Tag Archives: Pregnant Fitness

New Normal

So with gestational diabetes, breakfast is the most important and hardest meal of the day.  Throughout my whole second trimester, I craved cereal for breakfast.  I generally ate healthy-ish cereals, but with gestational diabetes, they are immediately off the menu.  Breakfast must be extremely high in proteins, and contain less than 30g of carbs. I’ve found one cereal with less than 30g of carbs, and I tried drinking it with almond milk, and my blood sugar spiked more than 70 points or units or whatevers above where it should be.  So, no cereal.  I’ve been eating an Arnold Sandwich Thin with egg and cheese or almond butter and a tiny bit of jam for breakfast, but my numbers can still spike pretty easily this early in the morning.  Exercise brings blood sugar numbers down though, so I need to exercise after eating to keep everything under control.  Except that I leave for work around 7 and I was getting up around 6 and eating around 6:30.  So I had to adjust, and my new normal is I get up at 5:30, I eat by 6am, then I exercise and then I test my blood sugar around 7.

What kind of exercise am I doing at 36 weeks pregnant? I have almost no stamina anymore, so I alternate between a couple of at home videos, going to the gym to use the elliptical or treadmill, and taking walks.  I’m using Suzanne Bowen’s Prenatal Barre workout, which I really like.  I do one twenty minute segment unless I have time for more.  I also use the original 10 Minute Solution video because the yoga workout on it is very pregnancy-friendly.  I have a prenatal yoga DVD my sister loaned me but it’s not very good.  It’s now pitch black in the mornings and after I get home at night, so walking outside is less of an option, but it’s totally common for folks at my office to go on group walks around the parking lot at work, so I can do that without seeming weird.  A group of my friends is doing a daily mile challenge, that is walking a mile a day, which I eagerly joined in because it is helping motivate me to actually walk a mile a day.  I’m trying not to beat myself up for not doing more, but it’s really hard.  I remind myself that even pregnant, I’m still lapping an awful lot of non-pregnant folks who are on the couch.

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Well.

So how is my new job? It’s great. It’s fascinating. It’s mostly new areas of law, but I still get to do some domestic violence law.  The people are fabulous and overall everything is going swimmingly.  Except for two things. The commute, and this pregnancy.

The commute is long. It’s 45 minutes to an hour, and if I take the train it’s an hour and ten minutes, including riding my bike a mile to the train, then a mile to my office, and the same going home.  I like the bike ride and it’s nice to take the train.  Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not an option – if I have court or a meeting or a doctor’s appointment, I have to drive.  Which is exhausting.  Even if I’m not driving, I’m still losing 2 hours of my day – which basically is the time I used to spend cooking and that I used to spend going to the gym.  So my gym routine has suffered considerably.  I’m working on figuring out how to work out at work on my lunch break, but there isn’t a nearby gym and walking laps around our parking lot is pretty dreary.  We have a lovely trail nearby, but it’s pretty much a mile to get to it.

As an aside, let me just say: Pregnancy is an awfully humbling experience.  It’s really really easy to judge other people who are pregnant for subsisting on bacon cheeseburgers and then you get pregnant and you can’t keep anything down but grilled cheese.  What to Expect is like, “eat 19 servings of vegetables a day, it’s not hard!” and in the beginning you believe them but then you quickly realize that it’s actually not possible to consume as much food as they recommend.  And maybe there are women out there who are still able to be awesome and feel fit and good up through their third trimester, but I’m going to let you in on a secret: a lot of us are faking it.  I did a 5k over the weekend and pretended I felt good, but really it was uncomfortable because they did not have a bathroom on the course and also walking a 5k by yourself is pretty dull, especially when it’s on a runway.  I’m glad I’m still able to walk, and I’m glad I’m signed up for another 5k, because it is keeping me motivated to stay active, but man, did I have expectations which are ridiculous.  Third trimester is uncomfortable.  It’s exhausting.  I thought I was going to be better at being pregnant than I am, and I’m just not.

Anyway, the reason pregnancy has made my job transition difficult is that about a week after I started, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and classed as “high risk”.  Which means more doctors appointments and more monitoring.  They’ve had me coming to the OB weekly, plus I have to see an endocrinologist and go in for additional ultrasounds and monitoring to make sure the baby isn’t growing too big.  I also have regular therapy appointments, so I’m seeing a minimum of two doctors a week, pretty much.  Which means needing to work longer hours on some days to make up, and means driving to work when I have doctor’s appointments.  I don’t really like coming into the office at 11am or leaving early to go to yet another doctor’s appointment, so it’s been pretty frustrating.  However, the hours are flexible and my supervisor is very understanding and sympathetic about being high risk.  A lot of my coworkers have kids and are full of helpful working-parent advice and it’s just a good environment to be in.

So overall, things are going well, but my blogging has suffered and will continue to suffer.  IT can also always log into my computer, so I can’t write from the office in my downtime anymore.  But I will continue to update when I’m able!

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Review: Citizen Tokyo

When I was early in my pregnancy, I wondered how long I would be able to ride for.  I gave up my Giant Cypess earlier this year and I immediately regretted it, even though the main reason I got rid of it was that I couldn’t carry it, which would have only gotten worse.  I think, with rack and lock, it weighed 30+ lbs.  So I mentioned to Mr. Porro that if I couldn’t keep riding my hybrid, I was thinking of getting a folding bike.  With a low standover frame and very adjustable handlebars, I could get as upright as I needed to, and folding bikes are more lightweight than other bikes.  

I knew the most common folding bike was Dahon, but I also knew that those were on the pricier side.  I went to an Alleycat with a girl who had a folding bike, and she seemed pretty happy with it and able to keep up. I remembered the brand being Citizen, so I googled Citizen Bikes.  I was immediately intrigued by the low price point and the variety of styles that they offered. I looked into the bikes carried by our local bike shops, which were Dahon, Downtube, Fern, and Brompton, but they were all more than I wanted to spend on a bike that I might only ride for 3 months.  I checked Craigslist and even set up an alert.  

The real push to buy the folder happened at the end of June, when I was offered my new job, because having a folding bike would mean that I could take it on the train.  Which meant I could make my new 30 mile commute by train instead of by car, which is infinitely appealing to somebody who loves to read and hates to drive.  I still wasn’t sure how the bike would actually ride and wasn’t sure which model to get.  Then my friend in the courthouse mentioned his coworker rode a folding bike to work, and I checked it out, and there it was, a Citizen Tokyo!  She let me test ride it around the office and gave me an honest review of how it worked to take it on the train, etc.  I had been worried that the 16″ wheels would be too small, but riding it around the office, they were just fine.  I was all set to order, and Citizen was out of the colors that I wanted – I was deciding between the orange and the light blue, and suddenly they only had black, gray, and red. I called customer service and they assured me they would have the other colors in stock soon.  So I waited (although they said they could pre-order, but I was still deciding.)  Once they came back in stock, I think it only took about a week for my bike to show up, but I had it shipped to my sister’s house because people steal packages in our neighborhood.  So, that was the purchasing process, and here is my review:

Citizen Tokyo with rear rack and comfort saddle (both optional upgrades): 

Riding: A folding bike is not going to ride the same as a road bike.  It just isn’t.  At least not when it has 16″ wheels.  If I wasn’t pregnant and worried about carrying it on the train, I would have gotten the 20″ wheels and I think that would have been better.  It also only has 6 speeds.  So it actually handles going up hills pretty well, but going downhill, you can only pick up so much speed and then you just have to coast, which is really frustrating when you know you could normally catch that light on your hybrid but your pedals are spinning aimlessly.  I actually now understand the appeal of a fixed-gear folding bike, but I don’t think Citizen actually makes one – they make a single speed, which maybe you could fix yourself? I dunno.  I spend most of my time riding in the 6th gear, occasionally shifting down at hills.  However, for the most part, it is fun to ride and faster than walking.  I haven’t yet figured out how to mount a lock.  

Hauling: The rear rack also is so low to the ground, and has slightly thicker tubes, that I thought my Racktime bag wouldn’t fit, but it does. My regular Ortlieb panniers do not, so farmer’s market has been tricky. I bought a bag/basket for the front, but installed it upside down and also can’t quite get it to work, so I may need to call somebody about that.  

Folding: Folding is mostly easy, but there is a small pin that fits into a thing, so you have to yank really hard to get it open and push it really hard to get it closed. If it doesn’t lock into place, it tends to swing open. Once it is folded in half, it can be pushed and rolled, kind of the way you would push a stroller. It’s a bit unwieldy for long distances (which is why at my old job I locked it up rather than bringing it into my office) but fine for the train.  I rarely fold the handlebars down and lower the seat, but when I do, the whole thing fits in the trunk of our Corolla.  I no longer have to walk on days my husband picks me up from work.  I have found that it is much much much easier to carry a backpack than deal with my Racktime bag while I fold the bike, so I’m on the hunt for a good tote bag that converts to a backpack.  Our city has a free boat shuttle system I’ve taken the bike on a couple of times and I haven’t even had to fold it up to do that, but it’s been pretty easy to maneuver except the steps are wide.  If you are pregnant, accept help from anyone who is willing to help you carry your bicycle.  Frankly, if you are a strong looking person watching me struggle with my bike at 29 weeks pregnant, I’m going to judge you.  Especially if you tell me not to hurt myself but don’t offer to help.  I took it on the train for the first time yesterday.  Getting up the steps with it folded isn’t easy, and there isn’t a great place for it, but otherwise it worked really well.  Except that I got on the last car of the train and had to walk through three cars to get off at my stop, which meant rolling it through 3 cars where the handlebars are ever so slightly wider than the seats and I had to navigate around each one.  I have a bag but haven’t used it yet.  I mostly bought it just in case we ever fly or take a bus/train with the bike and need to check it.  

Commentary: Something about the folding bike opens you up to a lot more commentary. If you do not want people to talk to you while you ride to work, do not get one of the pretty colors.  I get a lot of, “hey, nice bike!” or “I love that bike, hon” or “what kind of bike is that?” comments. My friend who has it in black says she also gets a lot of commentary, but I think it’s probably worse with the more eye-catching color.  The good thing is, most of this commentary is actually bike related – people ask me if I fold it up, if I can put it in a suitcase, they want to know where I got it, they want to ask how I like it.  I’m not big on talking to total strangers while riding a bike 29 weeks pregnant in a city where bike theft is really common, but so far it’s been positive and harmless.  

Pregnancy:  The standover frame is great. It’s such a relief to not have to swing my leg up and over. It’s still easy to step over it. My belly is getting in the way a bit, and the handlebars don’t adjust quite as far up as I would like.  The bike itself is not lighter than my Canondale Quick 3, because I bought the lightest hybrid possible, but at 26lbs, it’s not bad and the frame makes it pretty easy to carry up the steps.  I am SO GLAD I sprang for the comfort seat. The regular saddle that comes with it is probably perfectly comfortable for the average person, but if you are on the heavier side or expecting, just pay the $18 and upgrade the saddle.  It’s SO comfortable.  

There is a lot of flexibility that comes from having a folding bike, and I’m definitely thinking about the possibilities of my husband having one as well.  It would be so easy to just toss them in the car and head up to my in laws house, and ride our bikes to the beach, instead of fussing with the rear rack.  (One of my coworkers has a Yepp Mini mounted to her folding bike, so hauling children is totally possible.)  It would be great on days when I need to pick him up at work, and so simple for the two of us to take the train to another city on weekends and have instant mobility when we get there!  Mostly, I think I wish that the two of us had gotten folding bikes a couple of years ago, when we could really enjoy being childfree traveling cyclists, and really taken advantage of it.  I think if we were getting a second Citizen, I would either want to spring for the Gotham, or would just get the Miami, with it’s bigger wheels and 7 speeds.  Though, that means my husband will be a lot faster than me, and while he originally said he’d be willing to ride my light blue Tokyo, when it came out of the box he was like, “um, no.”  

Anyone else ride a folding bike? Anyone have any questions?

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Pregnancy and Cycling

The biggest problem with cycling while pregnant, is the number of stupid people out there who do not understand pregnancy or cycling.  This makes it very hard to do actual research, and since I wasn’t willing to stop cycling, I felt myself getting pretty frustrated, especially in the second trimester as my body started to really change.

I had zero problems continuing to ride in my first trimester. Even though I was pretty sick, and being thirsty made me gag, I never threw up on my bicycle and I generally felt microscopically better on days that I biked compared to riding the bus.  Riding the bus made me sick a couple of times, so there’s that.
I gained most of my weight during the first trimester in weeks 12 and 13.  So by Week 14, I was starting to notice some discomfort in the saddle, even on my regular morning commute.  I finally posted on a forum about it, because googling “saddle pain pregnancy” was not helping me find answers besides “stop riding when it becomes uncomfortable” or “buy a new seat” which I wanted to avoid.  One of the responses was to tilt the seat down ever so slightly, which did help a lot.  I also lowered the seat just a bit because it was causing me some hip pain to swing my leg up and over the seat.
I did all of my training rides for the International Distance tri I did at 16 weeks clipped into my bike – these were rides 15-25 miles in length, and I turtled myself once at around 10-11 weeks because I thought I was unclipped and I wasn’t – I went to put my foot down and went right over.  I sustained a couple of bruises on my leg and elbow, but fell directly to the side rather than over my handlebars, and was going at a very low speed, so there was no damage done.  I’m a conservative rider generally so I did not ride super-fast ever.
At Week 16, I did my tri on my road bike and was fine, but found I could not go down into the aerobars (which I never do anyway because I’m a big scardycat), because my stomach had gotten too big and it was uncomfortable.  Around Week 18, I dropped my road bike off with my sister, who has custody of it until next January, so she could join me for the sprint tri we just did, and I test rode it to make sure they hadn’t done a terrible job tuning it up (they had) and I found it really uncomfortable. So I probably could not have ridden it past 18 weeks, personally.  My sister says I’m carrying low, so your mileage may vary.
At 19 weeks, we did a 25 mile bike ride on our tandem, which is the trek mountain bike tandem.  This was completely comfortable and not a problem at all – the rear of the tandem has a step through frame and a fairly upright setup. I think we did tilt my seat down slightly but otherwise I was completely fine. I opted not to clip in just because it was starting to make me uncomfortable to be clipped in.  Around 24-ish weeks, we did a short 10 or so mile ride on the tandem and that was also fine.  I think I could comfortably ride the tandem now.
At 21 weeks, I was still comfortably riding my Canondale Quick 3 to work, but I started to have trouble swinging my leg up and over the rear rack and itching to ride something more upright with a step-through frame.  We don’t have a ton of storage space for another bike, and carrying one up and down the steps is the main reason I went from a step through to a regular bike anyway, so I turned my search to folding bikes and decided to go with the Citizen Tokyo after some unsuccessful searches on Craigslist.  The Tokyo is an entry level price point and the appeal of the folding bike is that either my husband or I could ride it (although it’s baby blue so he probably won’t), and then if the other person needed to pick them up, it can go in the trunk.  This actually worked perfectly the one time so far that we tried it.
I’ve been riding the Tokyo for a little over a month now and I’m really happy with it.  I will give a more detailed review later, because there were very few honest reviews out there.  It’s 26 lbs, so the same weight as my Canondale, and has a low frame so I can step over it easily. I ordered it with the rear rack and the comfort seat.  The best part is that my Racktime Shoulderit Pannier bag actually fits on the rear rack – I wasn’t expecting that because the rear rack is tiny, the tubing is thick, and it’s low to the ground.  When I first pulled it out, we were like, “oh, gonna need a new work bag” but then I came home and told my husband that my ShoulderIt bag actually worked and he was like, “okay, I need to see this.”  It turns out that Ortlieb really knows what they are doing.
My new job is not too far from the train station, so the other purpose of getting a folding bike was that I could take it on the train.  I will be trying this next week.  I think, even though my pannier bag does fit, I will be riding with a backpack, because it’s hard to manage a shoulder bag and a folding bike at the same time.  I also will be hopefully exercising on my lunch break, and therefore might need to take workout clothes, plus my lunch, with me, and the backpack will just have more room.  I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to keep riding for – I’m really starting to slow down, so I think I might move to riding on the sidewalks of the busy streets soon. I’m not wild about this, but I’d rather ride on the sidewalk and annoy pedestrians than risk getting run over by an impatient driver.

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Pregnant Triathlete, Part II

I just finished my second triathlon of this pregnancy, and man, was it harder than the first.  I did the first at the very beginning of my second trimester, and my second at the very beginning of my third.  I hit 28 weeks on Friday, and the race was Sunday.  

I did this race last year, and it’s a fantastic race.  (Druid Hill Park Sprint Tri) So I knew when I signed up (before the January 1 price increase) that even if I was pregnant, I would probably hopefully maybe be able to handle it, as long as I was having a healthy pregnancy, which I fortunately am.  It’s a 300 yard pool swim, an 8 mile bike course, and a 3.1 mile run.  The run is completely flat, around a lake.  The bike course is challenging and hilly.  The swim is in a pool, which actually presents it’s own challenges but does not feel as endless as an open water swim of the same distance.  

When registering for a pool swim, it’s important to gauge your speed accurately.  I was generous with my time and put 2:30 for my 100m swim time.  Based on what my pace has been at the gym lately, I was spot on.  Last year I put 2:00, which was also fairly accurate.  I was passed by a couple of people but I also passed a few folks.  If you are pregnant, you should probably adjust your swim time down a bit – even though swimming is recommended for pregnant women, the reduced lung capacity and general lumbery-ness slows you down.  

I rode my Canondale Quick 3 for the bike course.  My normal road bike is a Giant Avail, but my sister, who did the race with me, has had custody of that since May.  I stopped riding my Canondale to work about a month ago (more on that later), because it was getting too challenging to swing my leg up over the rack to ride to work.  I was concerned about riding it for the race because when I’ve done long rides recently, the angle I have to sit at presses directly on my bladder.  The seat, which is normally very comfortable, was also uncomfortable on my SBR a few weeks ago.  I asked my husband to swap out the seat for a wider one, which helped considerably.  I would recommend a comfort saddle like this one for anyone who is cycling during pregnancy.  (I don’t actually have that one but it looks a lot like the one I do have and it’s nice.)  If you still have saddle discomfort, consider slightly tilting the nose down.

Like I said, the course was hilly.  I did not train hard enough for the hills.  My lungs were working at their capacity and I was having braxton hicks contractions on the steep uphills.  I coasted as much as I could on the downhills to give myself a break, and I didn’t push myself.  One guy that passed me kept cheering me on, which was lovely and was the extra push I needed to finish the bike course.  

The run course was where I felt the crappiest, at least for the first half.  I wore my camelbak hydration pack but forgot to bodyglide my arms.  So of course I started to experience chafing from my arms pumping against the wet straps.  I knew from my run last weekend that following my 2 min run 1 min walk pattern was going to be hard.  So I switched to a 1 min run, 1 min walk pattern.  Even that was too strenuous for the first mile and change – I was still having Braxton Hicks contractions, I was getting round ligament pain, and the chafing on my arms was really burning.  I stopped and walked for about five minutes.  Everytime I tried to run again, something hurt.  So I had a pack of Stinger gels and walked as fast as I could.  At the end of Mile 1, I saw my husband and brother in law on the course and handed off my Camelbak.  Once I did that, I was able to run again – I’m not sure whether it corrected my posture or just not chafing was such a relief, but at that point I picked up and stuck with the 1 min run / 1 min walk intervals.  Everyone was super encouraging and nice to me, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to say to total strangers when they say, “you are awesome!” So usually I just said “so are you!” or something else like that.  

As I got to the end, I could see where the chute was to the finish, so I took my walk break and gave the baby a quick pep-talk.  We were going to walk until we saw the sign for the chute, and then we were going to sprint.  I did not think this was actually going to work, but it did, and we were able to come flying into the finish line, which I’m pretty proud of – usually I’m so spent from races that I have nothing left at the finish line, but the advantage of being conservative on this one was that I had plenty of legs left, even if I didn’t really have the lung capacity.  Also, the finish was downhill. That helped.  A lot of people congratulated me after the race and asked how I was feeling and commented on how great it was that I was out there.  

I also got to hang out with my tri club for a little bit, which was really nice.  My husband usually crews me for races but I feel like being in the club will make it easier next year when I have to go by myself and leave him at home with the kiddo.  Everyone in the club is really nice and super-supportive.  

My time last year was 1:16:25.  My time this year was closer to 1:35:37. I’m okay with that.  I felt a little uncomfortable with the attention I was getting (I wasn’t even the only pregnant athlete there – I overheard another girl saying she was 16 weeks), because I didn’t sign up for this race because I felt like I wanted to prove anything.  I really just wanted to do it, and I’ll admit that a part of me was curious if I could do it.  But it wasn’t like anyone told me I couldn’t and I needed to prove them wrong.  I will also say that I did not notice any judgmental looks, comments, or implications.  

What I wore: 

– De Soto Carrera Loose Top with Drawstring Waist – I ordered this top before my international tri, and I was so happy with it’s performance, even though it was snugger than I’d thought it would be and I knew I couldn’t wear it for this race, and when I went to review it I realized that De Soto had accidentally shipped me the Sprinter Top and I hadn’t realized it when I received it. I sent them a sheepish email asking if it was at all possible to exchange a used tri top for the one I had wanted and they shipped me the Carrera top right away.  The Medium accommodated the belly really well and also accommodated my increased chest, and although I probably would have been more comfortable in a Large, I will be able to wear the medium post-pregnancy as well.  A+, would highly recommend to any pregnant athlete looking for a good workout top.  

– Under Armour Compression Shorts (5″) – Last weekend, getting pretty desperate for something made of moisture wicking fabric to wear for this race, I hit the Under Armour Outlet. I really wanted these shorts in the longer 7″ version, but they only had the 5″. I bought them in a large, and because the waistband is wide and pretty flexible it was able to fit up and over my belly.  However, when I test rode them yesterday, they rode up quite a bit and so I needed to add gripper elastic to the bottom.  (I ordered 2 yards of Gripper Elastic from Quest Fabrics a month ago to add to my running skirt.)  It was a quick project and made a world of difference – my shorts stayed put and didn’t ride up, bunch, or chafe, and they were long enough to protect my thighs from my bike seat.  

Ultimate Maternity Belt – I’m a pretty comfortable person doing what I need when I need to, but even I was kind of embarassed to be pulling on my support belt before the bike course. However, I can’t run without it, so I sucked it up and put it on.  It stayed put and helped keep things in place for the run.  I actually have mixed feelings on whether it’s that helpful for the bike.  

Tri

 

And yes, I went home and took a nap.  

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Pregnancy and Fitness: Attire

I feel like I should apologize that this blog is now totally about pregnancy, but 1) there is not enough information out there about pregnancy and fitness and 2) I’m posting more than I was when I wasn’t posting about pregnancy and 3) I think five people read this blog.  Anyway, I kept wishing I could find more blog posts on pregnancy and sports, because a lot of people didn’t properly tag their posts and it was hard to find them after they had already had kids.  So, I figured I’d put as much info as I could out there, especially because pregnancy is so varied by person, so sometimes you just need to read as much as you can before you find somebody who is having your same experience.  

So I wanted to touch on attire.  This was hard for me, because I started showing really early. I just had dinner with a friend who is 15 weeks and she’s so much smaller than I was at 15 weeks – she’s still wearing regular pants, with a rubberband.  That trick worked for me to like, Week 11.  So, I’ve had to adapt more than some of the people whose blogs I read who just kept wearing their same running shorts.  

Firstly, I’m going to say that you shouldn’t feel bad if you need to move up into maternity clothes sooner than other people might.  Everybody is different.  As long as you feel like you are having a healthy pregnancy, you are going to gain weight and your body is going to change in uncontrollable ways.  (I had a lot of issues about this around Week 22, but I feel like I’ve moved past them.)  My thighs increased significantly, which made it impossible to wear a lot of my old gym and running shorts.  

Maternity-specific workout gear is hard to find if you are not looking for yoga pants and cotton t-shirts with cutesy slogans.  Old Navy was the best bet for me, personally, and I love the Active Shorts I got (I bought two pairs) as well as the yoga pants.  I am still able to wear a few pairs of my regular Target gym shorts, because they are long enough and the legs are lose enough to accommodate my new shape.  

For shirts, you can get by for a long time in many of the looser cut non-maternity tanks, as long as they are long.  The key is to get stuff early on that comes down at least past your hips, because then it will grow with you.  I found a couple of long tanks at Costco (they are in right now) and they have been great – I’m still wearing them at 27 weeks.  I haven’t raided my husband’s stash of activewear shirts yet, but a lot of people do wear men’s shirts because they tend to be longer and more generously cut in the chest and stomach.  I haven’t opted for this because I find the sleeves really baggy.  

Sports bras have actually been easier than I thought.  The Champion Seamless ones that you can get at Target have lasted really well through a lot of changes, and I also bought a size up in Moving Comfort sports bra before I was even pregnant, because they were buy one get one free and I knew I might need a bigger one.  I will say, I thought my Fiona bras would fit longer and I outgrew them pretty quickly.  If I need to go a size up again before delivery, I will just get more of the Target ones because they are cheap and offer enough support for me, especially because I’m not running much.  

Swimwear is a challenge.  Originally, around 12 weeks, I sized up to a size 12 (I had been wearing an 8) and that got me through to around 20 weeks.  Then I bought a suit from Target and I ordered the top in a small and a medium and kept the medium, returning the small, figuring I would grow into the medium because I was expanding rapidly.  I think this was the wrong call, and I wish I had just kept the small and figured I would buy a third swimsuit if I needed it.  Instead, I bought a third swimsuit.  So right now, I’m swimming laps in this number by Motherhood.  It’s a halter tankini, and it stays in place really well while I lap swim and aqua jog (more on that in another post). Don’t get discouraged just because there aren’t a lot of lap suits made for pregnant ladies – the regular maternity swimsuits are pretty supportive and the actual fabric part of the top stays down (as long as you don’t size up) while you swim.  It’s definitely better for swimming laps than an average tankini.   

If you are willing to spend more on maternity clothes, you will have better luck and be able to buy the expensive shorts that cost $40-50 apiece.  I don’t spend that on workout gear I plan to wear for years, so I felt like I couldn’t justify it now.  I will also say, I workout every day but since I haven’t been overexerting myself/sweating as much, sometimes I wear workout tops two days in a row (particularly if I’m just doing a 20 minute yoga DVD), so I’ve been getting by with not a lot of gear. I have 2 pairs of maternity shorts, 2 pairs of other shorts that fit, 1 pair of yoga pants, 4-5 activewear tops that fit (one has a built in bra), and 5 sports bras that fit.  I’ve been hanging up the sports bras to dry after workouts and wearing them a couple of times before washing.  

Anyone have favorite maternity activewear sources? Favorite non-maternity gear that worked well for pregnancy?

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Some Support

I had a question about my support belt, so I wanted to talk about it.  I have this one from Motherhood Maternity and I like it a lot.  I got this one and I do not like it at all.  

So, the one that I like – it’s pretty adjustable, and it offers good back support, and mostly it helps keep my stomach in place while I’m running or walking long distances.  It’s also good for things where I will be standing for long periods of time and would eventually start to have back or hip pain.  I wear it over the full panel on my shorts, or over the unfolded fold-over waistband on my running shorts.  

I walked to work without it on Friday and I decided that I’m never doing that again – by the end of my walk, my back hurt as well as my hips and my stomach itself, just from everything working to support the extra 15lbs I am carrying on my stomach.  

It’s not prefect – the velcro is sort of peeling up in some places, and it is pretty thick, so you can see it under my thin work dresses.  It also sometimes makes it worse when you already have to go to the bathroom, and it’s helping compress your bladder.  But it’s fine under workout gear or under my casual clothes.  However, it does help a lot and I can say that running without it is impossible.  It does not really help when I ride my bike though – it doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t lift my belly up enough that it’s not resting on my knees while I ride or anything.  

I am a S/M, and I got a medium because I tried them on in the store and the medium was a better fit.  I have wider hips and am carrying low, so I think that is why a medium works better. I started wearing it around 22/23 weeks.  I do not wear it every day, since I don’t wear it for work, but I’ll put it on when I go to the gym or get home.  

I may eventually try, if I need more support at work, the spanx support shapers, but I’ve been doing okay in the office lately.

I think that maternity activewear is slowly but steadily improving, so I’m optimistic that they might start coming out with more support belts that are made for physical activity, because I do have to wash it if I wear it for a long workout and it gets dirty.  

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SBR at 25 Weeks

This morning, I took myself out to a tri club meetup for a little SBR (swim, bike, run) action.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to wear for my upcoming triathlon – I have a sprint distance race on August 10th – and the maternity tri gear options are pretty sparse.  So, I donned my Old Navy Active shorts and a Moving Comfort sports bra and a tank top and my trusty maternity support belt and headed out to the state park to do a test drive.  

Tri club members are awesome, and a few people commented on my pregnancy but none of them in a judgmental way.  I was doing a really short swim compared to everybody else, and I had my hybrid bike, and I was doing a two-minute-walk-one-minute-run program.  People checked in to see how I was doing, not in a helicoptering way, and nobody tried to baby me.  As with everything, your mileage may vary, but I had a good time.  

I was really pleased with how the swim went, because I hadn’t been open-water swimming since the Maritime tri.  My next race has a pool swim and you are allowed to rest on the walls if you need to (I hope to avoid this), so I wasn’t feeling too pressured today but I figured I would go and see how it went.  I got really thirsty during the swim so I only went 400 yards, but I had zero panic issues with the water and the temperature was good, which definitely helped a lot.  I was able to put my face in the water and start swimming right away, even though there was no visibility, and I had some trouble sighting (my goggles have been fogging up badly lately).  So, I feel pretty confident that practice is what helps the most with feeling comfortable in open water, since I think that is definitely what has made the biggest difference for me this year.  

I mostly felt good, except on the bike course I had some definite saddle discomfort and around the end of the 7-8 mile stretch, the baby settled into my bladder in an unpleasant way. I’ve also been getting Braxton-Hicks contractions and I started noticing some of those on my run.  They were uncomfortable but they pass pretty quickly and I tried to just take them as  a sign to keep drinking water and make sure I was adhering to my walk intervals.  My legs, as usual, felt like lead as soon as I got off my bike, even with a fairly long transition time, but I was able to shake that off after 5 minutes of run-walking.  

My outfit worked out okay, but the shorts are a higher cotton content than I would like, so they did not dry at all on the bike or run portion – I didn’t have any major chafing issues, they just weren’t super pleasant.  I’m on the hunt for a synthetic pair of shorts with a low-rise or foldover waistband that are at least 5-7″ long.  I think I’m going to take a stab at adding a chamois to them myself, and I already have elastic grip tape, so hopefully I can find something that’ll work better than what I have currently.  I have significantly less waist than most people, so sizing up in shorts or stealing a pair from my husband is probably not going to work for me, since there isn’t enough room below the belly for a waistband to rest comfortably.  

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Pregnancy and Triathlon Training (Part I)

Going into triathlon training was harder than going into half marathon training. I was training for a distance I had never done before.  I signed up for the race because I wanted something to distract me from what I anticipated being a roller coaster of TTC.  Well, I signed up for the race because I wanted to do an International Distance Triathlon.  The fact that I knew it was going to be timed with a possible pregnancy was a minor concern, but I did some googling and it turns out that other women have done tris while pregnant, and I really wanted to do a race. So I signed up.

I started training in January because I wanted to build up a base before getting pregnant. So I pushed myself really hard to follow my training schedule up through the end of February, when I first found out.  Also, I knew that the doctor’s advice would be, “as long as you were doing it before you were pregnant, you can continue”.  So I wanted to be able to do all of the distances for my race before I was actually pregnant.  After I found out, I pushed myself really hard to keep training because other than a bit of nausea, I didn’t feel that different.  Then, around 6 weeks, on my way to the pool in the morning, I got off the bus and puked all over the sidewalk.  It was probably the most upsetting thing that happened to me in my early pregnancy, just because it came out of NOWHERE – I had been fine that morning – and because it was so sudden and so embarrassing.  I wondered if I should skip my swim until I felt better, but I decided to go with it – and it made me feel better.

I cut back on spin class because I was concerned about overheating in the tiny, HOT, cycle studio at the gym, and I didn’t want to tell the instructor yet that I was pregnant.  I did spin on my own and fortunately once it warmed up I was able to ride outside.  I also continued to bike commute (more on that in a later post), so it wasn’t like I was spending no time on a bike.

I kept up my running as part of my half marathon training, and after the half, I cut back on my long runs and ran about 4-6 miles on the weekends and 2-3 miles during the week.  I was lucky to mostly avoid the being super-duper-exhausted that a lot of women report, and was able to make it to the gym at least every other day.  I don’t think, after week 7 or 8, I ever had a full 2SBR week.  I tried to just do the best that I could and have faith that the base that I built would carry me through.

Around week 12 my tri shorts no longer fit.  I ordered a new pair of low rise shorts from DeSoto and a tank from them as well, which were great.  The shorts were low rise and I sized up to a Large and they fit me comfortably through the race, which was at 16 weeks.

Like with half training, my long training rides/runs on weekends wiped me out completely. I needed a nap, and once it got hotter out, I found I had a headache from dehydration and being in the sun too long afterwards.  I carried a Camelbak with Nuun and ate sportbeans or stinger honey gummies (which are my new favorite training snack).

My main concern for the actual race was how thirsty I get and how that would affect me during the swim.  I drink a lot of water normally, but I’ve been so thirty all of the time.  And my throat being dry tends to bring on nausea.  I had hoped my nausea would clear up by 12 weeks or at least 14 weeks but I was still nauseated and throwing up the week of and after the race, so that was a little disturbing.  I was also concerned about getting enough water, so I made sure to drink as often as possible from my Camelbak and take water at all of the rest stops on the run course.

Other concerns you might have as a triathlete would include whether your wetsuit will fit. I got lucky – I happen to have a wetsuit that is a size up from my regular size, and I was able to squeeze myself into it pretty comfortably for the race.  Definitely rent or obtain a hyperstretch wetsuit if yours is starting to feel snug.  Don’t google “maternity wetsuit” because it will lead you to about 200 forum posts in which somebody asks about a maternity wetsuit and 20 people tell her that it’s way too dangerous to do any of the activities that require a wetsuit.

Actually, let’s just talk about concern trolling, shall we?  Don’t google “doing a triathlon pregnant” if you don’t have the ability to dismiss a bunch of people who don’t know what they are talking about on the internet.  The responses I read varied from “it’s fine” to “falling off a bike when pregnant is inevitable and will kill your baby.”  (Spoiler: I fell off my bike at 10 weeks and we are just fine, thank you. Not that I recommend it.)  Remember that these people are not doctors. They do not know you. So talk to your doctor, consider your abilities, and then consider how far along you are.  I would not recommend doing a long distance tri beyond 17 or 18 weeks personally, because that was the point when my stamina was really shot and even walking uphill became challenging.  I would not recommend it if you are just trying to PR because the chance that you will PR is pretty slim.  But if you are in good shape, can do all of the distances already, and want to do a race? I say talk to your doctor and then go for it.

There is a part II of this post that will be coming in August, because I have a sprint I’m signed up for.

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Pregnancy and Half-Marathon Training

I found out I was pregnant when I was half way through half-marathon training.  I found out on Friday, and then on Saturday I ran nine miles, and then I played hockey, and the next day, I played another game of hockey.  While you can certainly engage in sports while pregnant, I’m not sure that I would recommend this particular schedule.  I wanted to specifically address pregnancy and half marathon training.

The half marathon I ran while pregnant was my eighth half (I’m pretty sure) and I’d also done a full marathon and a few ten-milers.  So I have a good muscle memory for running 13.1 miles, and I generally find that my body adapts pretty well to the long runs when I’m training.  I would not necessarily recommend training for and running a half while pregnant if it is a totally new distance to you. If you’ve done at least a ten miler before, and you are doing it in your first trimester, you might be okay, and plenty of women run halfs well into their third trimesters.  If you’ve run at least a couple of halfs and are a regular runner, you’re probably fine doing a half, but definitely talk to your doctor first.   My first phone call to my doctor, other than scheduling my appointment, was to ask if I could go downhill skiing, play ice hockey, and run a half-marathon all before my first appointment.  She was fine with two of the three.

So how was training actually?  My training schedule was generally one long run on Saturdays and a short run or two during the week.  I ran more during the week than I usually do, thanks to my husband’s marathon training, but we also had an awful winter, so a lot of those runs were rainy or icy and I didn’t want to fall, so I didn’t really push myself.

I had no problem with 30 min – 60 min of exercise.  It generally made me feel better and sleep better, which is par for the course for me.  However, I found I was pretty worn out after my long runs.  That symptom started before I even tested positive.  I needed at least an hour long nap after a run that was more than four miles.  I found that I needed to protect my Saturdays so that I could run, and then nap, and eat all of the food in the house, and take it easy.  Since I like to do other stuff besides train, I did not really enjoy this.

I also noticed almost immediately that I was unbearably thirsty all of the time.  My throat would get dry and then I would feel sick.  I broke out my Camelbak and wore it for all of my long runs, as well as my half.  I started to put Nuun in it and that also helped a lot with making sure I was getting enough nutrients and helped with my energy levels.

I was relatively sick up until about Week 18 – I was throwing up on a semi-regular basis, and taking zofran so I could get through mornings I had court.  However, I generally found that as long as I had water with me, I felt better when I was running, or at least, it didn’t make it worse.  And it took my mind off the nausea.  This is not a justification for anyone to nag their pregnant friend into running because, “this girl whose blog I read says that the running doesn’t make nausea worse.”  Everyone is different and you know your body.

My pace slowed almost immediately as well.  On my own, my pace was up to 11-12 minute miles, rather than my usual slightly sub-10.  So, I knew right away that my half time was not going to set any records.  With friends, I could step it up and run 9 to 10 minute miles, but I couldn’t maintain it for more than a few miles.  So I finished the half in 2:15, but felt good about my time and my general performance.  2:15 isn’t even my worst half time, so I was pretty pleased.

Overall, my muscles and body were fine, other than the general fatigue.  I’m really glad the half was early on in my pregnancy, because even a little bit later, I started to have more trouble running. I would say that I would have been fine running a half at a decent pace up to about 10-12 weeks, but after that, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it and I would have been doing it just to prove that I could.  The run portion of my tri and training was definitely the least pleasant part.  (Next Up: Pregnancy and Tri Training)  However, plenty of women run halfs much later in pregnancy – and the seasons definitely affect that as well – it’s no coincidence that running has gotten less pleasant the hotter it’s gotten.

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