Tuesday, October 5, 2010

running during second pregnancy

I posted periodic running updates during my second pregnancy, but here is a quick recap:

Running through my second pregnancy was different from running through my first pregnancy. I was very pleased with my running during my first pregnancy and surprised that I was able to continue as long as did, stopping a week and a half before Claire was born. This time, I ran through the end and actually managed a five mile run the day my labor began. Running through my second pregnancy felt smoother than with my first: I had way fewer aches or pains and no injuries. I think there are two main reasons for this:

First, I didn't immediately drop my pace or miles when I became pregnant. I continued with my regular running of forty to fifty miles a week, averaging mile times in the low eights or high sevens. I kept my running comfortable and didn't push too much beyond. When I began teaching and had to get up early, I became too tired to manage a daily run in the morning and too drained to do much in the afternoon; that's when I began cutting miles to about thirty or so a week. After the first trimester, I added a few of those miles back and spent most of my pregnancy maintaining forty miles a week, sometimes just under and sometimes just over. During the last two months of pregnancy, I ran around thirty or thirty-five miles a week.

I did see my "feel good" daily run drop from nine to seven miles. I was fine with that. Near the end, I found it much easier physically and psychologically to run one day long (seven or eight miles) and one short (five miles), resting every two days.

With my first pregnancy, I ended with pace in the ten minute mile range. This time, I was able to keep my mile times just under nine minutes. I decided to run what felt best. Sometimes going slower feels more difficult.

During the second trimester especially, my running felt unencumbered. I loved feeling my body move in a familiar, energetic way. This is partly due to the second reason why I found running through this pregnancy to be smoother: I ditched the maternity support belt.

Near week thirty during my first pregnancy, I began wearing a support belt while running. This time I had the belt, but thought I'd wait until my belly felt too heavy. And then I decided to not bother at all. Not wearing the belt forced me to be attuned to my posture and stride while running, and to check in with my lower ab muscles. At no point did I feel like my belly was too heavy to run.

Though I did feel ridiculous sometimes, stepping on the treadmill with my moon of a belly, running when I couldn't see my shoes. Every runner has to talk themselves into getting out there at some point. What I knew (still know) is that running feels good. Give me an endorphin kick. Give me an hour alone.

I did become a little concerned about the effect running might be having on my weight gain. I only gained fifteen and a half pounds this pregnancy, about four pounds less than with Claire - though I delivered Grant two weeks early, while Claire was a week late. During the last month with Grant, I gained almost nothing despite cutting some miles. I am not sure that it was primarily running that affected my weight gain. I continued to eat well (a lot), but also had a toddler to chase. During my first pregnancy, I had the luxury of laying around more. Still, Grant's ultrasounds showed that he was gaining weight even if I was not.

Postpartum Weight and Running (So Far)

I am not sure what I weigh. I have my six week checkup soon and I'll find out then. I do know that my body did exactly what it did after Claire: dropped a lot of weight in the first two or three days, and then puffed out. My body is holding fat reserves for nursing - in fact, my body gained fat that wasn't there during pregnancy. Which means I cannot button my favorite pants yet. Maybe in another month or two or three.

Oh well.

I am back to running. I waited two weeks before beginning and then began slowly. Peed my pants through the first two kilometers I ran (oh, those pesky stretched out pelvic floor muscles!). I am now five weeks postpartum and running five or eight miles five times a week. My pace remains just under nine minute miles and though I am tempted to pick it up, I have no reason to, and do not want to risk injury. Now that the weather here is cooling, I am looking forward to getting outside for more runs. Until then: my treadmill, my friend.


Clare said...

sounds like you were more relaxed with the whole process with #2. i am hoping for the same when it's time for me. and i was exactly the same with gaining fat AFTER pregnancy. kind of disheartening the first time when everyone said nursing makes you lose weight, but now i know what to expect from my body and it's all good.

N.D. said...

wow, you did great.

Angela and David said...

You did amazing! And your success gives me much hope with my second pregnancy, whenever that happens.

mizuno said...

Your such a great runner..Awesome.