So, after months of keeping quiet – I am happy (ecstatic!!!) to announce that Mike and I will be expecting a new addition to our family in November 2016!
Recap: The First Trimester
People often ask me “how I knew I was pregnant.” (At first I responded, dumbfounded, “ummm… I took a pregnancy test,”) but I’ve come to learn what they were really asking was what symptoms did I experience first. That answer is easy — running became hard.
Since the beginning of the year, I had been loosely following a marathon training plan (meaning, I was following a marathon training plan without having actually signed up for a goal marathon). After two years of battling injury I was finally starting to get my fitness back (closer) to what it had been pre-surgery. I was killing my workouts and holding it together for hilly long runs. Then, all of the sudden one morning I could barely finish an easy 5 mile recovery run. I chalked it up to the intense training week I had the week before (hitting over 60 miles with two speed sessions) and figured it was just my body catching up to me.
The morning of that week’s long run I decided to take a pregnancy test – and it came back positive. I was shocked (well, as surprised as one can be knowing full well that it was in the realm of possibility) and decided to do what I normally would do. I went for my run (which was a substantial cut back in mileage) and it was hard! Even my running buddy noticed that I seemed more winded than usual.
Before I was pregnant, I had these grand allusions (delusions) as to what I thought running while pregnant would be like. Most of what I had read (and witnessed from friends) stated that women could keep on doing what they had been doing as long as their body would let them. In my head, I took this to mean I would carry on with my training and there may be a few days here and there where I wasn’t going to feel great (ha).
Shortly after I found out about the pregnancy, I suffered a bit of a scare that required me to stop doing any physical activity for a few weeks (which ended up being about a month) while the condition was being monitored. Of course, as soon as there was any sign of a problem I stopped everything cold turkey (no more running, CrossFit, or even yoga or easy weights). This was difficult both mentally (in that running normally would be an outlet for all of the nervous energy) and physically (in that due to my abrupt decrease in activity levels, early on I was already starting to see weight gain well beyond that which they prescribe during the first trimester). But at the end of the day I knew that it was the right thing to do to ensure a healthy pregnancy (and it was what I had to do – no questions asked).
After close monitoring and weekly appointments for about a month, I was finally cleared to return to “normal” activity – meaning that I was allowed to start easing back into running. When I was cleared to run again following surgery, I wasn’t even half way out of the doctor’s office before I laced up my shoes to start back up again. This time was different. I was still scared. I waited a few days before I even attempted a run and when I finally did it was less than half the distance that I had been cleared for. I trusted my doctor – but at the same time I wanted to be extra careful to ease back into it. I also knew that not running was an option, but because of my anxiety I knew that if I was healthy enough to do it it would help ease a lot of the nervous energy that I was experiencing.
I realize that everyone experiences pregnancy differently and that those of us who continue running will have unique experiences. For me, it has been much more difficult than I anticipated. Even though I have been lucky enough to not really having morning sickness, I do get hit with waves of nausea and lightheadedness. Most days during the first trimester I was also extremely tired (and many times I didn’t realize how tired I was until I attempted to exercise). Some days were good and some days were bad. The most difficult thing was convincing myself that I’m not being lazy on days where I couldn’t seem to muster up the energy to get out there.
Pregnancy (so far) has been an incredible lesson in really learning to listen to my body. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I ditched the Garmin in favor of Timex stopwatch. I knew for me that this would force me to run according to feel (without the temptation to go faster or to push the pace). I am learning to enjoy running in an entirely different way and I am excited to share this journey with you.