May 19, 2012

Exercise + Pregnant Nicole

This is the *really long* story of how pregnancy has affected the athlete within me. Grab some dinner, and enjoy the novel.

Oh the exercise! I always used to picture myself, mighty pregnant, rocking a circular baby-bump, doing yoga in my living room. These daydreams, mind you, occurred when I was not pregnant or even planning on being pregnant. I just thought I'd be a rad exercise-mama-to-be, motivated, energized, inspired, fit, strong, beautiful.

When I suspected Edu and I had made a wee-baby, sure that God indeed had blessed me with the gift of carrying life, before I took the actual pregnancy test, I was had run 6 miles one day, 3 the next, walked for hours, and didn't feel the least bit run down. After taking the test, seeing it was indeed positive, and feeling superb (zeeero icky first trimester symptoms at this time), I had a confirmed feeling that pregnancy + exercising throughout the next 9 months was going to be RAD.

Then reality hit: we arrived home from Mexico City, Edu came down with the flu, a snow storm hit our hometown, and the all-day nausea commenced. I attempted, morning after morning, to crawl out of bed at 5:00am and get my butt movin'. There were mornings where I turned prenatal workout DVDs on, lifted up 2 5lb weights, and almost instantly put them down and sat on the couch, trying not to get sick to my stomach. Nausea is a pain, man! Anyhow, that went on for months. 

I did, however, accompany the hubby to Green Lake once a week for a listen-to-your-body run. Each step felt different, every run, jog, and walk was different than the last one. It was glorious, it made me a happy pregnant mama, and hubby grinned from ear to ear seeing his wifey do what she looonged to do throughout her first pregnancy! The only issue, of course, was that I was running 3-6 miles only once a week, with little to no movement Sunday through Friday. So the hopes of running a half marathon while pregnant (high expectations) or even maintaining my running stamina at all...were kinda shot.

Thankfully, though, like all strange changes this pregnancy has brought on, life has MUCH improved since that first trimester! Not only can I eat every color of the rainbow now (oh, green!) But nowadays I've been FULL of energy. Enough energy to hop out of bed (okay, I still crawl slowly and sometimes grumble along the way) and get my exercise on!

Two DVDs I have purchased along the way are: The Perfect Pregnancy Workout, led by a cirque du soleil athlete, Karyne Steben, and 10-Minute Prenatal Pilates Solutions. I LOVE how both girls are mighty pregnant, and in The Perfect Pregnancy Workout there are modifications for each move: easy, moderate and intermediate. So I can do each move depending on how I'm feeling - even if I'm feeling a little weak, I might attempt the intermediate version of the move so I can secretly feel like a rockstar. The Prenatal Pilates DVD is a little slower, but the girl's energy is great and I can always grab heavier weights if I want more of a challenge. All in all, I prefer me the cirque du soleil workout girl!

With running, it has been a little bit of a "baby steps" (teehee!) journey. I wanted to return to running a few times a week, and I tried, without really thinking, to pick things up where I had left them back in the first week of January. Big mistake. There were tears, letdowns, disappointments, and walk breaks. What am I saying? I mean to say, there are STILL walk breaks, sometimes tears 'cause I'm sensitive and pregnant and hormonal and a woman with feelings, and I have felt disappointed, too. But I'm THANKFUL for the ups and downs. So very BLESSED to be a human who tries to be a super-human only to be humbled by Christ. So, so, joyful.

A few weeks ago, on a lovely Saturday, I attempted ye ol' 5K jog at Green Lake. Eduardo was recovering from Boston, so we decided to jog the first lap together. The moment we started I was filled with happiness. I love the feeling of a good run, of being outside, of being at my hubby's side. But within 5 minutes or so, I felt awful. My legs seemed like dead weights, lifting one in front of the other would call for an army. It wasn't fun, or easy, or as natural as it has been in the past. I told Eduardo to go on without me, and let the pity party commence. I stopped to walk.

I have always felt like a rockstar for never stopping during a run. I have slowed the pace to a barely-jog before, but had never stopped to walk. I try to make it a habit to pray at the start of each run or jog, and my top prayer is to help myself + my hubby listen to our bodies during the run and STOP if we're not feeling good. This came from many running injuries that could've been a lot less serious if only we had done that very thing: stopped. You know, when your knee hurts in a strange way and you decide to run 6 miles on it anyway, 'cause you're a normal, stubborn human being who wants to get a good run in no matter what the cost. But when I had to actually stop for the first time, simply because I didn't "feel right" (cause I was 4 months pregnant), it kinda hurt my pride (praise God, right?) And I kinda cried about it. 

The awesome part is that after I stopped to walk for a handful of minutes, I got the urge and energy to jog again. So I picked up the pace and was able to finish 4 miles. It felt so good! And now? I'm completely done with feeling too proud to walk, have stopped to walk TWICE since then, without crying or cursing my body. It's so freeing! Anyhow. Pregnancy has let this mama run (jog) again, a few times a week, 4 to 6 miles depending on how the legs (and tummy weight) is feeling. And walking breaks are no longer needed, but also are no longer feared.

God is good. God is amazing. God is sovereign. God is present. God hears our prayers. God sticks by our side even when we ignore Him. God is INCREDIBLE!

And exercise and pregnancy live strong :)

1 comment:

  1. You look so amazing! Seriously!!! :)

    I didn't know there were pregnancy specific workout videos! that's cool!