Sunday, March 31, 2013

Running And The A-Z Challenge

Announcing my theme for this year's A-Z Challenge:
Cue the drum roll...

My A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy.

Are you suitably excited and thrilled beyond belief? I thought so.

Every day of the month in April, except Sundays, I'll post about a quality or item that I find essential for running through the first, second and third trimesters. Some of the posts will be geared specifically to pregnant women, but many will also be pertinent to non-pregnant runners too.

Disclaimer! These 'essentials' are based on my personal experience only. I am not a medical doctor, a certified trainer or qualified any way to give 'professional' advice. I'm simply a mom who runs and wants to share what I've learned running through my second pregnancy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why I Run

Remembering why I run has never been as important as it has been since I've been pregnant.  I need to keep my perspective, especially as my pace slows and my distance decreases. Some of my reasons for running are:
  • To stay healthy.
  • To feel good.
  • To stay sane.
  • To reduce stress.
  • To have fun.
  • To set a good example for my daughter.
Photo Credit - Faith Laces
Menno Haven 5K For Alzheimer's November 2012
Ultimately though, my motivation is to give glory and gratitude to God. I believe God made me a runner. He may not have made me an Olympic or record-setting runner, but running brings me joy, peace and most importantly, it brings me closer to my Creator and His Creation.

It's an honor and privilege to get out there everyday and run to show God how grateful I am for His wonderful gift!

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him ( Colossians 3:17 ESV).

Why do you run?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekly Running Wrap Up

March 18-24, 2013
29 Weeks Pregnant

This week can be summed up with a big groan! Everything was going well until Wednesday. I ran my scheduled 8 miles but it came at a cost. I developed two blisters - one on the bottom of each foot. I've never, ever got blisters on the bottoms of my feet in all my years of running!

Photo Credit - Faith Laces
Half-way through the run I started feeling tired and after I finished. my feet and my thighs were screaming in pain. Later that night, though, my stomach felt very heavy, as if the baby had gained two pounds and I was feeling slightly sick to my stomach.

Thursday I woke up nauseated beyond what I'd experienced during my first four months of pregnancy. I literally could not get out of bed the entire day. At first I figured I caught a stomach bug. Later it hit me that it was possible 'morning sickness' was back and the prospect was devastating.

Friday was only slightly better. I still couldn't eat and struggled to drink. I realized that as bad as I felt during those first few months, I was lucky - it could have been so much worse.

Saturday I slogged through an easy 3.5 miles. I felt like crap the entire time since I hadn't eaten anything for two days. I still felt queasy all day, but it was more like it had been in the first trimester - manageable.

I felt stronger on Sunday, but kept it easy. I'm more and more hopeful that my illness was temporary and that although I'll have to deal with heartburn for the next two months, 'morning sickness' is behind me - for good.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekly Running Wrap-Up

March 11 - March 17, 2013
28 Weeks Pregnant
Photo Credit - Faith Laces

The weather cooperated this week and with no other conflicts I was able to run according to my schedule. Since I'm a bit OCD, meeting my set goals made me feel great, but mostly this week I felt discouraged, especially when someone commented that it looked like my running days were behind me for a while. This was after I'd just completed my long run:

"No, I actually just got back from an hour and 50 minute run," I told him.

"Oh, well my wife and I saw you earlier and figured you were done running for a while."

Wonder why they would think that? Because I'm pale, tired and have a round protruding belly that just keeps getting bigger?

Now that my 'bump' is showing through my coat, I often hear comments like, "Oh, you're still running?" as if maybe I shouldn't be. Despite knowing that running is perfectly safe as long as I pay attention to my body and what feels good, these types of comments make me doubt myself.

My 28 week prenatal visit bolstered my confidence. Talking with my doctor assured me that running was good for me and the baby.

Speaking of baby, previously during my runs I haven't felt him moving around, but Monday he was kicking while I ran. It was a weird sensation that made me slow down- maybe because it was the first time it happened. At the time, my initial thought was "great! now I'm going even slower!" But looking back, I will always remember that moment as one of the best of my entire pregnancy. How awesome to feel my baby moving inside me as if we were 'running' together.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A-Z And Me

Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art
I've officially signed up for the A-Z Challenge in April. I've participated in and completed the Challenge with different blogs in 2011 and in 2012.

In the past I've compared the Challenge to running a marathon. I believe it's an apt metaphor - you know, minus the need to take an ice bath when it's finished.

For the last two years I had the same theme, and as much as I loved writing blogs by different Bible characters, I felt called to write about a different theme this year, which I'll announce soon - although I'm sure you can guess that it's running related ;)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Back And Forth

Sometimes it's difficult to talk to a certain friend of mine because she only talks about herself. Anytime I try and change the topic and discuss what is going on in my life, she manages to switch the conversation back to her life and her problems. She doesn't do it on purpose, at least I don't believe she does, but it's hard to deal with at times.
Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art

I make a point to listen to my friends and not make everything all about me, but I'm not as diligent when it comes to my prayer time. When I pray, the subject is usually me. I bring God my needs, my problems, my worries, my fears and my wants.

It takes a conscious effort on my part to meditate on God's word, to ask God to "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in [his] law" (Psalm 119:18 NIV). I do this by combining my discipline of running with my discipline of faith.

I often read devotionals before I go for a run. With God's word on my mind and in my heart, I'm able to contemplate the passage of scripture I've read and open myself up to what God is trying to say to me. The rhythm of running encourages a back and forth dialogue that isn't all about me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekly Running Wrap-Up

March 4 - March 10, 2013
27 Weeks Pregnant

Weather again disrupted my schedule this week. Monday and Tuesday were great runs. Even though I still had a cold, I seemed to have a lot of energy. It almost felt like I'd had too much caffeine (oh how I miss thee!). Of course that also meant I wasn't sleeping well which caught up to me later in the week.

Photo Credit - Faith Laces
Wednesday's scheduled 'long' run (8 miles pregnant vs. 13 miles not pregnant) was hijacked by a 'huge' snowstorm (6 inches in actuality vs. the predicted 10 inches). If I hadn't been pregnant I would have ran despite the snow, but decided to play it safe and not risk getting hit by a car slipping and sliding on the slushy mess.

So like last week, I decided to try again for Thursday, but that's when I finally came down from my caffeine-like high brought on by my cold. I struggled through the scheduled 5 miles and didn't push to add three more, which I still wonder about. Not pregnant and tired I still do what the schedule says, but this baby makes me way too flexible with the schedule.

Speaking of being flexible, the highlight of my week was when a friend said to me, "I'm really impressed you can still touch your toes."

"Me too!" I replied proudly. I'm pretty sure that I couldn't touch my toes at this point in my pregnancy with my daughter. It feels great to still have flexibility in my muscles and joints. I credit doing yoga before and after being pregnant.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

United We Run

Photo Credit - Faith Laces

Whenever I'm at the starting line of a race, I'm always amazed by the variety of people standing around me. Men and women, ranging in ages from 7 to 70, dressed in a rainbow of colors, stretch and wait together for the sound of the shot announcing the race has begun. It doesn't matter if we are fast or slow; a common love for running unites us.

What a great example of what God asks of us in Romans 15:6: ...with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter what our differences, God asks us to come together as Christians and give him praise, honor and glory. When we unite together, our common love of Christ overrides any divisions, preconceptions and judgement so that we can join together to worship God and be filled by His Holy Spirit.

Just as we unite as runners to support and encourage one another to finish a race, me must unite as Christians to encourage and support one another in the race God has set before us.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekly Running Wrap-Up

February 25- March 3, 2013
26 Weeks Pregnant

Photo Credit - Faith Laces
This week's running routine was interrupted by weather and illness. On Tuesday, it was very cold with heavy sleet. Despite my desire to get a run in, I just could't bear to go out in the mess. I did a cardio/toning workout instead.

Wednesday was my scheduled long run (8 miles); however, my appointment with the dentist lasted longer than I'd planned (doesn't it always?) and I only managed to get in 5 miles. I figured I could make it up on Thursday until I woke up with a stuffy nose and cough. Normally (i.e., not pregnant) I would have completed my long run but I've found that when my body is dealing with an illness I am more susceptible to injury and considering that my body is currently busy growing a baby, I decided not to give it any more to do, even though my mind was screaming at me to just 'run through it.'

I resigned myself to not getting a long run in this week and ran an easy 5 miles on Thursday. I didn't get much sleep that night and woke up Friday feeling wiped out so I did yoga but didn't run again until Saturday.

The weather was frigidly cold and windy all week - not the best running weather, but it actually worked out pretty well with my cold. The biting air on Saturday and Sunday helped relieve my congestion and since I can't take any medication, it was very welcome relief.