Monday, May 27, 2013

Reassessment, pep talk, kick in the rear - whatever

For I while, I made a conscious effort to NOT blog about being pregnant but as you've noticed I've given that up. I can't "ignore" it anymore as it most certainly affects my running.

My activity levels have dropped significantly since the Eugene Half Marathon and I'm having a hard time, on many fronts. 

In fact, I (and doc) think the sudden decrease (in combination with fetal development phase I just went through + other work/life stress) messed with my already volatile hormone levels because I've struggled this month, emotionally/mentally, in a way that I never have. I went to a very dark place that I don't want to go back to. I fell slowly then hit hard, and now am climbing back out. I fear that door opening again and particularly fear for what may happen post-partum. 

I didn't have any of these issues with my first pregnancy so don't have the tools in place to handle these things. I'm working on it so I can be ready if/when it happens again. Such a strange feeling. Why does no one ever talk about this stuff happening DURING pregnancy, only AFTER pregnancy? 

Anyway, with all that crap and some lower back and allergy/cold issues, it's been tough trying to pick up the activity levels again in an effort to buoy my mental & emotional game. Let me tell you, this is tougher than any other training I've done to date. I'm really struggling to find the energy and time to exercise outside of my commute, even though I know it is CRITICAL.  

This makes me nervous. 
  • I don't want to go back to the dark place. 
  • I also don't want to lose the fitness I've maintained so well into this pregnancy. 
  • I want to go into my delivery as physically and mentally strong as possible; exercise is critical.
  • If I stop exercising this early in pregnancy, it will be much more difficult to regain fitness after delivery. 
  • Running, and only running, gives me significant emotional and mental peace and strength. 
  • Other forms of exercise will help me arrive at delivery strong but don't quite soothe the savage beast within. 
  • Running is becoming increasingly challenging, physically, for my lower back and feet/ankles. 
  • I fear that if I continue to run much longer, I will cause injury that I will need to rehab post-pregnancy (over-extending already loose ligaments).
  • I need to find a way to get the same mental benefits from non-running exercise.  
I need to temporarily let go of running without letting my activity level continue to drop.

Time to channel Amy Cuddy and FAKE IT UNTIL I MAKE IT; pretend other exercise is as fulfilling as running.  

It's so strange to STOP when, unlike with an injury, I know I CAN run but just think it's not the best choice for my back/ligaments right now. I need to stop soon so I can run injury free in the future...

I need to force myself to hit that pool, free weight section, and elliptical as if it were a refreshing run on a perfectly cool, drizzly day that washes away all the stress. 

Any tips? Should I ask my husband to hide all my running shoes? 
How do you motivate yourself to exercise in a gym while we are having a lovely spring and summer is coming? 

27 comments:

  1. Oh wow. You're right there is SO much nobody talks about. I totally get your wanting the run to keep you from those dark places. You've done an amazing job to this point! As a bed rester with both of my pregnancies I am in awe of your activity level but can only imagine how tough running is on your softened up joints right now. Definitely hit the pool!

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    1. oh no, I should be more grateful I'm not on bedrest - I think it's quite common. Consensus is the pool - I just need to kick myself in the butt to get there.

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  2. I can't encourage you enough to get. to. the pool! I know it's not the same as running. But, go swim and blog about it. I would love to read posts about swimming to encourage me!

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    1. Ok, yes. The pool wins! It just always seems like so much more work, logistically. Excuses.

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  3. I hope by blogging about your fears someone can step forward who has had similar experiences to help you. Maybe you will love swimming at this point as you won't be worried about injuring yourself. I love swimming even though I suck. There is just something special about it. Good luck!

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    1. I like swimming, it's just hard to beat the convenience & fulfillment of running. I know once I start swimming I will get back into the groove - it's just hard establishing that routine!

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  4. There are SO MANY THINGS no one tells you about being pregnant. Everyone talks about strange cravings and gives you BS old-wives-tale "advice" that is totally and completely wrong. And that's all completely the opposite of helpful.

    No one tells you about waking up 3-5 time a night LONG before baby is born. Leg cramps. Loose ligaments. Panic attacks and depression. Etc... etc...

    We should write a book!
    (PS - sent you a msg on FB)

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  5. Sorry, I'm afraid I can't give you any advice. Although, if it's motivation to get out the door, tell yourself how good you'll feel after. Even if it's a brisk walk around the block.

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  6. So sorry you're stuggling. I remember how hard pregnancy was, in fact it's the biggest reason I stopped at 2 kids!
    I wonder if you approached your physical activity like you were injured? Think about taking the time to strengthen your body or look in to things you maybe didn't have time for before, but would now without running. Like a prenatal yoga class or something? And see if you can get excited about the gym in little ways, like watch bad tv or read magazines on the elliptical. Buy cute clothes or something that makes you excited to put them on. Basically, bribe yourself w/ things you might not have done when running. Or maybe I am the only one that works for, haha.
    Good luck, mama.

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    1. Yes, you are right. I need to just treat this like injury. Also, I need to suck it up & just be happy I'm carrying a baby & still active at all.

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  7. I just wanted to give you a big hug through the interwebs. It sucks my fitness level is gone and I was never where you were. I get my enjoyment in planning my comeback right now as pretty much all types of workouts cause me extreme pain. Never where I thought I would be. HUGS!

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    1. Again, another reminder that I should be thankful that I'm not in extreme pain. I had pretty bad round ligament pain with #1 so everything I can do this time definitely is a gift. I think we will be able to start a post-partum re-bound running club soon!

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  8. Alma - I have no idea what it's like to be pregnant, but here are some ideas: water aerobics?? It might help to mix it up with swimming laps which can get pretty boring. Short brisk hikes up trails like Little Si or Cougar Mountain?? Those might be tough on your back and ligaments coming down though.

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  9. Yes, I also think exercising in the pool would be great! Resistance from the water yet easy on the body.... I remember having so much discomfort from ligaments stretching when I was pregnant, especially the second (and thankfully last) time. I was a walker, not a runner back then, but it seriously hurt to just walk at the mall or in the store...I can feel it like it was yesterday, not 18 YEARS ago! :)

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  10. I pretty much gave up ALL exercise in my third trimester because I was very tired. Knowing what was to come with a newborn, I felt it was better to rest up than exhaust myself. I worked out until 39 weeks with my first pregnancy. My birth experience was not affected in the slightest as far as having energy. I feel like that is sort of out of your control and you don't need to worry about a lack of exercise affecting that too badly. Remember, this time around labor will probably be about 50% shorter!

    In regards to recovery, I haven't noticed too much of a difference this time. Actually things are somewhat easier because I'm not recovering from surgery. It is always going to be difficult to build back up and the extra lbs don't help at all either. Just remember to be patient with yourself.

    If you have $$ to burn, maybe you can find one of those AlterG things? There is a local chiro here that allows runners to use his for a fee. It is pricey (and still indoors) but if you just have to run, it might be an option.

    *Internet hugs*

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    1. Yeah, I may throw in the towel when I get closer. I'm only at 26 weeks and feel like I have a lot to go. Plus, a big motivator for me to keep active is that I have a week-long field work trip to do in JULY for work. I will be walking all day and the only way I will survive that is to stay in shape at least until then. YIKES! Once that hits, I will likely just relax. However, I'm 95% sure I will be c-sect this time too, so my recovery is going to take a while :( I have been having this likely false idea that if I stay in shape up until the delivery, that recovery will be easier to handle. ??

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  11. I have zero useful advice because I was the laziest pregnant woman ever, but I hope hope hope you can find a suitable running replacement asap. I like Kim's swimming suggestion.

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  12. I took spinning classes during my first 3 pregnancies up until 7 months without any issues. My last pregnancy I ran until 6 months. I also continued spinning until 32 weeks, when I was admitted into the hospital where I stayed for 3 weeks due to unexplained bleeding. It turned out there was a fold in my placenta. I was able to carry my daughter full term and she was born perfectly healthy. The doctors never said what caused the fold, but I don't think the spin classes helped. I understand your dread of inactivity and fear of losing your fitness, but those first 6 weeks after Baby is born fly by in no time. You'll be back on your feet in a flash. I agree with swimming and the elliptical. It's all temporary.

    Good luck and congrats on this special occasion. I'm one of the few who actually loved being pregnant. No more babies here, though. Too old, tired, and poor for any more kids.

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    1. I see you ran Hood to Coast! I'm doing it for the first time this year. Do you have a race report link? Did you love it?

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    2. Wow - you were really active during multiple pregnancies! Nice! I wish I was one who enjoyed pregnancy but not the case. I should be more grateful for both pregnancy AND being active, especially as an "older" mom.
      As for HTC - it is a blast, so much FUN! I ran it once in 1993 as part of a corporate team where the company I worked for sponsored & organized everything and we just had to show up. The second time was around 2007 and I helped organize and that was a bit stressful. So, if you are in the lucky camp of just showing up without having to handle planning/logistics, it will be especially great. No blog recaps but some friends of mine have recaps from 2011. Kerrie @ Mom vs Marathon: http://momvsmarathon.sanitydepartment.com/hood-to-coast-relay-recap-part-iv-the-end/
      is a good place to start. Pretty sure she has links to other ladies who ran with her. She even has a link to a relay packing list on her blog.

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    3. Thank you for the referrals! I will read their race reports. I guess I am one of the lucky ones who just has to show up. My biggest concern is the HTC race falls on the weekend of my first 20 miler in the Pfitzinger marathon training program. My legs will add up to about 17 or 18 miles, but I'm not sure if I should count them since it's not one continuous long run. Any thoughts on this?

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    4. I think my experienced marathon trainer friends would say to schedule your 20-miler for a different weekend because it's all about getting the continuous time on your feet. They have to get used to being pounded for 4+ hours straight. If you know people who have run several, I would ask them. I also value the opinion of Elizabeth @ runningforbling blog - She is a TNT coach.

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  13. I wasn't a runner when I had my kids so I never ran in pregnancy, but with my 2nd I did weekly aqua-natal classes, water aerobics for pregnant women, and I LOVED it. I'm not much of a swimmer but it was so relaxing and the exercise made me feel so much better.

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  14. Sorry, also wanted to say good luck with it all and hope you can stay out of that dark place. Take care. x

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  15. So sorry you've been struggling. No pregnancy advice from me, but I am always up for walks (and so is Ramona of course). I know walking is not the same as running, but when you have a nice view and someone to talk to (not to mention a big goofy dog), it does make it more fun plus it totally counts as exercise. If you want a buddy for water aerobics, I'm game for that too (though I once got kicked out of a water aerobics class for laughing too much!!).

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  16. obviously no advice, but maybe have the hubs take away the shoes??

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  17. Thanks for being so honest and share this with us. I have no idea about being pregnant but do you think it might be helpful to go for a walk with a friend? This way you have your girl time and you move. Not like running, but at least walking and fresh air.

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