On Sunday morning when I got out of bed, my hip/back was feeling slightly better. It made me happy, but then later I went grocery shopping and just walking around for an hour at the grocery store made it completely flare up again. I actually called Tim on my way home to ask him to help me unload the groceries since I didn’t want to lift anything. That was really hard for me to do. I like doing things myself, especially something so simple, but I knew it was the smart thing when I was already hurting.
This put me in a bad mood. I was doing really well staying positive and thinking that after a few days of complete rest, the inflammation would go down and I’d feel better walking around and eventually maybe be able to continue running. Sunday was my 4th day of very little activity and it affected my mood more than I liked. I’m usually ok the first few days of a rest, but after that I start to get really grouchy. This further proves to me the immense benefit I get mentally from exercise.
I did try my ultrasound machine on the area and it seemed to provide some immediate relief, but then the pain came back later on. Today, it is feeling a little better and the doctor showed us a way to stretch it. If I wake up on Tuesday and its not feeling any better, I’d like to go swimming to at least do some activity. If it is starting to feel better, I think I’ll rest completely another day and see if it continues to improve. I would hate to injure it worse with swimming…even though that seems unlikely, the doctor did tell me this morning that the injury is most likely just a result of my hips shifting and stretching to prepare for delivery and that it was not probably something that I did or caused by the running.
I can hear and feel things shifting and popping in my pelvis quite often when I move now. Sometimes it feels good, like someone cracking your back and I always hope that when I bear weight on my left leg after feeling one of these “pops” its going to magically feel 100% better, but it hasn’t so far.
So, since I don’t have any running adventures to write about, I think I’ll just write about what I’ve learned so far about running through pregnancy.
1.) Don’t set expectations– when I got pregnant I had done all the research and read several blogs and online articles and books about running during pregnancy and figured that I’d be able to run about 30 miles a week up until the day I deliver. I figured if Kara Goucher and these other women that I read about could do it, of course I could too. My wake up call: Every pregnancy is different, so just because someone was able to run all throughout, or run higher mileage, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to. I remember in the first trimester hearing about how some women were really struggling or they found their pace slowed way down and I didn’t really have too many issues. Then when many women have great running experiences (in the 2nd trimester) was when I really started to struggle. Once again, I was surprised when I got to the third trimester and found it to seem easier than it was often during the second trimester (though my pace had definitely slowed down considerably!). My point is that you just never know how YOUR body is going to respond to pregnancy. So much of it is completely out of your control, so don’t set too high of expectations for yourself so that you aren’t disappointed if you can’t live up to them. This is a relatively short time in your life, try to enjoy it for what it is and be happy doing what you’re able to do. Don’t even compare yourself to your friends.
2.) Don’t listen to your critics. Obviously, you need to listen to your doctor that has yours and your baby’s best interest at heart. Your mom, your friends, your co-workers, they all have had different experiences with pregnancy or may have read outdated information and may not agree with everything you do. Try to remember that their judgments and criticisms come from a well meaning place and don’t take it too much to heart. Only YOU can possibly know your own body and its up to you to communicate how you’re feeling properly to your doctor so they can advise you correctly throughout your pregnancy. I consider myself lucky that my doctor has always been supportive of my running and has continued to encourage it so long as I’m feeling good about it. I picked a younger, female doctor on purpose because I wanted someone that was up to date on current research and I feel that I made a great choice. Sometimes its hard when people look at me like I’m crazy and ask “Are you sure its ok to keep running?” because I feel like I’m being judged or that they think I’m putting my own needs ahead of my child’s. I know the science, I know that I’m not putting anyone at danger, but it still can make you feel bad whenever you feel judged. Just try to shrug it off and keep doing what makes you feel good and happy. Once you have that healthy baby, they will see that you knew what you were doing anyway.
3.) Give yourself a good outlet. Pregnancy is wonderful, but it can also be very hard and challenging at times. Having this blog to help me write my feelings helped me tremendously. Also, having a loving supportive husband that always listens to me, even when I sound crazy was a huge help too. I also try to surround myself with plenty of supportive people who will encourage me, like Mandy who reads this blog (for example, and posts encouraging comments :)).
4.) Find a purpose for running through pregnancy that means something to you. I really enjoyed helping my friend run a PR this fall. That was something I may not have had the chance to do if I had been training for something (and there’s always something on my race calendar). I also was able to connect with several other runners and write training plans for them to use to try to nab PR’s or beat co-workers. It made me still feel connected to the running community while I wasn’t able to race myself. Even with this blog, I hope that I can help even just one person who may struggle with the things that I did and feel better knowing she wasn’t alone.
5.) Always remember the reason that you are doing all this. Has this pregnancy thing been harder than I anticipated? At times, yes. Do I regret it for a minute? No, there is not even a question as to whether or not it will all be worth it once I meet my beautiful girl. Running throughout the pregnancy is not just good for me, but its good for her too. When I was doing all my research, I found that children of mothers who exercised during pregnancy are much less likely to be obese 10 years down the road. They’ve also found the exercise seems to benefit their cognitive development too. They think this is maybe due to the extra oxygen and blood the baby’s receive when their mother’s heart rate is raised. The benefits for you are also worth noting. Besides the stress relief and the instant energy lift, mothers who exercise typically gain less weight and have an easier time with the weight coming off post partum. After I go through delivery, I’ll check back in to let you know whether that is true for me. So far, with 5 weeks to go my total weight gain is at 23 pounds. The recommended weight gain is 25-35 pounds for women who started out at a healthy weight. My weight gain so far puts me right within this healthy range. I haven’t tracked my calories or anything since finding out I’ve been pregnant and have just relied on my exercise and my body to tell me that I’m eating enough/not too much. Whenever I’m hungry, I eat. I try to make healthy choices whenever possible, but I’m no angel and have indulged in treats throughout the pregnancy. I think the exercise helps my body to regulate hunger and has played a huge role in keeping my weight gain on track.
So, those are my thoughts so far. I really hope that I am able to run again sometime before I deliver, but if not, I do not regret any of the running I’ve done so far and to this point. Each day, I am keenly aware that I am getting closer and closer to meeting my daughter and that is what gets me through the hard spots.
If you ran through your pregnancy, any part of it, feel free to post any extra advice/things you learned as well. I like that we all can help and encourage each other!