To backtrack a bit, my first trimester closely matched that of my first pregnancy. I felt great until about week 8 and then terrible until about week 13. During the five weeks of nausea and exhaustion, I cut myself slack and set a goal to simply move my body in some way, shape, or form almost every day. Around Thanksgiving, I began feeling energized again and slowly worked back up to seven miles of running. On Thanksgiving morning, my mom and I participated in the local turkey trot around Lake Harriet. Mom ran the 5k, and I finished the 10k in just under an hour, with faster splits in the second 5k. The weather was totally gross with sleet and wind, but I finished with a big smile on my face.
As the sidewalks became icy, I switched to treadmill running. Unfortunately, the more miles I logged on the treadmill, the more my lower right back pain flared up. Martin Luther King's day brought piercing pain from just ordinary movement. It was a major reality check. I had been ignoring the pain and now I couldn't even get out of the car. Thanks to a friend's recommendation and good timing, I found a chiropractor specializing in maternity care. I had my first appointment on MLK day, and I am now hooked. The adjustments she made worked wonders, and I began to feel like my old self a few days later.
That said, I have been hesitant to get back into running. I can help but think that the treadmill running had a big role in the pain. My body has never responded well to consistent treadmill running, especially when I compare treadmill running to trails and roads. I also want to give my hips and lower back some time to heal after the adjustments.
So, it is time to rethink fitness during pregnancy. One thing that I've learned is that it does not make sense to set long term goals- beyond the goal of listening to my body every day and responding accordingly. If I really listened to my body, I think it would tell me to be active in some capacity on a daily basis. The mode of movement and the degree of rigor, however, would vary. Since my wake up call in January, I have been trying to listen to my body more closely. It is a challenge because the competitor in me wants to perform and my winter blues need the endorphins badly.
In some respects, fitness during pregnancy is a mind game. Some days, I take the micro approach- What is going to feel good right now? One hour of exercise=12 hours of a better attitude. Other days, I think macro: What can I do today that will help me get back into shape faster post-pregnancy? How can I stay healthy now so that I can run this summer?
Last week, I hit the pool three times and I felt great after each workout. This week, after two missed workouts and overeating on Monday and Tuesday, I managed to get myself back to the gym with the promise that I could use the elliptical (something about getting in a bathing suit turned me off!). I think I am ready to get back in the pool tomorrow morning though. Today, I did 45 minutes on the elliptical, listening to Caroline Smith and reading runner's world. I worked up a little sweat and definitely felt better than I would've if I hadn't worked out. We'll see what tomorrow brings!
Oh, and one more thing, I was joking with the blog title. I am obviously not going to make a true training plan for the next 16 weeks, but I do think it is a clever way of thinking about pregnancy and birth from this point on. I am not going to get any fitter or any faster, but I think I can develop some skills and life/body insight as I approach the race (otherwise known as labor and birth!). I will use this blog to chronicle this 16 week race journey.