Thursday, March 29, 2012

Overdoing It While Pregnant

Being in my second trimester (21 weeks), I have begun feeling pretty good.  Almost normal, even.  The weird nausea type feelings in my stomach are gone as well as the extreme fatigue I felt during the first tri.  When it came to exercising during my first trimester, I always knew what I could and couldn't do because my body would tell me.  I'd feel tired by mile 4, so I'd know 6 miles wasn't a good idea.  My breathing would become labored quickly, so I knew to slow down and do more of a warm-up before running or picking up my pace.  And some days my body simply said, "Not today" or "Just go for a walk."

Now, however, my body seems ready to go!  And it is wonderful!  If I don't run in the morning, I am raring to go by the afternoon.  My runs are stronger and I can go further than I thought I'd be able to by this point.  I've added in weights and pilates, and I'm on week 3 of being consistent with those workouts.  They feel SO GOOD!  So what's the problem?  Well, my body no longer tells me when I'm overdoing.  At least not in the moment.  It waits a few days and then it hits.  The extreme tiredness returns as if I am back in my first trimester or I haven't slept in a week.  Yesterday was one of those days where I didn't have the mental or physical energy to do much at all.  It started the day before but I did not recognize it for what it was.

Sunday Jason and I went to church with his parents in Kentucky and then drove home.  I got in a quick and fast 3 miles that night.  I ran a sub 9 minute pace, flying down my neighborhood streets under a starry sky and it felt AMAZING.  On Monday I got up and did my weights and pilates and then ran to my sister's house to feed her pets, giving me 5.5 miles for the day.  Tuesday morning I didn't have the will to get out, and I had class that night, so that was a rest day.  I assumed after that, I was ready to go so Wednesday morning I met a client at 5:30am for two miles and then ran with my friend, Julia for 3 more.  Then I was dead.  Dead tired.  I had a hair appointment at 9:30, so I crawled back in bed until time to go.  After my appointment, instead of going to work, I went back home and slept some more.  What was the deal?

I think I overdid it.  And the sad truth is I HATE thinking I overdid it.  I don't want that to be the case.  I've been reading of several women who have done amazing things during their pregnancies, so I wanted to believe I could do amazing things too.  They are able to run fast paces for 6+ miles while pregnant, so why shouldn't I be able to run a slow and easy 6 miler a few times a week?

Comparison.  It is the root of unhappiness I think.  And usually I don't compare because I know I'm me for a reason and I've got what I've got.  And what a blessing it is!  So I'm not going to compare myself to someone else because I don't want a different set of blessings no matter how fast they run or how great their arms look.  Except lately, I've turned to these women for examples on what is acceptable during pregnancy and how to approach our beloved sport of running when we are building a little one at the same time... and they amaze me.  So I step out the door and try to do the same thing.  It works for a day or two but then my body says, "You are Jane!  Act like Jane!"  Only I have no idea what I should act like when I'm pregnant because I've never been pregnant!

You can see the problem here.  I simply don't know.  My Personal Fitness instructor gave me a book reference, along with a link to the ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) article on exercise during pregnancy to help with my questions.  I purchased the book and I'm still making my way through it, hoping for more information on how much is too much.

The thing is, everyone is different.  One hint that the women I am reading about can and will do more than me while pregnant is what they did when they weren't pregnant.  If they are shooting for a sub 3:10 marathon and I am shooting for a sub 3:45... there is a difference there.  I am not yet where they are physically sans baby, so why would I expect to be with one on board?  Well duh.  But still...

So as I sat on my front porch yesterday, enjoying the breeze and watching green leaves grow on the tree outside, I thought the best course of action was to take one day at a time and learn as much as I can in the process.  Listen to my body, go a little easier than I think I should, and be kind to myself and this little one growing inside.  I want to be tough.  I want to be strong.  And while I thought my definitions of these things had been modified for pregnancy, I think I may still have a little more modification left to do.

I write about this to not only chronicle my very first pregnancy, but to hopefully provide a resource to other women who are newly pregnant runners themselves and like me, searching for women who have already gone through the experience.  It is new and exciting, but also full of questions and changes and I hope my journey as a pregnant runner can assist my fellow moms-to-be with their journeys as well.


  1. I kind of feel the same way, only mine is in retrospect. Like, "Why couldn't I run like they did while I was pregnant?" I mean, there are people who do AMAZING things, like the girl who ran Chicago when I did last October at 9 months pregnant and delivered that same day after the race. And while it would be pretty cool to be able to say you did that, is that where we should get our glory? Someone is always going to be "tougher" than you or do more than you. You just have to be you. And pregnancy isn't the time to start proving how tough you are either. I like your approach. You seem to be listening to yourself well and making smart choices.

  2. I remind myself now "Run your own Race" because sometimes I find myself disappointed in what I can do compared to someone else. We are all different and each pregnancy is different too so go with what you feel is good for you. I think it's excellent you are still very active for 21 weeks :) Plus hormones sometimes play a part with the energy thing or the lack there of.

  3. Great words here. So glad to read more of your blog today Jane. Each of my pregnancies were so different and I Just did what I could do and went easy on myself. Plenty of time to get back at it after the baby comes.

  4. In retrospect, I must say, that I did NOT want to let go of running in my third pregnancy. I wasn't really a fully dedicated runner in my first two pregnancies. Then in the third, I was SO caught up with maintaining my running, it kind of took some joy out of the pregnancy. Even if you have to stop running completely, you WILL be a runner again, like before, with potential to be faster.