Week 38: Looking Ahead: Full Speed Ahead

Although aqua jogging has proven to be quite a workout. I'm looking forward to when I can run  again. Thanks to my foot it won't be until post partum. Call me a princess but after months of running with extra poundage I can't wait to run with a little less load.  People voice many concerns about running postpartum, with no disrespect I am a bit tired if hearing it actually.  I am not all that concerned, if I have  a postpartum issue that makes running not possible it will be self evident. I don't think I need tons of warnings for something that will render itself obvious. I plan to just deal with what is. This may sound bratty but after months of running with increasing load I feel entitled to attempt running as soon as I feel healthy enough and have the energy to try.

I realize there are some concerns: The Bebe
Baby out of the womb and on Board the stroller.

 I am really looking forward to running with Baby in the BOB.

The concern would be BOB recommends not running with the stroller until the baby is 6 months. The car seat adapter is not bolted in place, BOB does not want to get sued by people who fail to secure the car seat into the stroller, however it is safe for walking? The infant adapter is quite secure and I feel the baby will be just fine.  Sadly, I ....do.....not .....run ....fast.... enough to worry the car seat may eject itself.  People voice concerns about head and neck stability. First, that is what the car seat adapter is designed for. It provides proper fit with head and neck support. I personally know teenagers that were placed in running strollers as infants with no adapter. If you ask the parents the only problem they have today is that they are  teenagers. Tim did two long rotations at Children's Hospital, while there he worked many, many, many, many, many, many, many,many hours. He saw lots of children/infant orthopaedic issues. He saw zero head and neck injuries from riding in a running stroller. He does have a few things to say about the safety of tightly swaddled hips.
I am fairly convinced the BOB stroller is a more plush ride than my 1999 Mazda. If for some reason running with a baby in the stroller is a concern I do have an EE Treadmill. I call it EE, for excuse eliminator. Seriously it works. Tim and I don't use it too much because it is a great motivator to run in the rain, cold, dark, you name it. We bought it used for $300 and it has been worth every penny. As you can imagine a $300 treadmill  is very basic. No TV , no bells or whistles. Guess what? In about a month it will be a state of the art Alter G treadmill since my last run on land had me at 29 lbs above baseline. Tim lost 5 lbs because we went off cookies so it's an Alter G treadmill for him too.

The alter G treadmill allows you to run at a percentage of your body weight.

Fatigue Factor
If I had a penny for every time I was told to sleep when the baby sleeps I'd be rich, rich, rich!I respect I will be tired. It sounds as though babies sleep a lot during the day though ;)  I have  "a limited time only offer" to run on a luxurious alter G treadmill and  I may be motivated to run during one of those naps and through fatigue.
After all the limited time offer to run on the Alter G treadmill will expire and then....it's just a treadmill. A lot of new Mom's find time to watch Oprah. I don't own a TV so for me a treadmill trot is the same thing. I am fairly certain my mother did not sleep whenever I slept. My brothers would have burned down the house. Seeing as the house is still standing, I believe she survived without napping every time I did.
The Effects of Pregnancy and Delivery on the Body:

There are a lot of scary rumors about what happens to the female body during delivery. Somewhere somebody came up with a rule that if a woman ran within 6 weeks of giving birth she would be incontinent for the rest of her life. Although, some women do have unfortunate pelvic floor issues post partum. I'm a bit tired of hearing "if you run too soon after delivery you will be incontinent for the rest of your life". Yes, some women have issues and need treatment for this sad but real problem.....but research has proven it was not caused by running. It is just physiological misfortune. Urinary and fecal incontinence  have NEVER been proven to be linked to post partum running. Although the latter may be hard to convince you on. 
True, he probably wouldn't have crapped his pants if he wasn't out running.

 Somewhere a blanket rule of know activity above a walk for six weeks post partum was formed. I have a HUGE amount of respect for heeding the body's needs and an even bigger one to  the bonding and developing  of feeding schedules with a new baby.  I do not believe in blanket recommendations. Besides that, I can name names of people who didn't wait 6 weeks to run (try less than 6 days for a few) and are not, and have never been incontinent. I also deem them to be good parents, in fact probably better parents then if they would have holed their naturally active selves up inside watching TV, weeping while the effects of changing hormones kicked in. To protect their privacy I'll refer to the guidelines set by the Mayo Clinic. I actually worked at the Mayo of Scottsdale when I was a travel nurse and I will say they are top notch. For a full report see below:

The skinny is below:

"In the past, health care providers often instructed women to wait at least six weeks after giving birth to begin exercising. The waiting game may be over, however. If you exercised during pregnancy and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it's generally safe to begin exercising within days of delivery — or as soon as you feel ready." 

I highlighted the uncomplicated. I am optimistic in hoping for the best but also realistic. I would rather focus on the  positive, like Kara Goucher running a personal best of 2:24 at Boston this year, 7 months post partum.

What Kara did seems to be nothing new either.

Courtesy of Active.com I learned In 1982, elite runner Ingrid Kristiansen ran a 2:33 marathon and on investigating why it was (for her) so slow, discovered that she was four months pregnant. Oopsie. Four months after giving birth, she won the Houston Marathon in 2:27 and three months later set the women's world record in the London Marathon in 2:21.It is a wonder the pregnancy and post partum police did not arrest her!

I'm also a realistic enough person to know that expectations and plans may have to change based on the reality of the situation. Oh yeah...and don't worry I am not setting unrealistic goal like personally running a 2:40 marathon. I do feel that a lot of goals and hopes in life are naturally limited, There is no use sitting home watching Golden Girls (with a bowl of Golden Grahams in hand that's what I do when I watch TV) thinking I can't return to normal activity because I "might have" a physical complication. I might be healthy as a horse too and wouldn't that be a terrible thing to waste.

There are concerns regarding the stability pelvic region post partum. Orthopedists like to keep things simple and based on my consultation with husband and my review of case reports the advice is simple. Activity as tolerated. Meaning whatever can be tolerated is probably safe. If you have some PSD it will be uncomfortable and one will adjust your activity or seek treatment as needed. Same with coming back from a C-section, one probably will be too uncomfortable to harm  healing with activity. When one is able to tolerate the activity the area is probably healed sufficiently.

Anectdotaly speaking, a friend , who is a physical therapist, noted that women who wore slightly too tight skinny jeans post partum improved faster than others with PSD because the too tight jeans functioned as an S1 brace.
Baby Food:

The final concern would be the effect of running on lactation. The Mayo Clinic addresses the subject and  it's not much of an issue. Ok, if you are racing and producing lactic acid  the milk can taste funny and the baby may not like it. If this is a issue they suggest the good old "pump and dump" immediately post workout then feeding 30 minutes later.

 I'm no expert but I what guides me is this thought. Milk in Switzerland tastes better. I wonder why?

American Cow, compare to the mom not allowed to go run, forced into confinement.

Swiss cow, compare to the mom out running and free from confinement.

You decide what is healthy and best for mom and baby.

Week 37: The Aqua Jogger....Really Week 36 and 5/7th's

I am officially an aquajogger.
The term aqua jog sounds so pedestrian....such a bait and switch!

I will call 36 weeks, 3 days my last maternity run on land. The white flag has been raised. I reserve the right to retract that statement if I am still pregnant past September 9th, in which case you may find me running hills to expedite delivery. As much I enjoyed the "zen" of running throughout my pregnancy Monday's run sort of fell apart.  The great part of the run was chatting with my rock star friend Julie. The bad part was my foot started hurting gee and I patiently gave it 4 whole days of rest to heal. The foot wasn't the worst pain in the world but after I stopped to walk for some reason I think my watermelon sized child was squishing an important blood vessel. It wasn't hot, I ate a whole Power bar for breakfast, I didn't feel hungry or bonky, I peed clear 4 times that morning. I became dizzy and I had to sit down in the sand. Dizzy spells are fairly common in pregnant women but this was my first. I started to wonder if maybe it was the day I would give birth. From where we sat we could see lifeguard tower 4 and 5 . We contemplated which tower Julie would run to if indeed it was the day yeah I know it routinely takes 7or 8 hours to even get through the first stage of labor in which going for a walk or to your community pool is recommended and you will not yet be admitted to the hospital but for the appeal of this blog we'll pretend it was possible a lifeguard may have been needed for the delivery. Tower 4 vs tower 5, all lifeguards can't be equal. One might have more birthing experiences than others. We could have chatted all day but the dizziness only lasted about 5 minutes so I guess we'll have to meet like normal people do. After that I had no more issues with dizziness but my foot tightened up. I hobbled for the rest of the day, irritating the other areas of my foot that weren't injured. You know how that goes. Between the dizziness and the inconvenience of limping while trying to organize a nursery, do laundry, water the garden, grocery shop and attending to our duck Petunia I decided that running just wasn't worth it.  Let's face it: I outgrew my feet, or at least the right one. Time to quit but.........

Photo from i <3 running.

I was thinking I'd check into the gym and become an ellipticizer and then I thought of aqua jogging. Some people learned it all in kindergarten but I didn't. I'm a late bloomer. I learned all I know via social media: blogs and Facebook. I probably would have continued with my assumption that aqua jogging is more about this....

 Thankfully when I commented on Facebook that I was considering trying aqua jogging fellow Facebooker, blogger, and triathlete Mama Simmons commented that she aqua jogged a lot near the end of her pregnancy. She is pretty much a bad a**  and looks nothing like the ladies above so I figured it was good enough for me. Then I remembered Beth aquajogging when she had a stress fracture. She was the fastest amatuer runner at Kona. Plus I remember something about Paula Newby Fraser (who won the Ironman one jillion times) only running in the pool for an extended period of time then winning Ironman. Hmm, maybe there is something to this aquajogging.

I tried it and I can see why PNF won the Ironman. For me, it is way harder for me than running on land. In part this was due to one of the master's coaches who also coaches water polo  He recognized me and started yelling instructions to me. I'm flailing trying to stay afloat and I hear "If you are going to insist on aqua jogging get it right. Lean back, hips under the shoulder, knees up,up, up! Higher."  Just as I'm thinking apparently he forgot I'm pregnant. He yells is baby OK? I say yeah and he says  "go, go, go!" I felt safe running on land without wearing a heart rate monitor all the time but I was thinking I needed  my heart rate monitor. I would have expected this kind of workout in a Crossfit studio!

Aqua jogging doesn't have the same runners high as land running but there are some pros especially for pregnant people.
  • Time effectiveness. If you run after swim there is no time wasted showering and changing between workouts.
  • You are closer to the lifeguards in case you go into labor. Although I hear lifeguards hate aqua joggers for obvious reasons....they have to watch the dork like maneuvers.
  • Less laundry
  • Less exposure. Seriously, when the baby dropped, so did my belly below the bottom of my shirt, while aqua jogging only my head sticks out. 
  • Time goes by surprisingly fast. Maybe this isn't the case for everybody. When you are as aquatically challenged as I am there is no boredom as you are busy making sure you don't sink
  • Not drowning is a total body workout
  • No expensive gear. No need for "big girl" running shoes. You can wear a belt but if you run in the deep end you don't need one. Maybe advanced aqua joggers need a resistance belt but I can't imagine needing to increase my resistance.
  • No expensive rehab....well at least I haven't found a way to hurt myself yet.
  • Nobody can accuse you of heel striking
  • It makes your legs skinny. Well relatively skinny,  and probably only if you are pregnant or have vascular issues. Rosanne Barrs legs will likely still be fat when she exits the pool. Like any get thin quick scam it doesn't last long. Vanity yes, but it's pretty nice for an hour.

Week 36: Almost Easy Street

Week 36: I believe this marks the beginning of the final countdown. 4 weeks to go (plus or minus a few). In case anybody is wondering 37 weeks is term. Officially I only have one more week to worry about preterm labor. Originally it was my goal in terms of fitness and athletics to make it to week 36 running or riding and to swim until the end. I have been off the bike since week 29 but running has been great. Of course, I speak in relative terms.  Now that I have arrived at week 36, I don't want to quit.  In part because maternal running has been linked to euphoria. I will attest, it's too good of a feeling to give up. Swimming is great, but not euphoric. I think I have a need to work up a sweat and I can't feel the sweat in the pool. The number one reason I don't want to quit is illustrated below.

Also part because maternal running has been linked to euphoria. Not to sound like a crack addict, but when I finish a run I feel pretty loopy with happiness and very energetic. Some say it's the glow of pregnacy but I think the glow is potentiated by endorphins. The high last for several hours. I don't think anybody sleeps great in the third trimester but after running and swimming early in the day, it sure feels great just to lie in bed. I will attest, it's too good of a feeling to give up.

I've found a new favorite Facebook site. It's called I <3 running. It's where I got all these pictures. Each day it has a new picture that is pretty cool. Some people ask why I bother to spend so much time training while pregnant when I could be doing other things....like watching TV. I'd have to own a TV. Honestly with the void of not cycling 150-200 miles/week this summer I have plenty of time for other things like blogging, reading, shopping for baby gear. Also in terms of running and swimming I believe in the below.

Seriously,  true that! Also, I believe in the below.

Also I am training for something I want more than a sub 4 hour marathon off the bike at Ironman. Although I'd take both: The Super Mom Gene. Yup. They are out there and they are real.

I know you can't train for  a gene, but Super Mom's in terms of fitness and athletics do things like wake up at 5:00 a.m.on Saturday, do a two hour long run and shower by 7:30. Wake the kids, get breakfast, whip up cupcakes for whatever birthday party/ celebration is happening that afternoon and get the kids to the soccer field/gymnastics or whatever by 9:00 a.m. Upon arrival to whatever event, the super moms don't need to brag about what they have accomplished. They just chill and agree with all the other moms that they need a Starbucks to keep up with their kids. I know real live Super Moms and I have them on speed dial as well as unlimited texting and e-mail support . The Super Moms also execute the below.

I feel like I've Just Done It Every Day for the past 36 weeks. Magically over the past two weeks I got FASTER in the pool and running and it got EASIER. Once again I speak in relative terms, but swimming and running somehow were easier than they have been for at least three months. Yee Haw. I actually "raced" Tim in the pool last Saturday and I kept up for 50 yards. OK, so I was the only one who knew about the race but that's just a minor detail. He was swimming 1000 yards and didn't know it was a race but he is a guy and everyday is race day for guys. I tried to swim faster than him for 50 yards. I guess some would say "you failed, looser" but whatever.  Today was test set day and my 100, 200 and 400M times were about what they were pre-partum and I'm expending the same energy. Sweet!

I think it is due to what is called lightening, the baby has dropped. I didn't realize how much my ability to move my arms and legs was affected by the height of the baby. It is much easier to turn my legs over running this week. In the medical world this means..... dramatic music please, the end is near. I won't most likely be pregnant forever or for as long as elephant. Although, my OB/GYN did say that the baby dropping is not a sign that I would deliver at 37 vs 40 weeks. More just sign that things are starting to move, and I probably wouldn't go to 42 weeks. Whatever, I am just counting my blessings for all that has gone well so far.

Not to discount my blessings but I will publish my one whine....My right foot hurts. It was niggling and over the past 3-4 runs it has become ANGRY. The kind of anger the heats up and doesn't get better if you walk for a minute, stretch, ice, or Tylenol (no ibuprofen for the pregos). I think it's the "terrible, awful" better known as plantar fascitis.  Those who don't know me may think who in their right mind goes prancing around wearing high heels (platforms really) and running 25-32 miles/week during weeks 34-35 of pregnancy? Those who know me know would expect nothing less. I never said I was in my right mind anyway.  I admit I deserve no pity, but in my defense the high heels were soooooo two  weeks ago and the plantar fascitis is so this week. Maybe I should get the high heels back out and try running in them.

I realize I should be mature and not mention this but this is my good luck blog. Every time I have blogged about an injury throughout this pregnancy it has miraculously eased up leaving me grateful yet sheepish. For now I'm behaivng like any other pregnant lady, feet up reading baby books. The Strassburg Sock: Is that German for Sexy Sock?

My husband, the orthopod recommended not running because running isn't as exciting as biking and ecspeically not mountain biking the Hoko One One. Basically Moon Boot Running shoes.
Must admit in my current state running in something that lifted might cause me to do a complete somersault and I can only imagine all the other injuries I would incur from such a drastic change. Of course the patient rationale person I am has scheduled a PT appointment as soon as possible. I have to wait 5 whole days.  You'd thing in San Diego there would be PT ER's just for ridiculous triahtletes such as myself. We'd all just march in crying "help, my XXXX really hurts and I need it to be better by tomorrow". If that fails I guess there is always the ellptyical or aqua jogging. I'd like to be back running before the baby is born but I guess that will depend on the cooperation of my foot and when that baby actually comes. Could be any day or could be a lot of days. I have this belief that Baby N loves her daily run and has missed it for the past few days. Once she is born it will be a little while until she is ready for the stroller so if she is a fussy baby we'll know it's because she is wanting to go running:)

Week 35: Showered in Fun and Friends

This past week was amazing and exciting past week. Tim and I had the opportunity to celebrate the upcoming birth of our first child with many of our great friends. 

Celebrating with friends and cutting cake sort of felt like getting married all over again. Preparing to have a child is exiciting in itself. However, it is 100 times more fun to know that your friends and family support you and are happy for you. Never having been a parent, you aren't really sure if you have what it takes to be a good parent.

It's really cool when people express that they are happy and excited for you. It makes you think "Gee, they think we'll be alright as parents, well I guess we'll be alright"


Even though the presence of our friends was more than enough. I must say Baby Girl Neuschwander scored some great gifts. I think I am jealous of her wardrobe and bedding. Hmm, maybe she'll share when she gets older. It's really touching to think of all the caring, generous, and thougtful friends we have. Tim and I feel really lucky to have such great friends nearby as we start parenthood. Seriously, being pregnant is really fun. People are really nice to you minus a few bad apples. In all honesty, I'll be honest....you get special treatment while being pregnant. Just the other day, I was leaving Trader Joes and a random man ( who was not creepy) started loading my groceries into the trunk of my car. So kind! I felt like I was a little bit of a sham since I had just finished a 3000M swim and 6.5 mile run. It pays to shower post workout. I felt a little guilty but on behalf of all the pregnant women, I just smiled and said thanks.


Some of the gifts displayed above. We had too much fun visiting and catching up with everybody that there was no time for traditional activities like shower games and opening of gifts. On second thought there were a few games later, I'm not sure if the name of the game was Diaper Dip or Toddler Toss.

 Like any good party, things tended to get wild as the night went on. Usually people with small children leave a function first. We pretty much made all of our frineds through triathlon, so it's the opposite. All those without small children have to get to bed early to recover from one day of training and prepare for the next.  

Tim, the prankster squirts Spencer with a squirt gun. Soon after all the Dad's were in the pool tossing their children into the air.

Later that week I attended shower number two.

It was hosted by my coworkers.  I am spoiled or maybe Baby N is loved!

Words can not express the amount of gratitude I feel for the support we have received.

San Diego sticks to the theme "Fun in the Sun"

It was 95 degrees in Poway and everybody went swimming. The pool was really nice!

It's one thing to swim at masters in a non maternity suit. It's another to swim at your baby shower. I am sure Miss Manners wouldn't approver. However, as my fellow nurses pointed out....There really is nothing they haven't seen before. True that and in lieu of heat stroke I jumped in. Ok, I waddled in.

I just read that optimum timing for maternity shots is 30 weeks, before the belly has "popped". Well too late for that. You get the pop shot.