Category Archives: Pregnancy

Pregnancy: The Good, The Bad, and The Running

222 Days down, 58 days to go. Or so my app tells me, as I lay on my sofa trying not to fall asleep at an absurdly early hour, while my stomach is assaulted from the inside by what feels like some kind of weird alien creature. I’m not sure that can be correct though, as I’m pretty confident that I have actually been pregnant for at least the last 2 decades!

Anyone who pays me more than a passing interest probably already knows that I have not exactly taken to being pregnant, although it seems that having this opinion is as bad as kicking puppies, drowning kittens or something equally dastardly. At best I’m told to appreciate the miracle my body is performing, and for the record I totally do, which doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the expanding waist line that comes along with it. At worst I’ve had veiled comments about how grateful I should be as other people aren’t so lucky, and this really is a case of don’t judge someone’s story on the chapter you walk in on. Yes I may not like being pregnant, I always knew I wouldn’t, I have far to much emotional baggage when it comes to my self image and self confidence, but I am eternally, incredibly, happy and grateful to have the chance to sit here hating how I feel and writing this.

For anyone still feeling judgemental here’s our story: after my first pregnancy ended in a  miscarriage which devastated us, we then spent well over a year failing to conceive again, with no idea if it would ever happen, or even if it could, while watching other people fall pregnant all around us. Perhaps I’d be less judged for being honest about pregnancy if I also told people about the times I cried and cried over yet another month failing to get pregnant in the first place. I am the 1 in 4 that lost a pregnancy and I am the 1 in 8 that struggled to conceive, and I am so happy and excited to be finally about to start a family, I can’t wait to meet my little girl, but this does not mean I have to enjoy being pregnant. It is an entirely valid point of view and here’s another little secret, many of the ladies I know who have actually been pregnant themselves have – shock horror – told me how much they too disliked it!

Some people do love being with child, but personally feeling fat, unattractive, tired, unable to find ANY decent clothes and having to deal with all of it without the aid of a glass of wine is not something I’m enjoying! I’m actually jealous of the people who enjoy it, but at least I have been lucky enough to be having a straightforward time of it, and I did title the blog the GOOD, the bad and the running so there is a little positivity for you!

The one thing I have been determined to do is keep as fit as possible throughout, which isn’t always easy when fatigue takes hold, or you’re uncomfortable, you need to pee every 5 minuets and just getting out of bed in the morning is a battle. I think I’ve done a reasonable job of it though, as I have been shamelessly documenting though my Instagram!

I carefully read all I could about exercising pregnant, checked blogs, articles, medical advice. Talked to my doctor, midwife, trainer, and husband before deciding what to do and what not to do, worried that this too was (is – I’ve had some looks!) something I would be judged harshly for. The prevailing opinion through my research is that you can continue to do pretty much anything you were already doing, but may need to dial down the intensity. You should be able to hold a conversation while exercising, if you can’t, you’re working too hard! There are also a few modifications like not doing any exercises that require you to lie flat on your back, but taking all this into account I’ve not had to change my routine too much, just slow it down, and I don’t do anything if it feels uncomfortable.

Since getting pregnant I have managed to take part in about 13 different races, ranging anywhere from 10k’s up to half marathons, both on road and trail, including some night runs, although I did decided to withdraw from two, a full marathon, and a Brutal race that would have involved cold dirty water – which  for me was just not worth the risk.

I still get out and run a couple of times a week, although these runs are getting shorter and slower, and tend to follow the same 6km route around the park these days (there are lots of toilets there!). I have to walk more often and hills are the bane of my running life, but I’m still getting out there. I also still do a personal training session a week, which is half exercise, half personal therapy. My poor trainer probably knows more about me than anyone and has seen me through a lot, this pregnancy just being the latest in a long list over the past few years (Thanks Adam!) I  also do one or two circuit classes a week as well. It sounds a lot I guess, but it’s time well spent keeping me active, and will hopefully help with recovery after I give birth (something I’m avoiding thinking about at the moment, no point worrying for the next two months about something that is inevitable, she’s got to come out somehow after all!) It is also hopefully helping to control the pregnancy weight gain, because no matter how much people say not to worry about it, as a former fatty I do worry about it, a lot! Most of all it helps mentally, I would have gone stir-crazy had I needed to give up exercise for 9 months, as it does more than help keep the body healthy, it’s good for the mind too!

I get asked a lot when I will have to give up. “There must come a point when you will have to stop” and my answer is always “Not Yet” I don’t plan to stop, I may cut down, I will stop doing anything that doesn’t feel right to me, I will listen to my body, but all the time I can do something, I will. I’m not just keeping me healthy, I’m creating a healthy environment for my baby too, after-all I’m pregnant, not terminally ill!

The support I have received from the people I train with, as well as my family and friends has been immense, and I’m sure I will be able to continue to rely on it once the baby is born.. and I’m going to need it, because as soon as I’m recovered enough it will be time to start training for the 2019 London Marathon, as around 10 months postpartum, I’ll be taking on that 26.2 Miles, after deferring this year and I’m under no illusions that fitting in this training with a new baby is going to be easy. I’m sure it is going to throw up a whole new host of challenges, but I’ll meet them when they come, and I’ll be able to celebrate the achievement after with my newly growing family… and a lot of wine!

Finishing my most resent half marathon (28 weeks pregnant)

 

Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon, and a bit of a Farewell.

As the year draws to a close there was room for one more race on my calendar (it was going to be two, but I have decided that cold dirty water is not the best idea when pregnant so I have given my Brutal entry to a friend and will be there in a supportive capacity only).

After I’ve finished writing this race up I’m going to wind the blog down for a while. In all honesty there is only so many ways I can talk about running a race, particularly as I have started doing more standard running, OCR did at least give a bit more variety to a race review! I’m not closing it down, or stopping completely though. This is a great outlet, and not always about running, and some of my most popular blogs have been the more personal ones rather than the race write ups.

My plan going forward is to write what I feel like, when I feel like it. If a race is particularly good, or unusual, or a big deal, something different that I’ve not done before then I’ll write about it. If something is on my mind, I’ll write about it, but they will be fewer and further between in the future.

One thing that will be coming up in the future is a little known race called the London Marathon (You heard it here first kids!) I got in on the ballot this year, on my first ever attempt and found out about a week after getting the positive pregnancy test (you couldn’t make this up!), so my entry is getting deferred until 2019 which means some serious training once baby has arrived to try and be Marathon ready – I’ll have about 10 months to get back in shape and sorted, and I think I might want to write a little about that!

So with “farewells” over with, to business, the Portsmouth Half…

With our hotel just over the road from the start line, it was probably the most chilled out morning before a race in a long time, no need to rush, or get cold waiting to start just cross the road and get ready to run, especially as we picked our numbers up the night before.

This race offered an ultra (50k), full marathon or half marathon all setting off half an hour apart, following the same out and back route but with different turn around points. Ours being the shortest distance we were set off last at 9am, and headed out along the seafront.

Views from the start line

Once again my husband agreed to slow down and run with me, and we plodded along together along the promenade, and then onto a section of beach, which would be cut off by the tide on our way back giving the course a slightly different route after we turned around.

The course was mostly on coastal paths, but did take us on some muddy paths, and through a small patch of woods, as well as the beach section on the way out. The drinks stops were well stocked with sweets, shot-blocks, jaffa cakes and mince pies, as well as offering shots of mulled wine and beer on the return leg for anyone who wanted them. (I obviously stuck to the water!)

It was a really flat route which would allow for some quick times if you were looking for a PB, and there were some lovely views on the way round, but I think it could have been a bit bleak on a miserable day!

Views on the way round

At the finish we were given a large medal and a goody bag containing food, drink and a wrag, had a photo snapped and then made our way back over to our hotel for a hot shower.

Finished

And with that my years races are complete, and I’m signing off for a bit… unless I have something to say that is 🙂

TTFN

 

Maverick Dark Series – Surrey and Hampshire

To finish off November and Kick off December the hubby and I had two more of the Maverick Dark series races to run. In between these races and my previous race I have “come out” as being pregnant, which explains why Phil has agreed to drop his pace to run with me, and why I’ve slowed down quite as much as I have, making a concerted effort to not over exert myself.

The first of the two races was set in Surrey at the Denbies Wine Estate. We signed up for the three dark series races before we knew I was pregnant so we had already opted to do the long distance for each of them. This race was advertised as 15km for the long distance, but eventually came up just a little short, around 14.5km by my watch, a little less than that if you believe Phil’s.

It was freezing cold on the evening, and we were lucky that we could use the main building of the Denbies Wine Estate, including the warm indoor toilets prior to the race, eventually though we had to head out into the biting cold to take our places by the start line. we set off into the dark at 5pm, in the glow of our head-torches, and pretty much straight up a hill.

Cresting the hill
Photo Credit: Sue Hill Photography

The hill felt never ending, I found it really tough going, and had to give up and walk despite it being so near the beginning of the race. The views out over the estate were amazing though, the lights of Surrey twinkling below us. As the path levelled off it was easier to run again, but it’s fair to say I found this race tough. It was really hilly and I was suffering somewhat with fatigue. I wasn’t sorry It came up a little short.

Despite being a trail run, underfoot the ground was good, sometimes on paths and sometimes on wooded trails, and much less muddy than the previous race in Sussex! This was a good thing as we had to swing by a family charity event on our way home, and it also made changing in a freezing cold car park much easier too!

The next weekend we packed up the car and headed to the New Forest for the Hampshire race. This time we booked ourselves into a hotel nearby, so we were able to get changed and take the 5 min drive to the race start without rushing.

The race was based at Foxlease in Lyndhurst, which is a Girl Guiding UK activity centre (one that brought back happy memories, as I actually stayed here in my younger days). Again the HQ was in doors, which meant no portaloos, but the evening didn’t feel as cold as the week before.

This race was advertised as 16km, and with less elevation than the week before, I was confident the extra distance shouldn’t be too much of a problem, a good thing, as this time I clocked the race as a little over the advertised distance. Again we set off in the dark at 5pm, out of the main entrance of Foxlease and straight into the forest.

Again, the route was easy going underfoot, keeping to the fire roads that weave through the forest. It was really pleasant running through the trees in the dark, at one point running past a bemused looking pony in the dark (although I only noticed the one). The hills were much more manageable than the week before and I felt like I was running much better this time.

Nearly at the finish!
Photo Credit: Sue Hill Photography

After a bit of a nasty fall earlier in the week proceeding this event, the race really helped to restore my running confidence (although I’ve not run since, still a little nervous I think) and it was a wonderful run.

When we finished the only slight dampener on the evening was not receiving the original medal for the event, after it had been over sold, we were handed a wooden engraved medal which we have seen at other races being given to the dogs! We were both slightly miffed, it made the ending feel a bit flat. Although I don’t usually care about what (if any) medal I get, I have a wall full of the things, but I had wanted to collect the set and the wooden medal was just not the same as the glow in the dark medal we should have received.  I have been at other races where, when they have taken on extra runners, those runners have been marked on their number or similar, and those are the ones that get the alternative. Perhaps something to think about, as we were not last minuet sign ups.

This stupid little moan aside, which really probably wasn’t worth the paragraph I wasted on it (but hey, i’m pregnant, irrational and want what I want!), these races were fantastic! I really hope I’m able to get in a couple of Maverick’s next year, be it the original series or more in the dark, even if I have to cut down to the short distance and waddle!

Maverick Dark Series, Done!