Sunday, March 30, 2014

#motherrunner Q&A

While I was at the baby shower this weekend, I had an interesting conversation. If you're a blogger/blog reader, you probably know about the #motherrunner/#fitpregnancy concept. It's basically when pregnant bloggers try to show off how fit they are and be as badass as possible. Running marathons with a huge belly, lifting crazy heavy stuff at crossfit, that kind of thing. I thought that phenomenon was limited to blogging, but then my real life friend, Amelia, asked me about it. So I thought I would share my thoughts.

Q: Are you going to be racing?
A: I'm not planning on doing any new races while pregnant. So far, I've done 3 - the Shamrock 5k, The Frozen Heart trail race (10 miles for me), and the PHUNT 50k (DNF at 24 miles). All of those I had signed up for before getting pregnant, and in the case of PHUNT, did without knowing I was pregnant. Yeah, hear that trail dawgs/snide medic? Do you feel bad now, finding out you denied a ride and were mean to a pregnant lady? Probably not.

I also paid a combined total of $20 for all 3 of those races. I have one more race that I had already signed up for, a 10k, which I'll also do. Within reason, I want to do the races I had already entered (aka not the 100 miler next month). After that, I'm most likely done.

Why? I don't see the point. The ONLY reason I'm exercising right now is to stay healthy and keep the baby healthy, but it's majorly scaled back. 30 minutes a day seems sufficient to me, it's better than nothing and doesn't result in me falling asleep at work. Maybe I'm just a wimp, but my 5 mile outdoor run on Friday completely exhausted me. I'm concerned about making it through the 10k, so why would I pay and seek out more opportunities for exhaustion and possible failure? I really don't see the point of getting up early on the weekends in the last few months before I subject myself to a lifetime of that, when I could just as easily do an afternoon workout on my own. Without a parking hassle and a bunch of people in my way.

In short, I generally pay for a race for the purpose of pushing myself to a PR, or as a training opportunity for another race where I will hopefully push myself to a PR. Not to run/walk and eventually waddle to a slow finish so I can impress strangers at the race and then blog belly finish line shots to impress people on the internet. No thanks.

Q: Are you going to get those shirts? Sweating for two or you just got passed by a pregnant woman?
A: Not a chance in hell.

Let's take these one by one. "Sweating for two" = I'm not fat! REALLY! I'm pregnant! I can't have ANYONE thinking I'm a fatty!

 I'm definitely at the stage where I look fat, not pregnant. But guess what? People who actually know me know that I'm pregnant, so it's not a concern. I'm not interested in this shirt for the same reason I wear shorts all summer despite the fact that my legs remain pasty white year round. I DON'T CARE if strangers don't like it. Go ahead and think I'm a fatty, person I'll see for two seconds and then probably never again. Also, I don't have a gym membership and weather sucks, so 99% of my workouts take place in my own home anyway. But I'm guessing if I were someone who needed that shirt, the 1% would matter.

"You just got passed by a pregnant woman" - look, I love feeling superior to others just as much as anyone else. Really. But at the paces I'm going, I'm not exactly going to be passing any elites. The only person I have even a slight possibility of passing  is a brand new runner. So how much of an asshole would I have to be to wear a shirt just to make them feel inferior? Also, this shirt is for someone who wants to do a lot of pregnant races, which is not me (see above).

The last consideration is that all these things (races, special shirts) cost money, and I've heard that babies can get expensive. That's not to say that the two of us haven't spent a dime on ourselves since we saw the second line. That would go against the advice from every parent ever to make sure we are going out to dinner! Seeing movies! (actually those are free for us) spending time with each other! And I certainly don't intend to ignore that advice. But, I also don't intend to throw away diaper money on stupid crap that has no point.

Q: Are you planning what races to do after the baby is born?
A: I haven't given even a single thought to races post-baby. What happens after September 23 (just pretend he or she will arrive on the due date, the waiting is hard enough) has occupied a ton of my thoughts, kept me up at night, and is currently making time go unbelievably slow. Like all parents-to-be, I'm sure, we are obsessively looking forward to holding our baby.

My concerns for that time are centered around things like: finding a daycare that doesn't employ psychos, figuring out the best work schedule to maximize time with our baby, budgeting to try to see how much time I can take off for maternity leave.... things like that. That's not to say I'll never race again - I certainly hope that's not the case. But I really have no idea what's in store in terms of life with a newborn, so I'd like to meet my baby and figure it all out. Races aren't going anywhere. I'm sure there will come a time when I return to active.com. But right now I have a lot to be excited (and a little terrified) about that's not running related.

Q: Are you going to keep running?
A: Much like racing, I don't know, and don't care. I like running, I like watching shows on the treadmill while I do it, right now it feels relatively good, and my doctor OK'd it.  So it's a solid form of exercise, but I've also been trying to mix it up and include other stuff like my bootcamps, DVDs, and the bike trainer. I'm a fickle friend and if running stops feeling good, it's out. I have plenty of other options to stay active. As stated below, pregnancy is not a promise and there are unfortunately tons of things to worry about during those 9 months. I'm not known for my ability to avoid needless worry, but I can assure you I'm not wasting anxiety on my fitness level or getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight asap (that number isn't anything impressive anyway, trust me).

Although everyone knows that in the blog world doing anything just once makes you an expert, I wasn't sure if 14 weeks of pregnancy was enough to truly make me the be all and end all of #motherrunning. So I called in the big guns - my good friend Kara, who has done lots of running and popped out two adorable kids. She even has a double stroller. Here's her opinion on the subject. (I included a few of my own thoughts in red.)

Aren't you worried about getting all fat and gross and out of shape? How will you possibly return to your former running glory if you don't force yourself to run through pregnancy?

Growing another human is no excuse for being a total fatty and doing things like eating full fat dairy and having seconds at dinner (crap I was already doing this), and you need to keep running the whole time or you will LOSE RUNNING FOREVER AND NEVER GET IT BACK.

Oh, I'm sorry, that's just the message you'll get from a lot of the blogging world. 

As someone who has "been there and done that" twice, I have a secret for everyone: it doesn't f(the rest of this word has been edited because it's my blog and I teach elementary school)ing matter if you run during your pregnancy. Do you know who cares?


It won't help you not become a gross fatty and it won't help you get back into running post-pregnancy faster than someone who just did moderate low impact exercise. You will gain weight and you may not even be "all belly" (THE HORROR) and it doesn't matter. All that matters is having a healthy baby. 

I ran with one pregnancy and didn't run with the other. My recovery and return to running was exactly the same both times. 


When I see pictures or read stories about people running marathons at 9 months of pregnancy or doing box jumps at Crossfit, I'm not impressed. I'm disgusted. Pregnancy isn't a promise and you should treat it like a precious thing. Don't spout of s&%$ like "Pregnancy isn't a medical condition" or "I know what I'm doing" or even better "My doctor said I could do this." You don't know what you are doing (even the Duggar lady admits that each pregnancy is different and that bitch should know) and pregnancy IS a medical condition. 

Pregnancy isn't about you, it's about the baby and I personally think Alyssa has an amazing attitude about the whole thing and she should be lauded for being a #BAMF #motherrunner because she's doing things in moderation with her baby as her first priority. That should be the ideal, not the ridiculous s&%$ we see in the media and the blog world.

/rant

Thoughts on the whole #motherrunner thing? You don't even have to have the slightest interest in having children to weigh in.

28 comments:

  1. I think the only reason I would sign up for a short race while pregnant would be to stop me from sitting on my ass the whole 9 moths... I have a lazy streak so I would need it for accountability. I would probably also keep it to a race distance shorter than what I could do when I initially got pregnant (to allow for exhaustion and risky things and such). Its good to keep moving and to stay healthy but I don't really think it is time to push your body to the limits. Like you said, it is about having a healthy baby and nothing is guaranteed. Couldn't agree more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing wrong with a little motivation!

      Delete
  2. i love you and you (and kara) have it all nailed. i am working on pregnancy #3 and have scaled back almost entirely. i follow this ultra running preg group and am a little disgusted too. they all brag about third trimester half marathons and longer. after a while, it's only about spoiling your body and baby.

    anyway, i worked out hard with #1 (weights and spinning), ran 39 weeks with #2, and am finally wise enough to know, there's no point! it's the one time in your life, you don't have to run. you get to nap lots, and rest as much as you want, so do it. and you still have to take six weeks off after delivery so just get used to losing your fitness anyway.

    so much of running through pregnancy, is probably to say ' i ran on my due date,' "i raced a 10k" it is so hard to let this racing season pass me by, but i'm not paying for the experience of jogging. as for recovering better, meh, just don't gain 60 pounds. Protect your pelvic floor. Less bouncy = less peeing on yourself later. workout because you like it, but somedays you just won't have it, so go get a milkshake instead.
    congrats!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, I ran a 5K the day before I went into labor and NO ONE EVER ASKS. So insulting to my #motherruner status. :)

      Delete
    2. It's probably not a popular blogging opinion, but I got pregnant the month I barely ran. Obviously tons of factors go into that, but.... just saying! I'll probably try that in the (distant) future. Totally agree people just want to say "I raced on due date"! Good luck with #3!

      Delete
  3. I totally skipped over the paragraph saying that we would be hearing from Kara, and I was so confused when I read about your two pregnancies. Wait, whose blog am I reading? Alyssa hasn't mentioned two pregnancies. I went to the top and reread the first paragraph a few times to see if this was a guest post. Haha, you've got to italicize stuff from other people or something - I thought I was crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post. I know nothing about any of this so it's fascinating. I agree, your attitude is fantastic, all wise and sensible and solid and mature! Obviously a sign of what a great parent you're going to be, and why not, with your mom for an awesome role model...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Huzzah! A voice of reason! I want to keep hiking (and running a little bit) as long as I can in this pregnancy, mostly for my own mental health...but I've realized I need to stay away from checking that stupid hashtag on Instagram unless I want to feel shitty about myself and start comparing myself to other women, which is ridiculous since all pregnancies are so completely different. It drives me crazy when women who have lucked out (because that's what it is, luck) with easy pregnancies assume that those of us who are couch-bound are lazy pigs who use pregnancy as an "excuse" for whatever. Oh, and pregnancy didn't come easy to me and there's no way of knowing if I'll have the chance to do it again, so I refuse to take any risks or take anything for granted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! So many people are like..... oh you haven't been sick because you work out. Um, no, I got super lucky, that's not how it works.

      Delete
    2. Whoa, I just reread this and didn't realize how angry I sounded. I'll blame hormones. Yes, always blame the hormones. :o)

      Delete
  6. I slept 23 hours a day with my first pregnancy. I slept less with my second because I had a child running around but I'm totally guilty of putting a movie in, laying down with her and wrapping my arms around her so if she moved, I'd wake up from my desperate effort of a nap. I don't know how people work out at all pregnant. I was way too exhausted...so I sort of think your a BAMF already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I vary between sleeping all day and complete insomnia and being awake all night. It's like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get!

      Delete
  7. Hooray for a reasonable pregnant lady (or two!)! I do feel bad for the crazy pregnant HLBs who need to do an OMGIRONMAN like 2 weeks post-birth. I mean, I get it...I love running too, so I understand how it would be hard to give that up. But holy cow, you are GROWING A HUMAN. Just sit down and relax a bit! Protect that baby!

    The "mommy wars" make me sad in general. Provided you love your kids and do your best, the kid will be just fine!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For me.... it hasn't been hard to give up! Just like wine - I don't care, I'm just too happy to be having a baby! I hate when I say cheesy crap but it's true.

      Delete
  8. I didn't run much past the first trimester with either pregnancy. I did not like that way my uterus felt bouncing around like that. I did stay somewhat active and ate all the things I wanted, gained lots of weight and then breast fed it all out in about 8 months each time. Breast feeding was the best thing ever because I could eat whatever I wanted. I know some people can't but I could and I wouldn't gain an ounce, I stayed below my prepregnancy weight until I quit breastfeeding my daughter when she was almost three ( yes I was that mom, but I really liked having boobs and the eating thing was awesome) oh and it is good for the kid too I guess. but don't feel bad if you want to or need to use formula babies are healthy and happy either way, that was not the point of that. I just liked having boobs for the first time in my life, so sad they are gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it bad that it makes me feel better that super fast athletes like you didn't run the whole time?

      Delete
  9. If I don't run everyday I feel like I'm less than compared to all of these other pregnant #motherrunners. My life is all about competition, not about the health of my baby or anything like that. I need to be skinny and in shape!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love this post! So true, real, and inspiring. Attotude and determination are what really matter in bouncing back when the time is right. We should see our body changes as signs of the incredible act of making another life. It sounds cheesy but it is really true. Men boast about scars they get in battle or they get from doing crazy, stupid stunts fueled by testosterone overdrive. Women should do the same about the metamorphis our body undergoes to make new life. Now I'm going to work on telling myself this next time I see my stretched out tummy in the mirror....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love this! It definitely feels a lot better to focus on the baby inside than the fact that my pants don't button!

      Delete
  11. From my own personal experience, if you want to burn a lot of calories post-baby: breastfeed. Eff that exercise crap.

    ReplyDelete
  12. i 100% credit running during pregnancy to less weight gain, an easier L&D, and quick comeback. that's my 2 cents though and my experience.

    i do hate the #motherrunner thing. a runner? AND a mother? like you deserve a medal. do dads that run get a medal too?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am curious, do you think running specifically helped, or would other workouts have had a similar result?

      Delete
  13. I think you have a great attitude and #motherrunnering is definitely overrated. I didn't run during my first pregnancy and now in my second I'm (somehow) still running a little. But since this is (with any luck) my LAST pregnancy, I'm trying to relax and enjoy it instead of trying to be a badass. And I don't need my insomnia compounded by an aching butt and crotch because I didn't have the sense to stop while I was ahead. I admit that I am curious to see how long it takes me to get back into it after baby #2 is born. I feel like it took forever last time.
    BTW, I meant to tell you I loved your Titanic baby announcement!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm equally frustrated with "delicate flower" pregnant women and "I won't change a thing...must lift ALL THE WEIGHTS!" pregnant women. But ultimately, the decision is personal. I would just hope that all women listen to their bodies, talk to their (educated, fact-based) doctors, and make the best decisions for themselves.

    Although I'd be lying if I said that the idea of getting pregnant scares me in small part because it will mean possibly losing my source of stress relief at a time when I'm potentially worried, cranky, and hormonal... ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I honestly don't care what kind of exercise anyone else does (or does not do) during their pregnancy. I ran a while during both pregnancies until it became uncomfortable and then I stopped. I did CrossFit (heavily modified as time went on) until 39 weeks the first time and then 30-ish weeks the second. I stopped the second time b/c I was too tired to get up early anymore. No guilt either way I played it. I did these things because they made me feel good and I wanted to retain something of myself while I was playing human host. I had nothing to prove to anyone who might be looking.

    I wish I could say exercise helped with anything for me but that wouldn't be true. I gained a ton of weight both times and breastfeeding did nothing to help. My solution to this problem is not to have anymore babies! :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.