Looking back at the 2nd trimester (and even earlier in the 3rd trimester), running was a lot easier. It makes me smile and makes me even more excited to meet my little man (for many reasons other than this, but…) and find ease in going for a run.
I don’t want to say running is a fight. It’s not. I am still maintaining some great speed, although I’m taking some stop-and-make-sure-I’m-breathing breaks that have given me an edge. I had been sure I would be running 10-minute miles by now, but even without a ton of breaks, I’m still working with an 8:30 mile, which is something I can totally be proud of.
Pregnancy Running and Colitis
Many of you know that I have wrestled with colitis for the past 4+ years. Things had settled down a lot before I was pregnant, but they flared up again in the first trimester and now that there’s more pressure on my intestines with the weight of my little man, running can find me with an upset stomach. In fact, I had gotten sick on a number of runs in a row so I was feeling nervous about running a few races at the end of the 2nd trimester and at the start of the 3rd because I wasn’t sure I’d make it the 3-5 miles without needing a serious pitstop.
I did a lot of research during the week before the race and made a very clear discovery: my body will never handle a marathon. That’s a little sad in one sense, but it’s also a little freeing when you realize your limitations and in doing so, find relief for a seemingly long-term issue.
A big problem that marathon runners face is called ischemic colitis. While I’m sure I do not understand the whole issue in its entirety, I do understand that a lack of electrolytes and sodium in the body combined with large amounts of exercise reduce the blood to the intestines, causing diarrhea, sudden urges to use the bathroom (even when you don’t really need to), bloody stool, etc. (Sorry if that’s TMI for you!)
Again, this is normally only found in marathon runners who have depleted their sodium and electrolytes by the end of the race and find themselves on a sodium IV getting replenished at the end.
However, at my last complete bloodwork, I found that your body needs the following amount of sodium to function properly: 136-145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) or 136-145 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) (Taken from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/sodium-na-in-blood?page=2)
My body was operating on 135. When I first saw this result, I was thankful because I’m a lover of all things salty and was sure I would be a little high. However, that was me before running and sweating and losing any salt during activity.
Because of this low salt issue in my body and an imbalance of electrolytes (as demonstrated by the ischemic colitis), it is important I over-hydrate, boost my salt intake when I’m about to work out, and focus on my electrolytes, so I avoid getting sick during runs.
It’s amazing how much that has helped!
I now focus on drinking at least 80 oz of water per day. I then try to supplement with a cut form of electrolyte and am a little more liberal with my salt intake (especially on my running days). While I still get sick now and then, the result has been wonderful!
Of course, this has little to do with pregnancy, other than that I was able to, by God’s grace, figure this out during this last trimester.
Races this Trimester:
At 28 weeks pregnant, I participated in 2 races. We had our local Corporate Challenge, where local businesses challenge each other to a 5k, a predicted mile, and a 3-mile relay race. I ran the 5k and finished in 26:21 and was part of a 3-man relay team that finished in 20:37 (I ran an 8:15-mile or so) and came out with a 2nd place standing (among companies our size).
Two days later, I took on the PA Spartan Sprint. That was a 4-mile race that involved 18 obstacles up and down the Blue Mountain Ski Resort mountains. It was a blast but took a lot longer than I expected. I was able to do all the obstacles but one and finished in a proud time of 2:34:32 (ok, not so proud of that time, but I finished!) Read more about that race here.
I had thought about running a race this past Saturday at 32 weeks, but we have had a few crazy weeks, and I needed the sleep-in time (and had forgotten to register so it would have cost more than I’d like to pay for a 5k). I have to admit that I’m sort of bummed that I didn’t run it. The next race I’m considering is the Labor Day 5k near us, where Adam and I both placed last year (he took 1st and I took 3rd). I’m not planning on placing at all, but I’d love to be able to complete it again.
On September 8, a local fire department is hosting a Memorial Stair Climb (in honor of the firefighters who went up the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, during the terrorist attacks. There will be 110 stories to climb (in shifts—we don’t have any buildings that tall around here), and the process can be completed as teams or as individuals. Adam is planning on doing the whole stair climb in his full turnout gear, and just this past Sunday, I decided to join him (without gear). He’s not sure I should do the whole 110 floor set at that point (I’ll be 36+ wks pregnant), but if I can’t find a person or two to join me as a team, I’m sure I’ll be fine.
After those races, I’ll be officially done with racing ‘til after Titus has come. Then, we’ll start some intense training for January’s first 5ks.
P.S. I wrote this blog post before going for my run tonight but just hadn’t posted it yet. In God’s sense of humor and humbling fashion, I had my first ever DNF. I’ll blog about that in more detail tomorrow.