The Pregnant Athlete

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


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She’s coming…soon!

Week 38 | +30 lbs

Last Thursday seemed as if it would end as just another ordinary day. I had a  pleasant day at work, as usual, hosted dinner at Ippudo, my favorite ramen restaurant in New York City, for some of my family visiting from out of town, and then led them to try tasty Japanese desserts at Chikalicious Dessert Club nearby.  My husband and I finally entered our apartment at 11:00pm, and I immediately headed to the bathroom to pee, of course.  I looked down at the toilet, and noticed some blood. Our ordinary day changed in that instant.

We still didn’t have a nursery prepared, we hadn’t packed a hospital bag, and I still had emails to send to staff and teachers at my yoga studio reminding them that I could give birth soon!  Most of our nursery items had only arrived at our door that day, and were waiting for us at our door when we had arrived moments ago.  My husband began frantically opening all the boxes, and setting them where he thought they belonged. I started tossing items together in a hospital bag, grabbing some of the items he had just un-boxed.  We then both spent hours taking care of work, just in case we’d be busy the following day!

Nursery items still in boxes just as we arrived at our apartment, 7/10/14

Nursery items still in boxes just as we arrived at our apartment, 7/10/14

The following morning, my husband and I packed our hospital bag, picked up my breast pump at Target that was provided by my health insurance, and headed over to my doctor’s office to get examined.  We were told that I had experienced bloody show and was 2 centimeters dilated! Also, our daughter weighed in at approximately 7.5 lbs! It was my first cervical exam of the pregnancy, and quite an exciting one at that!

That weekend, my husband completed a 116-mile long ride and 18-mile long run for his upcoming Ironman, Ironman Mont Tremblant, while I decided to cut my planned training schedule, opting to take a rest day on Saturday, forgoing the 4-mile race I had registered for–I did, however, take Prenatal Yoga and then go on an easy 4-mile run home from my studio on Sunday.  My husband and I dedicated the remaining hours of the weekend to vigorously cleaning and organizing our apartment! I completed our nursery and cleaned our pantry and fridge, while my husband finally organized our storage closets, after months of my asking him to do so!

Nursery!

Nursery!

The frantic activity around our apartment has quieted since last weekend, and I’ve resumed my regular exercise regime. However, my husband and I are aware that I could go into labor at any given moment now. She’s coming…soon!

Yesterday's 4-mile run before I spent the night struggling with Braxton Hicks contractions, 7/17/14

Yesterday’s 4-mile run over the Williamsburg Bridge before I spent the night struggling with Braxton Hicks contractions, 7/17/14

Week 36 (6/29-7/5) training: 10.25 miles 

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Spin
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 6.25 miles

Week 37 (7/6-7/12) training: 4.75 miles 

Sunday: 4.75 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Spin
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest


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Happy 3-year wedding anniversary to us!

Week 36 | +31 lbs

While the majority of Americans are spending the day either at the beach or at barbecues, celebrating Independence Day with their family and friends, July 4th is significant to my husband and me for a very different reason–we got married on this very day 3 years ago! This particular anniversary is an especially special one for us, as it’s the last before our daughter arrives.

What did we do on our 3-year wedding anniversary? Naturally, we started the beautiful morning with a run together, as the skies were overcast and before the rain came down! We headed off for an easy run along the trail that surrounds Fort Greene Park near our home. Once we arrived at the park, we ran a few loops at our own respective paces–he literally ran laps around me.

3-year wedding anniversary run, 7/4/14

Wedding anniversary run, 7/4/14

We enjoyed lunch and watched the World Cup at Putnam’s Pub & Cooker, a neighborhood restaurant known for their local, organic ingredients and tasty fare, before heading home to FINALLY open the gifts that were delivered for our baby shower, and start preparing our baby room.  We had had a roommate staying in what would become the baby room finally move out earlier this week after ten months, so you can only imagine how intense the urge to nest grew and how terrible the anxiety I had that I’d deliver early was! I continued to organize our gifts, and take inventory of what we had and still needed, and my husband drove to Connecticut to pick up the crib, changing table and other hand-me-downs we’ll receive from his sister.  I’m uber excited that we’ll be able to finally set up our baby room! You’ll see our “before” photos below–I can’t wait until we have an “after” photo!

Baby room and gear before, 7/4/14

Baby room and gear before, 7/4/14

Month 9 Belly Photo, 7/4/14

Month 9 Belly Photo, 7/4/14

Week 35 (6/22-6/28) training: 18.1 miles 

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 13.1 miles


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How to deal with pre-baby anxiety!

35 Weeks | +27 lbs

I thought it was bad enough that I’ve been waking up two to three times each night to pee this entire pregnancy, but, starting this week, I’ve been finding it challenging to fall and stay asleep too with pre-baby anxiety looming over my head!  The massive kicks and movement, in general, at night certainly doesn’t help my inability to sleep either.  Two nights ago, I went to bed at 10:30pm, my usual bedtime, and had planned to go for a 5-mile run before work at 6:00am. However, I found myself wide awake an hour later, was unable to fall back asleep for another two hours, and awoke every hour until 6:00am! I ultimately opted out of that early morning run, cranky and feeling defeated for the rest of the day. Tomorrow marks exactly one month before my expected due date–July 27th (already?)!

The only way I think I’ll be able to get some rest for the remainder of this pregnancy is to jot down (or type) my issues, and how best to overcome them:

Issue #1: I don’t have a nursery set up yet, or anything for our baby at our apartment for that matter. My husband and I thought it was a brilliant idea to take on a roommate to save funds for our daughter last year, but, out of respect for our roommate, all of our baby-related items are neatly stacked so as not to clutter our apartment.  Additionally, our roommate is currently living in our future nursery, which means we can’t set anything up until he moves out.  As each day passes and my urge to nest grows stronger, I become more fearful of running out of time! Solution: Our roommate’s agreement ends this coming Monday, so we’ll be able to set up the nursery in only four days, thankfully.

Issue #2: I own my own small business, a yoga studio in New York City, for which I need to find coverage when I’m on “maternity leave.”  “Maternity leave” is in parentheses because I’ll actually be working from home for six weeks, so it’s not truly maternity leave.  However, I’m not as worried about working from home as I am about the fact that I usually work at the front desk at the studio on Mondays through Thursdays, and will need to find staff members to cover my hours.  Unfortunately, I’m currently short staffed, and my employees are unable to cover all my hours, as many of them work multiple jobs. Solution: I’ve been taking my time to interview potential employees over the last two weeks, and have, thankfully, met a few great applicants, two of whom I hired today! I’ll be training them both this Monday, and they’ll start working at the studio in July. A flexible schedule was a major factor in the hiring process.

Issue #3: I’m carpooling with my husband and two friends tomorrow to the Toughman Tupper Lake Tinman Triathlon, which is 5 hours up north. Will they stop for me when I need to pee (every hour)? What if I overheat while cheering during the race? What if I go into labor while we’re upstate? These were a few of the fears I stressed over earlier this week, to name a few!  Solution: We checked with our friends, and they promised to stop for me every hour, and I check with my doctor, who confirmed I was okay to go on the trip.  Instead of cheering for the entire race on the sidelines, I decided to run the half marathon portion of the half Ironman! Irregardless of what may potentially happen, I’ll be with my husband at least, which would be better than being at home by myself!

I should, hopefully, be able to overcome the bulk of my pre-baby anxiety over the next week, as I return from this weekend’s trip upstate, train my new employees and set up our nursery. More importantly, I have to remember to “let go.” Our daughter will arrive when she’s ready. And when she does, I’ll have my husband by my side, and we’ll be there for her.

for two fitness gift card.jpg

Giveaway Description: One lucky Instagrammer will win $100 gift card to For Two Fitness–the very best in maternity activewear! Simply post this image on your Instagram feed along with the tag #fortwofitnessgift and mention @fortwofitness. Include in your comment the item or items you love the most. A minimum of 50 reposts will be required to unlock the prize, so share with all of your pregnant friends, and good luck!

Week 33 (6/8-6/14) training: 26.7 miles 

Sunday: 10.5 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6.2 miles

Week 34 (6/15-6/21) training: 14.5 miles 

Sunday: 5 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 4.5 miles
Saturday: 5 miles


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What to do running-wise for the remaining weeks of my pregnancy now that my goal race has been completed?

Week 33 | +26 lbs

I had been so fixated on my training for the 2014 Delaware Marathon, that I had not even considered what I would do running-wise for the 11 weeks after my goal race until the end of my pregnancy! Since I started running marathons in 2008, completing a spring or fall marathon season usually meant that I would enjoy easy runs and cross training for a few weeks before diving back into the next marathon season.  In 2012 and 2013, there were no breaks between seasons, as spring season was actually a precursor to the summer triathlon season, and fall season would begin immediately after the triathlon season ended. Realizing that the road to recovery from childbirth can be long and arduous, as can adjusting to my new life as a mom, I had already decided to not sign up for a fall marathon, so that I could focus on nursing and spending a lot of quality time with my husband and my daughter.  Next year, I plan to test the theory behind Performance Enhancing Babies (PEBs), and aim to qualify for Boston!

The important question still remains: What DO I do running-wise for the remaining weeks of my pregnancy now that my goal race has been completed? Here are a few things I have been doing over the past four weeks since my goal race that I suggest other pregnant runners struggling with the post-goal race blues take part in!

Suggestion #1: Volunteer for local races. The much-anticipated Brooklyn Half Marathon took place 6 days after my marathon, and, since I live in Brooklyn, had a lot of friends running this race, and still needed to volunteer for a New York Road Runner race, as part of my 9+1 for entry into the 2015 NYC Marathon, I jumped at the chance to volunteer for it! I helped out at the start corrals, which was no easy feat, as the race had over 25,000 runners and a two-wave start! I was also asked to hold the orange starting line tape, certainly the closest I’d get to the front of the line of a large race! After both waves started, I helped discard GU packets, water bottles and other trash as well as pick up articles of clothes for donations, which was the most challenging part of volunteering, as my belly made it really hard to bend down to pick up items. While I do not litter when I run solo, I’ll now also always make a concerned effort to discard trash in trash bins during races too–remember that someone has to pick up the trash after you!

Brooklyn Half Marathon Start Line, 5/18/14

Brooklyn Half Marathon Start Line, 5/18/14

Suggestion #2: Map out fun runs for yourself in your town or city. On some weekdays, I still run 5 miles home in Brooklyn from work in Manhattan, changing the bridge I run over depending on the day.  On weekends, I will usually go for a 10-mile long run, either opting to run a few loops of Prospect Park, along the water in Brooklyn, into Manhattan and back. The weather has been so perfect for running in New York City recently!

Clockwise from bottom left: Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown from Manhattan Bridge, National Running Day swag, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Williamsburg Bridge, Hudson River Park and National Running Day swag!

Clockwise from bottom left: Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown from Manhattan Bridge, National Running Day swag, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Williamsburg Bridge, Hudson River Park and National Running Day swag!

Suggestion #3: Support your friends and family at their races. My husband kicked off the start of his triathlon season at the Black Bear Half Ironman two weeks ago.  He has been so supportive of my races since we started dating, and has either volunteered or cheered me on at every marathon or triathlon I have ever completed, so there was no way I would miss his race! We awoke at 3:45am that morning, packed up the car, and headed to the race, which started at 7:00am in the Poconos. I was grateful that my husband brought me a folding chair to sit on for the day, and that there were plenty of trees to lounge under, as the temperatures reached the mid-80s! However, my husband couldn’t find any places for me to pick up food on the way to the race, and they didn’t sell any food or drinks at the race either, which left me parched and starving until he was finished at 3:30pm! As he entered transition after the bike leg and before his half marathon, I had to holler at him to toss me any GU he didn’t need and water because I was THAT  hungry and thirsty (Who willing ingests GU if not for training or a race?). He said he thought of our baby and me during the entire run, and was running to us to get us food and drinks. I ended up sick with a sore throat, fever and cold that week–no surprise!! Supporting friends and family is always a great thing to do, but definitely pack your own food and drinks, just in case, when you’re pregnant!

My husband and me at the start of the Black Bear Half Ironman, where he finished a really tough course with the steepest bike climbs and a technical half in 6:24:29, a 10th place AG and a PR, 6/1/14!

My husband and me at the start of the Black Bear Half Ironman, where he finished a really tough course with the steepest bike climbs and a technical half in 6:24:29, a 10th place AG and a PR, 6/1/14!

Suggestion #4: Run with fellow pregnant friends. Who better to have as running buddies when you’ve slowed down significantly and your pace is unpredictable due to pregnancy but other pregnant women?! Last Saturday, two of my pregnant friends and I planned to meet at Brooklyn Bridge Park, and go for an 8-mile run and post-run brunch. One of my friends was 10 days away from her due date! We ended up cutting the run short at 4.5 miles, which certainly happens on pregnant runs, sipped fresh lemonade infused with different fruit and herbs (I had one with watermelon and mint!) as we strolled along the water, and enjoyed a yummy brunch at AIMar, a charming restaurant in the area. The best part of the run and brunch date was the ability to discuss any and all topics related to our pregnancies and babies! So much fun!

From left to right, weeks 38, 19 and 31, 6/7/14

From left to right, weeks 38, 19 and 31, 6/7/14races, two of the three last official races I’ll be running for a while, since and I’ll be busy in July! Best of luck to the ‘s Moms In Training at the New York Mini 10K, for which was a partner. They’re an inspiring group of superwomen.

Suggestion #5: Continue to run shorter distance races! In addition to continuing to run regularly, I’ve signed up for a number of shorter races in New York City through the end of June, and will look for more to motivate me in July as I approached my expected due date.  This weekend, I’ll be running two races back-to-back, namely the Oakley Women’s Mini 10K on Saturday and the Portugal Day 5-miler on Sunday! I’m excited to cheer on The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Moms In Training while I’m running too at tomorrow’s race, for which my yoga studio was a partner. I had the opportunity to attend the Moms In Training Inspiration Dinner earlier this week, with my own mom as my date, and they had me in a teary mess! The moms that are members of the group are truly an inspiring group of superwomen! 

Shirts and bibs from this weekend's Oakley Women's Mini 10K and Portugal Day 5-miler as we ll as a onesie with Sacred Sounds Yoga's logo printed, 6/13/14

Shirts and bibs for this weekend’s Oakley Women’s Mini 10K and Portugal Day 5-miler as we ll as a onesie with Sacred Sounds Yoga’s logo, 6/13/14

Month 8 Belly Photo, 6/1/14

Month 8 Belly Photo, 6/1/14

Week 30 (5/18-24) training: 15 miles

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 4.5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10.5 miles

Week 31 (5/25-31) training: 25 miles 

Sunday: 5 miles
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Spin, Yoga
Wednesday: 5 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 10 miles
Saturday: Rest

Week 32 (6/1-6/7) training: 10.5 miles 

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4.5 miles


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Baby’s first marathon: A race recap of the Delaware Marathon at 29 weeks pregnant!

Week 29 | +22 lbs

This past Sunday, I finally completed the 2014 Delaware Marathon in 4:54:14, my 16th marathon-plus! Although the marathon was my second slowest ever, it was by far the most special, as it was my husband’s first, and my first for two at 29 weeks pregnant! Additionally, I ran to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, for whom I’ve now raised $12,300 over three seasons. I am sincerely grateful to everyone that donated in loving memory of my grandmother Susie Ying, and to our supportive coaches.

Finished the 2014 Delaware Marathon, 5/11/14!

Finished the 2014 Delaware Marathon, 5/11/14!

The days leading up to the race.

My husband and I drove down to northern Virginia the Friday before the race to celebrate Mother’s Day that evening with my mom and three of my sisters, who either currently attend the University of Virginia or reside there, and then my niece’s third birthday on Saturday. I was immediately concerned about how much warmer it was there, with temperatures reaching the 80s, as compared to NYC, which was at least ten degrees cooler.  My doula often reminds me, “don’t cook the baby,” as the pregnant body is ten degrees warmer than a non-pregnant one, and, being someone that usually feels warmer than everyone else, I wondered how would handle the heat.  I became even more nervous when I literally huffed and puffed through my husband and my 2-mile shakeout run on Saturday morning–not only was I sluggish and slower than usual, but I could feel the weight of the humidity suffocate me like a blanket. I promised myself during the run that I would hydrate at every aid station during the race, approximately every mile or mile and half, whereas I normally do so every 20 minutes.  Thankfully, I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon indoors at my niece’s birthday party with my compression socks on and my legs propped up on the couch. Party guests’ questions about the socks and then reaction to why I was wearing made me laugh!

Afternoon nap with my compression socks, 5/10/14

Afternoon nap with my compression socks, 5/10/14

The night before the race.

My husband and I made the 2.5 hour drive to Wilmington, DE just in time for the end of the designated bib pick up time. Although I normally put a lot of thought into researching restaurants for my marathons, my meals choices generally being almost as important as the race itself, it had slipped my mind for this race’s pre-race meal! I found a local Italian restaurant with positive reviews, Ristorante Attilio, and we headed over without a reservation. After suffering from food poisoning the night before two marathons in the past, the 2011 Paris and 2013 Big Sur, I now always make sure to eat fully cooked, hot foods for two straight days before marathons, and kept it especially “vanilla” that evening being pregnant–my husband and I both had pasta, cheese, tomato sauce and some cooked protein. We were pleasantly surprised with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie for each of us when we checked into our hotel, and laid out all our race gear before sleeping early!

Race gear ready, 5/10/14

Race gear ready, 5/10/14

The morning of the race.

My husband and I awoke at 5:30am, an hour before we had to head out the door.  I ate a breakfast consisting of half a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, half a banana and a quarter cup of coffee with milk, got dressed and prepped for the race, including rolling loads of Body Glide all over, slathering myself with sunblock and securing five GUs to my SPIbelt, and made sure to empty my bowels.  I’ve read constipation is a common issue with most pregnant women, but the pregnancy has had the opposite effect on me, as I now go number two up to four times a day, and always expect to at least once during a long run!  My husband and I took the ten-minute walk over to the race start, and immediately lined up on the Port-A-Potty line again, knowing that I’d also have to take a number of pee breaks during the race.  At 6:55am, when we still had a handful of people in front of us on the line, I gave up on the idea of peeing beforehand, and we rushed over to the starting line just in the nick of time!

Waiting on the Port-A-Potty line, 5/11/14

Waiting on the Port-A-Potty line, 5/11/14

Miles 1 – 6 (9:40, 9:37, 9:44, 9:36, 9:50, 9:59).

My husband and I gave each other a kiss, and wished each other good luck just before we crossed the starting line and parted ways.  I typically don’t feel great during the first few miles of a marathon, as it takes at least six miles before I start to find my rhythm, and I was even more uncomfortable during the start of this one! Our baby is now the size of a butternut squash, according to BabyCenter–is my belly too big to handle all this running at this point? Is it going to be too hot today? I’m starting too fast–will I be okay? Questions and concerns loomed over my head, especially as the first few miles were completely unshaded, and two women complained loudly about the heat at Mile 3, one of whom mentioned a female runner from her hometown in Maryland that died the week prior during a half marathon.  I started to feel better after Mile 6 when we encountered our first major, one-mile incline, as I love hills, and this one was entirely shaded by lush, full trees.

Delaware Marathon Course Map & Elevation Chart

Delaware Marathon Course Map & Elevation Chart

Miles 7 – 12 (12:03 with Potty Break #1, 9:57, 9:50, 10:05, 10:00, 10:00).

As I had promised to myself, I grabbed water at every aid station, and was confident that I was drinking enough fluids to compensate for the sweat loss when I had to stop for a potty break at the start of Mile 7.  I continued the rhythmic running and breathing that I had started just before the break, my “moving meditation,” as I often call this feeling.

Mile 13 – 18 (11:20 with Potty Break #2, 10:00, 10:37, 11:06, 12:28 with Potty Break #3, 11:25).

The Delaware Marathon is a double loop, with the half marathoners finishing their respective race at our halfway point, so I could hear the crowds roar as I approached Mile 13. Seeing and hearing the excitement of the crowds, some of whom responded with “Happy Mother’s Day!” as they saw and pointed at my shirt, as well as knowing that half the marathon was literally behind me made me even more excited about the race!! I smiled widely at the spectators, a Cool-Aid grin that was etched across my face until I crossed the finish line, and recalled why I loved about running marathons so much! I also thanked all the volunteers that I passed, especially the police officers that had to direct traffic and deal with a number of really angry drivers–apparently, the town is not the most marathon-friendly.

Smiles!

Smiles!

Miles 19 – 26.2 (11:45, 13:16, 13:07, 13:03, 14:41 with Potty Break #4, 13:02, 13:19, 14:14).

The rising temperatures, which reached 79 degrees by the finish, and the start of more hills took a toll on me, and my pace started to decline at Mile 17.  I started dumping a cup of water on my head at each aid station to cool off.  By Mile 20, my pace was slower than it had been for even the JFK 50 Mile Ultramarathon when I had ran it in 2012! At Mile 22, I remembered one of the things I struggle with the most during the last 10K of a marathon, the one constant–nausea. I realized I had only been ingesting water and GU so far, and started loading up on Gatorade at aid stations in hopes that the extra calories and electrolytes would help–my body normally doesn’t respond well to Gatorade, but it hopefully would this time. My hopes became a reality, and I was excited that I only had 4 miles left at that point until the finish, only less than a lower loop of Central Park left, as I like to think of it! A piece of advice: Always count the miles that remain at the end of a marathon, but not at the start.

The end of the race.

My smile widened, and tears of joy welled up in my eyes as I neared the 26-mile mark! I picked up my pace as I saw the finish line in my sight. The best part was still waiting for me–my husband was standing just beyond the finish line with my medal in his hands. I lept across the finish, and right into him. Our first family marathon was finally finished!! 

First family marathon, 5/11/14!

First family marathon, 5/11/14!

Week 28 (5/4-10) training: 8 miles 

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 2 miles


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The third trimester is finally here!

Week 28 | +22 lbs

I’m excited to have finally arrived at the third trimester! The second seemed significantly longer than the first, though likely because my husband and I didn’t find out until Week 5. To honor the arrival of the final phase of my pregnancy, I wanted to make note of the changes in my body that I’ve already noticed these past few days:

  1. Swollen feet and legs. With the first day of the third trimester this past Sunday came swelling more severe than I’d ever experienced before in my life! I attributed it, in part, to the fact that I spent a lot of time out with friends this past weekend, and didn’t drink enough water or eat as well as I usually do. I spent the last few days making sure to drink more water as well as my daily green juices, and eat nutrient-dense salads for lunch and well-balanced meals in the evenings, which has seemed to help.
  2. More punches and kicks as well rolls too!  I’ve noticed that our daughter has increased her activity in utero particularly over the past two weeks. Two nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to our baby’s foot in my side, and could actually feel the entire foot with my hand!  She’s most active in the early morning just as I’m waking up, perhaps because I start to stir at that time. Additionally, I’ve been feeling her start to roll around in my belly–the sensation is incredible!
  3. Less sleep. All the movement in my belly also wakes me up more–I seem to be hyper aware of the movement.  Unfortunately, this means I’m sleeping less these days, and much more tired during the day. Is this when the pregnancy starts to become difficult again? I truly hope not.
Ultrasound with baby's face, 5/5/14

Ultrasound with baby’s face, 5/5/14

On another note, I’m finally counting down the final days until the Delaware Marathon, which is this Sunday!  The marathon will be my husband’s first, my third to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, and, most excitingly, our baby’s first!! I’m a bit nervous, given the amount of time it will take for me to complete the race, but excited too!

Month 7 Belly Photo, 5/7/14

Month 7 Belly Photo, 5/7/14

Week 27 (4/27-5/3) training: 18 miles 

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 10 miles
Saturday: 3 miles


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5 favorite prenatal yoga poses.

Week 27 | +20 lbs

Yoga has been my means to counterbalancing my busy and active lifestyle since 2008. Not only has it helped me recover from running injuries over the past six years since I ran my first marathon, but it has also nourished my overall mental and spiritual well-being.  Amazingly, my yoga practice has assumed a deeper role during my pregnancy–it is during yoga that I feel the most connected to my husband and my unborn daughter.  With each inhale, I give life to our baby.  With each exhale, I let go of daily stresses that sometimes seem to have become magnified during my pregnancy. I am fully aware of each of our baby’s movements during yoga, that which I’m completely unaware of during my other active pursuits.

Side stretch during prenatal yoga class shoot, 4/18/14

Side stretch during prenatal yoga class shoot at Sacred Sounds Yoga, 4/18/14

The following are my 5 favorite prenatal yoga poses:

Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)  – We, mommies-to-be that are in our first and second trimesters, typically start class in supta baddha konasana at my studio, whereas third trimester moms taking side-lying pose. We each use two blocks and a bolster to help prop up our upper bodies, and often wrap a rolled up blanket around our feet (see photo below).  I’ve found that starting class in this pose has been the best way to help clear my thoughts, and focus on the connection between our baby and me. I feel closest to our baby in the pose, as I can feel all of her hiccups, kicks and slight movements.

Squat (Malasana) – Malasana helps to increase mobility in the hips, stretches and soothes the back and strengthens the abdomen–all of these benefits have a positive impact on labor and delivery.  Additionally, women are often advised to squat during childbirth. I, personally, have always loved this posture during class, though I often transitioned into Crow Pose (Bakasana) following it pre-pregnancy, whereas I am happy just to squat these days.  I magine I will spend a lot of time laboring in it.

Half Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Half Chaturanga Dandasana) – Half Chaturanga is the only pose that makes me feel like I’m strengthening upper back and triceps, as most of prenatal yoga is focused on either stretching or pain management practice for childbirth.  I love that the posture often makes my upper body sore these days, a signal that I’m really working my muscles.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) – Pigeon Pose has always been one of my favorite yoga poses as a runner.  It helps to lengthen the hip flexors, increase the external range of motion of the femurs in the hip sockets, and stretch the iliotibial (IT) band.   For runners, tight hip flexors prevent full rear extension of the leg. To compensate, stiff runners achieve extension by arching their back and tilting their pelvis forward; this shifts the foot strike forward, in front of the runner’s center of mass, and creates an inefficient braking force, as well as a heavy foot strike that takes its toll on ankle, hip, and knee joints, explains USA Triathlon performance adviser Bobby McGee.  I love breathing  into pigeon pose, inhaling to lengthen and exhaling to deepen the stretch, while feeling our baby’s movements in my belly below me.

Child’s Pose (Balasana) – Child’s Pose calms the brain, helps relieve stress and fatigue, and alleviates back and neck pain with the head is supported, often with a block.  I love practicing kegels in Child’s Pose during class. Not only does it feel especially intimate to practice kegels in this posture, as opposed to doing so sitting up, but I am thrilled to feel our baby kick during the practice. It brings a smile to my face every time.

Supta baddha konasana during prenatal yoga class shoot at Sacred Sounds Yoga, 4/18/14

Supta baddha konasana during prenatal yoga class shoot at Sacred Sounds Yoga, 4/18/14

Week 25 (4/13-19) training: 38.1 miles 

Sunday: 13.1 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Yoga
Saturday: 20 miles

Week 26 (4/20-26) training: 23 miles 

Sunday: 3 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga, 3 miles
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 12 miles