‘How has running changed over the past few months?’ and ‘How is running during this pregnancy different from your first?’ seem to be two common questions I’ve been hearing lately.
To talk about the first: Running has changed a lot! After finding out I was pregnant, I actually spent most of my first trimester (or, weeks ~6-14) not running at all. Overwhelmed by extreme fatigue, I was barely able to function normally through the day, much less consider running. I had mild but persistent nausea, so I snacked or sipped orange juice constantly to manage the nausea.
Moving out of the first trimester, I enjoyed a lessening of both fatigue and nausea. The increase in energy allowed me to gleefully return to exercise: I set a goal of run-walking 2 miles a day, most days per week. I then increased my kind-of-daily mileage ‘goal’ to running 4 miles each day, and have been running around 4 miles each day for the last couple months. My pace has slowed, and as I am coming to the end of my second trimester, I take more frequent walking breaks.
As with my normal training schedule, most of my activity happens in the early mornings. I am a ‘morning person,’ and, as the summer heats up, it is the only time of day I can tolerate exercising outdoors. These morning runs permit me physical movement, mental refreshment, and a brief – but important – window of ‘me’ time. I am lucky to have a few friends who join me once in a while for a low-key run-walk; their company helps enormously on days when I don’t necessarily feel keen on getting up and running. In addition to running, I participate in a weekly functional movement and strength group with several of the local Dukes Track Club runners. I use this class as time to practice balance, core strength, and flexibility – activities that I know are important, but that tend to slip through the cracks when I am under time crunch with normal training.
I see the end of my pregnant-running days approaching.
I have already run nearly 2 months longer than I did during my first pregnancy, but as my belly becomes larger, running is slowly becoming less comfortable for me. With the progression of pregnancy, I anticipate a transition to mostly walking, hiking, and swimming as my body continues to evolve (and temperatures hit triple digits). I am also spending time with the local running community, leading a group training series in training for participation in this Octobers’ Duke City 10 km & Half-Marathon.
In full disclosure, I have moments of extreme envy when I see some of my fellow female athletes competing and in top fitness, while I bounce, shuffle, and puff through my daily runs. However, I feel relaxed enough to dismiss the frantic and panicked worry that “I’ll never be able to race again!” and focus on the awesomeness that is a pregnancy, and how absolutely incredible the human body is to be able to create another human being. Seriously: pregnancy is an awe-inspiring, weird and incredible process. It might be that this is the second pregnancy, or perhaps we’re just a bit less surprised about this pregnancy happening, but I feel that this pregnancy has mentally much easier than the first, and much easier physically.
As we approach the reality of adding a new babe to our family, we spend a good amount of time talking about babies with our daughter, who is becoming increasingly excited as my belly grows. She constantly comes to hug “Baby Sister” and give my stomach kisses. The more this pregnancy progresses, the more I both anticipate and dread the first months of parenting a newborn. My husband & I have vague memories of those first few, exhausted months of parenthood: we’re not sure what we’ll do when you add an active 3-year-old into that mix! Any way it goes down, I hope we can approach parenting two kiddos with humor, love, and support for each other, and from our communities.
More on how is this pregnancy differs from the first will be the topic of an upcoming blog! Until then, stay cool, and stay hydrated, and keep on running!