Friday, April 28, 2017

Great Expectations (Feb 17, 2017)

This is the first blog post of the "secret" variety. But the secret is now out and the world all knows, there's a baby on the way :) I wrote a series of pregnancy and running blog posts while my happy news was still a secret, and I'm starting to publish these to the public now.

As you well know, running is my life. I was very pleased to learn that running through pregnancy is not only possible, but encouraged, with the clearance from one's doctor. Of course, with everything else about this new adventure of motherhood, I have been getting on google regularly to ask my questions. I was surprised at how little information there was about running pregnant. Or rather, not so much a lack of information (the science and all that is there), but there wasn't a lot of personal accounts from women who've actually done it.

While every woman and every pregnancy is unique, I thought that my own reflections of my process might be helpful for some of my readers. Or, at the very least, writing for me would help me through it all, and give me something to look back on in the future. As always, my blog is personal, is a reflection, and I hold back very little. I hope this is refreshing to you.

Hope you enjoy!
Zahida (April 2017)


Feb 17, 2017

For those of you who don't know me well enough to know intimate details about me, my husband and I had been trying for some time to start a family.

I am so so so very pleased to be able to type the words today, that we are pregnant!!! Or rather, I am, but you know what I mean :)

Of course, the general rule of thumb is not to go announcing it to everyone right off the bat, as the first few months are rather vulnerable. So while I want to write and share about my experience in the here and now, this will be posted at a later date when it's "safe" to go public.

Today was my very first run since knowing I am pregnant. I noticed my workouts over the last week or so had been rather hard and wondered what was going on. Seemed like my breathing / cardio fitness was going down. My 12km last weekend was uncharacteristically hard for someone of my fitness. My track workout on Monday left me exhausted for the rest of the day. I knew something was up.

Then Tuesday came, Valentine's Day, and I knew without a doubt in my heart and my intuition that I was pregnant. I took a test that day in the evening and a line appeared on the test, but so faint I dismissed it, and retested just yesterday. Yup, there's no doubting it now. I have a poppy-seed sized baby developing inside me, I'm into my 5th week now, and my body is rapidly changing to prepare for all of this. My body is raging with hormones, and I can feel things moving around. It's weird and magical at the same time. I couldn't be more excited, or terrified. It's like I have indeed taken on my next marathon!

There's certainly a lot of material out there on running while pregnant, but I find there isn't much that I have found that's personal in nature, from the words of a mother. I thought my account of it could be beneficial to other readers, especially since I tend to write lots and am not afraid to make it personal. I don't know how it's going to go, to be honest. It could be the worst thing ever, for all I know. Or it could be great! What's amazing me so far is what a change being pregnant has already made to my running, already, at such an early stage. From everything I have read, there can be days where it seems like everything is the same as it always has, and days that are just HARD. This Wednesday's 6km run was normal and didn't phase me at all. But today, I felt so out of shape, could barely breathe, had to walk up hills, and quit after 4.5km. It left me a bit discouraged.

Now, a caveat for other pregnant women who may be reading this - make sure you clear your exercise program with your doctor before you proceed. My doctor has known me for years and knows my health history and about my running fitness as she's athletic herself and relates well. So she had told me that since I have been running consistently for years, it would be OK to keep going through pregnancy for as long as it's comfortable. But I will have to slow down and not push myself too hard. If you have not been running consistently, starting a brand new exercise program at pregnancy is probably not the time to start, and running especially. Brisk walking is just as effective for your fitness. I simply love running and want to continue, take my baby with me on workouts and have that time with him/her, and be able to return to my sport easier after childbirth.

I think the hardest thing about this new set of circumstances will be trying to explain to everyone why I suddenly am putting running achievements second; my competitive go-getter edge is going to disappear for a while. It was always meant to be that way; I decided long ago that running would be a secondary goal once I got pregnant. This was why I haven't been advance planning my races too many months ahead. My excuse was that I was injury prone in 2015 and wasted lots of money on race registrations, but the real reason was being hopeful I'd get pregnant any time. I know I'm likely to be able to run the races I have signed up for that fall within the next month or two, but I don't know beyond that. I also don't know if when a race day comes if I'll be having a good day, a tired day, a pukey day, so it's best I take all pressure off of myself to 'perform'. I am not going to win a race or place at this stage, so why stress. And even if I do get fast for my races that are coming up within the next month, I will slow down after that anyway. Might as well reframe my running now to be more about a way to stay active during my pregnancy, have fun, and continue to socialize in the running community.

I'm thinking my racing will be not so much "racing" but a lot of 5K events taken slower, and fun community runs I wouldn't normally do. I plan to do the other activities I reconnected with too like dance (for at least the 1st trimester, maybe not beyond that), and swimming which will feel so good when I'm huge and unable to run. Of course pre-natal yoga is something I should also consider. When I am ready, I can return to running at my previous level. I'm OK with that, and I welcome the challenge.

So there will be a lot of boldly lying going forward for a little while. I put myself out there are this serious runner, and so everyone is always asking when my next race is, which halfs I'm doing, if I am running a marathon anytime soon, what my time goals are, if they can train with me, what my track workout will be, what my pace is, etc. So for a little while, until I go public, I'll be giving a lot of lame excuses like, "I haven't decided" or "my hip is bugging me" or "I have last minute plans" or best yet "hey look, something shiny over there!". But hopefully once I am able to be honest, people will be understanding of my past deceit.

I plan to keep writing through this journey, from a runner's perspective. Hope it helps or inspires you!

All I can say is that while today left me breathless, I am hopeful it was just a bad day. I reminded myself to just relax and be OK with walking when I need to. Who cares what anyone thinks or what my ego thinks. Today I took my baby out for a walk and a run. The most important thing to me right now, is growing that baby to be healthy and happy.

<3 Zahida


  1. Love that you are sharing these earlier reflections ! I am excited to keep following along until we are caught up to date and beyond!

    1. Thank you for all your encouragement and positivity! You always read what I write, and I appreciate it muchly. <3

  2. Zahida, I can't tell you how excited I am about reading your blog! Having experienced running while pregnant myself ( you might recall how I how told you about my first by letting you know in can't train for our full marathon together), it's nice to compare my experiences with yours. Running for two is definitely different, but it always made me smile knowing that it was a work out with the baby. I'll keep a close eye on your blogs :-)

    1. How could I possibly forget that, Patti! In fact, knowing how well you could run pregnant has been an inspiration to me, knowing I too can do it. And yes, I agree. I love knowing I'm taking baby out with me for a run. We enjoy them together :)

  3. Ahhh, so many congratulations, Z!! How exciting!!
    I tried to run while pregnant but in the end I decided to listen to my body and take a long break. Luckily, walking felt *amazing* to me while pregnant, so I walked 3-5 hours/ day until I finally lost all energy at 37 weeks. But for some reason running felt terrible for me. I was disappointed at first, but if there's anything I learned from all m years of running it's the importance of listening to your body, knowing your limits, and knowing when it's time to take a break. You're going to do a great job of staying active while building that baby! Hopefully you can keep running, but if not you'll find something else that feels good. GOOD LUCK!! Can't wait to read the rest of these posts.

    1. Thank you so much, Jess! Sounds like you made some excellent choices for your sweet baby. 3-5 hours of walking is incredible! I only plan on running as long as it's comfortable. That might be a month more, or 6 months more. We'll see. I just want to be active. Thank you for reading and encouraging me!