleeding. I try to take it easy, but apparently it’s not enough. 8 weeks is my magic number because I read a pelvic floor physical therapist suggest that, so that will be my baseline. I look forward to that day, though.

40 weeks


Due date was September 11 and now we just sit tight until little man decides to grace us with his presence. A few things have changed for the better: my husband doesn’t have to leave again, AND he got to come home early in case I went into labor early. I am SOOOO grateful for that. My mom has been with me for the last 5 weeks and when she leaves, I don’t know how I’ll survive 😩 It is amazing how helpful it is having another person around all day. I’ve really been stepping back and letting my mom do a lot, which is completely out of character for me. I have an idea of what is coming, so I’m attempting to take it easy while I can. There was a 2 week readjustment that everyone went through in the beginning, coupled with a growth spurt, but after that it was smooth sailing. It really has been such a weight off of my shoulders having her around. It’s JUST what I needed. 

I have been seeing a chiropractor weekly to help with my back and hips. Usually by day 5 I’m needing another readjustment, but this week, it’s been three days since my last one and I’m HIGHLY considering driving 2 hrs round trip to see her again. She’s that awesome, plus, I can’t really move and I’m not getting sleep (coupled with pregnancy insomnia). Last night I put lavender on the area that my back hurt, plus my temples, and I even took a Tylenol (the last time I took Tylenol was a year ago when I couldn’t walk from a running injury after a 20 mile run, and someone had to suggest that to me bc I forgot pain relievers existed…so for me to take one pregnant is not my first option). Needless to say, I slept like a rock. Lavender always knocks me out cold, and this morning, I got out of bed to go to the bathroom and I can put my right foot in the ground and not limp! I’m ecstatic about that. 

I’ve mentioned this a million times before, but this pregnancy was SO different from my first. I’m definitely ready to start my new life as a family of four. It’s going to be difficult. But I know that it’s a different kind of difficult and I’m ready to dive into that. 

I went to the ER last week for a bacon grease burn. I got to spend 3 hrs with my husband while Grandma watched E, so that was actually really nice. The burn ended up being not bad at all. A minor 2nd degree, and it’s already healed up. Another positive thing: it was AFTER we had eaten, so our bellies were full 😊 

My sister in law/running buddy is training for her first marathon coming up in October in Minnesota (Twin Cities Marathon). I’m SO excited for her. She has dedicated her entire spring/summer to this, plus works full time (a very demanding job with evening events and travel), has 2 kids, AND her husband (my brother) works full time as well. To say their life is nuts is an understatement. Not to mention the complete renovation they did this last year on the majority of their first floor. By themselves 😳 So I’m SUPER stoked for this race for her. Crossing that finish line brings everything full circle, ya know? Can’t wait for her to have that experience. 

Well, I guess my next update will be my birth story 😱 Wish me luck!

31 weeks

I’ve stopped running. And I’m barely even walking. Taking my dog for a walk is happening, at best, twice per week. Even walking less than a mile is painful these days. On days I walk, I have tons of pelvic pressure and pain. I really have put exercise on the back burner as of late. 

Mentally, it is a struggle. My last pregnancy was much different. I was very active, went to the gym regularly, drank lots of water, took my vitamins regularly, and did all the “right” things. I have to keep in mind that I had no job, and taking care of myself and my dog were my two biggest priorities. I got to nap for 2+ hours every day last pregnancy. It was amazing. 

My energy is pretty zapped this go around. And bending over and carrying a thrashing 32 pound toddler up a flight of stairs 5 times per day for “bedroom time” is qualifying as my “exercise” these days. Instead of squats, I am getting up and down to have tea parties, tuck stuffed animals in, build block towers, read books, buckling car seats, etc. No leg presses, but does carrying my daughter from appointment to appointment in the Ergo carrier count? I am not in a place where I can section out a splice of time to work out. And I’m working on being ok with that. 

Plus, on top of daily tasks of stay at home parenthood, my daughter and I have been butting heads like nobody’s business. And that is a huge bummer. I don’t think anything can wipe away energy faster than being pregnant and constantly being at odds with a 2.5 year old….I’ll probably retract that statement when baby #2 comes along and when she’s 16 πŸ˜‚ But seriously, it’s sad. So I’ve been working to build that relationship back up. And so far, the last 4 days have been great, but it takes even MORE energy and effort. But my mental health is much better because of it. 

These are our last weeks as a family of 3, so my husband and I have really been trying to do some fun things as a family (in addition to me doing fun stuff with just E). We took a quick day trip to the beach and E had a BLAST. I went swimming with E earlier in the week too, as well as visited a kids museum. The weekend before, we all went to E’s first movie, Finding Dory. She and dad had a day of errands together and he took her out for pizza while I deep cleaned. 

As you know, my husband is in the Army and is never around when I need him πŸ˜‰ Kidding….sort of. So, we’ve known for a while that he won’t be there the month before the birth. In fact, he gets home a few days before my due date. However, we just found out that he has to leave for another month right after he gets home. So I have a lot of anxiety around this birth. We are also doing a home birth. Did I mention that before? Who knows. But this is what I keep telling myself, “There are so many military wives that have been in your shoes. He may not be there for the birth and that is something to deal with when it comes.” My mom will be here, so SOMEONE will be around to call the midwife πŸ˜‰ 

I do not have one thing out for this baby 😬 I know, I need to get on that. I have my husband for 2 more weekends. But I’d really rather go to the beach, movies, and do fun things than set up for a baby. Problem is, he won’t be around before or after, so forward thinking is the name of the game right now. Which I don’t have because this pregnancy, I’ve been pretty brain dead πŸ™ƒ

Here’s a picture of the belly at 32 weeks 😱🚼

 
Ok, that’s all for now! 

27 weeks – Continued Hiatus

I barely got a walk in this week! 

  • Monday:
  • Tuesday: 
  • Wednesday: 1.71 mi walk
  • Thursday:
  • Friday:
  • Saturday:
  • Sunday:

I’m totally checked out. I’m officially in the third trimester and I’m beat. My midwife suggested more iron, as she saw mine was a little low. MegaFood Blood Builder is the best! So I’ll up that. 

I’m wondering when this whirlwind will stop. Looking at my calendar, it won’t until, at the earliest, September…but that’s when I’m due, so I’m not exactly sure it will be settling down by then 😜 And if my husband has to do a second round of month long training, we are looking at November. 

I don’t know how military spouses can have full time jobs AND families. I really don’t. I feel like I’m drowning over here and I have 1 kid and no job outside the home. WHEN DO YOU SEE YOUR SPOUSE?!?!! By the time my husband gets home, it’s close to 7. So when I would normally be winding down with my daughter, she’s revved right back up again. He shoves down dinner while she plays in the other room and I sit with him for our only 10 minutes together for the day. We go into the other room, wind down and watch a show or listen to music with our daughter, and go read books at 8 or 8:30. We come down around 8:30 or 9:00 and both collapse on the couch/chairs. He still needs to change, get ready for the next day (make lunch/pack gym bag), so this is done at some point in the evening. It depends on when he came home. Some nights we don’t see him. Some nights he jumps and comes home at 2am. He leaves for weeks/months at a time, fairly regularly throughout the year. How do spouses with families and full time jobs do it? I truly am curious. Teach me your ways! Give me survival tips! What am I missing?

26 weeks – Week After Race

Walks/Runs

  • Sunnday: 1.89 mile walk
  • Monday: 2.21 mile walk
  • Tuesday: 
  • Wednesday: .8 mile walk
  • Thursday:
  • Friday: 3.0 miles/11:44 pace
  • Saturday:
  • Sunday:

This week’s was the busiest week by far. Ian moved into his new position at work, so we had the ceremony for that on Tuesday. We were supposed to go to a meeting together Wednesday, but his truck ended up getting clipped by a 5 ton Army truck (LMTV) 😫 He is very much ok, but ended up dealing with that all day. Thursday was the first day I was able to get groceries, despite our desperate need for them on Saturday. And Friday, I FINALLY got a run in. 

I’d like to talk about that run for a minute. Afterwards, I threw up. On the run, I felt like I wanted to close my eyes and drift off to sleep. I’m so SO tired this week. But it was an easy day ahead, we weren’t doing anything, and my daughter was up 2 hrs earlier than usual, so why not go for a run when it’s cool out? I took it super easy, walked plenty, didn’t exert myself AT ALL. Afterwards, I felt completely fine. But I sat down and knew I needed to relocate FAST. I know that I am exhausted, but I guess this was kind of a wake up call of HOW exhausted I am. So I’m revaluating some things…

26 weeks – RACE DAY!


This. Was. Awesome. 

Official stats:

  • Race time: 2:47:40
  • Overall pace: 12:08

Splits:

  • Mile 1: 10:31
  • Mile 2: 10:29
  • Mile 3: not recorded
  • Mile 4: 11:55
  • Mile 5: 11:20
  • Mile 6: 11:21
  • Mile 7: 11:24
  • Mile 8: 11:31
  • Mile 8.75: 11:36
  • Mile 10: 12:16
  • Mile 11: 12:30
  • Mile 12: 12:37
  • Mile 13: 12:45

Weather

  • Start: 70* with 85% humidity 
  • Finish: 81* with 54% humidity

What a great race! I didn’t reach my (time) goal (goal was 2:45), I could barely walk after, and it was the warmest/stickiest run I’ve ever gone on, but who cares?!?!?! I DID IT! And crossing that finish line was all I wanted. 

COURSE

The course itself was great. Minus the last mile and a half of uphill 😬 But I honestly would take that at the end of a race instead of downhill. Downhill hurts my knees at that point and ESPECIALLY my belly/bladder while pregnant. There was about a mile of path that was sharply slanted to the right, so my left hip started to hurt around mile 5 taking all of that uneven impact. Luckily, my husband was waiting at mile 6 for me 😊 That was a nice boost. The middle of the course was 9 miles of greenway (mostly shaded/flat), and the rest was the road (mostly shaded/hilly). The hills weren’t super steep, but it never ended. I remember thinking at the end, “Where am I? Another hill?!?! The finish line has to be around here somewhere.” My legs held up for those hills though! Guess my hilly neighborhood runs paid off. 

MEETUPS/FOOD

I had my husband and E link up with me at mile 6 and 11.5 at a water station. They just stayed at one spot. I knew I usually started hurting around mile 6, and by mile 10 I usually need a mental boost. So this spot was perfect. At mile six, I stopped, opened a lemon LΓ€rabar and grabbed about 1/3 of it and that was all I ate the whole race. Usually, I can choke a full one down throughout the length of a run, but it was so hot and gross I was not feeling it. I was taking Gatorade from the water stations towards the end. However, it was so sweet that it didn’t make me feel that great, but I knew I needed something. At mile 11.5 my husband gave me a full water bottle of ICE COLD WATER filled with Trace Minerals 40,000 volt Electrolytes and it was just what I was needing. Water and (basically) salt is a beautiful combination, folks. And seeing my daughter brought tears to my eyes that last meetup. Her big smile melted my heart and pushed me to the end. Here is a pic of me at mile 6 and 11.5, respectively.  

WATER/BATHROOM BREAKS. 

I stopped at every water station and filled up my water bottle. I think I went through at least 80 oz of water. Which means I ALSO stopped at all but one bathroom. I regretted not stopping at that bathroom after not seeing one where I thought there was one. So I had to run 4 miles with a full bladder. What ends up happening is that I change my stride to relieve pressure on my bladder. I stick my belly out more which puts extra stress on my hips, lower back, and pelvic floor. I usually take bathroom breaks every 2 miles if it’s hot/I’m drinking a lot of water. 

FINISH LINE

Que the tears! Seriously. I held it together pretty well, but it was still very emotional. When I finally figured out that the finish was just around the corner, the pain left my body and I started to move out. Then I saw my husband and daughter and slowed from my sprint to take it in. It’s funny how those finish line emotions cancel out every painful step you had along the way. Look at that smile πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

PAIN & RECOVERY

The day after the race, I walked almost 2 miles. The fact that I can walk is a huge blessing. My body is so out of whack that long runs have required more recovery time, so I’m pleased that all of that resting at the end of my training paid off. I didn’t have round ligament pain as bad as my trial run. During the race, I only had  round ligament pain at the end and after. My hips were a problem this race. They are starting to really change shape and open up, and running on a slant for a mile was too much for me. By the time it evened out, I was compensating, and eventually my other hip was hurting too. I used HypnoBirthing (mental/breathing technique) to breath through my discomfort, straighten my stride out, and refocus my thoughts. I sat on ice when I got home and I think that helped my round ligament pain for the next day. My legs were cramping up big time the night of the race, but that was to be expected! I have been pouring electrolytes in all of my water bottles and noticed an improvement the night after the race. 

EXTRA STUFF

I did not tape my belly or use any support belt. I have a Gabriella from last pregnancy, but it is so big and bulky, there’s no way I can run with it in the heat. I also bought a Bao Bei maternity belt that is basically spandex around your belly, but it was too big and I couldn’t get a smaller size. Because of running without a belt, I held my belly up on all of the downhills. I did not want it to bounce/strain any muscles/get sore early on. I probably looked a little silly but I’ve never minded that πŸ˜‰ Also, I ran this race on 3 hours of sleep. I couldn’t fall asleep until 12:00am, and woke up at 3am starving. Why was I so hungry? Because I had zero appetite the day before and barely ate anything. So I scarfed down 2 hard boiled eggs and a piece of peanut butter toast at 3:30 am and had another hard boiled egg around 5:45am when we left. 

WHAT I LEARNED

I learned a lot about humility during my training. I learned to say, “I can’t do that.” I can push myself day in and day out, but being humble enough to know when to quit is what running pregnant has taught me. I’ve noticed there is a huge push for “no excuses.” And admittedly, there have been times where I told myself to have no excuses. But the last couple of years I have been changing my outlook, and realized that running your body to the point of exhaustion is the opposite of healthy. Having a kid taught me that initially. And this pregnancy/half marathon training have driven that home. I’m all about pushing myself, but guess what? Sometimes we have excuses. And that is just fine. Laying on the couch and drifting off to sleep while my kiddo does puzzles is my body’s way of saying, “today is not the day for a run.” Life gets busy and we have to roll with it. 

WHAT’S NEXT?

So now it’s done! And I need a new goal. I definitely won’t be running this distance for a little bit. My training was so off that it really would not be good for me until postpartum. I see some 5ks in my future, but we’ll see πŸ˜‰

I will continue to update with weekly runs/walks. It will be fun to go back and see what I was up to during certain points of my pregnancy. So stay tuned!