Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marathon Running While Pregnant

Although I ran all throughout my last pregnancy, up until the day before I went into labor, I didn't do any COMPETITIVE running during the pregnancy, and I was bummed about that!

My niece and I were pregnant at the same time in 2008. I was due 4-27-08 and I believe she was due 5-1-08.  I opted to not run my annual Fitger's 5K, thinking it was too close to my due date. My niece ran it though...9 months pregnant, and looked like a rockstar! I was

For the rest of the day I lamented to my husband... "I should've run it..." I even went to the gym that day and ran a 5K on the treadmill as hard as I could to try and make myself feel better...but somehow it was just not the same.

I did run my annual Grandma's half marathon that June, about 6 weeks post-baby. It was a hot day and pretty tough, but I made it through...feeling pretty good that I was only 6 weeks post partum!

Well, I just finished registering for two upcoming races...Fitger's 5K on April 17th and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon on June 19th.  I'm already "in" for Fitger's, but Grandma's is a lottery where they select 5,000 runners. I got a message saying I would be notified by March 4th about whether I got in.

At the time of Fitger's, I will be about 22 weeks pregnant...which won't be such a big deal...but I am a competitive person and I won't be able to do it "just for fun." I will push myself, I know it...but at least my belly will still be somewhat manageable.

For the half, I will be seven months pregnant! Gulp. Seriously, that makes me a little nervous! Not sure how competitive I will be at 7 months preggo...

I know I am not the first or only person who has run a marathon while pregnant... but the unknowns make me a little apprehensive.  Thankfully, my ever-supportive hubby will be by my side. He is even more competitive than I am...and I just have this feeling it will KILL him to be slogging beside his pregnant wife...hahaha I keep telling him he could go off on his own, perhaps beat our personal record of 1:52 from last year!  He says no, no... "we're going to do it together, we always do it together."

I am seriously hoping it won't be 80 degrees like it has been for the past few years! 

It will be really cool to say I did it though, huh?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Food Hangover

I woke up today with a food hangover.

Since I quit drinking going on seven years ago, I have not had a traditional "hangover" in a loooong time, but when I veer off my food plan, I CERTAINLY feel it. Headache, nausea, bloated, sluggish, guilty and depressed. FUN TIMES.

Pips woke us up at 8:15...and even though I'd been sleeping for 9+ hours, I felt like I didn't want to wake up. (another sign of depression!) Mike dragged himself out of bed and started tending to Pips. He came back into the bedroom to look at me, still rolling around under the covers. "I'm depressed," I moaned.

"What are you going to do?" he asked, curiously. I thought his response was kind of funny so I rambled, "I don't know...slit my wrists...check into Miller Dwan..." Finally I sat up in bed and told him, "I'm going running."

He looked relieved.

I knew the only cure for my food hangover was some good old fashioned cardio. I had plenty of sugar and glycogen stores to use up, AND I desperately needed to reboot my brain.

I got myself dressed in my running gear, checked the temp (37 already), and downed a protein drink. No carbs for me today!

I headed out at ten a.m...started out slow, then gradually picked up the pace. The sun felt warm and the breeze was lovely. I purposely DIDN'T bring my iPod, which is scary for me, especially on a long run when I could potentially get very, very bored...however I wanted to force my brain to just THINK without any distractions.

I covered mile upon mile at a moderately brisk pace, and the more I ran, the more I thought and the better I felt.

At the halfway point, I stopped to admire a view of the bay and deeply breathe in a few lungfuls of the crisp air. I headed back home for the second half of the run and again turned to my thoughts. I mulled over my future and came up with several ideas for avenues I plan to pursue. I wished I'd brought a little memo book with me so I could jot down my ideas. Next time!

I arrived back at my house about an hour and fifteen minutes later, after covering eight miles. I actually wanted to keep going, but Mike had an appointment with his personal trainer and I had to get home.

Back in the house, I took a shower and felt exhilirated. The food hangover was gone!

I may have to rethink these "cheat" days. Next time, I may have to make it simply a cheat MEAL, and not a whole day!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cheat Day

Ughhhh...I am sooo full.

I never used to allow myself to indulge, I would feel too guilty. I would diligently follow my daily routine of diet and exercise and rarely veer off plan. Despite this, I had to fight to maintain my weight.

Once in a while, I would allow myself a small treat, maybe something like a peanut butter cup or handful of chips...but I would quickly stop myself for fear I may get out of control.

A few months ago, I realized something...I had not had an entire "cheat meal" since LAST JUNE! Yep, June 2009, after running the Grandma's half marathon, I allowed myself to have a shrimp basket, onion rings and root beer from A&W. And, I didn't feel all that comfortable about it. This didn't seem right to me, to NEVER allow myself to indulge when I am so diligent about my diet and exercise on a daily basis. I always say no to goodies around the office, off-limits foods and even on HOLIDAYS, will eat maybe one piece of candy. I have to tell you a secret: this past Christmas Day, I made myself get up at 6 a.m. so I could run 5 miles before my family got up. This did not seem right to me, it seemed a bit obsessive the more I thought about it. I decided I had to relax the rules and live a little.

So, last month, I started toying with the idea of allowing myself a "cheat (or treat)" day once a month, where I would let myself have absolutely ANYTHING I had been craving.

I try to follow a strict "primal" diet the rest of the time. I eat whole foods, no grain, sugar, gluten, processed carbs of packaged "fake" foods. My diet consists mainly of meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, low glycemic fruits and vegetables and protein drinks.

However, a life where I would NEVER allow myself to have indulgences such as pizza, ice cream, chocolate or fast food would make me crazy and it might become impossible to stick to my plan.

Although a bit apprehensive...I decided to try it last month. I picked a day and decided "this is going to be my FREE DAY. Whatever I want. I had waffles for breakfast, a moderately intense workout, then went to McDonald's with Mike where I had a few little fried goodies I'd been visualizing sinking my teeth into for some time. Filet-o-Fish, fries and orange drink. I know this is absolute junk, but it's nostalgic for me. When I was a kid, it was such a huge treat to go on a school field trip and visit McDonald's. I ALWAYS got the Filet-o-Fish. I loved the tartar sauce, cheese slice and squishy doughy bun. Mmmm... it tasted great, but I wasn't stopping there! I told Mike I was STILL we both had another Filet-o-Fish and more fries! OINK!

After that I took a little break, then topped off the night with a Brownie Earthquake from DQ. It was good, but soooo sweet... Blah. I wished I had ordered a Peanut Buster Parfait. Next month! I promised myself. I went to bed feeling stuffed and sick. UGH. Thought to myself, "I'm going to display some more restraint next time." Hah! I jumped back on my usual plan the next day, had a great workout...and had weigh-in a week later. Weight was the same, no harm done.

Today, a month had passed, and a planned cheat day #2. Two things I had been fantasizing about: that peanut buster parfait and onion rings. I was determined to have BOTH!

I had an 18 hour fast yesterday (from 4 p.m. - 10:00 a.m.). Actually intermittent fasting is not bad for you and Primal Fitness highly recommends it. I also ran 3.5 miles on an empty stomach this morning, so around 10 I was starved and ready to EAT!!! Mike and I went out for breakfast...and the party was on. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast and a bran muffin. MMMMM. For lunch, we had pizza at work, I had just one slice but it was huge. Not bad... um, ok... then I got home and Hailey and I had a long-standing date to go to Dairy Queen. Yep, my PBP was on the way!!! So we hit up the DQ where I FINALLY got to have my beloved royal treat and an order of onion rings. Heaven. (I did give Hailey ONE. hahahaha) The PBP was delicious by the way...that hot fudge...oooohhh... I think the baby loved it! Yeah, that's right. I did it for the baby. Ha.

OK, after that... I was pretty maxed out. The food fun wasn't over yet though because we had plans to go to church for their fish fry. I collapsed on the couch to rest my stomach for a while. LOL We headed up to church around 6. I was fired up for fish but my feeding had slowed down considerably. I managed to choke down one relatively small piece and 3 (very) mini dinner rolls squishy with butter - strange I know but I never eat bread and for some reason they were tasting really good to me - and some strawberry shortcake. I tried to resist it...but watching the strawberry sauce soaking into the delicious shortbread was just too much to take.

UGHHHH... on the way home, I thought I was dying. LOL I had way overdone it, again! My stomach felt like it was going to burst. I moaned and complained and lolled in the seat, nauseous with every bump that jarred my stomach. NOT FUN! I told myself. Why can't you just have a few treats and not get crazy??? I obviously can't do cheat day in moderation...and I guess that's why it's cheat day. One of the things is that once it's done, I don't feel like doing it again for another month and the thought of eating sugar and junk carbs makes me want to barf. I went home and drank water like I had been hiking across the desert...I was SO thirsty and my stomach was filled to the max so I couldn't drink much.

I think cheat day is a good gives me something to look forward to, a reward for all the hard work I do the other 29 or 30 days out of the month and it helps remind me why I don't eat those foods REGULARLY. It's also A LOT easier to say no to that office birthday cake or fast-food drive through that's often a daily temptation.

I think a long run is in order tomorrow, I will have tons of glycogen stores to burn up!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chronic Cardio

I've really been working at varying my workouts this week, to not be afraid to change things up.

I have been "chained" to running for many years, and a few weeks ago I tired of it. I think it was after I started reading "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson. He talks about this syndrome called "chronic cardio." We have all seen people who seem to run, aerobicize, or otherwise sweat their asses off at various machines at the gym to a frenetic pace...however they consistently lament about how they can't seem to lose that last 10-20 pounds despite their best efforts.

He describes how "chronic cardio" is stressful to your body, by causing you to produce excess amounts of cortisol and other stress hormones, by keeping your body jacked with adrenaline and by depleting your muscles of glucose and causing you to contantly crave sugars and simple carbs.

I thought about how despite my ever-increasing running regime, it didn't seem to be changing my body at all.

About a month ago, I noticed I had started eating too many simple carbs. I cut out coffee and replaced it with orange juice. I started eating Raisin Bran and would have two huge bowls every morning. I ate Triscuits, kashi and nutritionally devoid high-carb box meals for lunch. And every afternoon and evening, I would have a stomach ache, painful stomach cramps and bloating. UGH!

Well, I decided to cut out all simple sugars and carbs and totally changed my diet. Instead of Raisin Bran, I am eating eggs. For lunch, it's a salad with protein, fruits or vegetables. Dinner is meat and vegetables. Snack is nuts or a protein shake. After one week of eating like this, I had dropped 4 lbs, my stomach issues went away, and I had more energy!

I will keep eating like this. Anyway, back to the exercise part. I used to be part of the chronic cardio crowd, and it was starting to become NOT FUN. Getting up every morning to slug it out with the treadmill for an hour was losing its appeal. For years, I had been afraid to mix it up, thinking running was keeping my weight down, but I no longer believe that. I decided to start working out SMARTER, not harder.

I decreased my running from 5-6 miles almost every day - to 3 miles, four days per week. On the other days, I would do plyometrics and other P90X workouts, and NOT feel like I had to run too. I take 1-2 days off per week and don't feel guilty about it.

"Primal Blueprint" talks about the way our ancestors worked out, which was to move slow and steady for long periods, to occasionally sprint, and to lift heavy objects. Simple as that! I know to change my body I need to lift weights, and the week I started doing that again I was SUPER sore and became aware that I was dreadfully unprepared for anything other than running!

I am working a much more well-rounded exercise routine now, free of "chronic cardio," and I am feeling happier and much more in control!

Today I was feeling kind of sour and had some troublesome things running through my mind, over and over... things that are far in the future that I have no control about right now. I was driving my husband nuts by babbling on and on and all the different scenarios which may or may not plague me in the future. After a while, I couldn't stand listening to myself

It was a fairly decent day today, about 40 and with hazy sunshine. Even though I didn't WANT to, I decided to go outside for a jog. I had a slight headache, wasn't motivated, and was trying any number of tactics to talk myself out of it. I knew getting out in the fresh air would help me though so I forced myself to lace up my shoes.

I went out and had a nice, cleansing hour long jog. Not super fast, just nice and steady. The fresh air and sunshine felt grand! By the time I got home, I realized something miraculous had happened - I was no longer obsessing about the future and my fears!

I had rebooted my brain. Exercise literally does that for me. It doesn't always make me feel amazing, but it always makes me feel BETTER and changes my outlook on things.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Second Trimester Begins

Whoa, fast forward a couple of months, huh? I am glad I wrote that first previous post in order to document how I felt that very first day I found out I was pregnant. Well, now a couple of months have passed, we've had two ultrasounds and the reality has sunk in!

Six months from now, give or take a few days, the baby will arrive. That seems so far away, yet so soon. So much to do and plan for! I am very excited and find myself daydreaming about her/him all day long...

I am 13 weeks pregnant today. I started my second trimester today, and although I have been feeling a lot better than I was during the barfy stage of weeks 5-11, I still have these nasty periods in the late afternoon/early evening where I get headaches, an unpleasant metallic taste in my mouth and a sort of seasick feeling. UGH! Guess I should be glad I don't feel sick in the morning, because this is when I work out (and work) and I guess it would be much more debilitating to be sick all day long than just a few hours in the evening. I just hope it goes away soon! I want an EASY pregnancy, not to feel like my body has been taken over by a parasite or an

I feel like people at work keep staring curiously at my stomach, as if they think I am going to "get huge" overnight. That's one of the things that held me back from telling anyone for so long...I really hate being examined. I also hate those well-meaning questions.. "how are you feeling..." Like you have a disease or something.

Some people I talk to act like you're screwed once you get pregnant, like you have no control over your body or what it's going to do. I guess to a certain extent that is true...however I think you have a great deal of control over many lifestyle factors such as are you going to pig out and be a couch potato, or are you going to eat sensibly, exercise and realize you aren't REALLY "eating for two?"

I went to the doctor yesterday and was pleased to note I had only gained 2 pounds during the whole entire first trimester. Yay me. My goal is to gain 20 pounds or less. I am sure I will get some frowns for that one, but I know my body and it will do what it wants to do. I do NOT starve myself, so there is no danger of that. I have changed my diet quite significantly in the past month though... I learned I am gluten and grain intolerant so I cut out all bread, grain, wheat, gluten and sugar and the improvements in my stomach issues are phenomenal! I will never go back to eating that stuff on a regular basis, I feel SO much better!

My diet consists mainly of soy milk, protein drink, eggs, cheese, natural peanut butter, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, apples, pears, grapes, berries, nuts, seeds, salad, animal protein and water. I do not drink soda of any kind and my diet is very clean and unprocessed.

I exercise about 5 days per week, alternating running, P90X and other plyometrics and exercises using my own body weight for resistance. I have worked really hard to continue my fitness program even during the parts of the pregnancy where I was feeling VERY tired with just a moderate amount of effort. That was while my blood volume was catching up to my vascular system, and things are MUCH better now!

In fact, I am going to start INSANITY next Monday! I may have to take a lot of breaks, but I'm gonna do it!!!