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running for two: the first trimester

January 13, 2011

Running for two

{Winter Running with Indie and Baby (belly), Jan. 2011}

Although I haven’t been able to bike commute this week, I have still be running or taking my dog on long walks after work. I’ve run through several winters already and have a good sense of how to navigate winter terrain, so I feel comfortable out there on a run or walk even when the roads are snowed in.

Since I’m not writing about cycling (while I’m not out there cycling), I thought I’d reflect on something else that’s near and dear to me: running. I’m by no means a great runner, just a middle of the packer. But I love running and it’s become an integral part of my life ever since I began running almost four years ago. I’ve made several close friends from what was at first a running buddy, I’ve incorporated running into most of my travel over the past few years, and I’ve come to rely on running whenever I feel stressed or down as my guaranteed pick-me-up.

Chicago Half Marathon

{Chicago Half Marathon with Good Friend A., Aug. 2008}

Salzburg Half Marathon

{Salzburg Half Marathon, May 2010}

About two years ago, Runner’s World featured a regular blog titled Baby Steps, written by runner and writer Lisa Jhung. Jhung chronicled her running throughout her pregnancy and I followed her adventures religiously. I knew then that I would want to continue running when I would become pregnant.

I’m now just finishing my first trimester and have continued to run on a regular basis (2-4 times a week) for the majority of this time. I was lucky and only had a couple of weeks of nausea and, even then, I noticed that I would oddly enough feel better while running and nauseous once I’d stop. I’ve been following doctor’s orders and have been running slowly, making sure to keep my heart rate below 140. (This middle of the packer is now definitely an end of the pack runner).

My biggest demon during the first trimester was the insurmountable fatigue! Even without doctor’s orders, I’m sure that I would have still slowed my pace because I felt so tired all of the time. Some weeks I could just muster the energy for two runs (usually on the weekends, when I didn’t have work competing for my few active hours), so I started walking as a way to still get some fresh air and fitness with less of an effort. I worried that I would lose all of my ‘running fitness’ and that by the time I’d regain my energy in the second trimester, it would be useless to me, as my body would surely have forgotten how to even tie a running shoe.

Winter Running

Winter Runs with my Dog

{Indie with a snow mustache}

But I tried not to worry about it, reminded myself that my most important ‘project’ was the baby, continued to walk when I couldn’t run, and ran on days I felt up for it. Without fail, every time I did make it out the door with Indie’s running leash in hand, I’d feel a thousand times better afterwards. And a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I could actually make it through the evening without feeling like a zombie and that my energy levels were slowly returning to normal. Running has become easier again and I can’t say I’ve lost that much stamina or endurance. And heck, speed’s a word from a life gone, so I’m not even assessing that one.

Continuing to run, even when it was sluggish and sporadic, has made me feel really great about this pregnancy. I still feel like me, the endorphins I get after a run give me a natural energy high, and I’ve been far less concerned about the massive amounts of eating I’ve been doing. I’ve gained 5 lbs so far, a pretty average amount for the first trimester. I look forward to second trimester running, to seeing how things go as my belly continues to grow, and to continuing to share my passion with my baby as we cover (hopefully) many more miles together.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2011 13:22

    Yay for running with baby! These are the posts I am most excited for these next 6 months and beyond. Wow, both Chicago and discussing Lisa’s baby blog feel like ages ago!

  2. Alisha permalink
    January 13, 2011 14:55

    Wow, I really admire your commitment to fitness! You’re pregnant and out there running in the snow! Go S!

    I find that I enjoy running much more when I’m outside as opposed to inside slugging away on a treadmill. When it gets cold, I’ve always retreated (reluctantly) inside, Do you think you could do a post on how to dress for winter running? I will be moving to North Carolina to attend veterinary school this fall, and while the weather there certainly doesn’t get as cold as your area of the midwest, it’s very different and does get much colder than where I currently live (Austin, Tx). I think I could brave winter running if I knew how to dress and if I had as cute a running partner like Indie. :)

    • January 13, 2011 18:48

      Alisha, I agree- outside running is so much better. Last night I had to cave and do the treadmill because it was already dark and cold and I worried about slipping without much visibility on the roads. But if I can go outside, I will always prefer that to the treadmill even on really cold days. I posted about my clothing and gear choices for winter running here:

      Hope that helps as a starting point for you!

      Good luck with the move, the new vet program, and running in a new place!

  3. January 13, 2011 16:02

    I love the look on Indies face, it’s like “Mom, why did we stop.”

  4. January 13, 2011 19:24

    it’s exciting to hear that you’re able to run during pregnancy! I definitely want to be a running prego mom some day. I know some people get scared of doing it, but as long as your body is used to running, it really shouldn’t be an issue. Props to you for getting out there in the snow too!

  5. January 21, 2011 00:38

    Great work – keeping fit during the pregnancy will serve you well for the birth and post birth.

    My wife swam for almost the whole of her first pregnancy and had amazing energy. The stamina she built up served her well for the birth.

  6. February 1, 2011 10:16

    I too am a runner but I haven’t done any since I found out I was pregnant….due to advice from my midwife. I’m 7-8 weeks gone. I’ve replaced it with swimming, I’m just wondering now after reading your post if it would be too late to start again? I guess I should go to my doctor for advice. Your story is really inspiring!


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