Wait, I’m pregnant?!

This is part 2 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.

Here is part 1 if you missed it!

Two lines. Seeing them on the pee stick was like having an out-of-body experience. I sat in the bathroom and cried for a long time. We called my mom and told her and my stepdad the news. It wasn’t anything like I had always imagined it would go, with balloons and a cute card saying “Congratulations, Grandma!”. Through tears I just muttered the words: “I’m pregnant.” Why did I feel so scared?

I took this the night I found out. I really wanted to be excited, but I mostly was just so scared.

When we started telling people the news a few months later, friends would ask if I took a bunch of tests to make sure, and honestly I didn’t even think about that. I just took 1? Taking multiple tests is a thing? I had no idea what I was doing (still don’t. does anyone?). I just knew I was pregnant and scared.

We posted this on Instagram when we announced the news at 12 weeks. lol.

The next 8 weeks, also known as the first trimester, are a bit of a blur when I look back. I was really sad. I cried a lot. I didn’t know how to handle the news. I realized deep down that this would be a blessing and all the things I knew I was supposed to say, but I constantly asked myself, “Why do I feel so empty? I am being given one of the greatest gifts in life, one so many women dream of, and something I’ve always wanted, yet I feel like my life is suddenly changing and selfishly I’m not ready for that.”

Because I know you’re wondering, and because I was very open about this prior to getting pregnant, no I was not on the pill. In fact, ironically there is a draft post that I never published on why I went off the pill and how it was one of the best decisions personally and athletically for me. I still stand by that. So, technically, I should have been prepared for what could happen. Duh. It was a decision my husband and I made together, and we still stand by our decision, except he handled the news of having a baby wayyyy better than I did. It literally took him 48 hours and then he was all, “THIS IS AWESOME I’M GONNA BE A DAD!” Perhaps I thought I was immune to Mother Nature. Regardless, it truly took the entire first trimester for me to feel connected to baby.

Honestly, my husband is the best there is. 5 weeks pregnant here. Already hitting up the fried chicken wing joints for dinner 😀

My running changed pretty much overnight. I wanted concrete answers to how training should go during the next 35 weeks. I poured over blogs and books and talked to people I knew who ran while they were pregnant. Everyone just said, “You’ll know what to do.” WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN? Tell me exactly what to do! Do I wear a heart rate monitor? Do I still train hard? So many unknowns. With the future of having a baby and how to be a mom being so unclear, I desperately wanted answers and something I could control. Releasing the death grip on having a set-in-stone plan for running was difficult. This would become a recurring theme throughout my entire pregnancy. I’ve learned so much.

We celebrated my birthday in mid June with a fun 5k downtown and a nice dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. Jon planned the whole thing. It was such a treat, and getting to tell my good friend Julia the news was great. She’s been such a huge support and a phenomenal friend over the last 8 months.

cheers to 25.

the Gibson Guitar 5k with Julia

As I approached the 12 week mark, I began to feel like the fog was being lifted. I did a happy dance when I made it a few days without crying. People asked me if I ever had morning sickness or extreme fatigue during the first trimester. I didn’t. A little nausea and food aversions, but nothing too terrible, honestly. I think it would have broken me had I experienced the physical pains on top of the mental. God is great like that.

I did eventually figure out a rough “plan” for running, one that worked for me. Because Memphis is insanely hot during the summer, I wore a heart rate monitor for the majority of my runs in the beginning. My coach still sent me weekly “plans”, but they were not set in stone, and I eventually became okay with that. Here’s my training log from a typical week!

6/8/2015 Mon. 6 min easy, 12 min threshold, 6 min easy AM swim. 1000 warm up, 9×100 progressively getting faster, 6×100 with fins. very hard to get out of bed, but i was glad i did it.
6/9/2015 Tues. 10-14 x 90 sec. @ 5k effort with 2 min. recovery this went great!! to avoid overheating, i did the workout inside on the treadmill. 1 mile warm up. 12 repeats. started at 6:30 pace and worked my way down, last 3 were 5:50. Heart rate never hit 170! feeling good.
6/10/2015 Wed. cross train strength trained and biked a bit.
6/11/2015 Thurs. 6 min easy, 12 min threshold, 6 min easy this was my “test” run for saturday. i wanted to see what my heart rate could handle, so i started at 6:30 pace for the middle portion. eventually had to slow down pretty significantly to get my heart rate back down. saturday will be a nice little “trot” ha.
6/12/2015 Fri. 14-18 x 10 sec. @ 400m effort with 2 min. recovery did 6 min easy, 7 min at threshold, 6 min easy.
6/13/2015 Sat. cross train or complete day off Gibson 5k. just paced my friend Julia. 7 min pace. She didn’t race as well as she wanted to, but i felt great. it was really hot.
6/14/2015 Sun. 30 minutes easy nice and easy recovery run with friends!

The main thing was staying hydrated and making sure I could laugh during a workout. Initially, I was very focused on my heart rate and not going over 175 (my lactate threshold), but eventually I realized the laugh/smile/talk test was better, and let me be a little less rigid, without having to constantly check my watch or wait for it to beep to tell me my heart rate was too high. That’s how I gauged the intensity and when to back off. I also trained with a talented high school xc team during June and part of July, which really helped with motivation, and feeling like I wasn’t totally losing all my fitness. Those girls gave me more than they realized during those 6 weeks. I began to find a groove as I approached the second trimester, started feeling happy and confident that I could maybe do this motherhood thing after all!

This is part 2 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.

Here is part 1 if you missed it!

 

 

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Surrendering: I want to be fast again.

I haven’t drafted a blog post in months. I haven’t even wanted to. Life has been fine and I am running again, but I’m far from where I was just a few posts ago. Seeing photos from when I was at my peak at the end of the summer makes me get a little sad, because my running has changed a lot since then. Gone are the speed workouts and the days when I darted through the door to give my husband a huge sweaty hug after nailing a hard workout.  It doesn’t mean those days will never return, but when you have been dealing with an injury for 4 months and nothing really has changed, you get a little down and think you’ll never get back to where you were. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now.

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Fine, I was dumb and pushed my body really freaking hard, apparently too hard, and now I’m paying the terrible price of that. It’s not been easy. I love the adrenaline of 25×1:00 minutes at 5k pace, with 1 minute recovery. Those are the workouts that build character and physical strength. Those are the workouts I miss. I’ve traded my running shoes for a swim cap and a bike helmet, and while I do get similar endorphins from swimming and riding, when you peel back the layers and get down to it, at the heart, I am a runner. I can’t keep up with the fast guys/gals on the bike like I can on a run. I flop in the water like a dying fish while my new swimming buds zoom past me. I’m not used to that. I’m not used to being last or gasping for air trying to keep up. It’s been an incredibly humbling process.IMG_1614.JPG

I know seasons like this build strength inside us that a run/swim/ride never can. We learn who we really are when we find ourselves in the valley. Life in and of itself has been one big incredible mountain-top the past year, and for that I am immensely thankful. Simultaneously, however, there remains a gap in my life that I realized just can’t be filled with much of anything but a good, hard, gut-wrenching run. I know God calls us to tough places when our strength must be surrendered so we can feel his presence and know we can’t do this journey alone. I’ve felt that a lot during this injury. And despite how difficult it’s been, I do accept and appreciate that.

To say I’ve hit rock bottom and completely surrendered would be a lie. I haven’t. In some ways I wish I had, so I can just throw my hands up and say, “Whatever you want, God.” I know he wants us to do that. Maybe I’m on the road to doing that, and that’s why he’s allowed this shitty injury to linger when it should have been healed months ago. Besides, it’s just a little IT band nag, but if you’ve ever dealt with IT issues, you know a little “nag” can drive you up a wall with its inconsistencies and stealth.  Ultimately, I don’t have the answers, but I do know life is more than how fast I am or even if I ever run again. As hard as that is to type, I do believe that.  When you are in a valley in a certain area of your life, the word surrender becomes more and more powerful and attainable. Runners are control freaks. To deny that is like denying that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. Surrendering to the unknown of the future to a God you can’t see is so freaking hard. I know this is a running blog, and even if you don’t believe in God, I’m confident we all can agree surrendering to anything is difficult.IMG_2280.JPG

With all that said, like I mentioned above, I am running, and have even raced a couple times, albeit with unimpressive times, but I have improved as far as pain is concerned. The pain is not constant, however, it is inconsistent, and I haven’t really gotten answers from anyone, including professionals. Everyone says IT band pain is related to your glutes, and I’ve strengthened those things like a freaking psycho. All in all, I am on the right track, I do believe that, but it’s been an arduous journey.

With high hopes of returning to my old self again and promises to blog more frequently,

Katie