31 weeks and running

Wow, take a look at the belly.

(That Richmond Marathon shirt is Tom’s. My running shirts don’t quite cover the belly anymore, so I’m taking credit for races I didn’t run.)

You can barely see my feet.

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Oh, there they are.

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Tomorrow I’ll be 31 weeks pregnant. Wow, right? Don’t worry, these next 9+ weeks won’t seem as long for you as they will for me. For you, June will be here in no time. Go ahead and get your sundresses ready.

The last time I talked about running I was 25 weeks along. If you missed that post, here’s the summary: it’s great, better than expected. Right around that time I ran 4.3 miles in 40 minutes (an overall pace of 9:18).

At that point I was thinking I’d be running as long, if not longer, than I did through my first pregnancy. But a lot’s changed since then.

Besides my enormous belly, here’s the first thing that’s changed since then: I’m a lot slower. I do most of my runs with the stroller, but it’s easier to gauge my fitness level when I’m running without it. Last week, the last time I ran without David, I ran 3 miles in 32:26. And that time doesn’t include a few blocks that I walked (I always stop my watch on walk breaks). My overall pace was 10:48, and I couldn’t have gone any faster.

I’ve also shortened my runs to 4 miles or under, and I try to take a rest (or walk) day between each run day.

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On the 32:26 run, I had terrible cramps, and the same thing happened on a run I did two days earlier. Each time I felt a cramp I stopped to walk. It started about a mile in, went away after a walk break, then came back after five minutes or so of running.

(By the way, I run regularly with two friends of mine, and these days they’re both great about slowing down and taking walk breaks. I’m a huge advocate of running partners for motivation, especially when you’re pregnant. Definitely look for partners that won’t push you beyond what you’re comfortable with.)

When I was pregnant with David I had Braxton Hicks while I was running, but this was different and pretty painful.  Still, I’m hoping it was just a fluke. Especially because I ran 3.3 miles today, in 33:21 (practically 10 minute miles!) and I didn’t have any cramps and felt pretty good, all things considered.

Up to this point, my mom had been reading this, but she isn’t anymore. She’s gotten in her car and is driving straight to Richmond to knock me in the head because, “I thought I raised you to have some common sense young lady! Stop that running right now!”

Here’s the thing, my philosophy of exercise while pregnant is this: run as long as it feels good, then stop. The cramping didn’t feel good, and I don’t see any reason to be uncomfortable or push my body to do something it doesn’t want to do while it’s growing a baby.

My goal is to be healthy, fit, and feel good during pregnancy, and my priority is the health of my baby. (Also, my running goal from the start was to make it, at least, to 30 weeks.)

Cramping is a weird thing for runners. It could mean that I ran too soon after eating, it could mean that I was hungry, or thirsty, or just needed to take a breather. Or, in my case, it might mean that my body just needs a break. Pregnancy and caring for a toddler and running are all just too much.

If I’m sidelined by these cramps, I’ll be sort of bummed (especially since it’s only just now getting warm), but I’ll still try to stay as active as I can. That includes chasing and carrying around a certain 30-lb toddler.

That also includes walking the Monument Ave. 10k in two weeks. My mom and Tom’s mom are walking with me. They might think accompanying me as covert bodyguards for Baby Krieger to make sure I don’t try to run, not even one step, but I’m on to them.

Running moms, how did pregnancy affect running for you? When did you decide to call it quits? And how did you stay fit…and sane…when you stopped running?

(Or did you just decide to surrender to the couch and cheese puffs…because I’m open to that option, too.)

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11 Comments

  1. Jenny April 4, 2013

    couch and cheese puffs has my vote…though I always go for ice cream as my top pick

    Reply
  2. Meredith April 4, 2013

    does my experience count, or are you looking for 2nd pregnancies here?

    Reply
  3. andrea April 4, 2013

    Its wonderful that you’ve been able to run during your 2nd pregnancy! With my 2nd, i had so much pelvic pressure on the days that i ran that it was not worth the pain to me- was done altogether w/ running by week 16 or thereabouts! On a happier note, I’ve just started running again and I can proudly state that I am running 1 mile in 13 minutes! yay! :0)

    Reply
  4. Kate April 5, 2013

    I stopped running/exercising all together around 24 weeks when Braxton Hicks set in. I was literally having like 2-3 (sometimes more) an hour ALL DAY LONG until Grace was born. It didn’t matter if I laid flat on the couch, propped my feet, or guzzled water. Those B hicks were persistent and annoying. It didn’t help that my OB told me if they get to more than 5 an hour I needed to come in. So, I spent the second half of pregnancy in a Braxton-Hicks-contraction-counting-paranoia.

    As a result, I pretty much became a pregnant bump on a log. I figured, no other time in my life will I have such a stellar excuse NOT to exercise…so I relished the freedom from the age old guilt of “I should probably go work out.” And looking back, I’m glad I allowed myself to be such a couch potato because gone are the days when I can just laze around whenever I want.

    Reply
  5. Becky April 5, 2013

    When I was pregnant with Julia I ran until 6 mths due to hip pain. But I still worked out 3 to 4 days a week an hour to hour and half until I was 8 1/2 mths along. This consisted of brisk walks uphill and the elliptical. I still pushed my self within reason. You are doing better than me it seems though!!

    Reply
  6. LISA April 9, 2013

    Just curious how long after you had your first did you start back running?

    Reply
  7. […] probably 30 weeks (right around the time I posted this) I felt some cramping about a mile into my runs, so I switched to run/walks. Then, I walked the […]

    Reply
  8. Jules July 29, 2014

    I am 31 weeks prego and still running strong at 5.5-6.5 miles a day! Phew! My goal was to make it to 7 months so this is all bonus in my mind! Well sort of… Here is my dilemma:
    I have been cramping on and off for about 3 months now during my run but as long as I stretch my arms, push in the cramps, or basically contort my body until they go away I can continue as normal, although not as comfortable as pre-pregnancy. With my son I stopped running as soon as the “I need to pee every 10 minutes” feeling began (around 5 months)but then I just got fat and I believe that lead to a lot of my baby blues. So this time I decided to power through it until it became unbearable. The problem is I CANT STOP! Do any of you other runners feel guilty for taking off? I try to tell myself it’s no big deal but it’s terrifying every time I step on the scale.
    This leads me to a question: I’ve been wondering if by running you can strengthen your muscles and pelvic floor TOO much and cause yourself to need a c-section? I haven’t been able to find any info on that but just curious b/c that would be terrible!

    Reply
    • amandakrieger July 29, 2014

      Hi! Way to keep running! That is SUCH an accomplishment. Especially since it’s your second! I also experienced cramping (as I’m sure you’ve already read) but it’d go away with walk breaks.

      No need to stop! Keep running and exercising as long as it feels good! It’s healthy for you, good for the baby, and will help you through recovery after labor.
      I do hope you’ll stop stepping on the scale, though. With my first pregnancy, my doctor let me know when I gained too much weight and so I talked with him about nutrition, exercise, etc. (I also ran until 37 weeks with my first baby, and gained maybe 45 lbs??)

      I also hope you won’t run until it’s unbearable. My goal is to always run until it feels good. If it feels unbearable then it might be your body telling you that you need a break.
      My doctor’s advice was to listen to my body, and I really felt that was good advice.

      I don’t think you can strengthen your pelvic floor TOO much, and I don’t think there’s any evidence that exercise leads to c-section. I’m not a doctor, though, so I’d ask him/her. I follow a few blogs of more hard core runners, one just ran to 39 weeks, was super fit, and had her second (no c-section!) check it out: http://www.mommyrunfast.com/

      Reply

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