Friday, February 17, 2017

One Year Later, One Month Left

One year ago, I was lining up for the Olympic freaking Trials.

Now, eight months pregnant, I feel like that was another lifetime ago. Did I really do that? I am still running shuffling a few days a week, but—while I realize cutting back/slowing down/stopping entirely is a normal part of pregnancy—I have this weird blur (pregnancy brain?) about my previous running self. I am so far removed from that version of myself I struggle to picture it.


For example, I was recently in the grocery store, debating which flavors of Halo Top to buy. (Unsponsored plug: Halo Top is a low-calorie/high-protein ice cream that is surprisingly delicious. Not that I don’t scarf Ben and Jerry’s as well... but sometimes it’s nice to tell yourself you’re eating ice cream for the protein.) A stranger asked me for a flavor recommendation (Red Velvet is a current fave) and if I ate it because I was really into working out. (My bump was hidden under a winter coat.) I said no. 

No? The stranger walked away before I realized that wasn’t actually true. I am really into working out. Maybe not at this particular moment, but that is a pretty big hobby in my life and a pretty essential part of my sense of self. But for some reason it felt more natural to say no, because I don’t feel like that person anymore.

And honestly, that’s the worst part about pregnancy. I’ve been blessed with a pretty easy pregnancy thus far, and what I miss most—by a landslide, since before the beginning—is being able to push myself in workouts and races. I’m not complaining—I’m super pumped to start a family and taking time away from competing is beyond worth it, no hesitations there. But the nausea/heartburn/sleepless nights/constant pee issues/back aches/24-hour uncomfortable-ness and eight zillion other less-than-pleasant symptoms don’t have anything on the not competing. So maybe I’m repressing my former self as a coping mechanism. Telling myself (and grocery store strangers) I don’t even like working out.

These days, I’m run/walking maybe three times a week, between 4 and 6 miles, with more walking and less running each time. I elliptical on some of the other days, but I also take more days off than I used to. I’ve completely given up on strength training, which I’m bit bummed about since I promised myself early on I would at least stick to that. But I haven’t because (a) I’ve never been particularly great about keeping up with strength training and (b) I’m exhausted and there’s just too much to do, especially when getting in four miles takes almost twice as long as it used to.

So, as expected, the third trimester brought the most drastic cuts to my mileage and frequency, but I’m lucky to be running (okay, shuffling) at all. From a not-at-all scientific survey of my running friends, about half of them were able to run through their pregnancy and half hit the third trimester and had to stop, because it just got too uncomfortable. (From an actual scientific survey, only 31% ran through their pregnancies.) (I wear a maternity belt, which I think helps back issues, but I also wonder if it makes the needing to pee worse.) If you’re pregnant, the most important thing is to do whatever your body is comfortable with and be happy with that. My runs take a completely different form these days than they used to, but I'm grateful to be doing anything.

Running through pregnancy is like normal training in reverse—rather than runs getting faster and easier, they get harder and slower. Obviously, that’s totally fine (and necessary) when your body is more focused on forming another person inside of you, and I’m running these days to keep Baby and me healthy, not because I believe these shuffle/walks will lead to some breakthrough performance down the road. That’s quite a different attitude than I usually have, so maybe that’s contributing to my different opinion of myself. Also, I don’t know if you noticed, but pregnancy lasts a really fudging long time, so it’s been a while (i.e. exactly a year) since my competitive/always-striving-to-beat-my-past-self side was allowed out. No wonder she's been a little forgotten.

But as I jealously watch runners glide effortlessly down the road, I try to remind myself that I used to be like that. And someday I will again.

Dream big,
Teal

4 comments :

  1. We're probably not just gliding along, Coach- we just don't have 30+ pounds on! Your post reminds me of when Kara Goucher wrote in her running book about the time when her coach stopped her in the middle of a long run and handed her a backpack of weights to put on and she thought to herself "ok, so this is how it's going to be" and then went on to more successes! You can tell your little guy/girl that she was your backpack that made Mom that much stronger, just as you did for him! :') you're doing awesome now go have some ice cream!!!! :)

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    1. Haha, I'm very excited to take this backpack off! Thanks, Joanne!

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  2. One year ago you brought a lot of Team Teal members together for an unforgettable event. I'm still bowled over by your strength and accomplishment. Also awed by the mother you already are. You go, girl!

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    1. Thank you!! I'm still bowled over by all of your (and Team Teal's) endless support and encouragement! Glad to have that on my side during this new challenge ;-)

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