Tag Archives: training

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)

 

Tapering and The Rye Summer Series July 10k (Road to Bournemouth week 13)

Taper week. never have two words looked so beautiful on a scruffy bit of paper than these! After three very heavy race weekends on the bounce, the realisation that I wasn’t going to have to do as much running this week was a joy to behold. It meant I could spend my Monday having a lie-in, resting my aching body with all its cuts and bruises from it’s weekend of OCR without feeling guilty.

In all honesty this taper week was more well planned than I could have anticipated as I have been shattered all week, to the point where twice I came home from work, sat on the bed to take off my work clothes and found myself waking up an hour later in that bemused state of “What year is this, what planet am I on?” that comes from an unexpected nap… and I don’t nap! I clearly needed a rest.

I made it a light training week, with just two Bootcamp sessions, and it’s fair to say I struggled with these, a bruised rib making some exercises nearly impossible and leaving me feeling a bit pathetic! I managed a couple of kilometres of running during these sessions but nothing crazy, so I should have been going into Friday well rested, but I still felt sluggish and tired.

Rye Summer Series race 1

Friday evening I travelled with the hubby to Rye Harbour for the first of the three races that make up the Rye Summer Series with a sense of trepidation. I had won the series last year but am well aware that my running is not where it was, I was curious to see, in race conditions and on this flat course, exactly how much slower I’ve actually gotten!

It was a really hot evening, as we set off out of the harbour and along the road, before turning into the nature reserve. The wind was fairly strong pushing back at you as you ran, and It was already feeling like a struggle, it felt like my brain was having an argument with itself as I ran, the pessimistic side telling me “You can’t do this, you’ll never make 10km, You’re already struggling” against the side of me that stubbornly refuses to ever give up “you’ve got this, don’t stop running, it doesn’t matter what time you do, just get it done”

The race directors had made the decision to move the water station from the end of the out and back course, to the 3km mark meaning you would hit it twice due to the hot conditions, and the hit of cool water was quite reviving. I had a bit of a stitch from the off and my knee was aching, I was being passed fairly regularly and really felt like I was struggling out to the 5km point. Round the cone and back the way we had came, I started finally to get into my stride, picked the pace up a bit and began to feel a bit more comfortable despite the heat feeling 10 times worse now the wind was at your back and not in your face. Back past the water station most of the second cup went over my head, as I started to pick a few people off again, turning into the final straight and finishing seconds after one of my bootcamp friends who I’d not quite been able to catch. After a quick breather I jogged to the end of the harbour and back to make up the 10km that my watch had clocked slightly short and ended up clocking it as just over 52 mins although my race time was less than this due to my extra little jog. This was 4mins slower than last year, which feels a little disappointing despite knowing I would be slower, but I had still managed a top 10 ladies finish and it’s given me a time to aim to beat next month!

I finished my week with a personal training session where we did a short run then lifted weights and had a really long stretch giving me a slightly shorter than planned distance for the week, and brought my well needed “rest week” to a close. This week no excuses, time to get back out on those long runs!

Week 13 running total: 19km

Reset, Rebuild, and Start Training – I’ve a Marathon to Run!

Life’s a journey, but sometimes it’s easy to get a little lost along the way, especially without a goal to aim for, and that’s where I’ve been stuck for a while. Lost. Bouncing from this race to that race at random, no direction to my training, and a whole lot of injury.

I’ve had ankle injuries, shin injuries and most recently a very painful knee injury which stopped me running for a month while I attempted to let it heal. While on my self imposed rest I realised that I needed a new goal, something to work towards, and a proper plan to allow this to happen without me damaging myself any further.

I did some race research and picked out some that I would like to do, a mixture of road runs and trail races, and, crucially, I found myself a goal. The Bournemouth Marathon at the beginning of October. I also sat down and worked out a training plan that took me from sitting on my ass to (hopefully) being able to run this race, increasing my running slowly week on week to avoid further injury, something I’ve never done before, always being a bit ad-hock with my running and just doing what I feel like, when I feel like it.

Training plan – draft 1

I ran my plan past Adam, my PT, and he approved it, and it started this week with my first run in over a month. I taped up my knee and did a 5k jaunt around the park that I was under instruction to keep slow (although It didn’t actually end up quite as slow as I had intended, but I certainly didn’t push too hard either) It was tough going, the weather was warm, I had just come back from a holiday so I wasn’t very well fuelled and I was feeling a bit under the weather, but I got it done and it felt good to be out running again.

If it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen!

I supplemented this with a HIIT class later the same day, then made sure to ice my knee well that evening. It ached but wasn’t too painful.  Sadly that “feeling a bit under the weather” turned into something a bit worse, laying me up for a day or so, causing me to miss one planned workout, but the plan for running is still good, with a further 5k planned for Friday, and another run on Saturday to give me a weekly total for my first week back of about 15km, a far cry from what I was doing, but a good gentle start to build on.

Ice and Tape

I intend to blog my journey along the way, sometimes about training and often I suspect about the other races that are being booked in as part of the running plan, the first of which will be the next Brutal 10, building to a half marathon in June, and another in September and culminating in the Marathon in October.

I’ve needed to get my act together for a while now, it’s been obvious to quite a few people that I’ve been struggling, and having a goal to aim for should really help me get my fitness back on track, shift some of the weight I’ve gained, and help me get back into a more positive mindset, as running is good therapy and relief from my stressful job and anxiety. I’m looking forward to this journey, nervous about more injury, and my ability to complete a “proper marathon” one where I don’t stop every 5 miles, and wondering about my discipline to complete the longer runs once they start to come around, but this should be good for me, and will be a great personal achievement if I get there, so, watch this space…