As I roll into week 24 of growing a tiny human, I feel myself swinging between emotional extremes.
On one hand, I still have 16 weeks left. That’s around four months, or 112 days, or 2,688 hours, or 161,280 minutes, or a ridiculous amount of seconds that I’m too lazy to do the math for. I have plenty of time to grow and change.
But on the other hand, July 13th is going to be here before I finally pull the trigger on what rug to buy for the nursery and I’ll be left having to pay for expedited shipping.
When I think about how close our due date is, I have to remind myself that yes, there’s still more time to grow and change, but I’ve also already covered a lot of ground… including mileage.
Speaking of mileage, there’s no doubt that my mileage and pace have dramatically decreased during the past six months. But here’s the thing: I’m totally ok and loving it.
I used to fret about one day, when I get pregnant, how am I going to continue running and maintain some level of fitness? Will I be able to? Will it be safe? How will I feel? And if I’m lucky and healthy enough to keep running, will I be miserable not hitting mileage or pace milestones? I even found myself playing the dangerous “pregnancy comparison” game with past pregnant runners, but immediately realized this was an unhealthy trap and stopped Google-ing.
Once I closed the browser tabs, I committed myself to just doing what felt good, and more importantly, what was safe. One day that may mean running five miles and doing a yoga class, other days that may mean spinning my legs on the trainer with no resistance for 20 minutes, or if you caught me during the no-energy first trimester, it meant doing nothing at all for weeks at a time. This tiny monster in me is in full control…and I love it.
Thankfully, my body and baby have cooperated and I’m still able to stay active. I’ve created a run, spin, and strength cadence that has kept me moving and safe. It doesn’t always work out as planned, but here’s where we (generally) stand at week 24:
- Run: ~3 times per week, usually between 3 and 5 miles, with paces between 8:30 and 10:00 minute miles
- Spin: ~3 times per week, from 30 minutes to an hour
- Strength: ~3-5 times per week, anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, of either light lifting or Barre3
- Yoga: Whenever I can fit it in
I originally thought I’d be stressing out about not running at least five days a week, but since mixing in other forms of activity, I’ve learned to love strength training and Barre3 (even if I am using the colorful weights).
I also think it’s this balance and relaxed approach that helped put me on an endorphin high during last weekend’s Dublin Shamrock 5K. With cool temperatures and my husband by my side, I made a plan to leave the watch at home, run whatever pace felt good, and just ensure that I was able to still hold a conversation (for safety’s sake). And man, I was feeling good.
I crossed the finish line in 23:50 (7:42 pace), which was good enough for 3rd female in the 30-39 age group. I don’t know where that came from, but I was loving every minute of pressure-free running.
So what have I learned 24 weeks in? Forget the expectations you, or the Internet, set for yourself. What matters is how you feel, your doctor’s recommendations, and finding a balance that helps keep you and your baby healthy. And most importantly, every woman is different so don’t put any expectations on yourself.
What I thought I’d miss in mileage and pace is more than made up for in a healthy balance of pressure-free activity. I know that next week, next month, or even tomorrow, this could all change. So for now, I’m embracing what I can do and am counting my blessings that this kid hasn’t revolted. And if (or more likely when) he does, I’ll be ok with that too. Because I’m growing a FREAKING HUMAN. #mindblown