The Pregnant Athlete

Learning To Embrace My Changing Pregnant Body While Swimming, Biking, Running & Practicing Yoga


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Comparing the first and second trimesters.

Week 17  | +10 lbs

It’s amazing that what people often say about the second trimester rings true–your energy level does return! As I detailed in my entry at Week 13, I found the fatigue I struggled with during the first few months of the pregnancy to be crippling.  The fog finally dissipated last week, and it has made a whirlwind of a difference in my abilities to handle work, training and even hanging out with friends.

Court Side Seats & All-You-Can-Eat at the Brooklyn Nets Game at the Barclays Center, 2/19/14

Court Side Seats & All-You-Can-Eat at the Brooklyn Nets Game at the Barclays Center, 2/19/14

To celebrate the changes in my body that have come with the fourth month of my pregnancy, I have compared the differences in my training during my first trimester and the present one below:

  • Biking. Although I stopped biking outside as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I continued to spin weekly with my favorite spin instructor, Holly Rilinger, at Flywheel Sports.   Just before getting pregnant, the Total Power, or measure of my speed and resistance, during my spin classes averaged 310, placing me near the top percentile for the region. During the first trimester, the reading dropped down to 260, but has since bounced back to 300.   I am still listening to my body–I simply have more energy to expend. I was especially excited this past Monday as I convinced my mom to come to class after her doctor suggested that she start participating in cardiovascular activity! It was her first spin class, and, in fact, the first class she’d taken where she “actually sweat,” as she informed me afterward.  She enjoyed it so much that she plans to join me every week, and I was excited by the notion that we had three generations of women in my family in class that day: Grandma, baby and me!
  • Running. I’ve be able to stick to my training schedule for the Delaware Marathon on May 11th. However, up until a week ago, I suffered from debilitating migraines after my weekend long runs.  I had never had migraines prior to becoming pregnant, and needed to nap for at least two hours after each long run, which helped a bit, but never made the headaches go away.  Though I did monitor my fluid and fuel intake a bit better, drinking water every 20 minutes and eating every 50 minutes, I didn’t get a migraine after this Sunday’s 14 mile run, a first in months! I can only chalk it up to the hormonal changes my body underwent during the first trimester, but the true test will be whether or not the migraines return this weekend.
  • Swimming.  Swimming was always my least favorite of the triathlon disciplines only because I dislike indoor swimming, and despise the smell of chlorine.  Considering the freezing temperatures we’ve been dealing with in New York City, the last I wanted to do was to go swimming and freeze afterward.  I’ll likely pick up swimming again when the weather warms, and my husband have ability to swim in the open water somewhere again.
  • Yoga. I was able to continue to take regular yoga classes during my first trimester and modify certain poses for myself, although I likely often confused other students when they noticed I was twisting in the opposite direction than they were or taking bridge pose instead of following the core sequence our teacher was teaching us. Since Week 14, I’ve transitioned from regular classes to prenatal yoga entirely. I love that I am able to learn techniques from my teacher Caprice Abowitt that I’ll be able to apply during child birth, connect with other moms-to-be and practice yoga in a safe and nurturing environment suited to our baby and me.
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Spin Class with Mom & Instructor Holly Rilinger at Flywheel Sports, 2/17/14

Week 16 (2/9-15) training: 15 miles

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: 5 miles


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It’s a…

16 Weeks | +11 lbs

It’s a GIRL!!!!!!!!!! When family and friends asked whether I was hoping for a boy or a girl, I responded that I didn’t care as long as our baby was healthy, but that it would be great to have a girl some day.

Ultrasound, 2/10/13

My maternal family would make even some doctors believe that women determine the gender of a baby. I am the oldest of five daughters, my mother has only one sibling, a younger sister, who has three girls, and I have one niece, so far.  Although my maternal grandmother Susie, or Bubu, my cousins, sisters and I called her, was one of 12 siblings, both male and female, she was the matriarch of my family–having helped my entire family and many of her friends immigrate to the United States, started multiple global businesses, and donated time and money to a number of charitable causes.  She was one of the two strongest, most courageous women I knew–my mom is the second, as she owned a successful restaurant, Suzie’s, in the Greenwich Village, that was open for 40 years until she and my dad retired recently, has also led various charitable efforts, and raised my sisters and me. With such strong women in my family to look up to, and having had plenty of experience helping to raise my sisters and cousins, it’s no surprise that, deep down, I had hoped to have my own daughter one day.

Bubu, Mom, Me & My Sisters & Cousin, 8/10

My husband is already worried about having to “protect” our little girl from the inequalities that still exist between men and women in this world, but I am not. I am confident that our daughter will be just as strong as the women in her family–she’ll love, respect and have confidence in herself, play any sport and instrument well that she dedicates her time to, succeed in her studies and, ultimately, her career, voice her own opinion strongly, and know that she is capable of anything that she sets her mind to. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “We must become the change we wish to see in the world.”

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Month 4 Belly Photo, 2/11/14

Week 15 (2/2-8) training: 16 miles

Sunday: 5 miles
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday:  4 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 12 miles


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We’ve made the announcement to the world (of Facebook)!

Week 15 | +11 lbs

We’ve finally made the announcement to the world (of Facebook)! We wanted to tell all of our close family and friends in person first, if possible, over the past few weeks, and were thrilled to finally share the exciting news with everyone! People would’ve started wondering anyway as I continued to gain more weight.

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Facebook Announcement, 2/2/14

We decided to take photos at Jane’s Carousel in DUMBO, Brooklyn after my husband suggested that we somehow include horses in the photos–our baby is going to be born in the Year of the Horse, according to Chinese astrology!  Jane’s Carousel is a stunning, glass-enclosed carousel situated on the East River. It reminds me of a glass jewelry box where the pretty horses are the jewels.  The Brooklyn Bridge, Freedom Tower and Manhattan skyline can all be seen in its backdrop.  I thought it was so beautiful that, after a two-hour nap later that same afternoon, I laced up my sneakers, and went for an easy 5-mile run back to the carousel again, just in time to see the sun start to set and the carousel light up. What a beautiful sight.

Jane's Carousel, 2/2/14

Jane’s Carousel, 2/2/14

Week 13 (1/19-25) training: 20 miles

Sunday: 5 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday:  4 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 11 miles

Week 14 (1/26-2/1) training: 10.2 miles

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday:  4 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10K