Thursday, December 8, 2016

Post-partum Body and Running

So, I'm almost 5 months post partum, everything should snap right back, right?  NOPE.  But...I ran the whole pregnancy! I'm fit!!

My body grew and produced another human being.  That is nothing short of a miracle.  I still struggle with not being as fast or the same shape as I was pre-baby.  I do keep reminding myself that I grew this awesome little dude and so far have been his only source of nourishment.  That's a BFD.

So, what all has changed?
I'm still about 10lbs heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight.  It's mostly in my thighs...which I hear helps to make a smart baby, so I'm trying to appreciate it that way.  My hips spread..and most of that happened during delivery.  Seriously, pants that fit before the baby came out did not fit afterward.  Super weird.  My ribcage also expanded.  I'm hoping this comes with increased lung capacity.  Lastly, my pelvic floor and core are still not exactly what they were pre-baby.  They are a million times better than they were after delivery, but I've definitely still got work to do in this area.  

Lastly was a lie...holy boobs.  The girls got out of control when my milk came in.  Now they're OK...still bigger than they used to be.  Oh, and super lopsided.  

To deal with each of these things:

Weight: Honestly, 99% of the time I don't even think about it (too damn busy or sleepy).  A lot of my old clothes fit, so it really doesn't matter to me.  I do wear longer running shorts, and always spandex.  The loose ones cause some chafe.

Hips: They are slowly decreasing in size, but I think they will always be a little bit bigger than they once were (sigh...) As I said before, all of my old clothes fit, they're just a little snugger around my hips.

Ribcage: This surprised me.  I had no idea my ribs had expanded so much, but they were housing that little guy (and all my organs) for 9 months.  My bra size went from 34 to 36 (probably 35 but they don't sell those), So, I've just sized up.

Pelvic floor/Core: things are still loose, I wear my amphipod hip belt to hold things in place when I run (its just more comfortable) and I do core work 5-7 days/ week.  I didn't end up with any really serious damage, but it will take time to heal.  The time it takes has surprised me some.  I thought it healed up within 6 weeks.  I think it takes more like a year.  

Boobs: yeah...I had to buy a real, grown up sports bra.  I went from a B to a D...  I recommend the Fiona from Brooks.  Skirt sports sells something similar.  Bonus if you breastfeed, the straps unhook in the front providing easy access for a hungry baby.

Overall, I think this is probably pretty lucky.  The hips, ribs and pelvic floor stuff actually all surprised me.  Maybe not that they occurred, but to the degree that they occurred.  The only thing that bears on my running at all is my core.  I work on that daily, so I hope that within the year it will be healed.  

Well, that's all I got.  I hope someone finds this helpful.  I would have liked a heads up on this stuff.    

We have a baby!

So...Skipped right over the third trimester...but to sum it up for you
I got a lot heavier, got a little bit whiny but kept running/walking right til the bitter end.  Yoga was way more tolerable than running though, floating in the pool was my favorite athletic activity....Also, I started avoiding anything with a waistband.  If you are pregnant and plan to run into your third trimester, I recommend the gabriella belt.  It's a life saver.

Now, to the fun stuff.  On July 22, 2016 we got this little cutie:
Henry (Hank), 8lbs, 21".  His size and length surprised everyone in the delivery room.  Except me.  I knew that little dude had been crammed up in my ribcage for months.

We stayed in the hospital for 3 days.  Which felt like an eternity, and not long enough all at the same time.  The day I left, I asked the OB what kinds of physical activities I can be doing.  She said, gentle walking for the first 6 weeks, but try to avoid anything strenuous, like going up stairs...Immediately, I asked when I can start running.  She kind of laughed and said, get through the first 6 weeks first.

No joke.

The first 6 weeks, I couldn't even imagine running.  I've heard of a lot of ladies who get right back out there.  That is not my story.   I spent that 6 weeks holding and feeding a baby, sleeping, eating and watching the Olympics.  I did the occasional stroller walk.  When I got my clearance to run at 6 weeks, I went for a 2 mile walk/run and mostly walked.  The rest of my maternity (6 more weeks) leave I eased back into running by running easy and walking quite a bit.  Long story short, recovery took a lot longer than I thought it would.  I figured I would be back at it at 6 weeks, but you have to spend a lot of time building your core back up so your insides are better supported before you can be pounding the pavement.  So I did what I needed to recover.   I recommend kegels.  Every chance you get.

I also took a few trips home to see family and introduce the little guy to all of his people.  All of the other babies arrived too! My sister had her little girl less than a week before me.  Add those two to my brother's new baby and we had what my mom calls "grandma's hat trick".

So, getting back into running.  I didn't get serious about it til after my maternity leave.  I had a 1/2 marathon to complete in November, not quite 4 months post partum.  I slowly increased my mileage and was able to complete it with a time of 1:56.  Not too bad.  My PR is 1:44, so I think this is a good place to be.  I had been signed up for a marathon in January...I'm just doing the half now.  This is less based on how I feel physically, and more emotionally, I do not enjoy leaving that little dude for a super long run.  Here's a picture of us post race.  My husband and the little guy met me at the finish line.

I'm also breastfeeding.  That deserves its own post.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I love actual breastfeeding, I hate pumping at work and dealing with that side of it.    

So, where are we now?

The little guy is 4.5 months old and he's awesome.  We still wake up at night once or twice, but, usually get some good stretches of sleep out of him.  I'm back at work after 12 weeks off, coming back was tough.  I really enjoyed my time home, and could see myself happily settling in to that kind of routine.  Unfortunately, that is not in the cards for us...yet.  I run 3-4 times a week (a far cry from my 2x/day I had been doing) but I absolutely LOVE running when I get a chance to.  Much more so than before I got pregnant.

That's about it for now.  I will do an update on my next race and do some kind of post on breastfeeding and running.

Here's one more picture of Hank, just because he's so stinking cute.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Running for Two - Second Trimester

Weeks 13-27
The second trimester is when a lot of women report having more energy!! I felt that around 15-16 weeks, my runs felt better, I felt more energetic during the day...and was able to stop my lunch break naps (for the most part).

Fairly early in my second trimester (14/15 weeks) I ran a 1/2 Marathon.  I finished 1:48, about 4 minutes slower than my PR.  I was very happy with that time.  The first half of the race I ran on track to finish in 1:40, however, by about the halfway mark I sort of freaked out about somehow causing damage to the baby.  At mile 9/10 when I stopped at the porta john, I noticed a small amount of blood - not bright red...the old stuff...and continued to freak out.  I do want to point out that my doctor told me that was a very real possibility.  That often vigorous physical activity will cause that to happen and it's not harming the little one...That didn't stop me from slowing way down for the last 3 or so miles.  I finished comfortably, just not strong.  I checked in with my doc afterward, she said that it's nothing to worry about.  Whew.

After that race, I decided that I am way too competitive to race pregnant.  I freak out that I am going to fast, slow down, and I just don't enjoy racing if I'm not doing it to PR...or win... So, I didn't sign up for any more races from then on.  Late in the 2nd trimester I started to get the racing bug and signed up for a half marathon scheduled to be about 3 months after baby's birth day.  I'm toying with the idea of doing a triathlon before that, but I think I am going to wait to see what life throws at us before I sign up.

It wasn't until the end of this trimester that I noticed a big difference in my running times.  I noticed my pace dropped dramatically...from 7:30/8min miles down to 10:30/11 min miles.  Also, my endurance was decreasing pretty rapidly.  My 10 mi long runs turned into 7, then 6, then 5... But if I didn't respect my body and tried to overdo it I got excruciating headaches that lasted for 2 days.  So, I cut back.

Total weight gain: 15lbs (from pre-pregnancy weight)  This trimester made me realize just how quickly the weight will pile on.  See picture...the first one is 22 weeks...The second is 27 weeks.  Oh my!

Belly: Visible at around 20 the naked eye...That is when I finally told work as well.  Again, for reference - see the picture... The girls were getting huge too.

Running clothes: Between weeks 18 and 20 I started wearing almost exclusively the Oiselle seamless shorts and capris (Long Flyte shorts, Endorphin capris) and got myself a pair of the Long Rogas sized up from a 6 to an 8.  For tops until week 20 I could wear just about anything, after the belly got too big, I stuck with stretchier options.  Some that work well: Oiselle's Flyte tank sized up 1, Oiselle's In the Fold tank (it's flowy), and Lululemon's Cool Racerback (the older style)  I recommend flowy tanks if you live in a hot climate.  Tighter tanks made me feel like I was gonna overheat...the flowy ones let air in as I ran.

Running: I started noticing that my belly was heavy in this trimester.  It sat pretty hard on my bladder and pulled on my round ligaments.  So I started wearing my Amphipod hip belt to help provide some support.  That worked really well.  From about week 20 on, I felt like I'd have to pee for the first mile of my run, but that would go away the further into my run I got.  My long runs diminished greatly, and I really got into yoga during this time.  I highly recommend going to yoga classes or even using a download (I like  Near the end -  weeks 27-28 my legs started feeling like they were burning every time I ran.  Turns out - I was low on iron...more on that in the third trimester update.  

That's all for now, I'll have a third trimester update soon!


Running for Two...the first trimester

I'll warn you now.  I'm that lucky bit*h who had no morning sickness, no crazy cravings, and no terrible food aversions.  The only weird symptom I had was fatigue and from time to time I would feel a little lightheaded.

So, I pretty much felt like myself, but sleepier.  Not too bad.  

As far as running, the first month, you don't even know you're pregnant.  So that was fairly normal.  Just before I took the pregnancy test though, I did notice my splits on my speed workout were 10-20 seconds slower than I felt like they should be.  This was just before Thanksgiving, so between all of the holiday travelling and being a little extra sleepy, my runs started to feel harder.  

During this time, I really focused on just getting SOME kind of exercise in.  Unless I needed a nap... then I just napped.

Total weight gain: 5 lbs - Doctor had me at 0 lbs because i gained that weight in the first 8 weeks...oops.

Belly: was not visible to the naked eye.  I knew it was there, I was "thicker" but nothing crazy.

Running clothes: I could still wear whatever I wanted.  I stayed pretty comfortable in my normal running clothes til about 14 or 15 weeks.  My boobs were killing me though...had to get a better sports bra.  I like Oiselle's Bra-Zen.

Running: long runs stayed at about 10 mi, I was preparing for a 1/2 marathon at 14/15 weeks.  My daily running routine didn't change much (except for sometimes just needing a nap).  I typically ran 5 miles, did cross training when I could.  A lot of this was over the holidays when I usually cut back on running anyway due to family time and an excess of food.  I also cut out a lot of speedwork, but that probably wasn't necessary, I just didn't feel like doing it.

Overall, first trimester running is just listening to your body, if it still feels good, keep doing it.  After you ask your doctor of course...

To be continued...

Monday, March 28, 2016

I'm Back!

After a several month hiatus....I'm back...
As it turns out, this space will temporarily be re-purposed to discuss things other than wine.  There will also be fewer race reviews...As it turns out, we're having a baby!

Baby is a little man, and he's due in early August.  Fun news - my sister in law just had a baby this year, and my little sister is due about a week before me!! This year will have triplet cousins!  

Since November - I've continued running, and worked in a bit more yoga.  My race in February, the Katy Half, actually went really well, I managed to run a 1:48 - which is only 4 mins slower than my PR.  The race itself was fantastic, just as it was last year, but after that race I decided I don't want to race again til after baby.  I'm super competitive, and had a very hard time slowing down my pace.  The doctor said keep running, just don't overheat...or push it.  So here I am.  

In the meantime, I am enjoying my more relaxed daily runs.  Without any training schedule or real agenda, it's been nice to just get out and run.  I've also picked up yoga, and really enjoy it.  My weeks look something like this:
Monday - 5 miles easy + stretching and core
Tuesday - 3-5 miles easy + stretching
Wednesday - yoga
Thursday - 3-5 miles easy + stretching and core
Friday - rest
Saturday/Sunday: total 7-10 miles, typically split between the two days.  I find that I feel bad for about 2 days if I try to run 10 in one day. 

Overall though, I have had very few of the nasty pregnancy symptoms that everyone told me were inevitable.  I had some very minor nausea in the beginning that would go away if I went for a run.  I was pretty fatigued though.  I needed naps on a near daily basis. 

I'll do a 'by trimester' update soon on training volume and overall pregnancy/running information that I have gathered.