So I made it to Half Way! I consider half way to be 22 weeks rather than 20 – seeing as the first 4 you don’t even know if you’re pregnant. Though in terms of time feeling like its passing I reckon 30 weeks is really half way as the last 10 weeks both times have felt like forever for me... especially when my second turned up late.
This is my R&R week after my my Everest escapade last week (see last blog post). Well it’s supposed to be… except we’re on a family holiday in Cornwall which means even less real rest than usual. I’m pretty tired to be honest and pregnancy is starting to hit harder.
I was really looking forward to the 2 hours of childcare offered by the hotel in the morning so I could run/stretch/work/hit the spa but due to COVID this is no longer an option. Holidays for us almost always involve some form of child separation. Work and admin never really stop for one, so there’s always a few things to catch up on each day, which is much quicker when not watching the boys. We also both like to get a bit of me time to exercise (or occasionally sit in the spa). That means when we’re with the boys we can give them our full attention and also actually enjoy our holiday, rather than have an ongoing negotiation between us of who can take an hour here or there.
Our usual family holidays are to Club La Santa in Lanzarote – a strange mix of elite sports resort and Danish holiday camp (sounds weird but it’s the perfect mix - there's an athletics track and baby joggers to borrow!). Sadly cancelled for Easter this year (thanks COVID), and again for Christmas (thanks few-weeks old baby). Most mornings there we have a lovely local nanny who goes off on adventures with them - from playing mini-golf to swimming and football. Or just following the resort cats around. At the same time John and I get our day’s training in (him mostly on the bike, me trail running and every sort of class on offer). We even get to run and cycle together - cycle meaning I try and draft him as I’m useless on a bike! Then we have family lunch and an amazing afternoon and evening focused on the kids – from family padel tennis to kids rock climbing and swimming. It’s the perfect holiday for us and the boys love it. Fingers crossed for next Easter going ahead….
So this year isn’t exactly the same, but we are making the best of it – and the daily negotiations of who gets which time slot to train/work are working fairly well. We’ve never been to Cornwall before and it is just beautiful. The coastal trails are spectacular – there is nothing like running to the soundtrack of waves crashing and the smell of sea air. Every corner I turn there is a different view – a hidden beach, or rock formation in the sea. Its been years since I raced an ultra along a coastal path and I definitely want to get one in the diary next year. There are parts along this trail I feel I’m just dancing along – jumping from side to side of the path to get the best line. All I feel is being a runner, at one with nature.
Except….the steep downhills and rocks aren’t exactly good for my pelvic floor though and the coastal path doesn’t have much coverage for emergency pee stops! I decide to run as early in the morning as I can so I don’t shock any walkers with my bare bum! I did make the mistake of lending my most cushioned shoes to a friend to try and bringing a new brand of trail shoes I was testing so probably mostly my fault.
Evening running is mostly out as I’m too tired though I manage 4 miles one day as the weather and scenery is just too good not to run. We’re here with another family where both parents are runners and I’m struggling mentally with the fact I can’t join them.
the strength training and hill running is doing wonders for my quad definition : )
Much of the time I’d usually be running just feels better used napping now – mostly so I don’t fall asleep during dinner. My body tells me when enough is enough even then - at around 10.30pm several nights in a row I start to feel queasy and overly exhausted so we have a rush for the bill and to get me back to the room!
Its frustrating but I’ve just had to give up now on the second trimester being the easy one. I’ve accepted the tiredness is just not going away. I can’t do physically or mentally do everything - I need to find time to nap which means other things have to give! Unfortunately this week that also means pilates and stretching…… it does feel they are the first to give so I’ll make sure I make an extra effort next week!
I do find time for a brilliant zoom call with the Womens Running Magazine team and the other amazing testers who reviewed running kit for their awards. The results are out in their October edition but its safe to say we all had strong opinions! Its such a great group from all ends of different running spectrums and I find our discussion so insightful – it’s easy to forget in my little bubble that not every runner is an ultra runner. If a piece of kit just makes you feel good thats sometimes all it needs to do. We do all agree that we’d be unlikely to eat some of the food, even if we were starving on a long run!
I’m not sure whether it’s pregnancy hormones giving me a short fuse but I’ve ended up pretty annoyed by some of the kit I’m testing. From a “unisex” hat that doesn’t nearly go small enough (but fits my hubby’s large head perfectly), to “reflective” leggings with hardly any reflective tape or worse “protein” bars that have hardly any protein in them. On the plus side most kit was brilliant – and this week I’ve particularly appreciated running with the high impact sports bra that I can actually get on and off without contorting my body (thank you Runderwear for a genius invention). Once the results are public I’ll discuss more!
Back at home I’m finding it hard to get back into things. 2 weeks off weight training – one for Everest week and one on holiday – would mean easing back for my first session even if I weren’t pregnant but I’m being extra careful as I’m aware my body changes every week! So I do a quick run warmup before my weights session followed by a stretch to make sure I’m not going to hurt anything – and start off with lighter weights. The bump has definitely grown as I’m adjusting my kettlebell swing (and I’m thinking swinging the 32kg one won’t last for long!)
I’ve also really cut back on outdoor running this week to let my pelvic floor recover from the impact of coastal trail. I have to remember it’s just like any other muscle - when it’s overworked it needs to rest. And really there’s not much I can’t get out of running on a treadmill at incline.
But the big news this week is that gyms have finally reopened!!! I’m lucky to have a wonderful gym right by my little one’s nursery and 10 mins walk from home (well… 15 mins after a hard class as it’s uphill!). It’s always so quiet when I go and they’ve reduced class sizes to 8 so I feel pretty comfortable heading in. I’ve missed spin and boxing so much – especially now I’m cutting running mileage I need to look towards my cross training options and these are my favourites.
I was actually a boxer – well I practised Thai kickboxing – before I was a runner. I spent 2 months in a Muay Thai camp in Thailand after a particularly nasty redundancy and its really a sport my body is far more suited to than endurance running! I also love it for the incredible stress relief that I get from punching out my worries. I don’t take it seriously nowadays (this is over 10 years ago) but I still know how to throw a punch or two and can get a great workout on a bag, especially in a class. I'm finding I have to engage my pelvic floor when I throw hooks at the start of a class to remind it to engage though.... and I'm taking the warmup star jumps very easily to not tire it out. If I look around the class of women there seem to be a few avoiding the star jumps which are known for high impact (and therefore PF strain). There are so many alternatives I wish trainers were more enlightened as to why women avoid them and change it up! (except not to burpees. as noone likes burpees)
Spin is another brilliant workout for pregnancy – low impact and high cardio work. I find it so hard to push myself on a bike outside of a class (my class puts your power output on a live screen so there’s no hiding…). Hubby has a Wattbike in our gym and I tried a Peloton class on it but just couldn’t push myself. I love climbing out of the saddle at higher outputs (using more of my running muscles) but it’s just too jerky to do it on. I’ll leave Zwift to him.
My weight is increasing much quicker now (and not just due to the 3 course dinners every night on holiday!). I’m lucky to have full weight tracks for both of my last pregnancies up and down on an app – handy that I’ve had the same set of digital scales which uploads it automatically! Whilst it’s not something I focus too much on, a big increase (4lb+) in any week should be checked out so I like to know where I am. My last pregnancies were both about 22-24lb gain but I started 8lb lower this time (I was training harder prior to getting pregnant and my weight is naturally lower when I do) so I’m interested to see where it ends up. I will write a post and show all the tracks soon I promise!
I know everything will start accelerating from here – I just hope I’m ready for it. Hubby has also felt his first kick on my tummy. It’s now pretty real to him too – and my growing belly (and grouchiness) is a daily reminder that this really is happening. Everything has gone as much to plan as possible so far and whilst holiday was a bit of a slip up on some of the strength, stretching, pilates and pelvic floor protection (whoops) I’m back on the training plan now (and think I got away with it...)