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The Canadian Triathlon

You may have seen this picture on Facebook:


Yes, I was a spectator at my goal triathlon. No, it wasn’t because of injury. It was that damn FIRST TRIMESTER again…..YES my friends, I am PREGNANT!

Now, you all know how motivated I am. I think I miss an average of two workouts every six months (barring travelling). I was convinced when I saw that positive pregnancy test that I would be competing regardless. First, I was in peak form, I had gotten pregnant on the toughest week of my speed training program. Second, it was the summer and nothing could stop me from getting outside to run.

Well let me tell you, friends, that pregnancy has other plans.

I went through a mild depression where I could barely stand the idea of unbundling myself from my cocoon on the couch to pee. Food was…unappetizing to say the least. Cereal, tuna and white rice, and the odd Subway sandwich, if I had any at all, meant I was getting less than half my usual calories, and no fresh vegetables (couldn’t even look at em). Those calories had to feed me, a rapidly growing baby, and a nursling….which meant exercise wasn’t a smart idea, even if I could drag my ass out there. I was doubled over with nausea for five straight weeks. Standing up from sitting I nearly blacked out from the dizziness. I would get winded walking up the stairs.

I know all the physiological reasons for all of these changes and I won’t bore you with the science. I know exercise is supposed to help, but my friends, the decision was made for me. I could not do anything. My body wanted me to stay still, to lie down, try to put on a few pounds, and there was nothing I could do to make it change its mind.

I am now 13 weeks into this pregnancy and very happy to say goodbye to the storm that is the first. The depression has lifted. I started taking Diclectin for the nausea. I ran four 4 milers last week, and I can eat all the things again (with only the odd “ew hell no”). I stopped breastfeeding, and R seems pretty ok with it.

But…it meant I wasn’t going to be able to compete in the triathlon. As much as I would have liked to, it really was a non issue when I had to decide. I couldn’t train on the bike (had a little bleeding after a bike ride once that made me nervous). It was too hot to run during the day, which would have spiked my core temperature – a huge no when you’re pregnant. Swimming was the only thing I enjoyed but getting there meant enduring motion sickness in the car (not to mention I would have to get up off the couch) so I opted to watch elite athletes perform at their peak in the Olympics instead. On the couch of course. It was a nice distraction.

Huge props to my buddy Ian who completed his first Super Sprint Triathlon! He is the one who, years ago, mentioned a try-a-tri, which I didn’t know existed, and hence planted the seed. I now have the gear and the motivation to do one after this baby, and it is a great goal to have for 6 months post partum. Distance TBA….

This pregnancy, I do have my sights set on The Cookie Run 5K in November though! Hey, 22 weeks pregnant running for Girl Guide cookies….how does it get any better?!

Week 13: The Honeymoon…?

This week is the start of the “honeymoon” period! Well, it has come in like a lion, still feeling pretty nauseated a lot of the time. That’s ok….one day at a time now!

Unfortunately the week starts off, temperature wise, just as grumpy! The mercury is dipping below -26 overnight with crazy windchills…I will have to dig deep to get out there and convince myself that it’s for the greater good – “our” health and mental state! Ahhh to have a treadmill. When I’m not percolating a child, I’m fine with braving the elements. Now, I prefer to feel as cozy and comfortable as possible, as if to transmit my comfort to the baby…maybe, just maybe, this one doesn’t mind heading out for a bitter winter run and coming home with icicles on its umbilical cord, owning winter! HA…don’t worry people, I won’t be (as) crazy as usual….

Monday, Jan 20 –  …except for today! -35 windchill in the dark…BRRR! Now, I’m a tough cookie, but I don’t know how tough the little raspberry inside me is, so I might not brave it next time. I did a good 5 minute “warmup” walk, then started a slow run to get the blood pumping because MAN it was cold. I stopped to walk, checked my heart rate, and it was up above 200! What?! I walked it down to 160 but even that took some time, and I was getting really chilly so I just started running. I tried instead to base my effort on the BORG scale…and when I stopped to walk again heart rate was a whopping 235! Ok, scaling it back a bit, walk it off, run slower. At least my toes were starting to warm up, but not enough to do any more than 2 miles. I’m definitely going to ask the midwife about this.

Tuesday – Rest day. I decided to run during the dead of winter in the daylight hours only, when it’s a balmy -19! 😛 Except I didn’t bring running shoes to work today, so we’ll make a date for Wednesday.

Wednesday – I found a book called Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by Dr. James Clapp, and on page TWO it confirms that a previously unrecognized sign of a healthy pregnancy is a dramatic hike in heart rate. He actually uses the term “sky-high” – both at rest and during exercise. NYC Running Mama also answered my question from Monday: your pregnancy hormones dilate your blood vessels to allow for more blood volume, but your body won’t have increased the actual volume until near the end of the 2nd trimester.  The heart has to pump much harder and more frequently to get the lower blood volume where it needs to go. This is also why women in late first and early second trimesters frequently feel dizzy or faint. However, your lungs are also processing more air as well, according to the Mayo Clinic, so I’m going to keep my breathing deep during my runs, hoping this will also help with the high heart rate too.

So how did my run go you ask? My heart rate started “sky-high” at 200 with a brisk walk. LOL. I made it a mostly walking 2 miles, with the odd little sprint, taking me to 250bpm. I guess that’s just the way it is – but we’ll let the midwife confirm that. I went at 3pm when the sun was bright and the temperature reached its daytime high of -19. I feel much happier about running in the winter again!

Thursday – Had my physical with the midwife today. She didn’t seem concerned about my heart rate while running, just told me to watch that I don’t feel like I’m overdoing it, but that it sounds like I’m pretty aware. Sounds like a BORG scale vote to me. Best thing to hear from your healthcare provider is “you are the picture of perfect health”. Woohoo!! Also – we heard the heart beat!

I actually got to a yoga class! If you had said to me two weeks ago that I would make it all the way through a class without hurling or eating peanut butter on crackers I would have laughed. I do think I stirred up something though, the nausea came back for a bit…

Friday – …and hasn’t let up much today. I took a rest day, but did get out for some fresh air at lunch with my buddy T-bone.

Saturday – 3-miler in the snow, a balmy -7 Celsius. Feeling a lot more confident about running now, after reading Exercising Through Your Pregnancy. I decided to keep monitoring my heart rate for interest’s sake but using the BORG scale I didn’t go above a 15. My heart rate started around 200, stayed there for the first mile, then started to slowly creep DOWN to 165, where it hovered for the rest of my run. That’s right, I RAN THE WHOLE WAY! Ok, two quick walk breaks in the 3rd mile just cause. I also paid a little attention to my pace – 13 minute miles. I guess that’s how she rolls now!

Sunday – Opted out of a run in favor of a new prenatal yoga DVD I found. Shiva Rea offers three options (for each of the trimesters), with modifications for late pregnancy. I could get behind this for sure! (Especially since it doesn’t require 4 pairs of pants, leg warmers, 3 shirts, mitts, hat, face mask, and possibly goggles on a particularly snowy day!)

Week 12: I’m Back Baby (sort of)!

This is the first week I have felt almost…almost like myself again. All through weeks 6-10 I couldn’t stand the thought of anything I used to enjoy, which meant that I was eating out a lot and experimenting with new foods. Sounds fun, but not when you don’t even want to look at food. Now I am eating and enjoying most normal foods, but I don’t want to prepare em just yet. Thank the Lord for my amazing husband who cooks and cleans like a boss.

I probably got an average of 3-5 miles in per week over the first trimester. Sadly I know I would have felt better if I could have just gone for a walk everyday but the weather made it unsafe, and I don’t have a treadmill. (For next pregnancy, if it’s in the winter, this is a MUST!) Now that the roads are cleared and I feel much better, I will get out there, and I will share my weekly experience. I’m excited to have no training plan, this will be a challenge and a gift – on days pregnancy gets me down I will feel no guilt about taking a rest day. I’ll try to get one faster run in per week, and walk whenever I need to. I’ll be wearing a heart monitor to keep tabs too.

Monday – 2 miler and I’m back baby! Walk/ran equal amounts, pace was…I don’t know, I wasn’t watching! Heart rate was good, spiked a couple times but learning how to find a happy medium is tricky when my heart rate is unpredictable day to day. Definitely a higher resting rate. I didn’t feel overworked and nothing was sore the next day so this was a good “get back into it” run!

Tuesday – Rest day. Had a great first half of the day without much nausea and planned to do 3 miles when I got home, but somewhere around 3pm my hormones surged and I could barely climb the stairs after work. Ended up going to bed right after dinner, no regrets!

Wednesday – Another rest day. Busy after work, and nausea had really gotten me down so I gave into the couch before, and after, dinner.

Thursday – I started out with a slow pace, running, and watched as my heart rate skyrocked to a whopping 215 beats per minute. WHOA!! I guess every run I’ve had so far has started with a good five minute walk. I walked and ran intermittently until I found a good pace that kept me around my goal heart rate, but I will definitely have to start out with a warm up while I do this pregnancy thing!

My best hours are during the morning this week. With that in mind, I tried to curb my afternoon nausea wave by heading out at 3pm, hoping that getting the blood pumping would help. It seemed to work! I had more energy, and I even did the dishes after dinner – which hubby dutifully cooked after HIS long day at work. ❤

Friday – Much better today with my target heart rate. A good five minute walk at the start and a couple patient slow downs is all I need. Got 2 lovely miles in on lunch, and I felt great at home later that night. Even vacuumed the basement! It could be the running, the healthier eating, the water intake increase…but something is clicking and I am feeling good more often. Could also be week 12 starts today…!

Saturday – Walk day! Got a really good brisk 3 mile walk in today. Felt really good to soak in the fresh air…and the cuffs of my pants sure got soaked too! Last time I wear “whatever” to do a workout – take a few seconds to change your pants, man. I didn’t bother with my HRM either, I just needed the fresh air.

Sunday – Rest day…by late last night nausea had kicked in pretty bad, and was unrelenting all day. Today I alternated between naps and sobbing feeling sorry for myself. I literally lived a cat’s life, sleeping in several different interesting beds. Hey, everyone HOPES their morning sickness goes away on exactly week 12.

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