Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Weekly Running Wrap-Up

April 22- April 28, 2013
34 Weeks Pregnant
Photo Credit - Faith Laces

Not too much to report - but I can say it was a pretty great week! The weather wasn't too hot or too cold. I'm still able to run. I even managed to do my long run on Wednesday according to schedule.

Although Friday's run didn't go according to schedule. Because I was going to be chaperoning my daughter's field trip during my usual running time, I had to run early in the morning before my husband went to work, which didn't leave me as much time. It also meant I had to run in the dark. I don't mind running in the dark, but I don't prefer it. I did however, get to run under a beautiful full moon.

Photo Credit - Faith Laces

If I had one complaint (and what would pregnancy be without some complaining?), it would be the need for very frequent potty breaks. It's annoying! It seems like I can't go a mile before needing to stop, which is very inconvenient.

I have to admit - I can't get enough of these pretty pink trees!
Photo Credit - Faith Laces
Just seeing them as I run brings a smile to my face.

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - Z

Photo Credit - mconnors

I hate to have come all the way to the end of the alphabet and fizzle out. It's like running 25.2 miles and walking the final mile! But this is all I've got for an essential beginning with the letter 'Z':

A zip-up jacket is essential for pregnant runners (plop, fizz - oh how lame that is!).

Non-pregnant runners also benefit from a zip-up jacket, preferably waterproof. It's essential to have protection against snow, rain and wind.

For me, it was much easier to zip up my jacket in the fall than it is now. I had to wear my husband's jacket today as I ran through a steady spring rain.

So that's it! The end of another A-Z Challenge. For all of those who dropped by and for those who stuck with me through the end, thanks for reading!

Monday, April 29, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - Y

Yoga is an essential for runners and for pregnant women, so it's no surprise, I'm listing it is an essential for pregnant runners.
Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art

First of all, let me just say that yoga is so much more than sitting, breathing and meditating. I know that some people (my sister for one) have the misconception that yoga is a waste of time, which couldn't be further from the truth.

Before I got pregnant, yoga was a regular part of my cross-training program. I liked doing yoga that moved quickly from one pose to the next and got my heart rate up. My preferred video was Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown. My goal for doing yoga was to strengthen my muscles and increase my stamina.

During my first trimester, it was all I could do to run on a regular basis. I didn't do any other forms of exercise because I was too sick and too tired. Early in my second trimester, I realized that it had been a mistake to neglect my cross-training after an alarming 'wake-up' call.

Out of the blue one morning, I woke up with pain along the outside of my right foot. It wasn't intense, but it was definitely there. I didn't run that day. The next day, although the pain was still there, I ran. As I ran, the pain increased and by that afternoon, I could barely walk. By that evening, I was crawling to get around.

I still don't know what exactly happened or what the injury was, but I limped for three days and had to take an entire week off from running. As I considered having to join a gym and run strictly on an elliptical, I decided to try a prenatal yoga video my husband had bought for me when I'd first become pregnant.

It wasn't like the yoga I was used to doing. It moved more slowly and didn't leave me panting for breath, but it felt good - really good. As I continued doing the video, I felt stronger and I felt relief from the lower back pain that has plagued me for my entire pregnancy.

After doing yoga regularly during my second and third trimesters, I've noticed several benefits:

  • I can still touch my toes. I'm flexible, which is a great thing for runners. In this article at Runner's WorldBruce Dick, M.D., a partner of Orthopedic Associates of Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York said:

If you don't have the flexibility in your hip flexors and hamstrings to create an adequate range of motion, your body will ask that motion to come from other joints--joints not meant to produce that motion. So you get early fatigue, early breakdown, and you expose yourself to injury.

  • My posture is better - especially when I'm running. Before I was pregnant, I ran looking at my feet. Now when I run I look straight ahead. This may be because of my belly, an attempt to alleviate my lower back pain, or it may be because of the focus I've put on better posture thanks to yoga.
  • I haven't suffered any major injuries. I had a problem in March but it was caused by a blister on the bottom of my foot. 
  • I feel stronger and more confident than I ever did during my first pregnancy.  
During pregnancy there are poses you should not do, so be sure to follow 'prenatal' practices. 

Helpful Links:

Yoga Poses To Avoid During Pregnancy

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - X

X-training (Cross-training) is essential to all runners, including pregnant runners.

X-training is doing another form of exercise besides running. What? There's more to life than running? I know. But it's true.

Doing other forms of exercise like swimming, cycling, Zumba, Pilates or strength training use muscles that running doesn't. Supplementing running with different forms of working-out makes us stronger, more flexible and most importantly, better runners. It also helps to prevent injury from over-training, which is crucial.

My plan for x-training during pregnancy was to join a gym and take water aerobics classes. That never happened. I find that going to the gym is too much of an inconvenience. I like working out at home because I can more easily fit it into my schedule.

I supplement my running with yoga and workout videos. The two videos I've used during this pregnancy are Pregnancy Fitness by Lindsay Brin and What To Expect When You're Expecting: The Workout.

Pregnancy Fitness has 4 DVDs - one for each trimester and a bootcamp dvd for after baby is born. I've found the workouts to be moderately challenging. Before I was pregnant I did workouts by Jillian Michaels and these are much less strenuous, but that's probably a good thing. I still work up a sweat and feel the burn in my arms.

What To Expect has six mix and match 10-minute cardio, toning and stretching workouts. I love being able to pick and choose which workouts to do together and deciding how long or how short a workout is going to be. Some days I just have time for 20 minutes and other days I feel like 40 to 60 minutes.

Without the strengthening and stretching of these workouts and yoga, I doubt I would still be running this far into my pregnancy. My lower back probably would have given out on me a long time ago.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - W

A watch is essential for all runners, pregnant women are no exception.

Watches range from simple to elaborate. My current watch is the Timex Ironman.

It's not very fashionable, but I never take it off - even, sadly to say, when I dress up. It's pretty comfortable. It has some useful features like a 100 hr. chronograph with lap or split option; 30-lap memory recall; 24-hr. countdown timer with stop and repeat capabilities and includes 99-lap counter, forward/backward setting and built-in setting reminders (taken from the website description).

Of course, since I've been pregnant I've only ever used my watch to track how long I've run. All the 'features' have been neglected. Okay, honestly, I never really used the features before I was pregnant either, but I liked that they were there and always intended to use them.

The two options lacking on my watch are a heart-rate monitor and GPS. After my daughter was born, five years ago, I had a watch with a heart rate monitor, which was a true benefit to my fitness. I could tell when I needed to push harder. But when it died, I replaced it with the Ironman, My intention was to eventually replace the heart rate monitor, which never seemed to happen because I'm so content with my current watch.

I've never had a watch with GPS, but it would be awesome to be able to accurately record my time, pace and distance. It's on my wishlist, but with a five year old and a baby on the way, it's really hard to justify the expense. 

What watch do you wear? Do you recommend the Nike + Sportwatch GPS powered by TomTom?

I basically use my watch to tell time, but would love to use it to support and improve my running, especially once baby is born.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - V

Photo Credit - Jeltovski
Whether you are pregnant, running, doing both at the same time or doing nothing at all, vitamins and minerals are essential to our health.

It's ideal that we get our vitamins and minerals from the food we eat, but in some cases, like pregnancy, a supplement is recommended (at least by my doctor).

Essential vitamins and minerals for pregnant runners include:

  • Vitamin B6 - Found in baked potatoes, banannas, chicken, tuna and fortified cereals.
  • Vitamin D - Our bodies make it when we are exposed to sunlight, so running outdoors is a great way to get vitamin D. This is one vitamin that is difficult to get from food alone.
  • Vitamin C - Found in oranges, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, green beans, and bell peppers.
  • Vitamin B12 - Found in meat, dairy and eggs. 
  • Calcium - Found in milk, yogurt, cheese, dark leafy vegetables and fortified cereals.
  • Iron - Is found and absorbed most easily from red meat and dark poultry; however, as a vegetarian, I get my iron from beans and spinach. It's harder to absorb iron from these sources but combining spinach with oranges makes it easier to absorb.
In addition to those I've listed, runners also need potassium and sodium, while pregnant women need vitamin A/beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin B1, B2, B3, folic acid, and zinc. 

Helpful Links - 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - U

Okay, first off, this post is sort of a repeat of an earlier post. Partly because I feel it's an absolute essential worth repeating and partly because the letter 'U' was a bit difficult - okay, more so because I had a hard time thinking of a 'U' essential.
A true expression of 'unwavering resolve'.
Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art

To run throughout pregnancy takes unwavering resolve.

Well, isn't that just another way of saying determination?

Yes, and I warned you this was a a bit of a repeat. But that was 16 letters and 19 days ago! Surely a reminder is in order:)

I resolved to run during pregnancy before it happened. When it finally did happen, my resolve was seriously tested by first, nausea and then later, lower back pain. To keep running, I had to unwaveringly focus on my goal.

So far so good, but I still have one month and roughly 12 days to go. Knowing I've made it this far makes it easier to stay determined, but during pregnancy anything can happen!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - T

Photo Credit - Faith Laces
Time is perhaps one of the toughest essentials of running during pregnancy to come by, especially if you already have children and a job.

The keys to making time are determination, organization, routine and flexibility.

The bottom line is that if something is important to us, we will make time to do it. During pregnancy a multitude of other things will seem more important than running, but remember that running is important for mommy and for baby.

For mommy, running reduces nausea, fatigue, constipation and lower back pain. It also elevates her mood and energy level.

For baby, running (or any regular cardio fitness regimen) increases blood circulation and placental efficiency, as well as helps to reduce baby fat without negatively affecting normal body weight.

During pregnancy, there are plenty of important reasons to make time to run.

For more benefits to running during pregnancy check out these posts from Onlymyhealth.com and Completerunning.com:

Benefits of Running During Pregnancy
If Paula Can Do It (Running While Pregnant)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekly Running Wrap-Up

April 15 - 21, 2013
33 Weeks Pregnant
Photo Credit - Faith Laces

This week in running can be summed up in one word - beautiful. I spent most of my runs capturing signs of spring!

I'm happy to report that so far, my body is holding up! My prayer is that I can continue to run throughout the next month and 13 or so days (estimated due date is June 5th) and as soon as possible after baby is born.

Although, I have to admit, it's going to be lonely running without him! Right now, I'm so much slower than I used to be, but I've accepted that and it's a price I'm happy to pay to have such wonderful quality time together. Lately I've even been reaching down and rubbing my belly and speaking softly to it while running.

My 8 mile long run didn't happen on Wednesday because Lowes decided to deliver our new freezer without letting us know and messed my entire schedule up! I tried to make it up on Friday, but the forecast was calling for severe storms and I didn't want to be caught too far from home (or the church as the case was) in a thunderstorm. I wouldn't have worried if I wasn't pregnant, but baby makes me more cautious. I only got 6.5 miles, but I can live with that.

Sunday, I finally felt the baby hiccuping! It wasn't during a run, but it was cool all the same.

I'll end with some of the images of spring I caught this week:

Photo Credit - Faith Laces

Photo Credit - Faith Laces
Photo Credit - Faith Laces

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - S

Saucony Cohesion 6
The great thing about running is that it doesn't require a lot of equipment. All you need are a pair of shoes, and some runners don't even bother with those! Although for me, shoes are a running essential!

Since I started running in junior high school, I've worn many different brands including, Nike, Addidas, and Brooks. I ran my first marathon in Brooks and loved them, but my preferred brand of shoe is Saucony.

While the proper shoe for your foot type is always important, it's even more important during pregnancy when ligaments and joints are looser and more prone to injury. To determine what type of running shoe is right for your foot, take this test to determine whether you have medium, flat, or high arches.

  • Medium Arches = normal pronation - can wear any shoe
  • Flat Arches = over pronation - should wear motion- control or stability shoes
  • High Arches = under pronation - should wear neutral-cushioned shoes without added stability or support. (I fall into this category.)

The Brooks Blog says that you should replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. While The Runners Guide gives a more in-depth look at various factors that affect when to retire the old and bring in the new.

Typically, I replace my shoes every six months, which I found out was way too long during pregnancy. From now on, I'm going to do a better job tracking the mileage on my shoes and paying closer attention to any little aches and pains that would indicate my shoes have finished their race.

Repinned from infographicsarchive.com

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - R

A regular running Routine is essential to continuing to run during pregnancy.
Photo Credit - kconnors

Before I got pregnant the first time with my daughter, I was running sporadically. When morning sickness struck, I wasn't prepared for the severity and since I hadn't been running regularly, I didn't give it a second thought when I stopped running all together.

Before this pregnancy, I was following a regular running routine- 5-6 days a week - so when morning sickness struck, I was too used to running to give it up and kept at it despite the nausea.

I admit I'm a bit OCD and when I get into a routine, I tend to stick with it no matter what. Sometimes that can be a bad thing - like when the family wants to go hiking during my scheduled 'cleaning' time. But at other times, I can use it to my advantage - like with running during pregnancy.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - Q

Brooks Arch Tab Running Socks
@ Dicks Sporting Goods
I admit I've struggled with essentials beginning with the letter 'Q'. This one came to me a few weeks ago in the middle of my third trimester when I realized that all socks are not created equal.

Quality socks are essential to running during pregnancy.

I splurge and spend a bit more money on socks specifically designed for running like Thor-Lo, Brooks, or Under Armour because I like the way they feel - thin but cushioned in the ball and heel, lightweight, but thick enough to prevent chafing and breathable to keep my feet dry.

Experia Powered by Thor-Lo Running Socks
@ Dicks Sporting Goods
However, sometime around the beginning of my trimester, blame it on pregnancy brain, or just plain absentmindedness, I found myself running in plain old Hanes socks, which is why I believe I developed major blisters on the balls of both my feet during an 8 mile run.

I might not have put two and two together if not for randomly pulling a pair of pink Thor-Los out of my sock drawer one morning and realizing what I'd been doing. Since rectifying my mistake, I've remained blister free.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - P

I have a plethora of 'P's in today's post!
Photo Credit - Walgreens.com

It's essential to be prepared while running during pregnancy!

Prepare to fight morning sickness with Preggie Pops or peppermints!
Photo Credit - Google Images

Prepare for frequent potty stops! Public restrooms and porta potties are essential along your running route.

Prepare to modify your normal running program as pregnancy progresses.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - O

Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art
For me, organization is essential to running during pregnancy. Actually, for me, being organized is always essential to running. Planning runs into my daily schedule helps keep me on track.

As I've written in other posts, pregnancy provides many excuses (some good and some bad) not to run. By planning to run and organizing your schedule around running, it's harder to put it off.

Tips To 'Organize' Your Run

  • Plan ahead - look at your weekly schedule and pick the most likely days and times when running is possible.
  • Mark it on your calendar, 'to-do' list or in your daily planner.
  • Track your completed runs - times, distance, feelings, ect. - on a calendar or running journal.
  • Share your runs online through a blog or on dailymile.
  • Track your runs through Apps, like these listed on dailymile.
  • Lay out your running clothes the night before.
  • Keep your running shoes by the door.
  • Be flexible - if you planned a 5 mile run but only have time for 3 miles, run the 3 miles and worry about fitting in 2 miles later in the week or on another run.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - N

I interrupt my regularly scheduled A-Z post to bring you this special message. Today N is for No words. I have no words to describe the horrible tragedy that occurred at the Boston Marathon. My prayers are with the victims and their families.

Good Nutrition is always essential for everyone all the time. During pregnancy, it becomes doubly important because we are nurturing our bodies and another life inside us. And if we are running during pregnancy, nutrition becomes even more vital to not only nurture our baby, but to keep up our energy and health so that we have the strength to run.
Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art

Nutritional guidelines abound. A simple 'Google' search yields a ton of helpful articles with tips and meal plans. In the interest of keeping it short and simple, here are the tips I've tried to follow during my pregnancy:

  • Eat whole grains/high fiber.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Limit processed foods and sugar.

Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art
Oatmeal for breakfast keeps me feeling full during the morning before my run. Eating a pre-run snack like a banana or raisins gives me a quick boost of energy and an apple and peanut butter crackers after a run replenish my strength.

As a vegetarian, I worried about getting enough iron. I didn't want to rely on my prenatal vitamin. Spinach is a great source of iron and when combined with oranges, the iron is more readily absorbed into our bodies. So I've tried to include the following salad (adapted from my father-in-law's popular recipe) in my diet as often as possible:

Ingredients -

  • lettuce
  • fresh spinach
  • mandarin oranges

Dressing (equal parts) -

  • vegetable oil (can substitute olive oil, but it's not as sweet)
  • apple cider vinegar
  • honey
I don't think about my diet every second of every day, I just try to be conscious of what I'm eating.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekly Running Wrap Up

April 8 - April 14, 2013
32 Weeks Pregnant 

Photo Credit - Faith Laces
It was a beautiful week, but at the risk of being labeled a malcontent, I have to say - it got a little too hot a little too fast. I was gearing up for warmer temperatures, but wasn't prepared for summer weather!

On Monday I was finally able to shed my heavy winter fleece jacket, which put my 'bump' prominently on display. I felt a bit self-conscious in a t-shirt and running tights. But I'd been anticipating this change in wardrobe and only gave it a second (or third) thought before the rhythm of running soothed away any worries of curious stares.

On Tuesday it was over 80 degrees and I had to shed even more layers and run in just a tank top and running skirt. I felt really exposed. When I asked Makayla if people would stare at my belly, she said, "Yes!" (For more of that conversation check out this post.)

Despite worrying about being stared at, I went for my run through our neighborhood park where both baseball fields were occupied by practicing teams. As I ran between them, I heard boys laughing.

The teenage girl inside me started shrieking, "OMG! They are so laughing at the pregnant woman!" The older and wiser me silenced her, "Teenage boys aren't paying attention to pregnant ladies." The older and wiser me was 99% confident.
My pregnant shadow
Photo Credit - Faith Laces

Wednesday was just as hot. At this point, after Tuesday's run, I was over any self-consciousness. But my new worry was that it was too hot for the baby. I carried water with me and didn't push too hard, but I kept thinking about how he can't cool himself off and began worrying I was boiling my poor baby.

Thursday during my prenatal appointment, I expressed my concerns to my doctor who laughed and said, "You can't cook your baby!" She said hydration is key and that I can continue to run even in the hotter temperatures as long as I drink plenty of water, which I knew and even blogged about in this post, but it's always good to hear confirmation.

On a completely unrelated note, today is Makayla's 5th birthday! I can't believe that 5 years have passed since my life completely changed or that in less than 2 months it's going to completely change again!
Happy Birthday, Makayla!

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - M

Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art
Motivation is essential for every runner. We have to be motivated to lace up our shoes and head out the door on a regular basis. But like with some of the other essentials I've mentioned, motivation plays an even bigger role for pregnant runners.

During the first trimester, morning sickness can kill the desire to do anything, much less run or workout. As pregnancy progresses, added weight and fatigue can drain the desire to be active in any way.

The key to running through these obstacles is motivation. What inspires your running? What encourages you to hit the roads every day? For some, it's to lose weight. For others, it's to train for a race. For many, it's the rush of endorphins or 'runner's high'.

For me, it varies. I've run for all of the above reasons at one time or another. Mostly I run because I enjoy the time alone to pray, to listen for God's whispers, and to honor Him for the gift He has given me. But my biggest motivation for running during pregnancy is to help relieve or avoid postpartum depression.

During my first pregnancy, I spent five months puking. I wasn't prepared for how bad being pregnant would make me feel and didn't even consider running.

As soon as my daughter was born, like 5 minutes after she was out, my mind was screaming at me: "How could you have done nothing for nine months!" "What a waste of time!" "How lazy could you be?" This harsh criticism of myself combined with my fluctuating and changing hormones made me horribly depressed.

Remembering how I felt after Makayla was born is all the motivation I need to run through nausea, fatigue and a growing belly.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - L

It is essential to have Lots of support when you run during pregnancy.

First, I couldn't do it without the support of my husband. He's not my cheerleader. He doesn't come home from work every day and say, "Did you run today? Way to go, Babe!" But he never complains, admonishes or worries over me either, which after knowing him for 18 years, I now know is the equivalent of  him saying, "YOU ROCK, BABE!"
Photo Credit - Morguefile.com

So to my wonderfully supportive husband, I say, "Thank you!"

My daughter, Makayla, (who will be 5 on Monday) also quietly supports me. She accepts that my running is just a regular part of life and only ever encourages me to keep at it. On Wednesday of this week it was 80 degrees so I had to shed my fleece jacket and run in just a tank top and running skirt. I was a bit nervous about everyone in the neighborhood seeing my 8-month pregnant belly so prominently displayed so I asked Makayla:

"Do you think everyone is going to stare at my belly?"

Without skipping a beat, she answered, "Oh yeah!"

"Oh, no! I was hoping they wouldn't."

"Why? Aren't you happy there's a baby in your belly?"

"Yes I am! So who cares what they think, right?"


So to my wonderfully honest and supportive daughter, I say, "Thank you!"

Three days of the week I run while Makayla is at her nursery school located in our church. So many church members and friends see me run and encourage me. Not one of them has ever even hinted that I shouldn't be running. But so many of them have joked that I'm not going to be able to push the church over during my wall stretch!

So to my wonderfully supportive church family, I say, "Thank you!"

To my sisters, my mom, my in-laws, my neighbors and my friends who have always encouraged me in different and special ways, I say, "Thank you!"

And to all the runners out there, next time you see a pregnant woman running, consider giving her a wave, a smile, an 'atta girl! We need all the support we can get!

Friday, April 12, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - K

Know your body!
Know when to push yourself!
Know when to take it easy!
Know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em!
Wait, that's not right - well, you know what I mean!

It's essential while running during pregnancy to pay attention to our bodies. They are changing, growing and super busy creating new life! Running is good for both mommy and baby, but only if mommy knows the limits.

But aren't runners used to pushing limits and testing boundaries? Why yes, I think we are. It's not possible to run 26.2 miles (or more) without going beyond what we think we are capable of achieving. I've found it extremely difficult to rein in my typical running impulses to go faster and go farther.

Every time I step out the door, my mind tells me to, "Go, go go!"
But my body tells me, "Slow, slow, slow!"
After years of running, my mind is accustomed to overriding my body's resistance, so it's hard to not push myself.

Eventually I realized I was fighting a losing battle. Oh, for a while I hung in there and adhered to my pre-pregnancy running routine, but as my pregnancy progressed, I had to accept that I wasn't going to be able to run like I wasn't pregnant. No matter how strong-willed I thought I was (or am), there was no arguing with or overpowering my pregnant body.

If I couldn't beat it, then I was going to have to listen to it. Over the last few months I've been much better about paying attention to little aches and pains. I've tried to do a better job differentiating between simply being tired and needing actual rest and recuperation.

The one thing I'm still struggling with is giving up mileage. It's not easy shortening my 'long runs' once again. But I don't really have a choice. My body is too busy caring for baby to keep up with my desired mileage. It's let me know that with minor pains that could develop into something serious.

Right now the most important thing is the baby's health. I don't want to push my body too hard when it's carrying such precious and amazing cargo. I also don't want to do any significant or permanent damage that would keep me from running after the baby is born.

This is just the first part of my journey. Running after baby is the second part and I'm going to need running as much if not more than ever so if I have to cut miles (again), so be it. Better to run less miles now and more mile later, right? Right. (Now if only I knew who was agreeing - mind or body?)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - J

When I first considered options for the letter 'J', jogging stroller immediately came to mind. For four years, the jogging stroller was my faithful running companion 2-3 days a week, sometimes even more. However, this past summer, my daughter was getting a bit too big for the stroller and by the time fall came around, she was out of the stroller and running 1 mile races on her own!
BOB Revolution SE Jogging Stroller

Even though I haven't run with the jogging stroller during my pregnancy, it's still an essential for pregnant running moms with infants or toddlers. I can only imagine it's an even tougher workout, but well worth the extra work to enjoy time outside running with your little one. A jogging stroller also makes it easier to fit a run into a busy day.

Photo Credit - Google Images

For me personally, the 'J items I found to be absolutely essential during this pregnancy were Jolly Ranchers. During the first trimester when I was always nauseous, I would suck on a Jolly Rancher to settle my stomach while I ran. Green apple was my preferred flavor, but cherry worked too. I absolutely hate candy or drinks that are blue so I never tried the blue raspberry.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - I

Photo Credit - roadid.com
An essential for every runner, not just pregnant runners, is Identification. ID is a runner's most valuable training partner. No one wants to think of being in an accident, but it could happen, and if it does, having identification means family will be notified and doctors will be able to access medical records.

Identification Options:
  1. Road ID offers convenient wristbands with identifying information. As far as I can tell, this is the most recommended option for runners. Even my mom texted me the link to Road ID because she thought it was a good idea. 
  2. Road ID also offers ankle IDs and shoe IDs. I prefer the shoe ID because it is the least intrusive. 
  3. Road ID Shoe ID
  4. While Road ID is popular, IdmeBand also offers similar products.
  5. IDmeBand - Shoe ID
  6. Dog tag necklaces are another option.
  7. In desperate times, I've simply used a laminated 'business card' with my name, address, phone number and husband's name tucked into my pocket or in my shoe.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - H

Photo Credit - Morguefile.com

Without question, H2O is an essential for every runner, but especially during pregnancy when dehydration can lead to serious consequences, not only for the runner, but also for the baby. 

The standard recommendation that everyone should drink eight  eight-ounce glasses of water (or H2O) a day has come into question. 

This article at Runner's World suggests using the following formula to determine how much water we should consume:

Male Drinking Requirement, in fluid ounces:
Body Weight x .35
Female Drinking Requirement, in fluid ounces:
Body Weight x .31

In this article, The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women consume "10-12 cups of fluids each day". 

I just try to drink as much water as I can. On a normal day, I drink about 60 ounces of water throughout the day. On running days, in addition to my regular 60 ounces I drink :
16 ounces an hour before I run
 8 ounces throughout the run
16 ounces after the run
This article suggests drinking 4-6 ounces of water every 20 minutes during a run and if you are running faster than 8 minute miles, then drink 6-8 ounces every 20 minutes.

No matter how you break it down, H2O is an absolute running essential!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekly Running Wrap-Up

April 1-7, 2013
31 Weeks Pregnant

No snow + No injuries = a good week.

Although there was no snow, the first part of the week still felt like winter, but by Friday there were finally signs of spring.
Photo Credit - Faith Laces
Finally! Spring is in the air!

I did come to the conclusion on Wednesday that I may have to decrease my miles on my 'long run' days. It seems that after 5 miles, I start feeling pain in my feet or legs. I'm guessing it's the added weight, looser joints, or a changing center of gravity, but who knows? Whatever the reason, it's bumming me out.

I was prepared not to be able to do 14 mile long runs as my pregnancy progressed. It was hard realizing I couldn't do 10 miles anymore once I reached the middle of my second trimester and now I worry in another month I won't even  be able to run 5 miles at one time.

I've never been a fast runner, but I can (usually) run for a long time. It's disappointing not being able to even though I still want to. Thankfully, someone I respect reminded me that even if I'm not doing what I used to do, my body is still working hard and there are still many benefits to running (even shorter distances) for me and the baby - like better blood circulation, more oxygen to the baby, and I'm hopeful it will help make me stronger during labor and delivery and lessen the possibility for complications.

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - G

I actually have two essentials starting with the letter 'G'.

My first 'G' essential is gratitude! It is absolutely essential to be grateful to God for the ability to run, for the peace running brings, for the air I breathe, for time alone with my baby, for time outside, and for the beauty of nature that surrounds me.

I've learned to never take a run for granted. After being injured and not able to run, all runs, even runs that don't go as planned, are still good. Not running is miserable. So when I run I'm showing God how grateful  I am for the gift He has given me - a healthy, capable, moving body and especially for the life growing inside me!



The second 'g' essential is Gatorade. I know Gatorade is an essential for a lot of athletes, for me, it was a necessity during the first trimester when drinking water was like swallowing vomit.

Ewww! I know.

Sorry to be so gross, but when I'm nauseated, the last thing I want to drink is water. I forced myself to drink water before and during my runs for the sake of the baby, but nothing tasted sweeter after a run than Gatorade!

Besides being an alternative to water when I'm sick, it's also good for replenishing potassium and sodium levels during long runs.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - F

Photo Credit - Faith Laces
For me, running during pregnancy takes a lot of Faith -

Faith that I am doing what God made me to do.

Faith that God will watch over and protect me and my unborn baby.

Faith that I am honoring God through the movement of my body.

Faith that I'm doing what's best for me and my baby.

Faith that no matter how different running is now than it was when I wasn't pregnant, it's still good for me.

Faith that when my baby is born, I'll be able to run more than 8 miles at one time again.

Faith that although people seem to be doing double-takes when they pass me, it's all in my head. (It is isn't it?)

Faith that I don't look as much like an ice cream cone as my shadow seems to.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - E

Photo Credit - Morguefile.com
Energy is essential for every runner. A pregnant runner is no exception.

Caffeine was my go-to source of energy when I wasn't pregnant, but now I have to rely on natural energy found in food, exercise, yoga poses, and of course, sleep.

In the first trimester, I was so nauseous it was hard to eat anything. Nothing appealed to me. After a month into my second trimester, the nausea finally subsided and eating was easier.

Before a run, I eat a banana. I think of it as my 'energy shot'. After a run, I typically have an apple with peanut butter crackers, which is funny to me because when I wasn't pregnant I wouldn't be hungry for at least two hours after running, but now, I feel famished after I finish.

Energizing foods -
  • whole grains (harder to eat during the first trimester)
  • oranges (a favorite during my first trimester)
  • strawberries (a favorite now)
  • yogurt (also seems to help with heartburn)
  • almonds
  • edamame (my mom actually introduced me to this food over Christmas)

Links - 

Yoga poses also provide a natural energy boost. My go-to poses for quick energy are -
  • Cat pose to cow pose
  • Downward facing dog
  • Triangle pose (with support like a block or chair)
  • Eagle pose
*I'll have more about yoga and its benefits later in the challenge. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - D

Running takes determination. Running through pregnancy takes extreme determination. It's too easy to give in to excuses when you're pregnant. When morning sickness is your constant companion, running becomes less of a priority unless you are determined to run through it.


Thanks to my first pregnancy, I was determined to run through my second pregnancy before I even got pregnant. With my first pregnancy I wasn't prepared for the nausea and vomiting. I let it take over and keep me out of my running shoes.


This time I was determined to not let any part of pregnancy keep me from doing something I love and enjoy. It hasn't been easy, but as a runner, I'm used to setting a goal and seeing it through, no matter what gets in the way - including nausea, back pain and exhaustion.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - C

Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art
For safety reasons, all runners should carry their cell phones, but it's even more important for pregnant runners.

I only started regularly carrying my cell phone after a particularly scary wake-up call a year or so ago. To make a long story short, I was running on a trail near my parent's house is West Virginia. On one side of the trail was a mountain and on the other was a river. It was beautiful, tranquil and isolating.

So when a man on a four-wheeler sped past me, stopped, waited for me to catch up, sped off, stopped again, waited again, and repeated this same pattern twice more, I remembered the last CSI episode I watched where men were hunting people and figured I was a goner. Thankfully I wasn't attacked or kidnapped, but the incident scared some sense into me and I've managed to remember my phone ever since.

Now I still worry about being vulnerable to homicidal maniacs, but not as much as I worry about pushing myself too hard and going too far or feeling contractions.

I love the solitude of running, but it only makes sense to have a way to call for help if I need it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - B

Lets be real, running during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, would be miserable without an awesome sports bra!

A good bra is essential for every female runner, but when your body rages with pregnancy hormones good just isn't good enough. Even a little bouncing can be agony.

Moving Comfort - Helena Sports Bra
FitPregnancy recommends the Moving Comfort Helena Sports Bra.

I have a 'miracle' bra. No, it's not from Victoria's Secret. It's a Champion Sports Bra I ordered online many years ago, but never wore because I found it to be uncomfortably tight.

Now that I'm a cup size bigger than normal, it fits perfectly. That's what I call a 'miracle'.

Even though my regular bra size has gone up, sports bras seem to fit better in my pre-pregnancy size. I don't know why; all I know is that I am super thankful to have a great bra that prevents any bouncing while I'm running!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekly Running Wrap-Up

March 25-31, 2013
30 Weeks Pregnant

Well the week started out fine, turned pretty ugly, but finished alright.

In spite of another (and I hope FINAL) snowstorm, Monday's run went as planned. Thankfully, it being late March, even a lot of snow doesn't stick around for long and I got to run in the evening when the roads and trails in the park were clear - although it was cold and still sleeting outside. I admit I felt a bit tired, but at 30 weeks pregnant, when don't I feel tired?

Photo Credit - Faith Laces
Tuesday I considered not running, but only for a few minutes. About 30 minutes into it, I felt some pain in the bottom of my left foot, as I continued running the pain increased and moved to my ankle and my calf. I stopped a couple of times and tried walking, but walking didn't make the pain lessen so I continued to run and finally finished.

I wasn't in great pain afterwards, but I definitely knew something was wrong. My last 'injury' happened in January. I woke up one morning with pain along the outside of my right foot that I could't explain. It seemed to develop overnight and out of nowhere. I continued to run and the pain moved to my ankle. For an entire day I could barely walk. For two days I limped and wasn't able to run for a week. At least this time I could figure out what caused the problem.

Last week I got a blister on the ball of my left foot, which caused me to under pronate, or in other words when my foot landed the impact was being absorbed by the outer side of the foot and putting more stress on my lower leg, especially to the peroneus longus muscle.

I knew I couldn't run on it without risking the pain moving to my ankle so I took the next 3 days in a row off to rest it, which seems to have worked. I was able to run without causing any pain on Saturday and Sunday, but I kept the runs short.

Here's hoping this next week will be pain AND snow free!

A-Z Essentials For Running During Pregnancy - A

And we are off! The A-Z Challenge has begun!

I want to take this first step of a month-long blogging 'marathon' to say thank you to Arlee Bird @ Tossing It Out, the founder/creator of the challenge. Three years ago, he supercharged the month of April for me. I have to say my husband isn't as grateful for this intense month of blogging, but I am :)

And now onto mile marker number one, better known as the letter 'A'...

Approval from the doctor

Photo Credit - Microsoft Clip Art
Approval from my doctor was the first essential to running during my pregnancy. Even before I got pregnant I talked to my family doctor about any effects running had on conception and at my first prenatal appointment I made sure the obstetrician knew how often and how long I was running on a weekly basis.

In my case, both the nurse and doctor at my first prenatal appointment seemed excited with my running and have continued to be supportive.