Thursday, May 1, 2014

Running is hard, then and now

Once upon a time, this was a running blog. Now, I'm not really sure what it is, just one of many "random rambling" type blogs, I guess. But, for old time's sake, let's talk about running a little.

It's really weird and surprising to me that I'm nearly at the halfway point of this baby making adventure, and I still feel like I would be a solid contender for "I didn't know I was pregnant". I mean, yeah, almost none of my pants button, but it's not like I'd be the first American to ever experience such a thing.

The one major difference is running. It's not like running has ever been effortless for me, but it's a whole new ballgame now. I said at the beginning that I would only run until it became too uncomfortable, and then it was out. I said that was fine with me, and I meant it. I guess I had in my head that I would make it until at least like, 30 weeks before that happened though. I started seriously considering giving it up here in the teen weeks, and I'm really not cool with that. Apparently I like it more than I thought.

Here's what I've noticed about pregnant running (warning - a lot of it has to do with peeing).

  • Speed. My old easy pace now feels like a sprint. My new pace (I won't say easy) is something I didn't even realize was a running pace before. It started right away, before I even found out at 4 weeks, and continued to decline. This isn't particularly troublesome, I didn't plan on setting any new PRs. I've kept my daily exercise time roughly the same, so now that time just allows for fewer miles.
  • Walking. It now happens on every run. Even with my new slower pace, my HR still gets above what my doctor recommended, so I take walk breaks to get it back down. I used to HATE walk breaks, but now I pretty much live for them.
  • Breathing. My lung capacity seems to have been cut in half immediately following conception. When I gave the Maryland state assessment, I have to read several pages of directions allowed, and I kept having to stop to gasp for air this year. During running it's even worse. Someone explain this please, because the state tests were when the baby was still like the size of a grape.
  • Bathroom requirements. This is my major issue. I've been renowned among my friends for years about my extraordinarily small bladder. I've always out-peed every pregnant person I've ever hung out with, even within weeks of their due date. I literally have never, ever made it through an entire night without getting up to pee, even on Tylenol PM or codeine. Now, I enjoy about five minutes after every bathroom break where I don't have to pee before the urge hits me again. Running now creates this crazy pressure against my bladder so I constantly feel that "OMG I gotta pee NOW" sensation. This happens even when it's empty, so I can't even fix the problem by just stopping and finding a bathroom. I've been advised to just ignore it, but it's really hard to ignore a feeling that my brain has spent the past 30 years conditioned to attend to IMMEDIATELY. I usually make it a mile on the treadmill before I cry uncle and waste time on a pee break that I don't actually need.
That's about it for now. I haven't really had any round ligament pain while running, it seems to only hit with sudden movements, like hopping up from the couch. To deal with the annoyance, I switched to running every other day. In between, I've been doing Jillian Michaels DVDs. If this keeps up, it's possible that I wouldn't lose an arm wrestling contest with my baby, if such a thing were possible. I'm considering joining a gym to do some swimming and yoga and stuff.

Today, I shockingly had a GREAT run. I ran 2 miles without a break, and ran for an extra half of a Buffy episode (1.5 total) for a whopping five whole miles!

I reflected in the shower, and came up with two possible reasons.
  1. Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment, and she assured me I wasn't doing any permanent damage to my bladder by running (she couldn't make the same guarantee for pregnancy), so maybe that gave me the mental boost I needed. I was sure I was setting myself up for a lifetime of embarrassing incontinence.
  2. I had a McFlurry last night. I really wanted one and that fact that it was pouring rain didn't stop me from sending Eric. I had a Mcflurry the night before I unexpected PR'd the 10k last year, so clearly it's a recipe for success. To test it out, I bought some ice cream on my way home from work.
What's your favorite/least favorite type of exercise? My favorite is clearly running, least favorite is probably boring weight lifting in the free weight area.


  1. You're providing blood to another human, so your blood volume is much higher (it will double by the end of pregnancy) so it's hard to get enough oxygen for that much blood. That's why some women experience PRs shortly after giving birth. It's like nature's blood doping.

    The key to pregnant running (this is golden advice) is to treat each day like a stand alone. Don't worry about trends or "Oh, I was faster yesterday" or even "I'm faster today!" and also don't give up because you have a few shitty days.

    The bathroom thing? Just get a Poise pad and let 'er rip as you go. I'm telling you, that's the only way. Give up on your dignity now, it's good practice.

  2. I got out of breath right away too, before I knew I was pregnant! It was over the holidays, so I kept thinking I must have really overdone it on the cookies.

  3. The peeing thing is the worst. You get past exhaustion, only to have to stop every 5 minutes for a tinkling. Baby moves up a bit, but then you're so big, other things are out of whack. Fun times. I'm done running this time because I am legit worried about the damage I've done to my pelvic floor and don't want to pee myself every time I laugh for the sake of a 36 minute 5k. p.s just go pay for an ultrasound and let us know what you're having!!

  4. ON the bright side, we could probably run together now since I could keep up with you. Seriously :)

  5. Yep, that's pretty much exactly what happened to me. I have no real advice to offer.

  6. It's funny how some days running is insanely difficult and others it feels alright. My calves have been burning on most of my runs lately but I ran a 10k race on Sunday without any issues. I felt like I had to pee on and off during the entire race but I just ignored it and was surprised when I didn't feel like I needed to go immediately at the finish.
    Can I ask what HR your doctor recommended you not exceed? My doctor didn't give me any guidelines for that but I'm curious.

    1. My doctor advised 150 - I try to stick close to that, or at least make sure I can carry on conversation!

  7. "least favorite is probably boring weight lifting in the free weight area"

    A THOUSAND TIMES YES. I absolutely hate weight lifting. My boyfriend loves lifting and hates running, which means we'll never be in a "Fun Fitness Dates for Couples!" spread in Self magazine.

  8. All your points there, exactly the same as my (now un-pregnant) friend. So sounds like everything is normal here. That's good news. I have the bladder of a small poodle myself. I have to not drink anything hours before bed to not get up at night.

    I love running and crossfit. I loathe yoga. So, so boring.

  9. So I read this last night and then had a crazy dream where I was pregnant (I am definitely not in real life). Thanks for that ;) I love running and HATE HATE HATE strength training. I still do it once a week because my coach advises it, but...ugh.

  10. I don't know how I made it as long as I did this time around. With my first, I didn't even make it through the teens. But I found that running, oddly was the ONLY thing that helped my nausea in the first tri. Now that I can't run I've been taking long walks (which still put tremendous pressure on my bladder!0 and swimming and lifting weights a little, but since running is the only form of exercise I don't hate, it's difficult to motivate myself to do anything but sit here.


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