6 Things I Learned About Running While Pregnant

Fun fact-  it’s not training season for me just yet! I’m once again an ambassador for the Cleveland Marathon, and this year I’m running the Cleveland half marathon. Lately, my focus on running these past few months since having a baby has been to get back some base mileage and slowly start to build up to 5-6 miles at a time for a long run. Not a lot, I know, but since my official 12 week program won’t start for another month, soI have a few weeks to relax, take training easy, and just enjoy running (or try to when it’s not negative degrees and icy!).

I’ll be sharing my training plan soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to reminisce. This time last year, I was a few months pregnant and “training” for the Cleveland 5k and 10k. As the months went on and race day got closer and closer, it got harder and harder to run. While I’m glad it’s easier right now, I can’t help but forget the joys of running while pregnant.

So here you go. I share this with you – for all the pregnant runners out there – as well as those who aren’t – now you know what it’s like. And why I kept it up!

Imagine this – you just ate a HUGE burrito and drank a jug of soda. Your bladder is full, you’re slightly winded and your feet are swollen. And now, you decide you want to go for a run. Sound like fun?

That may be a slight exaggeration, but that’s pretty much what it feels like to run while 6 months (and beyond) pregnant. And you know what? I still ran throughout both of my pregnancies up until the week I gave birth. Am I crazy? Maybe slightly. But I’d argue that (most) runners are. And as a runner, I hated to give up a part of me just because I was pregnant. It was something that made me feel normal, while everything else in my life was changing. And after talking to my doctor, I even learned there were some benefits to running – and all exercise – when pregnant. Exercise throughout pregnancy is actually recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Why? Exercise may:

  • Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, preterm birth, preeclampsia, having a baby with high birth weight, and the need for a cesarean section
  • Improve your baby’s brain development
  • Help you experience less swelling during pregnancy
  • Lead you to have a shorter labor (fun fact: my second labor was so short she was born within 15 minutes of me arriving at the hospital!)

So, if you decide to keep running during pregnancy, here are some tips that I can offer based on my experience (NOTE: I am not a doctor. At all. I took a Survey of Bio class a semester at BC, but that’s as far as I got.  But fun fact, B was also in that class of 500 million people!):

1. First, talk to your doctor. See what he/she says is okay for you. I am not a doctor and I don’t pretend to be one.

2. Expect it to feel different. Even in the first trimester when you may not look different, your lungs are doing double duty and you may get out of breath easier or find your heart rate higher. And then as your body changes, your gait may, too. I found parts of my body hurt that had never been sore before. Listen to your body and do what you can do.

3. Don’t compare yourself. This is an important one. Don’t compare yourself to others or even to yourself. Both my pregnancies were very different, and I would sometimes find myself getting down because I was slower during the second pregnancy. Or, I’d be discouraged because I felt like my running was more hobbling/walking than sprinting. But remember – running while pregnant is HARD! Remind yourself of how amazing you are and all the benefits (above). Don’t expect to set any PRs. In fact, if you must wear your running watch, reset all the data. This will help you feel less discouraged and focus more on the enjoyment of being out there.

 

4. Be prepared to spend money on some new gear. Your feet may grow during pregnancy, leading you to need new shoes. Your running clothes? They maaaay not fit you when you’re 7 months in. I also highly recommend a support belt – this helped tremendously as I got larger.

5. Go early in the day. I’m lucky that I’m a morning worker-outer as it is, but during pregnancy, this was even more important. A morning run helped not only reduce my swelling later in the day, but I felt much less full (and not like I was running with a belly full of burrito) and it was easier to move my body. Immediately going for a run also helped with my morning sickness.

6. Stay hydrated. It’s much easier to overheat, get dehydrated, etc. during pregnancy. So if you’re going to be running or doing any exercise, make sure to keep up on the water.

Bonus: Have fun! Don’t forget why you’re doing it in the first place and enjoy your time running. Take photos so that you can show your future children the amazing feats you accomplished with them.

Are you training for the Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon or any of the other events right now? If so, don’t forget to use my 10% discount code – MC2019! 

NOTE: A version of this blog post first appeared from me on Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine’s website. Check it out, and check out all my posts with them.

Training Tuesday: Back on the Half Wagon

Where are all the New Year’s resolutioners? Is it just me – or has the gym/running trails/etc been eerily quiet the past week? I swear, every year at this time my gym gets more crowded and the running trails and paths get more full of people trying to make an effort to start the new year on track. But this year? I have yet to see this phenomenon.

Anyway, I’m BACK on the training bandwagon! I haven’t really stopped running, but I’ve been enjoying not having any planned races to train for and just running when I have time, am not super exhausted from life as a working mom with a baby who doesn’t sleep, and not feeling like I have to get out and run on the cold, snowy/icy, wintry roads.

francisjoggingstroller

he feels the same way i do about winter runs outside

BUT that’s all about to change – because it’s training season! That’s right, I’m officially training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon again. It’s coming up this May and as usual, I’ll be sharing my training with you as an ambassador. Stay tuned for a race entry giveaway, too!

40-logo

I’ve done the race a few years in a row now (minus last year when I did the 10k/5k challenge series because I was just a weeeee bit huge and pregnant) and it’s a great tradition that I look forward to getting back at it!

running this pregnant was not as fun as it looks

running this pregnant was not as fun as it looks

2015 race - half marathon finish

2015 race – half marathon finish

Mary and I at the starting corral in 2014

Mary and I at the starting corral in 2014

So despite some of my nervousness about the race (Will I have time to train? Will I pass out on the treadmill since I’m so tired all the time? Will I be upset if I am not as fast as I have been in years’ past – since this is highly unlikely?! How can I breastfeed and train at the same time?), I’m excited to be finally committed to returning. Some questions for you:

  • What’s your next race?
  • Mommas – any hints for training with a baby?
  • Should I do the Challenge Series – 8k/half? Or just the half?

And it’s my first time linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs!

PS- Check out my Instagram for my running GIVEAWAY I have going on right now – I’m giving away this great book by a fellow Cleveland author and Cleveland Marathon Ambassador!

giveaway

Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Half Marathon Recap

This Sunday I ran a half marathon, the Inaugural Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Half Marathon. It was the first year of the race (thus the name) and the start and finish line were within walking distance from my apartment. How could I say no?

Packet pickup in front of the Rock Hall!

Packet pickup in front of the Rock Hall!

Leading up to race week I was less than ecstatic. My left foot was still sore from hiking/rolling it a few weeks ago (whoops!) and the weather was looking HOT.

Raceday=Sunday=hottest day in the forecast

Raceday=Sunday=hottest day in the forecast

How I spent the night before the race ... compression socks (yes, they're inside out) and ice!

How I spent the night before the race … compression socks (yes, they’re inside out) and ice!

That being said, it ended up being a pretty good race! The heat held off until the afternoon (it was low-70s  instead of mid-80s!) and my foot only hurt the first few miles. So how else did it go?

First, the good news. I PR’d! I took two minutes off my time since the May half marathon I ran – my best time now is about 1:55 …

results

Now, overall thoughts on the race.

The good:

The fuel: There were water stops every two miles on the course and TWO fuel packet (Carb boom!) stops. I was able to grab water nearly every stop without a problem AND the people who were volunteering to hand out water were so helpful and cheerful! There weren’t many crowds on the course, but the people handing out water and Carb Boom were great motivation. Thank you!

Well-organized: While I didn’t hear from the race folks until the Thursday before the race (and yes, I was a little worried), the packet pickup and race day events went very smooth. The porta potty lines at the start were very quick (always appreciated!!).

pre-race selfie with Mary

pre-race selfie with Mary

The course: The course was relatively flat – which was great! It had a few minor hills (two in the beginning and 2 semi hills in the end), but elevation was probably the flattest of any half marathon I’ve ever run. So it was very PR friendly 🙂

ended up being a gorgeous day!

ended up being a gorgeous day!

The not-so-good:

The course: I know, I said I liked the course above. Forgive me, I’m fickle. I found the last 4 or so miles of the course awful, mentally. It was all one straight away (I do better on courses where there are a few turns I can look forward to), all black top, and no shade. Thank goodness it didn’t hit 80s until later in the day, but I was hot and bored.

The crowds: There weren’t many people out watching during the race. I know this isn’t the fault of the race organizers, but it would’ve been nice to have more people watching and cheering us on. I am so grateful that B and Nicole were out at 2 spots plus the finish line cheering us on!

Nicole made us a sign!

Nicole made us a sign!

Race entertainment: I was hoping for a band along the course or something – but besides the water stops (which, as I said above, were plentiful and cheerful!), there was nothing. And I’m spoiled with bands and music and cheering from other races, so I missed that during this course.

My stomach: Okay, this is all me. I’ve never ever had problems with my stomach during a long run or race before. I know, I must have jinxed it. But I felt sick from miles 10 on. I started feeling icky a little before, so I tried taking some new fuel (I know, a race day no-no) – Honey Stingers Chocolate with Caffeine Gel – and I’m not sure if that’s why, but after that point I didn’t feel any better. I was tired, thirsty, and for the last mile or so, nauseous. 😦

 

I don’t have another half marathon in my sights anytime soon – I’m tooling with a November race, but haven’t signed up yet. After feeling ill the last few miles, it’s hard to get myself to register. It took me some time to be able to eat normal food again.

post-race fuel. My fave acai bowl at Restore!

post-race fuel. My fave acai bowl at Restore!

Some questions for you:

  • What is the last race you PR’d in? What’s next in your sights?
  • Do you feel sick during long runs? What’s the cause/cure?

Training Tuesday: New Shoes, New Socks and a PR!

It’s been too long since I’ve written a Training Tuesday post, huh? You’re probably all wondering if I fell off the face of the running earth. Have I stopped running? Have I taken up another sport? Am I injured?

Thank goodness the answer is no, no and no (fingers crossed). In fact, I’ve still been running – I’ve just been bad about sharing my weekly updates (though if you read this blog you’ve seen me mention it on occasion anyway). Here are a few running updates:

  • I have new shoes! While I’m always a fan of Sauconys, I have my first pair of Mizunos! I have the new Mizuno Enigma Wave 5s (got them for reviewing purposes from Fitfluential!) and they’re SO soft. They’re a cushion shoe, which I love wearing, and have been enjoying them on long and short runs.
mizunos

doing running drills with my new Mizunos

  • I’ve signed up for a new race! Finally, right? I’m signed up for the Rock Hall Half Marathon in August. It’s the first time the race is in town and I’m excited for a brand new race and new course!
  • I’m apparently on week five of training for the race … whoops! Good thing I’ve been doing 6-8 mile runs on the weekends. Last Friday, Nicole and I ran 8 miles before work and discovered a new path in the flats with a great view.
  • I’m streaking! Hehe. What I mean to say is that I am participating in the Runners World Running Streak. You have to run daily between Memorial Day and Fourth of July. Only 4 more days and I’ll be complete!
  • I’m continuing to do speed training. I’ve only done two speed workouts since the Cleveland Half Marathon (one tempo run and one interval run … and have another interval run planned for today), but I have been seeing it work. I’m getting faster and that means …
  • I got my first sub-25 minute 5k!!!! Again, finally, right?! This has been a goal of mine for a year, but last year my main goal was a sub-2 hour half marathon. Now that I’ve crushed that, I was able to focus on the 5k and speed runs. I’m so happy 🙂
My race time! Proof! (and see who #1 is? Fellow Cle Marathon Ambassador Jess!)

My race time! Proof! (and see who #1 is? Fellow Cle Marathon Ambassador Jess!)

AND I’m excited to share with you that I found some new compression socks that I’m in love with- Lily Trotters! I was lucky enough to be sent a pair of their compression socks and I’ve worn them a few times now for training runs and just around the house (because I’m cool like that).

Lily Trotters Sock Selfie!

Lily Trotters Sock Selfie!

Some things I like about them:

  • They are made in the USA.
  • They are cute! Look at them. I love the polka dots and ruffles because let’s face it, I’m not that girly in real life but in my running life, I can pretend, right?
  • They’re soft and I can wear them all day. Sometimes compression socks itch if i wear them all day (does this happen to you?!) but these don’t!
  • They’re not toooo tight! I sometimes feel like other compression socks I wear are so tight over my slightly larger-than-normal not-so-ladilike calves, but not these.
Lily Trotters

I made Nicole take this picture of me running with them.

Want some for yourself? There’s a Kickstarter campaign starting July 14th so check them out now!
Lily Trotters
How about you? Some questions for you:
  • Have you crushed any running goals (or other workout goals) lately? What should my next goal be?
  • What’s your favorite pair of running shoes?
  • Do you wear compression socks?  Yes! I have three pairs and I swear by them. I definitely think they help me with recovery.

Disclosure: I received a pair of Mizuno Wave Enigmas thanks to Fitfluential to try out AND Lily Trotters sent me a pair of their compression socks. As always, all thoughts and reviews are my own. 🙂

Training Tuesday: THREE WEEKS UNTIL RACE DAY

OMG it is only THREE WEEKS until race day! I’m feeling pretty good – but there is still work to be done! I was still sick at the start of this week somewhat. Ugh. Is it because I’m getting older? I typically get a cold once a year. That’s it. MAYBE twice-  once in the winter and once in the spring. This year?  I got a cold (with a fever) in January. AND April! That’s twice in four months. Who does that?

not quite the same .. but you get the picture

Anyway … being sick has seriously affected my running. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still crazy committed and keeping up with my training, but my times have not been good and speed workouts are basically me trying to run like normal … BUT we did end the week on a high note – the Cleveland 10 miler and a PR!

My runs for this week:

follow me on dailymile as @missaruns!

follow me on dailymile as @missaruns!

Monday: On the schedule – 5 miles.

Actual run: 5.56 miles. I can’t believe I’m already at 5 miles for my Monday morning runs?! Anyway, I was supposed to run outside with Nicole but got a text at around 6 a.m. saying that it was 20 mph winds and she was going to run at night. Me? I was already up and dressed so I decided to just take off a few layers and run indoors. Another treadmill day.

Tuesday: On the schedule – 9×400.

Actual run: 9×400 on the treadmill in the morning (and some more at night) … Interval training is the bane of my existence. I hate it but have been trying to keep up with it. I did it on the treadmill while watching TV, 9×400 intervals at 7.6 mph with up to 400 meter jogs in between. It was rough. I did walk in between a few-  check out the heart rate- it so looks like I was doing intervals! (And I forgot to turn it off in the end)

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 7.28.30 PM

Oh and I ran in the afternoon also – I don’t make it a habit of running twice in one day (I’ve been injured before. It sucks. Lesson learned) – but when I do, it can be great. 2nd run of the day was after work with Mary around downtown. 4ish quick miles-just what I needed after boring treadmill interval runs! Though it was super windy…and did start pouring rain for about 2 minutes of our run (But then stopped). Oh, Cleveland weather!

I made Mary take a selfie with me. I should have taken it from higher up #doublechin

I made Mary take a selfie with me. I should have taken it from higher up #doublechin

Wednesday: On the schedule –  3.2 miles.

Actual run: Sometimes running only 3 miles is good. After Tuesday’s two workouts I was happy to have just three miles on the schedule. Ended up doing them inside for no reason at all except for the fact that it was upper 30s/low 40s and I’m ready for spring.

Thursday: Rest.

Actual run: none! I did about 55 minutes on the elliptical, some abs and arms.

Friday: Rest.

Actual run: none! I did about 60 minutes on the elliptical, some abs. Wanted fresh-like legs for our 10 mile race on Saturday!

Saturday: 15 k race on the schedule.

Actual run: 10 miles! (just a little more) A few extra miles thanks to the Cleveland 10 miler race! The Cleveland Ten Miler is one of my favorite races of the year! It was a little chilly for this time of year but still ended with a PR! 1:28:39.16 was my final time.

This is a PR of 3 minutes from last year and more than 20 minutes from the first time we ran this race. Want proof? Past years:

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 7.38.40 PM

Super happy after an unexpected PR

Super happy after an unexpected PR

Sunday: Off day (the schedule says stretch and strengthen).

Actual run: None! B and I took a decent walk and I still got in my 15,000 steps for the day on my Fitbit. So while it wasn’t very active it was still active enough for me while being a rest day – if that makes sense. My quads were definitely sore though!

Some questions for you:

  • Have you had a recent PR? I want to know! Brag about it!
  • Do you have a favorite local race where you are? Yes! I happen to really like the ten miler for some reason. I like the route, the crowds, the course (flat!) and it’s so well run (no pun intended) – time markers at every mile, water/gatorade at every other mile, Gu or other fuel halfwayish through, etc. 
  • What’s the next radeon your calendar? the Cleveland half marathon – May 17!

Training Tuesday: Still Somewhat Sick

Before I get into this update – did you watch/catch any of the Boston Marathon yesterday?! I had to work and didn’t get to experience Marathon Monday sadly, but I was definitely checking in and paying attention to those I knew running as well as all the elites on my computer. It’s been 7 years since I lived in Boston but I still can feel the excitement of Marathon Monday and watching the runners explore the great city. Anyway – congrats to all that ran and I hope your experience was as great as you hoped!

Confession – while I lived in Boston I never ran the race (or attempted to). Instead, like most BC students I took the day off as a chance to err… drink outside… AND cheer on the runners!

 

And now back to our regularly scheduled post … my week 8 update!

Blahh. I wish this were a GREAT running update. After all, we’re LESS THAN ONE MONTH away from race day! But I was sick going into this week and not yet feeling 100% better as I got into my long run this week. But as a Cleveland marathon ambassador (running the half on race day), my job is to share with you the good AND the bad –  so here we go!

My runs for this week:

(image from my dailymile training - follow me @missaruns!)

(image from my dailymile training – follow me @missaruns!)

Monday: On the schedule – 4.5 miles.

Actual run: 4.85 miles outodors. The theme of today? Slooooooow. Running with a cold and cough is not fun. Definitely out of breath faster than usual.  BUT it was nice to be outdoors! And yes, I had to stop and snap a photo because it’s finally getting lighter during my early morning runs!

Cleveland waking up!

Cleveland waking up!

Tuesday: On the schedule – 40 minute tempo run.

Actual run: a semi 40 minute tempo run. What does that mean? I did it-but slower than I like – I usually like to get up to at least 7.6mph for a few minutes but that was not happening. I had to get up at 4:55 if I wanted to get in a run before a day out of the office and I was still not feeling 100% better and felt it on the run. The positive? I finished!

Waking up at 4:55 is not fun ... but it was done!

Waking up at 4:55 is not fun … but it was done!

Wednesday: On the schedule –  3 miles.

Actual run: 3.64 miles with Nicole. Another slow, should-be-easy run but still felt somewhat more difficult than usual. And yes, Nicole let me stop and take photos during our run.

Thank you Nicole for letting me stop and take this photo :) One of my favorite random spots downtown.

Thank you Nicole for letting me stop and take this photo 🙂 One of my favorite random spots downtown.

Thursday: Rest.

Actual run: None! I did about 55 minutes on the elliptical, some abs and arm exercises too.

Friday: 5 miles, pace.

Actual run: 6.16 miles – not-so-pace. Again, the theme is slower than I should be for the week, huh? It was actually warm and humid and somewhat muggy out which was somewhat enjoyable – I wore capris and it was great! Another run with Nicole and we got in an extra mile thanks to my Nike+ not working again. No photo during this run.

Saturday: 10 miles.

Actual run: 10.46 miles with B. While I still didn’t feel as good as I should, it was so nice outside and I felt a LOT better than our 9-miler-turned-7-miler last weekend! My heart rate was a lot higher than usual still – I typically can do easy long runs at 140-150s but I was in the 160s for nearly half the time (45 minutes), which is what I run races at. Still – yay! We did it. 10 miles on a gorgeous sunny day. So good to be back in the double digits!

I don't know what my face is doing in this photo .. I think I'm trying not to smile or laugh while B takes a photo

I don’t know what my face is doing in this photo .. I think I’m trying not to smile or laugh while B takes a photo

from my fitbit- my heart rate

from my fitbit- my heart rate

Sunday: Off day.

Actual run: None! Got in 50 minutes on the elliptical and some free weights. And then worked my arms even more with some dusting of our apartment, which apparently was pretty dusty. Oh, and B and I took a nice walk down to the lake because it was a pretty day out – but no running!

Some questions for you:

  • How long does it take you to recover from being sick to running at 100% again?
  • Those of you with HR monitors, what’s your “happy” heart rate? How does it compare to when you race?

Training Tuesday: Not-so-planned week and a sick run

Welp, it was another week of training and not that great of a week. It was the first week I didn’t get in my long run as planned. On the plus side, I DID get to meet some of the CLE marathon ambassadors this week and came home with some fun swag! Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 6.51.31 PM This week: Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 6.17.19 PM Monday: On the schedule – 4 miles. Actual run: 5-ish miles outdoors. B and I were still in San Francisco, so it was great to have a vacation run. We ran through the Golden Gate Park, which is only about 1/2 mile from my brother’s place – how lucky! The park is beautiful and it was a gorgeous day out, there were so many people out and about running, walking, etc.

Loving running in Golden Gate

Loving running in Golden Gate

Tuesday: On the schedule – 40 minute tempo run. Actual run: On about 3 hours of sleep on a redeye flight, I somehow managed to get on the treadmill for a tempo run. It wasn’t a great one, but I did it! 20150407_104824 Wednesday: On the schedule –  3 miles. Actual run: 4.8 miles with my running buddies! It was the first time the three of us ladies were back running together and it was a foggy but fun morning run.

So much fog!

So much fog!

Thursday: Rest. Actual run: none! I did about 55 minutes on the elliptical and that was it. I did happen to notice that my shoes were in my issue of Runners World – how cool is that? They’re famous!

20150409_071130

famous shoes

20150409_071135

my sneakers!

Friday: 4 miles, pace. Actual run: 4 NOT pace miles. Normally I would’ve done 1/2-1 mile warm up and cool down but today wasn’t great. I knew that today pace would not happen. I kept it up, but still went a lot slower than I thought I would/could – by the end I was just trying to keep up at a somewhat not-so-slow pace (not fast pace). I started to wonder if I was getting sick… Saturday: 9 miles. Actual run: 7 barely moving miles with B. Yup. I was sick. I had to stop and cough about every mile, and was having trouble keeping my breathing up. The good news is I made it about 7 miles, thanks to B pushing me – which is better than I thought I would make it – I thought I’d stop after one! From my instagram (follow me at @koskim!) Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 7.02.42 PM

Sunday: Off day. Actual run: None! I woke up feeling sick and had a slight fever so I stayed in bed most of the day. I ended up catching the Indians game and returning to the couch. So yeah, not much action. Didn’t even break 6,000 steps!

how i feel

A questions for you:

  • Do you run when you’re sick? I try to get in some activity – I’m glad I got in some running on Saturday and trying not to be disappointed it wasn’t the 9 I had hoped for/planned. Though, I did have a fever Saturday night so I’m guessing my body was telling me something and it’s okay I didn’t run.