The Pregnant Athlete

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


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Nostalgia: A look back at my progress as a runner.

Week 24 | +18 lbs

We, endurance athletes, rarely mull over all of our previous race times.  We also usually do not correlate races with events in our lives.  We often only remember our personal records, or PRs, for our favorite race distances, and, once we beat a PR, that last PR time is forgotten, with a new time ingrained in our minds as the one to beat. For example, I can tell you that I ran my PR marathon at the 2011 Chicago Marathon in 3:44:15. However, I could not tell you what my marathon times were for the marathons before or after that significant race. Sadly, I often forget exactly how many marathons I’ve completed so far–was it 14 or 16? And I certainly cannot tell you off the top of my head what my best times were for my shorter races.

2011 Chicago Marathon, 10/9/11

2011 Chicago Marathon, 10/9/11

As a pregnant runner, however, it is truly nostalgic to look back at my progress as a runner, perhaps since I now could not care less about my PRs or how to beat them.  I only care about how running makes me feel each day–each day is certainly a different day.  I am excited about each run I accomplish these days, and each race IS correlated with an event in my life, my pregnancy–even the number of weeks, specifically–and my growing baby.

6-mile run in Venice, Italy during which I ran over 29 bridges at 20 weeks! 3/14/14

6-mile run in Venice, Italy during which I ran over 29 bridges at 20 weeks! 3/14/14

A look back at a few significant races (and life events):*

  • 3/5/06 – First 5K – 27:02 (8:43/mi) – I had not yet met my husband, and worked at financial firm #1 post-college.
  • 5/4/08 – First marathon – 5:25:17 (12:24/mi) – My husband and my 6-month dating anniversary, and we both worked at financial firm #2.
  • 10/9/11 – PR marathon – 3:44:15 (8:33/mi) – 3 months after my husband and I got married, and less than a month before I opened my yoga studio. Also, notice that my pace per mile is faster than that for my first 5K!!
  • 11/17/12 – 50-mile ultramarathon – 10:44:14 (12:53/mi) –  5 years after my husband and I got together, and a year after I opened my yoga studio.
  • 8/18/13 – Ironman – 14:03:10, 4:31:36 marathon (10:21/mi) – My husband and I had always planned to start trying to start a family after this bucket list race.
  • 9/7/13 – Most recent marathon – 3:46:20 (8:38/mi) – I got injured during this race, and had to cancel my next two marathons in October and November. It worked out well that we got pregnant in October!

*It’s also significant to note that my husband has either volunteered or cheered me on at every one of my marathons, triathlons and ultramarathons I’ve ever completed!

On vacation in Jamaica just a month into our relationship, 12/07

On vacation in Jamaica just a month into our relationship, 12/07

I’ll be running the Delaware Marathon in 4.5 weeks at 29 weeks.  Although it may rival my first marathon as the slowest one, it will be the most special one yet. It will be my third marathon to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training in memory of my late grandmother, my husband’s first marathon ever, and my first running for two.  The race will be so much more than just a family affair.

Month 6 Belly Photo, 4/9/14

Month 6 Belly Photo, 4/9/14

Week 23 (3/30-4/5) training: 38 miles 

Sunday: 10 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 18 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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Love and running: reflections and resolutions for 2014.

Week 11 | +5 lbs

Love and running have changed my life. Both in similar ways. Both forever.

My husband and I started dating in early November 2007, and, by New Year’s Eve of that year, I knew that I loved him. We leaped into a vacation to Jamaica the same month we got together, where I shared my excitement for scuba diving with him, and he decided to get certified too; spent Thanksgiving at both our parents’ homes, eating lobster in ginger and scallion sauce, stir fried noodles and other traditional Cantonese dishes at his parents’ for lunch, then standard American fare at my parents’ for dinner; and celebrated Christmas with both our families together under one roof.  My husband helped me kick my smoking habit (through my love for him, and his zero tolerance for smoking), embraced and encouraged all of my growing active pursuits (he was always willing to travel with me to my races or for snowboarding trips), and taught me that one does not need to work hard at a relationship (because a great one simply works).  Most notably, my husband has been at the finish line to shower me with hugs, kisses and food at all of my 14 marathons and seven triathlons.  He’s my rock, my Sherpa for life.

Scuba Diving in the Bahamas, 7/08

Scuba Diving in the Bahamas, 7/08

I started running long distances in 2006, a year after graduating from college.   I finally came to terms that I was unhealthy, out of shape and spent most of my waking hours sitting at a desk at my finance job, snacking on cookies and other junk food.  I signed up to run the Coogan’s Shamrock, Salsa & Blues 5K in March of that year without much training, and felt like my lungs were on fire halfway through the race.  Despite my body’s response, I was hooked on the adrenaline rush—later that same month, I ran my first half marathon.  By 2008, I mustered up the courage to sign up for the Potomac River Marathon in Alexandria, VA, my first full, and the passion for running only intensified from thereon.  Running took the place of any vices (smoking being the most significant), imparted on me a great deal about how to plan and execute smaller tasks to achieve a greater long term goal (important to consider for both the 18 weeks of marathon training and the big race, itself), taught me that, through dedication and persistence, anything is possible.

NYC Marathon, 11/2/08

NYC Marathon, 11/2/08

In 2014, I resolve to continue to love my husband in the ways that he’s loved me. I resolve to continue to share interesting experiences with him, spend quality time with his family, particularly with his beloved grandmother, help him curb his video game addiction if ever it gets out of control again, express my love for him in the way that I treat him every day, and be at the finish line when he finishes his first marathon and then Ironman this year (likely virtually for the Ironman, as it will take place 3 weeks after our baby’s due date).

Volunteering at Elephant Nature Park, an organization that rescues abused elephants, during our belated honeymoon, 12/12

Volunteering at Elephant Nature Park, an organization that rescues abused elephants, during our belated honeymoon, 12/12

In 2014, I resolve to continue to run long distances, as running has been a fundamental part of every positive aspect of my life.  That said, I also resolve to listen to my body, and, perhaps, walk when my body asks for it over the next few months, instead.

Mile 17 of the Chicago Marathon, 10/9/11

Mile 17 of the Chicago Marathon, 10/9/11

In 2014, I resolve love and feel passionately about our baby as much as I love my husband and feel passionately about running, if not more.  I resolve to not feel overwhelmed if and when breastfeeding doesn’t go as smoothly as I’d like it to, read to him or her every single night, put our baby’s needs in front of my own, practice patience when I take care of him or her, and be present at every moment.

2014 is going to be an amazing year.

Second Ultrasound, 1/6/14

Second Ultrasound, 1/6/14

Week 8 (12/15-21) training: 5 miles

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

Week 9 (12/22-28) training: 15 miles

Sunday: 3 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday:  5 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 7 miles

Week 10 (12/29-1/4) training: 10 miles

Sunday: 5 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday:  Yoga
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Yoga
Saturday: 75miles