Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back to Basics

Holy cow! I don't even know where to start. The last time I wrote, I was struggling to get over a miserable cough/cold so I could get back to running and swimming. Now I'm 25 weeks pregnant with my 5th child and about to start a whole new approach to fitness for the near future.

Oddly enough, this pregnancy began much the same way the last one did -- the intense cough and chest congestion led to a hiatus from running, and by the time my lungs were clear, the "morning" (ALL DAY) sickness had set in. And the nausea was even worse this time around, to the point where I needed help from medication to keep from vomiting. It lasted a lot longer too! The frequency started to decrease around Thanksgiving (about 19 weeks), but the intensity was still there. Now it has been two weeks since my last really intense bout of nausea, so I think I can finally say the worst is behind me!

Thanks to nausea and fatigue, I haven't even attempted to exercise this entire pregnancy so far, and I must confess that I don't feel the slightest bit bad about it. I have a completely different outlook on pregnancy fitness this time around, based on how things went last time. I don't regret pushing myself to keep running as long as possible then -- the experience served its purpose in my psyche. But ultimately, exercising did not make my pregnancy any more comfortable, nor did it make my c-section recovery any easier, or my return to running any speedier.

My new approach to pregnancy fitness is getting back to basics. Specifically, I'd like to re-embrace walking as a perfectly reasonable form of exercise, not just something to be endured for a couple of weeks before launching a running program. In between babies #2 and #3, I lost over 20 lbs with walking as my only form of exercise (because I'd wanted to get some weight off before I started running). It's safe and low-impact, so I can do it as long as it feels good during pregnancy and as soon as it's not too painful after. And instead of getting frustrated when I don't squeeze a run in day after day after day, I can be content to get a brief walk in nearly every day, because it's quicker to dress and prepare for than running. Aside from my very busiest days, there is rarely a good excuse not to hop on the treadmill and walk at least 30 minutes.

Don't misunderstand me -- I do want to be a runner again, and I will be. But during my last pregnancy and after, I put all of my focus on running and therefore put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed specifically in that area. When I found it to be much harder than I expected, I was incredibly frustrated and disappointed in myself, and the end result was that I wasn't exercising very much at all. Right now I think ANY exercise is better than NONE, and so I will focus on that until I'm able to resume running on a regular basis.

So here is the plan: For the next roughly 14 weeks, I will walk as often as I can. I'd also like to do my pregnancy yoga DVD once or twice a week for flexibility and possibly the relief of minor aches and pains. After the baby is born, I will resume walking as soon as I can (it's an essential part of recovering from the surgery anyway), and just walk as frequently as possible. If I need to up the intensity a bit, I have ankle weights and hand weights, and of course there is always the option to toss one of the little ones in the jogging stroller and have a companion as well as extra resistance. :) I'll just plan to stick with walking until I feel ready to start a running program again, whenever that may be. And if I'm truly ready when I take that step, then there will be no stopping me! I still have lofty dreams to chase!

I'll wrap this up with my first weekly update of this pregnancy:
25 Weeks -- Back to Basics
Workouts this week: 0
Breakdown of workouts: N/A
Weight: 227 lbs
Total Gain: 13 lbs (from starting weight of 214)

If you got this far, thanks for reading! :)

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