The Pregnant Athlete

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


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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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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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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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Top 3 ways to beat fatigue for a pregnant athlete.

Week 12 | + 8 lbs

Week 12 of my pregnancy is the most exciting week yet! Firstly, the miscarriage rate drops dramatically after week 12, which, as is commonplace, means that my husband and I can finally start telling our friends and extended family about our pregnancy, and truly celebrate without fear or reservation, ourselves! Secondly, the fatigue that I have struggled with throughout the first few months of pregnancy, is supposed to ease in the second trimester!

Fatigue ranks high among first trimester symptoms, and, although I am fortunate to not have had any nausea or vomiting, found fatigue to be debilitating on many days. This poses as a serious challenge, as I am my business’s only full-time employee, and it was be extremely difficult to find someone to cover could not work—my husband had to call out sick from his own job to cover for me the one time I was sick with food poisoning two years ago. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar, which can put you to sleep. At the same time, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and increased blood production also cause one’s energy levels to take a plunge.

In celebration of Month 3 and transitioning out of my first trimester, here are the top 3 ways to beat fatigue for a pregnant athlete from my experience.

  1. Stay active, but work out early. I find that my energy levels drop significantly after lunchtime, and I can barely keep my eyes open at work in the afternoons. Studies have shown that exercise will make you feel better, and may boost your baby’s brain. To combat fatigue, I schedule all my workouts in the morning, if possible, when I’m much more motivated to move.

    Weekly Training Schedule, 1/13/14

    Weekly Training Schedule, 1/13/14

  2. Sleep, sleep and more sleep. Adjust your schedule so that you can get the rest your body and baby need. Not only have I found that I need more sleep at night, now needing up to nine or ten hours when I was content with seven before, I also need to take naps too, and I am sure most pregnant women feel the same way. On weekends, I will often wake up early to run with Team In Training, indulge in brunch, shower, and then happily hit the hay for a two- or three-hour nap.

    The Leachco Snoogle Pillow Is The Best (Even for Hubby)

    The Leachco Snoogle Pillow Is The Best (Even for Hubby)

  3. Listen to your (sore) body. I noticed immediately that my muscles are often sore after workouts whereas they were not pre-pregnancy. Whereas I used to take advanced yoga classes without soreness, a beginner’s class will leave me aching for up to three or four days, and whereas I used to run 20 miles or more at a time without any post-run side effects, my quads are still crying from the 30-minute speed work I completed two nights ago. I haven’t found any specific reasons for this issue—many websites direct pregnant readers to stretch more, which is makes me chuckle as a yogini. One piece of advice I give to others is to, as always, listen to your body. If you are extremely sore, but scheduled for an easy run today, take a break instead. There is always tomorrow.
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Month 3 Belly Photo, 1/12/14

Week 11 (1/5-11) training: 12 miles

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


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Balance.

Week 8 | +5 lbs

Finding the right balance between my work, active life and pregnancy has been my greatest challenge so far over the past few weeks.  Being the sole person to manage the accounting, facilities, human resources, scheduling, website and everything else in between at my yoga studio, Sacred Sounds Yoga, has proven to be a formidable task recently.  I am, sometimes, amazed that I was able to work 90+ hours a week, opening and closing the studio everyday, when we first opened, when I can barely keep my eyes open most afternoons these days.  In addition to planning our classes and events for the new year and renovating our facilities, we celebrated our 2-year anniversary with a huge event a week and a half ago!

Sacred Sounds Yoga's 2-Year Anniversary Party, 12/7/13

Sacred Sounds Yoga’s 2-Year Anniversary Party, 12/7/13

Aside from being busy at work, I’ve also just started training for the Delaware Marathon with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)’s Team In Training (TNT).  I had injured my left knee during the Lehigh Valley Health Network Via Marathon in September,  which forced me to cancel the marathons I had registered for in October and November, so my physical activity has consisted entirely of cycling, yoga and physical therapy.  I was overjoyed when I completed our first official Group Training Session (GTS) of the season, a slow 3-mile run, earlier this month without any pain, and pleased to know that physical activity continues to boost my endorphins–I still finish feeling significantly better than I start!

Team In Training - Brooklyn Chapter's First Group Training Session, 12/7/2013

Team In Training – Brooklyn Chapter’s First Group Training Session, 12/7/2013

The most challenging part of training has been the new pregnancy-related pains.  The most noticeable physical difference is that my breasts have swelled and become extremely painful to the touch. Running can be truly uncomfortable for this reason initially, but I am able to focus on my surroundings more and less on my body after a mile or so. The second issue that has come up is the need to pee frequently. As someone who slept through the night pre-pregnancy, I now wake up three times some nights!  According to BabyCenter, hormonal changes cause blood to flow more quickly through a pregnant woman’s kidneys, filling the bladder more often.  Pregnant women produce 50% more blood over the course of the pregnancy, which means a lot more extra fluid. The need to pee will only worsen over the course of the pregnancy, of course–I wonder if this means I should plan to stop at every port-a-potty on marathon day.  A third problem that has affected me is that I now always feel cold no matter how many layers I wear, which, I learned, has to do with the fact that a pregnant body is warmer–it’s a dramatic change considering I formerly wore sleeveless shirts through the winter.  These cold months training outside will certainly feel even colder now!

Aid Station during the JFK 50-Mile Ultramarathon, 11/17/2012

Aid Station during the JFK 50-Mile Ultramarathon, 11/17/2012

How long will it take for me to determine how to balance my work and active life with the changes that will continue to occur in my pregnant body? Will I be able to do so? Only time will tell.

Month 2 Belly Photo, 12/15/13

Month 2 Belly Photo, 12/15/13

Week 7 (12/8-15) training: 9 miles

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