Tuesday, March 19, 2013

First Comes Love then Comes…BABY!

(Soon to be Momma and Proud Poppa)

            It has been awhile since my last entry. But things are definitely changing in my life and body for that matter! For those of you who do not know, my husband Levi and I are currently expecting our first child! So far things have been going great. I was lucky enough not to have any morning sickness during the first trimester and I hope things continue as smoothly. I am approximately 18 weeks along now and finally starting to show.
            The biggest change for my life thus far (not counting the bigger numbers on the scale) is my approach to my running and training. Exercising during pregnancy has been proven to be beneficial to both mother and baby and in many cases can make your labor and delivery “easier.” Studies have found that a woman can safely continue exercising while pregnant if she was used to the activity beforehand. For instance, I have been a runner for many years, so running longer distances for me is not something that is going to harm my body. However, I definitely listen to my body and notice I am getting slower and wanting to run less distances.
            I do not necessarily think this is all due to the growing human inside of me (though that does take a lot of energy!). I feel it is my changing state of mind and my focus being on a baby and not my athletic endeavors. For the first time in my life I do not have hard track workouts to look forward to (yes I actually love doing workouts!) or races on the horizon or PR time goals for this year. I now am simply exercising just for health! What a strange concept.
            I know a lot of women who continue exercising at their previous volume (maybe just cutting out competitive racing or workouts) when pregnant but I noticed I have definitely been slacking in this. I think some of it was different for me since I did not start out at my peak level of fitness. I was just recovering from an MCL tear so still hadn’t started doing workouts yet and was just starting to build my mileage back up past the 40s and into the 50s. Right now I am lucky to hit 30 and some weeks 20! But I am o.k. with that. I am adding in other types of workouts, flexibility and strength in the weight room, spinning, and when the weather gets nice probably more swimming and hiking.
            I have a completely different focus this year and I am confident that I will be able to slowly get back to my previous level once the baby is born. I am not giving myself a deadline for this but know to just take it a day at a time. I have zero experience in this department. I have come back from injuries and major surgeries but having a baby is going to be different and I do not want to put added stress on myself to keep some nearly impossible fitness goal while pregnant or worry if it takes me months or even a year to feel normal again!
            I do have several elite running friends who have had babies and are still amazing athletes and moms so I know it can be done and luckily, I have plenty of people to look to for advice. If you had asked me months ago what I envisioned my training volume to be like in the first and second trimesters, believe me, my little na├»ve brain would have envisioned myself doing a lot more! But every woman and every body is different and the key is to find your balance that keeps you sane, healthy and happy. And right now for me that entails running with friends, going for walks, and taking naps, lots and lots of naps. 
(At my brother John and dear friend Jane's wedding. Being silly. But my belly is starting to show!)