The Pregnant Athlete

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


Leave a comment

Pregnancy yoga photo shoot with Robert Sturman!

Week 30 | +24 lbs

Two and a half weeks ago, my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting with Califorinia-based Robert Sturman for a pregnancy yoga photo shoot in the Greenwich Village while Robert was in town for a few weeks! I have been a huge fan of Robert’s work since I discovered it in the New York Times two years ago, and have been stalking his Facebook page ever since. Since then, he’s captured mesmerizing photos of the Africa Yoga Project, Prison Yoga Project, and yogis worldwide.  When he inquired about offering a yoga photography workshop at a studio in New York City on his Facebook page last June, I immediately responded! I was happy to learn how humble and compassionate he is during our initial phone conversation, and was thrilled when he decided to offer his special workshop at my studio!

It was a true honor to see him again, and have him document my pregnancy at our recent shoot.  I will now forever and always look be able to look at these photos, and recall this special time in my husband and my lives.  All photos below were taken by Robert Sturman on May 6, 2014 at 28 weeks pregnant. Some of his photos from his recent trip are currently featured in MindBodyGreen’s “Yoga In The Heart of New York City,” including one he took of me.

IMG_1391IMG_1393IMG_1448

IMG_1477IMG_1482IMG_1486

IMG_1503IMG_1507IMG_1516

IMG_1496IMG_1523

Week 29 (5/11-17) training: 37.2 miles 

Sunday: 26.2 miles
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles


Leave a comment

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


4 Comments

Babymoon: Eating, sightseeing and running through Italy!

22 Weeks | +14 lbs

Last October, literally days before I became pregnant, I had booked a surprise vacation to Italy for my husband’s 30th birthday.  Little did I know, the vacation was to become our babymoon! Thankfully, the timing couldn’t have been better, during my second trimester! I’ve highlighted the sights, food and runs we experienced below. Note: I made reservations for all of our dinners at least one week in advance unless noted otherwise, and relied on Rick Steves‘ Italy travel guide as well as the internet for all of my research.  My husband discovered Rick Steves’ audio guides three days into our trip, and we used them as well during the rest of our trip. I marked parts of our itinerary where we specifically followed parts of either Steves’ travel guide or audio guides with “TG” or “AG”.

Image

In front of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, 3/13/14

DAY 1 – ROME

Sights: Roman Forum, Palantine Hill, Coloseum.  We immediately purchased the Roma Pass, which costs €34 each, and expires 3 days after first use.  It covers public transportation, comps two major sights, for which you also get to skip the lines, and offers discounts for other sights. As they are the most well known and expensive of the sights listed, we immediately used our pass that day for the Roman Forum, Palantine Hill and Colosseum, which are all considered one sight under the pass.  We soon realized that the pass was well worth its cost, as the lines for the sights were really long!

Food: Luzzi, Ai Tre Scalini, Giovanni Fassi.  Luzzi is a restaurant in walking distance from the Coloseum, and offers a variety of things on its menu including pizza. We had to order pizza on our first day in Italy, naturally! Our pies were pretty tasty, but they were a bit soggy, as if the ovens were hot enough yet, as we had lunch just as the restaurant opened for the day.  Ai Tre Scalini was cozy wine bar with the most amazing and affordable dishes! It reminded me of many of the gastropubs we have in NYC minus the high prices and long wait.  Giovanni Fassi was a gelateria my husband discovered a block away from our hotel, and offered the best gelato we had in Rome as well as the most affordable in Italy! For €1.60, I had three scoops on a cone, a steal we savored daily!

Image

Dinner at Ai Tre Scalini in Rome, 3/6/14

DAY 2 – VATICAN CITY/ROME

Sights: Vatican Gardens, Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps.  I had made reservations for a Vatican Gardens Tour, which cost €32 per person, included entry for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, and was entirely worth the price. The gardens cover approximately 23 hectares (57 acres), which is most of the Vatican Hill, and there is no general public access to them. The gardens were beautiful, and, through the tour, we learned a lot about the history of the Vatican. We also saw where the the ex-Pope Benedict lives in the gardens. Our tour guide informed us of the short cut for tour groups only into St. Peter’s Basilica, which is free to enter, and our last stop in Vatican City before soaking up the glorious sun in St. Peter’s Square.  We strolled to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps after dinner despite my protests from being so tired, as both were near our dinner location.  The sights would have been really romantic and beautiful had it not been for the heaps of loud teenagers and vendors, litter and cigarette smoke that could be heard, seen and smelled there.

Food: Pizzarium, Al Duello. Pizzarium is in walking distance from Vatican City, and was well-received on the internet as one of the top pizza places to try in Rome, so it was our first stop immediately after our early day in the Vatican. They offer uniquely-flavored, grandma style pizza that you purchase by the kilogram as opposed to the slice or pie. After you inform them of how much you want of each pizza, they even cut them up for you into bite size pieces. Al Duello was a really romantic seafood restaurant with really friendly and attentive service! My husband and I both ordered their gnocchi, mine served with fish, orange zest and cherry tomatoes and his served with shellfish–the gnocchi was perfectly prepared!

Run: 5 miles. On my husband’s lead, we went for an early morning run around the Roman Forum, Palantine Hill and Coloseum, which were even more magnificent with the sun rising behind them and without the tourists!

Image

Morning run around the Coloseum in Rome, 3/7/14

DAY 3 – ROME

Sights: Piazza Navona, Pantheon. Exhausted from the first two days in Italy, I opted to sleep in until nearly noon, which would never have happened before the pregnancy, whereas my husband woke up early to go for an 11-mile run.  We walked along what was one of my favorite sights in Rome, Piazza Navona, a city square filled with live musicians, artists and vendors and in which the Four Rivers Fountain Gian Lorenzo Bernini stands at the center (TG, “Heart of Rome Walk”, p. 874). Our stroll ended at the infamous Pantheon (AG, Pantheon Tour).

Food: Colline Emiliane.  Our dinner at Colline Emiliane was our favorite meal of the entire trip! The Bolognese restaurant is well-recognized by locals and travelers alike for its hand made pasta.  My husband ordered the linguine with prosciutto and pumpkin ravioli, and I ordered the soup dumplings and fettuccine Bolognese.  The pasta was light, delicate and perfectly prepared and the flavors were well-balanced. It was THE BEST pasta we had ever had in our entire lives, on a level above Babbo in NYC. The prices were reasonable, and we even considered ordering another pasta dish to share, but realized we would be over stuffing ourselves, which may diminish the dining experience.

Image

Linguine with prosciutto at Colline Emiliane in Rome, 3/8/14

DAY 4 – MOUNT VESUVIUS/POMPEII/NAPLES/ROME

Sights: Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii.  I distinctly remembered my trip to Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano, and Pompeii, a city that was destroyed and buried in ash after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, as one of the highlights of my trip to Italy when I was seventeen.  Just in case, I did a bit of research online to ensure that hiking Mount Vesuvius would be safe in both altitude and steepness for pregnant women–thankfully, it was! I booked a train to and from Naples from Rome a few weeks before our trip. From Naples, we took the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii Scavi, and hired a local cab driver to drive us to and from Mount Vesuvius, along with a few other tourists. We knew that it was still off-peak season, and a cab was our best bet to get to the volcano. The skies were relatively clear, but the base of the volcano was certainly cooler and windy. We hiked up to the top in about a half hour, stopping often to take photos along the entire way. The views were breathtaking, as the center of the steamy volcano could be clearly seen on one side and the Bay of Naples on the other. After a lovely lunch at a sunny outdoor cafe, we spent the afternoon exploring and learning about Pompeii (AG, “Pompeii Tour”).

Food: Pizzeria D’Angeli, Mamma Angela’s Trattoria. Since we had to make a connection in Naples to return to Rome, we decided to explore the city by foot. We quickly realized that it’s a seedy city, one in which I wouldn’t feel comfortable wandering solo, but, as Naples is the birthplace of pizza, we had to have a second lunch there! Unfortunately, it was a Sunday, and the famous pizzerias were closed for the day, but the margherita pie we shared at Pizzeria D’Angeli was delicious, and my favorite pizza that we tried in Italy!  I planned dinner at Mamma Angela’s Trattoria knowing that the restaurant was next to the train station in Rome, as we’d be exhausted after a long day.  We were served prosecco upon entry, which we both only took a sip of, the portion sizes were “American” and they had great service, all-in-all, it was a great pick for food to fill you up after a long day.

Image

Hiking up Mount Vesuvius with the Bay of Naples on the right, 3/9/14

DAY 5 – ROME/FLORENCE

Sight: Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fior, or Il Duomo del Firenze, as it is ordinarily called, is one of the the most breathtaking sights that we saw during our trip.  Construction for the Duomo started in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio, before the technology for the dome was even discovered, and was completed structurally in 1436, with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi.  We entered the basilica, which is free, and purchased tickets to visit the small museum in its basement and climb the dome, which costs €10 per person.  A narrow set of stairs, for which visitors used to go up and down, circled up to the top of the dome.  The climb was tight, crowded and took nearly a half hour–it was mostly Americans making the climb, and we joked that it must only be the Americans who are crazy enough to do so–but the panoramic views of Florence and the Tuscan hills that surrounded the city were worth the efforts!  We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the pedestrian-friendly city by foot (AG, “Renaissance Walk”), and taking photos along the Ponte Vecchio at sunset.

Food: Trattoria Da Mario, Trattoria Sostanza, Grom.  I had read a lot of positive reviews about Trattoria Da Mario prior to the trip, a small family-owned restaurant that is only open for lunch, was uber excited about the experience. Sadly, the experience missed our expectations. After a 20-minute wait at 2pm, after which we were slotted into a tiny table with another couple, we tried their Tuscan white bean soup, I ordered their pasta ragu and my husband had their Florentine steak. We found their food to be salty and my husband noted that the steak was chewy and not very flavorful.  Dinner at Trattoria Sostanza, a well-received steakhouse, also left us underwhelmed.  Even worse, both meals were significantly more expensive than the ones we had in Rome.  The highlight of the day as our gelato at Grom! Florence is the birthplace of gelato, and Grom represented its city well, as our second favorite gelato experience of the entire trip!

Run: 6 miles. My husband having completed a long run a few days prior through Rome selected a part of his run to share with me before we left on our train to Florence that morning. We ran through the Villa Borghese Gardens, a landscape garden in the naturalistic English manner in Rome and the third largest public park in Rome. Having struggled with running (and sightseeing) through clouds of cigarette smoke until then, the runner friendly, smoke-free, green setting was a welcome change. If we had time for another run in Rome, I’d revisit the Villa Borghese Gardens!

Image

The view of Florence from the Duomo, 3/10/14

DAY 6 – FLORENCE

Sights: Uffizi Gallery, Accademia.  Having read about the insanely long lines at the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia, I booked reservations for both weeks before our trip, which may have cost a bit more but was well worth the price. Uffizi is one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world, and where one can view the famous paintings of Giotto, Boticelli and Leonardo di Vinci (AG, “Uffizi Gallery Tour”).  The Accademia was built for Michelangelo’s David (AG, “Accademia & Michelangelo’s David”).

Food: Mercato Nuovo, Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori, Edoardo.  We bought sandwiches and dried pears for lunch at Mercato Nuovo, a large market teeming all kinds of tasty treats, from fresh pasta to limoncello to cheeses to fresh meats.  My husband also tried a tripe sandwich at a street stall, as tripe is a Florentine specialty, but he paid for the street food, and suffered from diarrhea for the next two days.  Our dinner at Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori was our favorite meal in Florence, as it’s a a restaurant that offers great pasta and friendly service!  Edoardo was another favorite of ours, our favorite gelato! They hand made waffle cones in front of patrons, and the gelato was rich and creamy.

Run: 6 miles.  We really enjoyed a sunset run before dinner along the Arno River and in the Cascine Park!

Sunset run through Florence, 3/11/14

Sunset run through Florence, 3/11/14

DAY 7 – SIENA/CHIANTI/SAN GIMIGNANO/PISA

Sights: Siena, Chianti, San Gimignano, Pisa.  After finding out that the only place we could rent a car in Florence as at the airport, and many of the small towns we wanted to visit restricted non-residential parking to outside of the towns’ perimeter, we decided to book Walk About Florence’s “Best of Tuscany Tour.” The guided tour, which cost €90 per person, included a guided morning tour of Siena, lunch at a vineyard in Chianti, of which 95% of the foods and wines we ate were produced at the vineyard, a visit to San Gimignano, which boasts a 4-year gelato world champion and Pisa, where we took plenty of creative photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa under the setting sun.  The day was my favorite part of the Florentine leg of our trip! If I were to return to Italy, I’d want to stay in a small Tuscan town for an extended period of time.

Food: Fattoria Pogio Alloro, Gelateria Dondoli, Trattoria da Georgio.  At Fattoria Pogio Alloro, the vineyard where we had lunch in Chianti, they prepared beef ragu from their grass-fed cows, paired it with their hand made wheat penne, served prosciutto, cheeses and greens from their cows and garden, served plenty of their own extra virgin olive oil and wines, and ended the meal with almond cantucci dipped in a dessert liqueur. My husband and I only had a sip of each wine, and I would love to revisit again to truly indulge post-partum! Gelateria Dondoli in San Gimignano was recognized as gelato world champion in 2006-2009.  I really enjoyed their saffron and nociola flavors, and loved that owner of the shop stood outside to take photos with all the patrons and their scoops of gelato.  We returned to Florence just in time for dinner, and had read positive reviews about Trattoria da Georgia, a no-reservations restaurant near our hotel. The trattoria was the worst meal of our trip, so terrible that I won’t go into what we ate.

Gelato at Gelateria Dondoli in San Gimignano, 3/12/14

Gelato at Gelateria Dondoli in San Gimignano, 3/12/14

DAY 8 – FLORENCE/VENICE

Sights: Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Basilica, Piazza San Marco.  We arrived in Venice by train, checked into our hotel, and immediately the Vaporetto, which is Venice’s public ferry, and costs €7 for an hour access. We loved following Rick Steves’ “The Grand Canal Cruise” (AG) along the ride to Piazza San Marco. Once we docked, we visited St. Mark’s Basilica, which is free, walked around the piazza and shopped for glass-blown goods.

Food: Osteria Ai Artisti.  This was our favorite meal in Venice. We enjoyed all the seafood delights that Venice had to offer–seafood antipasti, fritto misto, and hand made pasta with shellfish in white wine sauce! The restaurant is charming and cozy, but we had plenty of space away from the conversations at other tables, which was uncommon on our trip.

Run: 5 miles. Before boarding the train to Venice, we had a time to go on another run along the Arno River one last time.

Image

Warrior 3 in Venice, 3/13/14

DAY 9 – VENICE

Sights: Rialto Market, Rialto Bridge, Murano, Burano.  We spent the morning running, showered, and then took the Vaporetto to visit the Rialto Market and Rialto Bridge.  After a quick bite, we hopped back on the ferry to spend the afternoon exploring the islands of Murano, famous for its glass blowing factories, and Burano, known for its colorful houses and lace shops.

Food: Osteria alla Testiere. I had anticipated dinner at Osteria alla Testiere, a small 1-Michelin starred seafood restaurant that is difficult to make reservations for, for the entire trip, but was sadly disappointed.  The service was lacking, they mixed up our dishes, and the dishes were either overcooked or forgettable. Thankfully, the gelato we had near our hotel afterward made a lasting impression as the last food we had in Italy.

Run: 5 miles. My husband and I started our runs together, but parted ways at mile 3, when continued to run around Venice for 15 miles total, and I turned around back toward our hotel.  Venice is comprised of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges, and is the most confusing place I’ve ever run. I truly thought I’d get lost on the run! Thankfully, our hotel was near the Ferrovia station, which is the main station for the Vaporetto, and I was able to find and follow signs back to the hotel.

Image

Rialto Bridge in Venice, 3/14/14

Image

Month 5 Belly Photo, 3/9/14

Week 19 (3/2-8) training: 8 miles

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

Week 20 (3/9-15) training: 18 miles

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

Week 21 (3/16-22) training: 19 miles

Sunday: Rest
Monday: Spin
Tuesday: 3 miles, yoga
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 16 miles


Leave a comment

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.

Image

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.

Image

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!

Image

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


Leave a comment

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.
photo (10)

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


2 Comments

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.
Image

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


Leave a comment

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