Running For Two

No, I’m not pregnant.

But every single woman I know and bump into is and several have recently given birth. It’s an epidemic. Literally everywhere I turned last weekend there was a woman my age-ish who was bumpin’ around.

Junk Mail

In recent years, I’ve been asked more and more about running and pregnancy and what I advise. Before I share my thoughts, a disclaimer:

  1. I am not a medical doctor and any and all advice I provide on this blog is, as always, my opinion. This opinion should never supersede that of your physician, obstetrician, or anyone else on your medical team. Always consult a medical professional before undertaking any fitness regimen.
  2. I don’t have kids so I don’t have the advantage of knowing how it feels to run through a pregnancy.
  3. My knowledge of what happens during pregnancy comes from my Histology (Embryology) and Lifespan Development classes, Pre/Post-natal Continuing Education classes, pregnancy-specific presentations during my first year as doctoral candidate, and the recreational medical journal reading I do regarding the topic.
Student Physical Therapist Abby = NOT YOUR DOCTOR.

Student Physical Therapist Abby = NOT YOUR DOCTOR.

Now. Let’s get down to business.

Running while pregnant is just fine. Women do it all the time and deliver healthy babies while maintaining a very healthy body themselves.

Two of my favorite runners all pregnant and stuff. (Image courtesy of Runner's World)

Two of my favorite runners all pregnant and stuff.
(Image courtesy of Runner’s World)

 

They get pregnant while running, they run throughout their entire pregnancy, they run right up until the day they give birth, they breastfeed while running, and everything is fine.

It happens every day. I have friends who’ve run up until the morning they gave birth. I’m all for it.

Let me throw a few caveats your way, though:

  • Tendons and ligaments are not easily repaired when they become stretched or damaged because they have poor blood supply.
  • Relaxin, the hormone released during pregnancy to allow for the hips to expand to accommodate the baby during gestation and birth, relaxes these tendons and ligaments.

Add these two things together and mix in rigorous, high-impact running and you might have a problem. Yes, it’s safe for the baby for you to exercise. Yes, it’s good for you to exercise. Yes, raising your heart rate above 140 bpm is fine.

The problem I want you to know about is overdoing it on your joints. The relaxin doesn’t just affect the elasticity in your hip joints, but every single joint in your body.

Weight gain combined with increased force production on those less stable joints during running puts pregnant women at risk of developing joint dysfunction–most notably sacroiliac joint, possibly permanently, due to stretched out ligaments and tendons.

(Image courtesy of coreconcepts.com)

(Image courtesy of coreconcepts.com)

Now, don’t let this information deter you from running or exercising while pregnant. In fact you should absolutely remain as active as is safe for you and your baby and with the input of your doctors. You can read about some of my friends’ experiences during and after pregnancy.

I share this with you because, from my young Student Physical Therapist perspective, beyond the concern for the health of the baby and the mother, the joints get kinda ignored in the whole running-while-pregnant discussion. That’s my job, to worry about the nuts and bolts of your body.

(Image courtesy of ajround.com)

(Image courtesy of ajround.com)

 

So what’s a girl to do?

Slow down, shorten your runs, strength train before and during your pregnancy (within reason), take it easy with the stretching. Your heart rate will increase faster, you will become fatigued sooner, you will take longer to recover.

So those are my thoughts on running while pregnant. Be smart. Take it easy. Don’t do too much. Will I try to keep running when I do get pregnant? Sure will. As long as I have the A-ok from my doc and am feeling up to it.

One of these days, a 5K bib will be hiding a bump :)

One of these days, a 5K bib will be hiding a bump 🙂

 

But don’t expect me to be running any marathons rockin’ a bump. And I don’t recommend any other woman do it, either. That’s my professional opinion.

Have you run during pregnancy? How did it go?

Now go out and run. 

What I’m Wearing Wednesday

Welcome to Summer.

It is often intolerably hot in New York City during the Summer months. No matter how early you get up, how much you hydrate, or what you’re wearing, it’s STILL intolerable.

Luckily, there are some seriously fabulous companies making some seriously Summer-ready clothing.

Just your average Saturday run. You know, with 30 of your closest running buddies, sweating it out.

Just your average Saturday run. You know, with 30 of my closest running buddies, sweating it out. There’s a whole lotta moisture-wicking attire going on here.
(Image shamelessly stolen from http://thethinksicanthink.com/ or http://enthusiasticrunner.com –I can’t remember which)

So, what am I wearing to sweat it out in these 90 degree temps? Next to nothing.

Doing my best to feel naked.

Doing my best to feel naked.

Naked outfit:

  • Run: Swiftly Tech Racerback is as close to being topless as any tank top I’ve ever owned. I size up because it’s super sheer but maybe I shouldn’t because it gets pretty weighed down with my sweat. What do you think?

(Obi-wan, skip the next bullet)

  • Free To Be Bra is not a running bra for the larger than a small B cup so it works for me just fine. I recommend the Energy Bra for my more blessed runner friends.
  • Last summer’s compression shorts aren’t around again but the Run: Fast Track Short is close. It’s about 1 inch shorter than the ones pictured below (along with my favorite hat!) and made of my favorite fabric: luxtreme.
Yes, I wave like a mad woman even when I'm secretly dying inside.

Yes, I wave like a mad woman even when I’m secretly dying inside.

  • Sun Chaser Run Hat keeps my head cool, the sweat out of my eyes, and helps me avoid sunburn. Totally clutch.

**Full disclosure: As a lululemon Ambassador, I do receive clothes from them. No lie. But they are simply the best ones I’ve found and I’ve been wearing them since long before I became an Ambassador and will be wearing them long after my tenure has expired.

My 2nd pair lulu pants from forever ago (2005?) were finally retired last year.

My 2nd pair lulu pants from forever ago (2005?) were finally retired last year.

Other items I’m excited to try (pretty much the entire Oiselle line including, but not limited to):

I struggle with finding shorts I love so I’m really looking forward to giving Oiselle a try, especially seeing as how so many of my friends are loving them. Birdie says they’re right up my alley so OF COURSE I’m buying one of each.

What are your go-to summer clothing items? Compression or loose shorts? Tank top or shirtless? When you lace ’em up for a hot run, what do you avoid like the plague? Am I missing an amazing wardrobe piece? Tell me!

Now go out and run!

 

 

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Hang In

What’s this? Two posts in a row? This could only mean one thing: I am a human being again. No more Tasmanian Devil.

Put my face on this image with a white coat & scrubs & you have me for the past 6 weeks.  (Image courtesy of LooneyTunes.com)

Put my face on this image with a white coat & scrubs & you have me for the past 6 weeks.
(Image courtesy of LooneyTunes.com)

Not that I’ve been mad, just crazy busy going from one event/school thingy/project/race to the next.

And so, welcome back to Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays where we decided that, despite all the crap each of us deals with on a regular basis, it’s still way better than the alternative.

Have you ever had to just Hang In there? Ugh. It’s the worst. Your current situation sucks and there’s absolutely nothing to do about it so you just have to Hang In there and wait for the tide to turn.

IMG_1533

I’ve been there. Lots. And lots.

In school, during races, after surgery, in my rotation, while I was sick, in…LIFE. “Just Hang In There” is basically the title of my autobiography.

Abby Bales: Hang In There

An Autobiography of a Gal Who Spent a Lot of Time On a Ledge.

Waiting, waiting, waiting to feel better.

Waiting, waiting, waiting to feel better.

I’m a do-er. There’s nothing that infuriates me more than to “just Hang In there” or “wait and see”. There is a deep feeling of desperation in those moments that is impossible to articulate to one who has not been there. It’s a very dark place.

You know what has always happened when I actually did Hang In there? I survived. I came out the other side. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and explored a more positive feeling: gratitude.

I did my best to hang in there for my last mile in Chicago. Haven't been this grateful to sport my race medal in a while.

I did my best to Hang In there for my last mile in Chicago. Haven’t been this grateful to sport my race medal in a while.

That feeling of gratitude tends to stick around for quite a while. Gratitude and strength for Hanging In and not giving up, not giving in, not collapsing into myself in a heap on my living room floor.

Well, not every day.

I feel stronger for having endured really tough situations. Not so strong that I go out looking for trouble, but strong enough to know I could do it again (and again) if I have to (and I have).

Surrender? NEVER!

NEVER!
(Image courtesy of Peanuts.com)

I’ll take having to Hang In there for a while knowing that, eventually, it will make me stronger. Eventually.

And that is way Better than the Alternative.

Now go out and run.

Enjoy

There are those who go on vacation and take a break from working out. They decide in advance that this will be their break from their normal routine and they will kick back and take a vacation from running.

I am not that person.

Amen.

Amen.

Not because I don’t enjoy my time off. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. You see, running is FUN for me. I LIKE to run. It’s not punishment or a means to an end. It’s what I do to relax, to feel good, to wake up, to meditate, to work sh*t out. It’s ME.

When I go on vacation or to someplace new, I love to go out and explore my new surroundings with my handy-dandy Kinvaras and the brightest clothes I own.

More often than not, it's pink. Pink is my signature color.

More often than not, it’s pink. Pink is my signature color.

Sure, you can sit by the pool all day and drink mojitos. But you can be active, too, and not feel like total crap when you get home!a

  1. Ask a local runner if there’s a great place to lace up your kicks.
  2. Run barefoot on the beach at dawn/sunrise/low tide. It really doesn’t get any better than that.
  3. Make your own triathlon: go for a run in the early part of the day, swim at the beach/pool, go for a bike ride around town later.
  4. Explore your vacation city on your feet on an easy out-and-back run.
  5. Check and see if there’s a local race while you’re in town. Nothing crazy but how fun is a 5K in a small town with all the kiddos along the course? The cutest.
Seen on my run: a 1 mile hill back to my sister's house. Torturous but beautiful.

Seen on my run: a 1 mile hill back to my sister’s house. Torturous but beautiful.

If I hadn’t woken up early to run down this massive hill, I wouldn’t have the bragging rights to say I ran up it at the end of my run. Bragging rights > calf soreness. Boom.

Do yourself a favor, just pack your running shoes and a pair of shorts. Tuck them in your bag in case you have an opportunity to run in a beautiful or interesting or new place. And enjoy the run.

Now go out and run.

Summer Runnin

…havin a blaaaast! Summer runnin, happened SO faaaaaaast.

Seriously. Where did Spring go?

Oh yes, Summer has arrived in NYC. Whether it’s a disgustingly sticky day like it was Monday and Tuesday or a beautiful crisp one like today, this is a New York City Summer for sure.

The early stages of my AWESOME sock tan line. I will be full-on farmer in a few short weeks.

The early stages of my AWESOME sock tan line. I will be full-on farmer in a few short weeks.

I’m an early-bird runner. Up and done by 8am. The bonus of early-bird running in the Summertime?

  1. Fewer tan lines
  2. Quiet city streets
  3. Cooler temperatures
  4. Happy hour (which I experienced for the first time in MANY years last night–Tuesday night tacos? Half price mojitos? Don’t mind if I do!)
  5. Work out amnesia –> easier to do the double workout

#5 specifically: Marathon training season is upon us = more miles. Sometimes I do doubles during the week so I can get more mileage in without having to go for more than an hour at a time.

Morning workouts allow for me to completely forget I already ran and do another easy run in the evening without hating every one of those last four or five miles of the day.

To make morning runs easier on days that I’m not training a client, I get up with my husband in the 5 o’clock hour and head out the door with him.

All my gear in one place because, let's face it, at 6am I'm definitely forgetting my sunglasses for my East River run directly into the sunrise.

All my gear in one place because, let’s face it, at 6am I’m definitely forgetting my sunglasses for my East River run directly into the sunrise.

Sometimes I make a plan to meet friends for an early morning workout.

Friends that sweat together at dawn...I don't know. There are only, like, two friends of mine who will do this with me.

Friends that sweat together at dawn…are likely sleep-deprived.

Surviving Summer runs and not being completely depleted for the day starts with immediate rehydration upon finishing. I don’t usually drink too much during weekly runs but I absolutely refuel when I stop.

Nuun to the rescue!

Magic, glowing, lemon-colored rehydrating stuff!

Magic, glowing, lemon-colored rehydrating stuff!

Let’s face it, I sweat more than your average bear. Seriously. I’d be sweating through my scrubs and people would be all, “Ummm…are you ok? You’re sweating an awful lot” and I’m like, “No worries. Just, uh, you know…hot?”

And in these temps, water ain’t gonna bring back the electrolytes, you know what I’m sayin?

In short, this Summer’s runs so far are brought to you by JB’s alarm clock, my awesome Oakley shades, and Nuun.

Now go out and run!

Tell me: What’s getting you through your Summer runs?