Friday, November 4, 2016

Halfway: The Peebody Awards

This week, I’m 20 weeks, officially halfway through the pregnancy.

Of course, I can’t help but compare pregnancy to a marathon. (If—instead of a full body collapse into a vat of fries and ice cream—marathons ended with the not-so-trivial responsibility of caring for a tiny human being.) If it was a marathon, I’d be at mile 13.1: still feeling pretty good, but scared about what’s to come (especially that last 0.2—i.e. the actual giving birth part).

In the last week or so, things have improved. For most, some of the early woes end with the first trimester, but I was still completely exhausted well into the second. Some people blamed my running; combined with growing a baby, it was clearly enough to exhaust me. But at 19 weeks, I finally got my energy back. The stairs aren’t the monster they used to be and I can make it through a whole day without wanting to collapse in a heap on the floor. (Mostly. I mean, who couldn’t use a nap right now?) Like the marathon, there’s an ebb and flow to pregnancy: good days/weeks and bad ones, good patches and rough ones. I’m currently in a good patch, but who knows what’s around the corner.

I’m also sort of still in denial as to how pregnant I am. I feel like I look way more pregnant than people expect at this stage. (Before seeing me, people ask if I’m showing yet. When they do see me, their “Oh geez, yes, you certainly are showing” reaction is hard to disguise.) I have no clue what I’m *supposed* to look like at this point (every body is different) but some part of my brain is still in denial: I’m not even *that* pregnant, why don’t my pants fit? Do I already need maternity clothes? Like the dangerous denial of the early miles (I don’t need the Gatorade yet, I’ve just started, I’m not even thirsty!) this thinking backfired brutally a few weeks ago when I ripped my last pair of jeans that fit and had a complete “I literally have nothing to wear” meltdown. Turns out, yes, I am *that* pregnant and yes, I do already need maternity clothes.

But at this point in the race, mostly all I can think about is that I really need to pee.

Always, constantly, day and night. This is what I personally blamed on my extreme tiredness; I haven’t slept through the night since that life-changing pee back in July. (But it’s just getting me ready for nights with Baby!) Now that the exhaustion has subsided a bit, the getting up in the night to pee multiple times doesn’t bother me so much. What really bothers me is when I’m running.

Even if I pee right before I walk out the door, I need to pee again within the first mile. It’s incredibly frustrating, especially because I moved to a suburban neighborhood and my routes pass very few stores/gas stations and no woods, just house after house after house. It’s sapping the enjoyment from my runs; it becomes all I can think about and when I’m done I’m just immensely relieved that I made it home to relieve myself. The happy endorphins seem to get overpowered by my annoyance with my bladder.

This was a major concern in my first pregnant race. Could I even make it through a 5K?

Predictably the warm up was full of thoughts about how I needed to pee, but after a porta potty stop before the start I surprisingly didn’t think about it much during the race. The course was on a trail, and while I didn’t have much of a sense of what time I’d run anyway, the nature of the trail made times even more irrelevant. It wound through the woods, up and down hills covered in threatening roots, across bridges I had to tiptoe across so I wouldn’t slip. (My poor record of falling makes me a particularly cautious pregnant runner.) The course took me back 15 years to cross country races through the woods of South Jersey; the constant winding giving the runner the sense that the race could either end around the next bend or possibly go on forever. A fall morning spent looping through the woods—this was the type of run I first fell in love with. In the end my time was pretty close to what I ran in high school, a fitting tribute to what seemed like a throwback day. (Well, except for the maternity shirt…)

Best of all, even though completely surrounded by woods and all alone for most of the race, I didn’t have to stop to pee. Maybe I’m hitting my stride.

On to the next 13.1 miles...

Dream big,