The Pregnant Athlete

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


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Training for a marathon while sick…and pregnant.

18 Weeks | +12 lbs

Two Thursdays ago.  I awoke with a slight sore throat, and realized that my immune system would soon be battling a virus.  Despite the fact that it was uncomfortable to swallow, the sun was out, and I couldn’t help but to go for a 5-mile run home from work that evening.  Scheduled: 5 miles easy, completed.

Two Fridays ago. The sore throat worsened, and a fever developed by that evening.  I canceled a yoga audition I had with a prospective teacher for my yoga studio, and dragged my butt to my parents’ for family dinner. Scheduled: Yoga, canceled.

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Dinner at My Parents’, 2/21/14

Last Saturday. The fever subsided, but I only felt worse.  I was scheduled to work all weekend at my studio, and couldn’t find coverage, and, so, I went to work, feeling bitter and annoyed that there are no such things as “sick days” when you own your own business. Somehow, I felt better by the end of the day, perhaps because of the 50-degree weather we had, after a winter chock full of snow storms and below freezing temperatures, and, so, I ran 5 miles home! Scheduled: 5 miles easy, completed.

Sunday. It was 50 degrees and beautiful out, so I went for my 12-mile long run with my husband to have Dim Sum with his family from Brooklyn to Flushing, Queens. Along the way, we ran through Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which was location for the 1964 World’s Fair and is usually well-manicured, but was a mess that day–there were goose droppings, slush and puddles everywhere. It made for an entertaining but messy end for our run! Scheduled: 12 miles long, completed.

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Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, 2/22/14

Monday. I felt the same as I did on Sunday, and went to met with my mom for our weekly spin class at Flywheel Sports. Scheduled: Spin, completed.

Tuesday. I awoke feeling much worse than I had earlier in the week.  Plus, the Polar Vortex was on its way to NYC that evening again, and it was, once again, a bitter 20-degrees outside. I faced the fact that my body needed another remedy other than training–rest! Scheduled: Yoga and Team In Training Group Training Session, both canceled.

Wednesday. I continued to feel worse, and went to sleep even earlier that evening. Scheduled: 5 miles easy, canceled.

Thursday. While I was slightly better, I opted for more rest and sleep. Scheduled: 5 miles tempo, canceled.

Conclusion? Marathon training is entirely about the bigger picture. While I try to make all my scheduled workouts, I won’t do so if it means my health will suffer. If I’m not feeling great, rest is usually what my body needs.  I take each day as it comes.  Instead of beating myself up over missing my scheduled workouts last week, I was able to pick up again with the yoga audition class yesterday, and completed the Frozen Penguin Half Marathon this morning, my first half marathon for two!

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My Husband and Me at the Frozen Penguin Half Marathon, 3/1/14

Week 17 (2/16-22) training: 23 miles

Sunday: 13 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 5 miles


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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