My first run back

I am just now getting back into exercising, and it’s been so nice to get my body moving again. There’s no better mood enhancer than a good sweat, and it’s something I desperately needed during those dark first months of pregnancy.

I’m starting to feel more comfortable with what I should and should not be doing. I started out by doing all the googling, and of course found all sorts of contradictory answers.

Do yoga as you normally would.

But don’t do twists or backbends.

Do inversions, but don’t invert.

Running is great for you while you’re pregnant. 

Don’t run while pregnant. 

Exercise is important.

Don’t get your heart rate above 140. 

It’s enough to make a girl feel nuts and just crawl back into bed. I’ve taken a few barre and yoga classes, and my instructors ranged all the way from giving me modifications because “I’m special” to one who rather scornfully told me pregnancy is not a disability, and used her hands and knees to push me deeper into (verboten?) twists and backbends.

Finally, I just asked my midwife, and her vague answer was the best one I’ve heard yet:

Just listen to your body. 

Amen. That’s some advice I can actually get behind. I hate being treated like a fragile flower, and I hate even more when instructors don’t believe me, or suspect me of being lazy. I think I have a pretty decent sense of what feels right, and what doesn’t, and I just want to trust my body and have those around me accept and appreciate that.

That didn’t stop me from being nervous to join my friend Erin for her Moms Run This Town run group last night, though. I hadn’t run since before I knew I was preggo, and I’ve never been more than a casual runner at best.

As we pulled into the Safeway parking lot where we were supposed to meet, my husband grumbled, “how are we ever going to find these people?”

This is how, husband. See: ALL THE PINK.

sweat pink mrtt group

Seriously, though, I had no idea that Erin would bring such a crowd. And such a crowd of PINK! I immediately felt at home, and even more so when I spotted a few friends from high school in the crowd of runners. And then even more so when I got to meet some sweat pink ambassadors in person for the first time! It’s seriously one of my favorite activities. I know so many people just by their Instagram or Twitter handles and even though I already feel like I know and love them, there’s nothing like seeing them in person and getting to hug and laugh and chat.

For the run, I immediately attached myself to one of my friends from high school (middle school?), not only to catch up, but also because I just felt more comfortable easing back into running with a fellow preggo by my side. I knew she wouldn’t judge me if I had to stop and walk a million times or if I lost my breath within the first few paces.

You guys. Running with that group, even though I had to walk at times, and even though it was hot and I need new workout clothes that don’t feel like they’re strangling my abdomen, was so fun. So much more fun than any other run I’ve ever done. I barely even noticed my wheezing and heavy breathing (and hey, I can always blame that on Moonshine, anyway).  

Plus they all put on Sweat Pink Trucker Hats for the run which just made my pink heart stand still and then do happy dances. Hell, it’s still doing happy dances.

During the run, I caught up with old and new friends, learned all sorts of things about the crazy goings-on happening in my body (nothing like moms who have been there to tell it to you straight) and also, for the first time in my life, wasn’t painfully counting down every last second until I could STOP RUNNING.

I’m so looking forward to joining them again next time I’m in town visiting my parents, and I’m looking up the MRTT chapter in Austin, stat, so I can keep making friends and actually not hating running.

Thank you, Erin and the whole MRTT group, for letting me join for such a friendly, fun run! I actually feel comfortable running while pregnant now, especially if I get to hang out with such lovely people while I’m at it.

Things I love about being pregnant

This is a post I never really expected to write.

Ever since I learned about the birds and the bees, I always sort of knew I’d be pregnant some day.

Ever since I learned to appreciate sushi and wine and exercise—and having autonomy over my own body—I thought about pregnancy kind of the same way people think about chicken pox or getting their wisdom teeth pulled.

Not going to be fun, but I guess I’ll suffer through it. 

And I’m not going to lie; there are parts of this experience that I could really, really do without. See: first trimester. See: no wine for 9 months (wah). See: obsessing over whether the cheese I’m about to devour is pasteurized.

But I also must admit there are a few benefits I’m slowly starting to recognize. I’m 16 weeks in, and here are my favorite things so far:

People are really nice to you.

blogfest sweatpink worth it

Once you’re public, everyone goes out of their way to be nice and help you. I barely did any of the usual schlepping during our conference (thanks, Jamie, Dapinder, and Liz!); my husband won’t let me unload heavy things from the car. (Whee!)

You get a hall pass on crunches

sweatpink barre

I went to a fun Dailey Method class with Giselle last week—one of my first forays into real prenatal exercise—and while I’m definitely still figuring out what works and what doesn’t, when it comes to exercise, one of the ab exercises we did definitely didn’t feel right. (This isn’t even me being lazy or taking advantage; I got into the position and had a “hell no!” moment.) Instead of pushing or judging me, the instructor gave me a modification and told me “because you’re special.”

Swoon.

Eating! All the time! All the things!

berries and yogurt

This one goes without saying.

manitoba harvest hemp hearts

 

I love to eat.

birthday cupcakes

 

I was born to eat.

breakfast burrito

Food is my friend.

salad

And now that I’m hungry all the time, I have so many more opportunities to really appreciate food.

siggi's best yogurt

It’s so satisfying to be blindingly hungry multiple times a day and to be able to solve that problem with delicious things.

It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, 5-6 times a day. 🙂

Letting it all hang out.

sweat pink trucker hat
Wearing my all-time favorite swimsuit from prAna. My goal is to never buy a maternity suit, but just keep wearing this one.  Tip for non-showing pregnant ladies: wheel pose does wonders for disguising your almost bump/beer belly in these early days. 

Okay, this is one I’m still striving for. I’m somewhere between the beer belly and baby bump phases, but I’m embracing the curves. Bikinis, dresses, tops, whatever: this belly is going to do what it will. No sucking in or spanx for this lady.

Boobs.

Back in middle school, the boy I had a crush on used to sing me the following nursery rhyme:

Roses are red

Violets are black

Why is Alyse

As flat as my back

If only my red-faced 12-year-old self could see how far we’ve come. I’ve only waited 20 years for this sweet redemption. #thankyouhormones.

 

Benefits of not exercising

manduka yoga

It’s been 6 weeks since I did any kind of exercise, unless you count my one pathetic squat jump at Fitbloggin’ last weekend. Even though walking from my bedroom to my kitchen feels kind of like exercise, given all the huffing and catching my breath it inspires, it’s been pretty rough not feeling well enough to move around and sweat. I’ve always depended on exercise as a reliable way to brighten my mood, relieve stress, work through problems, and give me more energy. Not having access to the magical cure-all of a good sweat has been really hard, especially lately.

 

I watched Tangled with my godchildren last weekend, and I had a flash of solidarity with Rapunzel: I’m living in a high rise for the first time in my life, and I can’t help but feel I’m in my own little lonely tower. I’ve been feeling kind of isolated, disconnected from my community, my new city, and my favorite activities. I thought I had turned a corner last weekend, and was really hoping it would stick and that I’d start getting my life back, but I had a major relapse coming back home. So tired. So nauseous. And getting pretty down about this slide back into symptoms.

I’m doing my best to change my outlook, and muscle through this last week (hopefully?) of first-tri symptoms, focusing ever so hard on the light at the end of the tunnel. So I created a list of all the benefits of not exercising—AKA why it’s a GREAT thing to be a couch potato for two months:

  • Your pedicure lasts forever. Mine is a month old and, as long as you don’t look too close, it’s still completely passable.
  • You don’t have to wash your hair as often! I always try to stretch hair as long as possible between washings. Not sweating doubles the length of time I can go between. Here’s to half as much blowdrying!*
  • Way less laundry. No daily pile of sweaty workout clothes to deal with.
  • Way more time to get stuff done. I gained a ton of time moving here because I was no longer commuting 2+ hours / day. Now, I’ve recovered another 90 minutes to 2 hours (or more, when you count the blowdrying!) thanks to my not-leaving-the-house-ever situation.
  • All pajamas, all the time. My normal M.O. is to put on sweats immediately when I get home from work / wherever. I would always prefer to be in sweats than real clothes. Now I basically live in lounge clothes. Kind of embarrassing when I open the door for Instacart or package deliveries, but whatever, I’m pregnant.

 

* That’s a lie. I also have not blow dried my hair in about a month. Why bother, when it’s just me and Tigger, napping and lounging? 

Nausea is the new normal

When the first tri queasies started making their presence known, I attacked them with vigor. It feels like a combination of a flu and a hangover, so I figured I had some tried and true strategies for dealing with a mushy brain, low energy, and that icky feeling in my stomach.

Hangovers, especially, I’ve had some practice with, and those are pretty reliable. You know they end before too long, as long as you can ply them with enough greasy carbs, hydration, iced coffee, and plain old time. So I attacked my queasies with vigor. Potato chips, pasta, toast, boxed mac’n’cheese. Bland carbs, generously salted, heaped upon bland carbs, and washed down with as much juice and water as I could stomach. I stayed away from caffeine and gatorade because even the smell of coffee makes me want to ralph, and gatorade is full of all sorts of weird shit, but otherwise, I stuck to my hangover game plan and eagerly waited for results.

I’ve eaten a criminal amount of pasta and potato chips over the last couple weeks, and the results haven’t come yet. The thing is, it doesn’t get better. Eating that bagel might distract you from how you feel for a few moments, but you go right back to feeling the same way afterward. The sight of hash browns might not make you run for the bathroom the way that chicken or tomatoes might, but eating them doesn’t soak up the nausea. It doesn’t even really mask the nausea, because you can only take a few bites before you get out of breath from lifting fork to mouth. Also, it’s nap time again.

At this point, I’m trying to convince myself to just proceed as normal. To accept that the way I feel is my normal right now, and nothing I do is going to make it better. Sure, I can avoid the sight and smell of animal flesh as much as possible, and do my best to not gag on the foods I ate yesterday, which are now associated with nausea, but that’s it. I have to adjust my standards, or I’m going to spend the next 6 weeks feeling increasingly ragey about how I’m not doing the things I love to.

So this is my normal. This lethargic, nap-prone, fuzzy brained, always-about-to-puke state of being is just how it’s going to be until (fingers crossed) second trimester. I’ve got to accept that walking my dog two blocks to the park is my exercise for now, and that taking a nap at 9:30am is just how I roll.

Here we go. Second trimester, please don’t let me down.