Connecticut instead of Boston

19 Apr

Dean and I are currently in Connecticut hanging out with my grandparents and uncle, watching the Yankees.  My grandmother is the most avid Yankees fan you will ever meet.  She can pretty much site the stats of every single player.  It’s pretty impressive.

As many of you know, it is Boston Marathon weekend this weekend, and my original plan was to be in Boston, seeing good friends, and running (part of) the race on Monday.  This year’s race has so much meaning to me as well as I’m sure to the thousands of other runners participating and to the people of Boston.  However, because of various circumstances over the past couple of months, I decided to switch my flight for this weekend to NYC to spend some time with my grandparents instead.

Admittedly, I was still trying to figure out a way to do both up until the last minute…looking into driving to Boston for a day (it’s a 2 hour 45 minute drive), but it would’ve made for a hectic weekend, and I came to the realization that my strong desire to participate in Boston was mostly all about myself..I wanted be part of the fun, excitement and emotion this year, I wanted to say that I ran Boston the year after the bombings, I wanted to proudly walk around wearing my Boston 2014 jacket for all to see….once I reconciled my motives with myself, it made absolutely no sense to rush down to Boston during this short trip, and I couldn’t be happier and more content with my decision : ).  Dean and I will have a nice, relaxing Easter weekend with my grandparents instead of a hectic, chaotic one.  There will be more Bostons, but we all have limited time with those we love : )

Highlights of today?

a)  seeing how well both my grandparents are doing despite recent hospital stays.

b)  seeing my grandmother’s face light up when she placed her hand on my stomach and got to feel her great granddaughter move : )  My grandfather wasn’t quite as impressed…he always rolls his eyes at all the running I do and said that I had taught her how to run and she was trying to run out of me.  haha.

I have a lovely picture from today of Dean and I with my grandfather, but my grandparents don’t like the idea of pictures of themselves going on social media, so I will not be posting it here, but seeing the picture makes me smile : )  They are the best.  My grandfather is 93 and my grandmother is nearly 90.  They’ve been happily married for nearly 67 years.

For all those running Boston, I hope you have a wonderful time and that you take in every moment…not worrying about time/pace but instead enjoying all the spectators who show their support for us runners and make Boston such a special experience each year.  Good luck!!!!

 

25 weeks

11 Apr

Less than two weeks before third trimester starts!!!  Crazy thought, eh?

The last two weeks have been a blur.  I’m honestly completely mentally and physically exhausted right now.  I’ve basically gone some 15 or so days straight working mostly 11-13 hours/day with only one real day off when I switched from nights back to days last weekend.  Personally, I think switching back to days after nights is more difficult than the other way around.   I couldn’t be more ready for this weekend!

*Baby movement:  she is especially active about ten minutes after I eat and right before I go to bed.  It is such a weird site watching my stomach twitch and move.  She also gets all fidgety when I’m lying on my back in bed and then switch to my side.  I don’t think she likes it when I lie on my side, but I do, so it looks like she’ll just have to deal with it : ) (btw, does anyone else have trouble remembering when to use lie vs lay?!  I’m embarrassed to admit that I just had to google it).

*Appetite:  went way up the past week.  I read that the baby doubles in size/weight from around weeks 23-27, so I’m guessing this must by why.

*I feel like my stomach grew yesterday (Thursday).  Right after lunch. Literally.  Like I ate nothing much more than what I normally eat for lunch, but afterwards my stomach felt like it was soooo stretched out.   I think that people I don’t know are starting to be able to tell that I’m pregnant and that people I do know finally believe me ; ).  I do have a 25 week bump pic I took Tuesday night (I completed week 25 on Wednesday), but it’s not that impressive, so I’ll probably just save it for next week as a comparison.

*Exercising:  Was just starting to get into a routine before night float, but working long nights (and the lousy day sleeping thanks to the construction workers on our roof) left me too exhausted to do much of anything else.  I only worked out twice, and one of those workouts I would hardly call a workout (20 minutes on the recumbent bike).   This past week, though, I’ve gotten back into a routine now that nights are over.  Feels sooo good to be active again.  I just feel healthier all around, both physically and mentally, when I’m working out regularly.   I’ve been doing a combination of running, elliptical, and lifting.  I also do a lot of walking, since I walk to work every day (1.5-2 miles) and usually walk home as well (making it 3-4 miles/day).  I stopped riding my bike to work shortly after I found out I was pregnant for safety reasons, and I refuse to use public transportation if I don’t need to when I’m capable of walking.  Why spend the money and have to deal with crowds of people when you can just walk for free and listen to some music or a podcast?

My runs have been short due to (lack of) time, between 3-6 miles, but they’ve felt really good.  I bought a support belt last weekend that I’ve been wearing running, and I think it really makes a huge difference!  I haven’t had to pee at all during my runs (maybe it lifts the uterus a little bit off of my bladder??), and it’s just overall more comfortable.  Ladies, it’s kind of like running with a sports bra on vs without one on.

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After my first run using the belt this past week. I was skeptical at first, but now I’m definitely a fan.

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The brand I purchased.

I feel like it made me run faster, but I think I just had a lot of pent up energy from barely working out the week before. Either way, I was pretty pumped with my pace that day. Funny how I used to hate ever seeing a mile split above 7's, now I'm thrilled with splits in the 8's. I'm sure I won't be seeing too many more of those kind of splits as I continue to grow!

My run/pace from my first run using the belt:  I’d like to think the belt helped me run faster, and I think it did help, but I think I ran “fast” the other day mostly because I had a lot of pent up energy from barely working out the week before.  Either way, I was pretty pumped with my pace. Funny how I used to hate ever seeing a mile split above 7′s… now I’m thrilled with splits in the 8′s. I’m sure I won’t be seeing too many more of those kind of splits as I continue to grow!

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So nice to be running outside again!!!

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Another pic from one of my runs this past week.

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Questions:

1.  Did you use a support belt during your pregnancy?  Which brand?  Do you think it helped?  

2.  During which weeks did you really feel yourself start to grow?

3.  For those who ran/worked out during your pregnancy, when did you feel it start to get a lot harder?

I still have on and off days.  Some days I feel somewhat like my old self, other times it feels really hard.   My miles/run and weekly mileage have been way low over the past few weeks, but that’s been for other reasons (sick, schedule, lack of time). 

 

24 weeks (6 months!)

3 Apr

6 months sounds so far along, but then I’m like, wow, I still have 4 months to go.  ha.

Life/Work update:

This past week has been a blur.  I’ve been working nights in the ED since last Thursday (8 pm – ~8:30 am), and when I work nights, I sorta lose track of everything else going on in this world.  During the week I only see Dean for an hour or two in the evening after I wake up.   I don’t see any friends.  I don’t respond to texts (cause I usually get them in the day).  I don’t respond to emails.  I don’t pay attention to the news.  Basically, my “to do” list only involves working, eating, and sleeping, and unfortunately, I have even sorta failed at that, because sleeping has not being going well due to really loud construction going on on the roof above me.

Normally I maintain working out, but I have found that being pregnant, I’ve been extra tired with the 12 hour change in schedule and the long work hours and have been choosing to rest instead.   Although I miss having that hour or so when I work out to myself every day to let my mind loose and pound out the stress, I know it’s best to rest to stay healthy for the baby and in order to stay focused at work.

Despite all this, you’d think I’d hate working nights.  While I certainly don’t like how I feel like that the rest of my life falls apart when I’m on nights, or how hectic and stressful it can get in the ED, where you literally go 12 hours straight with barely any sort of a mental break (unless you count a 3 minute bathroom break or quick run to grab coffee), there are aspects I enjoy about it:

1.  I like running the show and making my own conclusions about diagnoses.  There is no attending there to confirm or disagree with what I say (until the morning).  While this can add a component of stress, it can also be extremely satisfying.

2.  I really like working with my colleagues in other departments.  To my surgery friends, I really love it when (if you have time) you provide an update on a patient after taking them to the OR based after consulting us about what we found on the CT scan.I li

3.  I like the excitement and challenge of piecing together what’s wrong with an ED patient.   I much prefer this over some of the complicated, tedious scans we get from outpatients who already have a diagnosis and are getting follow up imaging.

 

4.  As stressful as it can get when traumas come in, or when they’re scanning patients at the same time on two different scanners and hundreds of images are coming over way faster than is possible to view them, or when you’re getting multiple calls about inpatient imaging at the same time….there is something extremely satisfying about finally getting out of there, making it home, and crawling into your bed extremely exhausted, because you KNOW that exhaustion is a sign of hard work and that your sleep is well-earned.

I finish up nights on Saturday morning and then it’s off to interventional radiology (IR) on Monday, which I’m really excited about.  I almost went into IR, because I love doing procedures, and I like the patient contact.  Most of IR involves radiation exposure to the workers, which would include me.  Wearing lead jackets significantly reduces the radiation exposure.  However, because I am pregnant, and because I’m not going into IR, there is really no benefit for me to be exposed to the radiation, so I will mostly be doing interventions that use ultrasound-guidance (i.e. biopsies).    Excited to be doing hands-on procedures again and interacting with patients.

In regards to the pregnancy:

-Starting to feel that people may actually be able to tell that I’m pregnant.  Although when I asked Dean earlier this week, he still wasn’t 100% sure and says he can tell I look pregnant but that I sorta also justlook like an average American now, I guess cause I have a rounded stomach now?  haha.  When I look down, it sure looks like I’m pregnant to my eyes!

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-appetite hit me with a vengeance the other morning when I got back from work, and I was actually able to eat a lot without feeling completely miserable afterwards.  First time I actually felt like I was “eating for two”.  Maybe Baby shifted and isn’t pressing on my stomach.  Who knows, but I swear I woke up the following day (technically night) feeling a lot bigger (or at the very least bloated).

Bump pic three days ago.

Bump pic three days ago.  LOVE this workout tank from Costco btw.  Super cheap and comfortable.  Need to go back and buy more.

Bump pic today.

Bump pic today.  I feel a lot larger today, but maybe it’s just me.

-Since first trimester, I haven’t been too focused on my weight, only weighing myself occasionally and just trying to eat normally with a well-rounded diet.  Last I weighed myself a few days ago I was about 11-12 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight.  I was afraid I was little under where I should be, so I googled what normal weight gain should be for someone of my height and stage of pregnancy and came across this website:

 http://www.calculator.net/pregnancy-weight-gain-calculator.html

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I was pleased to see that at around 24 weeks, I was right where I should be.  Honestly, though, these are just guidelines, and I think whether you’re a little under or a little over isn’t a huge deal.  Everyone’s body is different, and as long as you aren’t starving yourself and trying to prevent weight gain or are not eating for two adult human beings, I don’t think it really matters.  I trust that my body knows what to do and that it will tell me when I need to eat more or less.  I have tried for the most part to fuel it with healthy foods (although I’ve certainly eaten more junk food since being on nights).  While I trust my hunger, I don’t believe any fetus “craves/needs” say….a pint of ice cream or a double cheeseburger with fries.  haha.  Those calories offer no benefit to me or the baby.  Instead, I’ll have more bread (homemade lately!) with my meals or snack more often during the day/night.

Interestingly, here is a breakdown of where the recommended 25-30 extra pounds go:

Weight_Gain_During_Pregnancy_Table

 

A lot of the weight goes to supporting and making a baby rather than actual increased fat on the body.

23 Weeks

26 Mar

I realized it’s been quite awhile since my last formal pregnancy update!  Not sure how to start this post or organize it, so I’ll just do bullet points:

-MOVEMENT:  As of last Saturday, our baby girl must’ve become A LOT stronger and/or active.  I feel her throwing little punches and kicks all the time now.  I LOVE feeling her move around, although I prefer it when she doesn’t kick me right in the bladder…just a weird sensation.  As of this week, her kicks and punches have gotten strong enough so that I can actually SEE her move when I look at my belly.  Freaky and cool at the same time.   I love getting to share these moments with Dean, who has now also been able to see and feel our future daughter : )  The other night, we just sat together on the couch for several minutes and watched and felt her move around.  So weird, but so exciting.

-BUMP:  I thought I was “popping” a few weeks ago, but there’s still not all that much of a bump, although I feel like it varies day to day (even hour to hour) and depends on how much I have just eaten, how she is laying, and what I am wearing.  Some days I feel huge, other days not at all.  Overall, I think the baby/uterus has mostly been growing straight up so far instead of out (and I have a long torso), cause during my 20 week ultrasound, Baby O. was measuring at exactly 20 weeks of age and the amount of amniotic fluid was totally normal.  If the uterus is growing more up instead of out, this would explain why for the most part, eating large quantities of food at once leaves me feeling miserably full (like the kind of full you feel after a Thanksgiving meal).  Probably not a whole lot of room for my stomach to expand.  Can’t wait for third trimester : /

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23 week bump

 

 

-UNEXPECTED ISSUES:  My belly button is now completely sticking out.  This means that if I’m wearing a tight shirt, my belly button chafes.  I had to put a bandaid on it on it the other day to protect it.  Who knew belly button chaffing would be an issue?!

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-THE BOOBS:  good god.  I feel like it looks like I got implants or something.  They look so out of proportion for my size and for what I am used to seeing on myself.  What do people do who get implants before they get pregnant?!  The other day I was lying on my side in bed and was like what is that touching my right breast?!  Then I realized it was my other breast.  True story.

-MATERNITY CLOTHES:  I have purchased maternity clothes and some non-maternity shirts in a size larger than what I normally wear, and this is all I care to wear.  Most of my pre-pregnancy shirts just don’t fit right, and I do not feel attractive in them.  Call me vain if you want, but it is important for me to feel attractive and good about my pregnant, constantly changing body.  It is something to be proud of–I mean, your body is producing another human being!  That’s amazing!  Be proud of it!  I refuse to hang out in sweats and oversized t-shirts, cause that just makes me feel gross, sloppy, and unattractive.  Wearing flattering clothing really makes a difference.  Superficial, perhaps, but I don’t care…what girl doesn’t want to feel attractive and confident?  My suggestions for places to shop?  I really like Gap for maternity clothes and have found GREAT deals (like sweaters and dresses for ~$11/item on sale).  H&M also has cheap maternity clothes.  Old Navy’s maternity clothes fit me awkwardly because the neck line is REALLY low, but I recently bought several regular t-shirts in a size up ($5 each!) that fit pretty nicely.  Pea in a Pod has really great stuff, but their clothes are quite pricey (even their sale items) and mostly above what I care to spend.  If you have any other suggestions for places to shop, please let me know!!  Knowing that I will be continuing to grow each week, I am spreading my shopping out.

-RUNNING:  Very little running has happened since the marathon.  The first week it was because I was taking a break post-marathon and finishing up my mini-vacation in L.A.  Then the following a week I got a really nasty cold/virus that hit me really hard for a few days.  I actually almost passed out at the nail salon, and had to be led/supported back to their back room to lie down.  Awkward.  And a teensy bit scary since I was pregnant, but not unusual for me.  Drops in blood pressure seem to be my body’s normal response to getting sick.  Most people run a temperature when they get sick….I faint.  In fact, I can only recall, like, 5 times in my life when I have ever had a temperature but have fainted/near fainted MULTIPLE times.  I talked to my physician who just said to take tylenol, sudafed, and drink plenty of fluids.  I did a lot of resting and lots of Gatorade drinking (and ice cream eating) and felt much better after a couple of days.  So anyway, long story short, I’m only now, 2.5 weeks later, starting to workout regularly again post-marathon now that I’m fully recovered from the run and the virus.

-AVERSIONS/CRAVINGS:  Was craving Gatorade when I was sick, but quickly learned that it gave me horrific heartburn.  Although I sip on water throughout the day, I am finding myself craving a ton of ice water right before I go to bed.  Lovely timing.   Aversions:  still can’t stand the taste of mint toothpaste.  I am currently using CREST Hello Kitty bubblegum flavored toothpaste.  My dentist said this was perfectly fine and just as good as regular toothpaste.

-EMOTIONS:  pretty level right now, although I did get teary eyed when my SIL sent me these pics of Dean playing with his nephews:

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IMG_7042I was out of town at a Bachelorette party last weekend, so Dean spent sometime with his nephews.  He bought them Legos (which he loved growing up) and then helped them put the Legos together.  Seeing how good Dean is with his nephews makes me emotional (in a good, happy way) and excited about him being a father : )  I told him I wanted him to build/play with Legos with our daughter one day, too.  My hope is that our daughter will appreciate not just playing with dolls (or an IPad), but also using her hands and mind to build and construct stuff as well.

 

Pictures from L.A.

25 Mar

Here is a slide show of some additional pics form our trip to L.A.  Posting these more for a memory sake for myself and family:

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L.A. Marathon Recap at 20.5 weeks pregnant

18 Mar

Number Marathon Completed:  14

Location:  Los Angeles, California

Date:  3/9/14

Time:  4:28:24,  Pace:  Overall 10:15/mile:  ran ~20 miles , walked ~6 miles

Weather:  50-80s, slightly overcast in the beginning, sunny during the second half

Terrain:  Rolling hills/mostly flat

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In my last post I discussed my decision, thoughts, and game plan about running the LA Marathon while pregnant.  Please check that out if you have not already.

Today I will recap the race and throw in some pictures from the race day.  It’s a bit long, so I apologize : )

My morning routine:  Sunday morning my alarm went off at 4:20 am, which really felt like an hour earlier given daylight savings.  I did my normal pre-long run routine…I never change anything up race day.  I treat it like any other long run:  I got dressed, had coffee (to make sure I did #2 before starting my run, ha!), and ate a plane old Powerbar–I don’t like anything fancy or a lot of stuff in my stomach before and when I’m running…just a high concentration of glucose/energy.  Everything was laid out in the hotel bathroom the night before so that there was no fumbling around in the morning and so that my mom and sister could get a little bit of extra sleep (every minute counts at that hour!).

The forecast was as follows:

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The temperatures looked pretty good for the morning hours!!

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Getting ready for the big run with my sister.

The outfit:  The skirt and sports bra were new…I usually treat myself to a new running item for each marathon I do. I conveniently had a gift card to Lulu which covered the whole outfit plus another bra, which I was in dire need of cause none of my bras fit well anymore (and these new ones are already feeling tight!)! The tank on top…I HATE being hot when I run, and whatever shirt I start off wearing rarely stays on very long if the temperature is anywhere above 45 degrees, so I always where a cheap shirt that I don’t mind throwing out if I have to.  The tank was like, $4 or something like that from Forever 21.  I love my compression socks, which I wear for every long run that I do.  Not sure if they actually help with injury prevention or not, but they sure are comfortable to have on after you’ve been running for a couple of hours and your legs start to swell.  Since my legs are so short, I always have to roll the tops of them : )  And finally….the boobs….they’re not fake I swear, ha…that’s pregnancy for ya ; )

Getting to the race:  If you plan on running L.A., make SURE you arrive early.  The race starts between 7-7:30 at Dodger Stadium, and there is only ONE exit off of the highway.  I think we left the hotel around 5:20 and got there with plenty of time.  This was not the case last time….three years ago (gosh three years already?!) I “bandit ran” part of the L.A. Marathon, and we did not leave early enough to get there.  There was a HUGE line of cars waiting to get off that one exit.  We would’ve missed the start of the race that year had we not pulled the ultimate jacka$$  move of cutting in front of people getting off the exit.  It was mortifying and we deserved every angry look and (finger) that we got!   haha.  That was fortunately not the case this year : )

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In the car on our way to the race!

Arrived at the race start dark and early.

Arrived at the race start dark and early.

The race start:  I was SHOCKED at how lax security was in this post-Boston era of marathon running.  Yes, they had security people there who wouldn’t let you in if you were carrying a bag that wasn’t clear, but once you got passed that point, security was sorta a joke.  My mom and sister could’ve EASILY ran the first part of the race with me if they had had the craziest desire to do so.  There were volunteers checking your bib if you had a corral start, but ANYONE could’ve lined up in the general starting area.  And if you missed getting to your corral on time or wanted to get in a higher up corral, you could’ve easily snuck into one of the corrals (at least that was the case for Corral B).  Maybe that’s just the relaxed, laid back mentality of California for ya….Chicago is WAY stricter…Back even before Boston in 2009, I remember getting to my corral late for the Chicago Marathon and having to climb over this huge fence while some ginormous bodyguard/bouncer-like appearing man chased after me to try to stop me!  haha.

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Waiting in my corral right before the start of the race.

Three notable things about the start of the race:

1)  I was rushing to make it to my corral on time and heard “Julia!”  I turned around and saw one of my friends, David, from high school, who currently lives Portland.  Of all the places, and all the people there, he somehow caught site of me lining up for the L.A. Marathon.  I had no idea he was running this marathon:

I of course had to document this random coincidence with my camera.  David, btw, went on to run a sub-3 marathon (2:55 I believe).  Badass.

I of course had to document this random coincidence with my camera. David, btw, went on to run a sub-3 marathon (2:55 I believe). Badass.

2)  I met another runner in my corral who was 24 weeks pregnant.  Woohoo!

3)  The sunrise was phenomenal.  My iPhone unfortunately does not give it justice:

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THE RACE

I had no idea how long I would last, which I already discussed in my last post.  One of two things I thought would stop me:  either my shin, which randomly flared up badly out of nowhere about 1-1.5 weeks before the race, or the heat.  In regards to the shin splints (technically, shin splint since it was only my left leg), I took nearly the ENTIRE week off of running before the race.  I think I did one 2.5 mile run and that’s it.  Better to show up to the start of a race healthy and under trained rather than over trained and injured.  Plus, any running you do that last week will make no difference in terms of your physical shape, anyway.

In regards to the heat, I wasn’t sure how my body would handle running in warm weather, and overheating is something you do NOT want to do while pregnant.  If I started to feel excessively hot, the race would be over for me, that was my rule.

As I said in my last post, I had my phone with me and kept in constant with my mom and sister, letting them know each time I passed a mile marker.  If I at any point felt like stopping, they would come pick me up.

So how did I feel??  I felt great!  When the first several miles flew by in a blink of an eye (ha, I made a rhyme), I knew it was going to be a good run.  It was overcast for the first half of the race, so it felt very comfortable temperature-wise.  I kept my pace in a very comfortable range, where I could’ve held a conversation if I had wanted to and where I wasn’t really forced to breath with my mouth open (I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the subjective gauges I use for assessing my intensity level is whether I can comfortably run while breathing at a normal rate only through my nose…not having to rely on huffing and puffing through my mouth to let more air/oxygen in.  If I am able to do this, I consider this a subjectively easy exertional level).

Throughout the race, I never felt really hot, which was probably due to me running at such a comfortable pace and because I did a lot of training on the treadmill in my excessively hot basement gym in my apartment, so I was actually used to it feeling hotter/stuffier!  Towards the end of the race, the sun came out and it got hotter, but I was mostly able to stay in the shade, and by then I was mostly walking anyway, so it didn’t affect me.

In terms of hydration and nutrition, I drank water or gatorade (but mostly water) at every aid station.  I only took 3 Gu’s with me for fuel–which is the normal amount that I take for a marathon distance run (I usually take the first one at 1h15 minutes into the run, one at 2 hours, and one around 2:45), but I probably should’ve taken more, cause you don’t want your glucose levels getting low when pregnant, and because I was running for around a whole hour longer than I normally do when running a marathon.  At around mile 24, I felt like I needed more food/energy.  Literally right when I realized this, there was a volunteer along the side of the road giving out Nutrigrain bars.  Bless her!  Just what I needed!  Best thing I have ever tasted in my entire life..haha.  Within a few minutes of eating it, I felt a second wind coming on.

Stamina-wise/exertion level:  Felt easy the entire marathon.  My legs were another story though.  At around mile 11, they started to feel a little sore, which is never a good sign when you still have 15 miles to go!!  At that point, I thought it might actually be my leg muscles that force me to stop early rather than the weather or my shin (which surprisingly never bothered me)!

I can’t say I’m surprised they felt sore…that’s what happens when you do most of your training on a soft, giving treadmill and then try to run 26.2 miles on hard cement.  I hate the treadmill and would never recommend training on a treadmill, but sometimes you have no choice.  In order for me to fit my runs in, they have to be started by 4:30 am on most days in order for me to make work on time.  Running in the dark at that hour in the winter when there are potential slick spots that you can’t see is just not smart when you’re pregnant.  Anyway, somehow, my legs pulled me through another 9 miles of running without a problem, and they surprisingly weren’t that sore in the days after the race…felt not much more sore than the way they would’ve felt after any long run.

As I said before, I decided before the race that the most I would run was 20 miles, based on the fact that my longest run had been 17-18 mile run on the treadmill, and I didn’t to put my body through anything extreme race day being pregnant.  I stuck with my rule.  I started walking periodically after miles 17-18 and then stopped running at 20 miles and mostly walked the rest of the race.  I of course, though, HAD to run the last 3/4 of a mile at the end of the race…wasn’t going to walk through the finish line ; )!

Splits from the race: 

Miles 1-10:  8:51, 8:20, 9:21, 8:22, 9:07, 9:43, 8:47, 9:42, 9:18, 8:37

Miles 11-20:  8:44, 8:50, 8:57, 10:02, 8:47, 9:21, 9:25, 9:56, 10:27, 11:04

Miles 21-26.2 (although my garmin said 26.59):  12:45, 13:56, 12:11, 12:34, 15:10, 12:01, 10:19

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The course:  I really, really, really liked the L.A. Marathon course.  People kept telling me that “ooh, that’s a hilly marathon” and that it was more challenging than some races.   Um, were they talking about the same race??  What hills?  I recall one short hill in the first ~1/3 of the race that forced me to briefly slow down, but other than that, it was just nice, easy, rolling “hills” or flat.  Maybe my view is skewed since I wasn’t pushing myself during this race, and so nothing felt hard…I don’t know…but I thought the course was easy.  The course for the Kansas City Marathon, ironically, and the Cincinnati Marathon felt a lot harder to me.  I would definitely run this race again and try to “race” it.

The finish line:  Best feeling ever seeing and crossing that finish line.  Despite now having crossed a marathon finish line 14 times, it never. Gets. Old….ever.  Best feeling and biggest high in the world.

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The finish line! Best sight ever!

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This finish was especially emotional for me, since I was running for two and didn’t even know if I’d run the whole thing.  I had a smile glued to my face during the last mile…was just so happy and elated.

When I finished the race, as I did with my last half marathon, I said I was pregnant and asked for a second medal for Baby O.  The lady was like, “sorry I can’t do that.”  What?  Really?  Not everyone starts or finishes theses races…they always have plenty of medals!  Bullshit!  I took my medal off, hid it in my hand behind my phone, and walked up to a second girl handing out medals who couldn’t see that I already had a medal and placed another one around my neck : )  hehe.

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Could’ve really used some sunglasses!

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A medal for me and one for Baby O.

~

Race Highlights and other misc thoughts:

1.  Peeing:  For those of you following my blog, y’all know that peeing during my runs has been an issue for me throughout this pregnancy.  I stopped FIVE times to pee during this race.  Before being pregnant, I have never once had to stop to pee during a race.  Ever.  The first time it hit me during the marathon was around miles 3-4.  I was elated when I saw these:

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Yes, I had to document my excitement over the port-a-potties by taking a picture of them. I’m weird, I know.

My excitement quickly turned to terror when I realized someone had forgotten to unlock the port-a-potties!  I decided to hold off until I saw the next set of port-a-potties, which were about a mile a later.  Same story.  wtf.  I couldn’t wait any longer.  There were police men hanging around the unusable port-a-potties.  I didn’t know what to do, so I asked the police officer, “are you going to arrest me if I pee in public?!”  They just laughed, shook their heads, and walked away.  I found an empty staircase behind the port-a-potties and squated.  Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go, and this is especially true when you have a large uterus compressing your bladder!

Fortunately, there were plenty of port-a-potties later along the course that were NOT locked, so worrying about when and where I was going to pee was not an issue : )

2.  Highlight:  Seeing my sister and mom multiple times throughout the race (start of the race, miles ~7, 13, 19).   They are the best supporters.  Seriously…they chased me around throughout the entire course, cheering me on and always being nearby should I decide to stop.  Both were troopers, getting up at ~4:30 with me and doing all the driving around and cheering me on throughout the entire morning.  I should’ve picked up extra medals for them!!  If you did not watch it already, here is the short video my mom took of my sister and I at mile 7.

Mile 7

Mile 7

Selfie at mile 7

Selfie at mile 7

Mile 7

Mile 7:  Yes, my nails match my outfit.  Believe it or not, that was not planned : )

Mile 13.

Mile 13: Me and the little bump, which probably looks more more like a little beer belly right now, haha ; )

End of the race.

End of the race.

End of the race.

End of the race.

End of the race with my mom.  My mom and sister had flowers waiting for me when I finished : )

End of the race with my mom. My mom and sister had flowers waiting for me when I finished : )

3.  I got teary-eyed three times during the race:  the first time was after I left my mom and sister at mile 7.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude…for being in L.A., for being healthy enough to run and continue doing what I love, for having such a supportive family.  The second time was around mile 21 when I passed a collapsed runner who was getting CPR.  These were not happy tears this time.  These were scared tears for him and his family.  I said a prayer and after the race found out that a runner had had a heart attack during the race but was thankfully resuscitated.  When I passed the runner, one of the guys helping yelled at some of the runners/spectators to back away and not take  pictures.  I can’t believe someone would think about taking a picture of something terrible like that!  What’s wrong with people?

The third time I got teary-eyed were once again happy tears when I crossed the finish line : )

4.  I passed a bunch of (excessively, but appreciatingly) excited Lululemon spectators at one point during the race.  The one girl pointed at what I thought was my belly and gave me a thumbs up and started cheering even more enthusiastically.  My pride swelled when I thought she recognized and was excited by the fact that I was running pregnant.  A few minutes later, though, I realized she was probably just pointing to my skirt and cheering for the fact that I was wearing a lululemon outfit, cause I don’t think the average person would be able to tell whether my “bump” is from a baby or a really large meal.  haha.

5.  During the last few miles of the race, I heard someone yell my name:  It was Dean’s family’s neighbor from Chicago who also happens to work with me at Northwestern Memorial Hospital!  What the heck?  And I thought running into my friend at the start of the race was random.  This was even more random that she spotted me along the course, in L.A., amongst thousands of runners.  I had no idea she was going to be in L.A.

~

Below is a slide show of some additional pictures from the course of the marathon:

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My decision to run LA

13 Mar

Posting this from Chicago but wrote most if it in LA:

Good morning from sunny and warm California!   How wonderful it is to be out here after spending the last several months bundled up in multiple layers of clothes in the Chicago freezing cold.  I have had this trip planned for months and have been especially looking forward to it over the past several weeks, literally counting down the hours until I got out of Chicago and was able to soak up the California warmth with my sister and my mom.

The idea for this trip formed last fall, shortly before I found out I was pregnant.  I had originally wanted to do two marathons this springs:  one that I attempted to PR at and the other that I would do for fun.  I definitely wanted to do Boston, so I planned on signing up for that one as my “for fun” race and then looked for another marathon for sometime in February/early March.  The LA Marathon was perfect timing, and since my sister lives in LA, it would give me a chance to spend time with her (and cut costs since I would stay with her), so I signed up for that race and planned on that being my A race.

Then, a few weeks later I found out I was pregnant.  There was certainly going to be know PR-attempting races, if any at all, but since I was already signed up for it, and since I wanted to see my sister (and my mom, who decided to fly up as well) whether I ran it or not, it stayed in my calendar as a loose goal:  something to keep me excited about if there were to be any sort of a possibility that it could happen but that I would easily throw out otherwise and simply turn my trip to LA into nothing more than a mini-vacay.

I told very few people about this race and did not talk about it on here or other social media.  I wanted absolutely no expectations put on myself about this race other than running it safely for me and the baby.  Finishing it of course would have been nice, but that was not the goal.  The goal is a safe pregnancy, and in terms of the LA Marathon, that could have meant a lot of things for me:  not running it at all, running 7 miles of it, running half of it, running part of it and walking part of it, etc.  The only thing that was going to guide my decision on this was how the baby was doing and how I felt leading up to it and on race day.  I did not want any expectations or pride issues sneaking into this equation, so that’s why I kept quiet about it.

First of all, before I say more, please recognize that the possibility of running a marathon while pregnant is probably not a good idea for most people (please see my post on running and pregnancy).  I don’t say this to try to make this “feat” sound impressive or to brag or whatever–please understand that–but by talking about my experience, I don’t want to imply that it’s totally ok and safe for anyone to attempt one.  On the other hand, I don’t think running a marathon by definition is unsafe for every single pregnant woman.  Each situation is completely different and depends on a lot of factors:  the woman’s baseline fitness, her experience at running marathons, how her pregnancy is progressing, how she is feeling during her pregnancy, whether she is a low or high risk pregnancy, how much regular exercise she has been maintaining throughout her pregnancy, etc.

People who do not run marathons regularly hear the word “marathon” and think it is some sort of extreme thing to do.  And yes, for someone who has never ran one or runs the occasional marathon, it may be extreme, but for others like myself who have ran multiple marathons, it is not as extreme as it may sound.

I completed my first marathon in 2005 during my second year of medical school, and then since 2007, I have completed 12 more (not counting LA), averaging ~2 per year.   My fastest time is a 3:19, and I have ran a 3:25 coming off an injury with only 7 weeks of training.  I don’t say this to brag or disrespect the marathon, but I am making a point that for me, my body is used to running a marathon, and so running/walking a slow one after several months of consistent running (My LA time was 4:28, over an hour slower than my last marathon) is not extreme for me.  Thus, the difficulty of running a marathon and the degree of “extremeness” is very relative to each person, so I think it is unfair for anyone to judge a pregnant woman for running one or to say that it should never be attempted while pregnant.  Alternatively, I also think it is equally stupid for a woman to have a hard, rigid goal of running a marathon while pregnant, regardless of how in shape she may be.  That should NEVER be one’s primary goal.

As you all know, running is one of my passions.  Some people like to read in their spare time, or cook, paint, bike, garden, etc.  For me, running happens to be my favorite hobby, especially longer distances.  Since I could potentially spend a good portion of the next 5-10 years pregnant if I choose to have more kids, I saw no reason to give up something I am passionate about if there was no evidence that it was harmful to me or to the baby.  I did an extensive amount of research and reading on this topic (from pubmed and actual real research and review articles), and felt comfortable with the evidence that running/working out at a comfortable pace caused no harm and was even beneficial in regards to the pregnancy, so I have continued my running throughout the pregnancy thus far.   There were weeks when I was tired or didn’t feel well or was too busy with things and barely ran at all, but for the most part, I have been consistent with getting my miles in.   I never did anything extreme, as I have written about before.  No fast miles where my heart rate got up really high, just plugging away one easy mile after another at a comfortable pace.   The furthest distance I got up to was a 17-18 mile run ~4 weeks ago, and on *most* weeks I ran at least 12 miles for my “long run”.

In terms of the pregnancy, I had my 20 week anatomy scan and appointment last Wednesday:  everything looked and was progressing normally.  Despite not looking all that pregnant at the time, my baby was measuring size-wise at exactly 20 weeks, so right on target.  So was the amount of amniotic fluid, her heart rate…everything.

So my decision to run and the amount I was going run on Sunday was going to be made race day and would only be guided by how I felt, with no other desires or pride or anything affecting that decision.   I was simply going to do what I had done on almost every other weekend:  run.  Only this time it would be in LA, and I would be surrounded by thousands of other people.

The game plan:  depending on how I felt and how hot it was, my “run” could be as short as 7 miles or as long as 20 miles.  I decided beforehand that 20 would be the absolute max distance that I would run, given that my longest run had been 17-18 miles (on a treadmill).  I figured that if I ran 17-20 miles, then it wouldn’t be unreasonable to walk the rest if I felt up to it.

I always carry my cellphone with me when I run outside, so I would do the same raceday and keep in constant contact with my mom and sister, who were following me around and cheering for me and would come pick me up when/if I felt like stopping at any point.

And so there you go.  Those were my thoughts and game plan going into the race Sunday.  Will recap the race in my next post.

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My sister and I at the expo the day before.

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Enjoying sunny Cali the day before with my mom and sister.

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