Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The second trimester is here! (April 27th)

April 27th

Well, I’ve been there a little while (the 2nd trimester, that is) being in my 15th week. All I have heard from other moms and from my reading has indicated that energy will come back. Essentially the placenta has taken over the hormonal load, relieving me from that pressure. The baby's organs are all developed and the little one is rather complex already. Just a small lemon-sized baby, needing to grow large and strong.

In case you're wondering, there are a few logistical things I've had to contend with now to make running possible. I've always joked about how the last thing I need is more work out clothing. I have an abundance of it given how many race shirts I have and that I work at the Running Room part time. But quite quickly, I have had to re-think my running wardrobe. I have been wearing maternity running capri pants the last couple weeks as the waist bands on my regular ones are too restrictive for my new bump and I wouldn't want to stretch them out anyway (so I can wear them post-partum). I found some inexpensive ones at Old Navy (online) and they are suiting me fine. I just need to find an option for running shorts. I also have been ordering all my race shirts in a size XL to give room for a growing belly. I'm already starting to wear the larger shirts too, again for comfort over necessity. I'm wearing the same few shirts over and over again. No big deal, just laundry more often. Oh, and then there's the sports bra! Nobody told me I'd need to upsize that so quickly. I thought that would be later in pregnancy, but no, preparation for nursing happens early. I had to splurge and buy new sports bras. Now I'm kitted out. Just have to make sure I have shorts soon as it's getting warm outside!

So as for this 2nd trimester energy, I think it’s coming back, but not 100% sure if it’s mind over matter or not. What I’ve noticed so far is sleep quality is improving. Instead of waking up half a dozen times to use the bathroom, it’s down to 2-3 visits. The baby is moving up in my body as it grows and taking some of the pressure off down below. Or something (I’m not a scientist). Also, I am no longer falling asleep at 8pm but can stay up until my usual 10 or 11pm like a proper grown-up. Naps in the afternoon are no longer a necessity. This is helpful since I work full time and can’t exactly nap at my desk. So not feeling the afternoon fade recently has been particularly helpful to my productivity.

I’m just kinda waiting to see if this new stage of my pregnancy has impacted my running. I think it has, but I’m not sure. The thing is, it still feels more sluggish than the normal me, but my pace seems to be a bit more respectable than it has been in recent weeks. I haven’t been looking at pace while running to keep my confidence on the positive side – I don’t want to see how slow I am while in action. What I have been monitoring is distance and heart rate. But regardless of what stats I choose to look at, my watch still tracks all the other stats. At the end of my run, I can scroll through my stats and I have noted that my completion times for the workouts are steadily improving. I also know that a lot of the reason for my slowness generally is that I often walk hilly sections or when I find myself out of breath. The usual me would push through that discomfort. But I’m taking it easy, knowing that when I deny myself oxygen, I also deny that of my baby. So the time spent actually running vs walking, I’m running at a pretty decent pace, and it’s improving.

So I will side-track for a moment since I mentioned heart rate above. If you google exercise while pregnant, you’re bound to find a whole lot of useless outdated information in addition to the good information. One of the common myths that has been recently proven wrong is that a pregnant woman should not let her heart rate go above 140bpm. When I first read this I thought it was absolutely absurd as no two women or two hearts are the same. I’m quite fit so my resting heart rate is very low. I have trained a fair bit at high intensity so I can comfortably get my heart rate quite high as well. I max at around 200bpm, and see HRs in interval training go pretty close to that. This is high for someone my age, but because I’ve been running a while, my heart has a large range. Even though generally my heart rate has gone up since pregnancy, for me, 140 bpm is still the equivalent of barely moving. Sure, I’m getting exercise, but it’s not at all taxing, it’s like granny-jogging?

The real truth about how hard to work running is all about your perceived level of exertion. I wear my heart rate monitor so I can see how hard I’m working, but I don’t stress keeping it under a particular number as a number of variables impact heart rate. I like seeing the HR just because it’s useful information on how I’m feeling that day vs how my heart responds. Running right up to 170bpm has been still quite comfortable for me even though it is a little higher than it normally would be at the pace I go these day. But some days that doesn’t feel good and I slow down even slower. Some days it feels fine and I keep going at that pace or let it creep higher by going faster without stressing. The important thing is that comfy talking pace and not getting to a point where I’m gasping for air, that anerobic feeling, or being absolutely exhausted after. Recently my runs have been easier, my HR is averaging in the 150-165bpm range even though my pace is improving. So that’s something! Yay for 2nd trimester. I hope soon I feel like Superwoman.

So I’m quite excited to see how things continue to progress, although I still have minimal expectations of myself. I run 3 times a week at minimum, one longish effort, typically on the weekend (8-10km) and two shorter ones, during the week after the workday (4-6km). The weekday runs are a struggle as I’m usually rather pooped by the time I get home from work, but morning runs during the week are not an option right now as I need a hearty breakfast and don’t want to run fasted. Again, it’s not only my nutrition at stake. The weekends allow the extra time to eat, wait, run, eat again. I plan on running through the month of May, but will play the summer months and beyond by ear. I might not be comfy in the heat, and after the summer, well, I’ll be large. I am hopeful for June, but again, no pressure.

Coming up is the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 7th, and I’ll be running the 8km. Then the following weekend is the Run For Women, where I’ll be doing the 5km. Then we’ll see!

1 comment:

  1. Im really enjoying all that I'm learning about myths and truths and your experiences running while pregnant!