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Monday, December 30, 2019

The end.

It looks like running is over for me for the foreseeable future! About two weeks before my due date, I started having really bad SI joint and lower back pain. Running doesn't help it at all, so it's on the shelf!
After the pain started, I did try one short 3 mile run/walk. It wasn't the worse pain in the world, but it just didn't seem like a good idea to me, so I decided against future runs (most annoying part of this run is that I planned to just enjoy one last excursion in the park, sort of saying "farewell for now" before many weeks off...and instead ran into an acquaintance who talked my ear off the whole time and made dire predictions about my running future postpartum).
So that's the end of running. I ran about 1550 miles pregnant, most of which were frankly miserable, and I do hope I can exercise some self-control when  I come back so I don't permanently damage my pelvic floor.
Speaking of which, I can get a referral to a pelvic floor specialist who can help me rehab and return to running with a personalized timeline, so that's the plan!

I've avoided registering for any 2020 races so far, but the bug to race is definitely there - I'm thinking the Crescent City Classic in April would be a nice comeback race. It's just 10k so I should be able to swing it!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Running clothes for pregnancy

I had to do some wardrobe updates to keep running while pregnant. I wasn't happy about it (you know I'm cheap!), but I had no choice.

First trimester:
I actually lost weight in my first trimester because I was very, very sick. However, I still needed to size up in bras! I started out by buying some slightly larger size smalls: I find that Champion's most basic bras are not only really cheap (I got some for $3.99!), they also tend to be roomy. The Champion Absolute in my usual size worked for the first trimester. Other than that, I didn't need new clothes, even though I was already showing (due to my incarcerated uterus, I had a visible baby bump at seven weeks....yeah, that was stupid). Luckily, few of my running tops were fitted, all my shorts have some stretch, and as the weather warmed up, I usually just ran in a bra, anyway.

Second trimester:
Bam, weight gain. Between weeks 10 and 28, I gained THIRTY pounds (total - just 20 net thanks to weight loss early - but still, that's a lot of weight gain!). By the end of the second trimester, I was definitely too big for some of my old clothes.

  • Bras: I now had to size up to mediums. I bought a few basic Nike Pro sports bras on Ebay because they have comfortable tape bands across the rib cage. I also was given two Brooks bras that were 34C and they fit, too, although the band actually felt tight!
  • Tops: Ugh, nothing fit. I had a few flowy tops I could wear, but they were snug in the chest. I mostly ran shirtless since my second trimester was in the heat of summer anyway.
  • Shorts: At first, I was able to switch to some of my drawstring-waist shorts and loosen up the tie. But my shorts size changed - I tend to gain weight in my butt anyway, and add to that an expanding pelvis - well, soon most of my shorts were too tight. I bought a pair of new shorts I thought might work, since rumor has it they are stretchy and run large: these. They were also cheap...but they didn't work. The waist was too tight to stretch over the bump, and they chafed. I bought a few mediums, but they had too much extra fabric in the front. I ended up sticking with my all-time favorite shorts, the Coeur Sports run short, which are stretchy and roomy. I could tuck the waistband under my stomach with no problem. I just wore my regular size - no need to buy anything new.
  • Shoes: I had a ton of swelling in my legs and feet starting in my second trimester. It was the worst after standing all day or sleeping all night - so, you know, early morning or after work, the two times I run. Naturally. I was able to accommodate the swelling by re-lacing, and my shoe size didn't change.
Tights under the belly...shirt stretched within an
inch of its life. Eight months here. 

Third Trimester: 
I didn't run all that much in the third trimester, because I had a freak pregnancy tendon injury. Once I figured out how to tape it for stability, I started to run again, but then my SI joints started giving me hip pain. I finally got that under control, only to immediately get a terrible cold. In the last three months of pregnancy, I've run 291 miles to date. That's less than I ran in the single month of March! But when I did run, clothes got complicated. The weather got colder, and I got bigger, and not a lot fit! 
When it was still warm enough, I ran in shorts, and my Coeur Sports shorts still fit. But for colder weather, I tried to wear my regular tights pushed under my belly and ended up with a cold strip of stomach. My long-sleeved running shirts were tight and too short. But by now I am not about to buy some larger clothes, so I am just muscling through, even though I look ridiculous! 

  • Senita makes inexpensive maternity wear that would have been a good purchase early in my pregnancy. By the time I discovered them, I didn't feel it was worth it. They do also have some nursing tops and bras - good to know! 
  • Depending on where and how you gain weight, you might be able to swing your regular clothes, at least for trimesters one and two!
  • Except'll probably want new bras...I bought most of my sized-up bras used to save money, since I don't know what size I will end up. 
  • Many people say that your shoe size will change during pregnancy, so it's probably a good idea to get re-sized at a running store. Mine didn't, however. Unless it changes in the last few weeks here!
  • I did not use a belly support band, even though many people suggested it. I never felt I needed one, but I did buy one early on. I have NO IDEA how you are supposed to run or workout in these things. They're uncomfortable and have a weird, restrictive fit - like I am not sure how you could run at all with one on; they sit across your hips which you'll be trying to move, I assume! This is the one I got, and now I need to sell it on Ebay (which is where I bought it to begin with)! 
  • I chafed in weird places, like my waistband, where I normally wouldn't. Be careful!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Turkey Day "race' which I managed to finish 5 miles

With a posterior tibial tendon tear, wonky hips, and almost 8 months of pregnancy, running Turkey Day would be a bad idea for me. BUT. I had already registered, and I really hated the thought of missing that race. Even though this is almost always a bad race for me (including last year's water contamination disaster!), I love seeing so many friends on Thanksgiving morning. This race is big, and the whole city comes out to run or walk, it seems.

I've been in physical therapy for my tendon, but healing is progressing very, very slowly. It's like my body is building something new instead of repairing, haha. I've been injured for over a month, and the pain is only slightly less at rest and still the same with activity. The area remains swollen and discolored, as well. My doctor pointed out that the etiology of the tear was probably my constant calf cramps as I sleep: combined with a tendon weakened by relaxin, the tear was unavoidable. That would explain how I woke up with this injury, and also part of the reason why it won't heal: my calves continue to cramp all night!

Despite my minimal progress, my therapist suggested I tape my ankle if I really wanted to race. I have been doing just a minute or two on the treadmill in PT to test the tendon, and if I run with it taped, it really doesn't hurt that much. I've actually gradually moved to athletic tape plus an elastic arch wrap instead of a boot or brace. It's a lot less cumbersome, and I think it's about the same support as the brace and much better than the boot, which I can't get tight enough to support the tendon.

So on race day, I went ahead and taped my ankle and got my stuff together, including a dead Garmin that I had to charge in the car! We found parking and headed to the start pretty late, since no way was I going to warm up: I hadn't been running, my ankle was injured, and my hips and SI joints have been killing me. Five miles would be MORE than enough! Every time I've raced pregnant, I've moved further and further back from the start. On Thanksgiving I slunk back to the row containing people-who-run-races-in-sweatpants, which is about my speed these days (side note: this row also contains people-who-don't-wear-deodorant).

I was pretty hesitant when the gun went off, fearing instant pain in my ankle, but it wasn't too bad. Actually, my hips were the bigger problem! My left hip - which always gives me problems - just isn't right anymore, and I can't lift that leg well. I didn't plan on racing this race AT ALL, just running a comfortable pace, and I ran mile 1 in 8:14. I actually thought that was fast for the circumstances. I kept my pace pretty conversational, which was good, since plenty of people wanted to talk. People are VERY encouraging to pregnant runners! It felt weird to be running without racing, but I let the miles just tick by. I passed or was passed by many people I knew, so we talked a bit - I also had to tie my shoe twice, which was annoying (especially since tying my shoes is a bit more of an ordeal these days!). My hip remained very stiff and painful. My ankle was totally manageable, though. Due to construction, the course changed this year, so I wasn't able to look for familiar landmarks, just the mile markers: and the last mile came up fast. People started to speed up, so I did, too. The race finished in Tad Gormley stadium, and I had to chuckle at my awkward bumbling around the track to the finish line. I was extremely surprised to see 39:44 on the clock. I'd been running 8+ minute miles the whole way! I assumed the new course was short, but actually, it wasn't. Caught up in the fast last mile mood, I ran a 7-flat for mile five...which means that I am sure I could have run the whole thing a little faster. Oh well. I had other goals this year!

Post-race was just what I was looking for, and worth the rather painful run: we saw so many friends, including a good friend from out of town who was at the race with a friend; the Power Milers, who did really well (Paige won overall; Tyler and Casey were second and third); friends from the New Orleans Athletic Club, our gym, which puts on the race; runner friends and holiday heroes only. It was definitely my last race pregnant, and might well be my last RUN pregnant, and it was a fun way to take a bow!