Being Knocked Up


Baby clothes and running shoes do NOT go well together

Lately I’ve been feeling like I did during my freshman track season. It is not a good feeling. On the assurance that I would NOT actually have to run (“you can be a thrower!”), I joined the track team as an out-of-shape ninth grader with the hopes of scoring a cool track sweatshirt.

I did have to run. Three miserable laps around the track as a “warm up.” I couldn’t even make it once around with slowing to a walk. And I was a terrible thrower. I lived in daily fear of track practice. I couldn’t keep up with the slowest of the slow. It took me a good couple months before I could complete those three laps around the track. (Yes, I know. It’s not even a mile).

That summer something clicked, I could suddenly make it through three and then five mile runs. I joined the cross country team and have been a runner ever since. I’d taken pride in the fact that I could always, in an emergency, drop everything and run three or eight or thirteen miles if I had to.

I forgot what it’s like to desperately try to keep pace with someone. I forgot what it was like to attempt to keep your hard breathing under wraps so the person you are running with wouldn’t know how much you’re struggling. I forgot how embarrassing it is to have to stop and slow down…one mile into a run. I forgot how hard running can be.

When I got pregnant six months ago, I confidently assumed that I’d run all through my pregnancy. People do it all the time! Doctors say as long as you were already a runner, you were good to continue. I’d already planned on running a half marathon at five months pregnant and maybe even Grandma’s full marathon in Wisconsin the month after that.

That sooooo did not happen.

Running sucks when you are pregnant. I wasn’t even a month along when a friend and I went on a fast four mile run. I spend the next day curled up in bed with cramps, convinced that I had killed the baby. On the repeated assurance of my doctor and ten different pregnancy books I kept trying. I slogged through slow runs, wishing I could hold my boobs and belly while running (wouldn’t that have looked cool?) I managed a slow three miles a couple times a week, but I dreaded those runs like I used to dread track practice my freshman year. Last week I laced up my running shoes and headed out with the lofty goal of running two miles. I made it about five steps and decided that I was done running. I have officially given up.

I can still log miles on the elliptical. I can swim laps. I can lift weights at BodyPump, and I can walk, but those things just don’t have the same ring or allure. “Lifting Weights Through this World” is just not a cool title for a blog. So hopefully you lovely readers will forgive me for carrying on with a misleading title for the next three or four months. While you are all out running, I’ll be taking a nap.

Not as bad as it sounds! In fact, so many couples these days are taking vacations during the second trimester of pregnancy that this type trip has been dubbed the “baby-moon:” one last chance to go on vacation without having to worry about strollers and swim diapers. I certainly wasn’t on a romantic baby-moon (hard to do when you are single and traveling by yourself), but the twenty hour drive from Denver to Seattle turned out to be just as enjoyable as always, despite being five months preggers. I explained to some friends-with-kids that the trip was easy and the baby kicked less while on the road, which I’m taking as a sign that she likes sleeping in the car and will therefore be totally down for long road trips. They all laughed at me, sadly shaking their heads.

Here are some tips for a comfortable ride:

Snacks:

For me, food is always the most important consideration when road tripping. There was a time in my life when I refused to cross state lines unless there was a bag of peanut butter M&M’s melting on the dashboard. Coolers stocked with cans of Diet Pepsi have also been a must. My traveling companions have insisted on stopping at cheesy diners, classic road stops, and Taco Bell.

However, I did things a little bit differently this time, swapping out the Diet Pepsi cans for water bottles (freeze a couple bottles of drinking water the night before so you’ll have cold-ish water for day two) and forgoing fast food. Before the trip I cut up strawberries and veggies to snack on instead (keep radishes and carrots in Tupperware filled with water and the snacks will stay crunchy all day). For sandwiches at picnic stops, deli meats are a no-go. Something about fetus killing bacteria (apparently), so I went with the classic peanut butter and Doritos on wheat bread. Delicious.

Stopping:

Conventional wisdom/my doctor told me to stop every hour to get up and walk around. Okay, that would have been absolutely ridiculous. Stopping at every single rest stop in the five northwestern most states has never been high on my bucket list. I tried to force myself to stop at least every two hours, but when I’d go three or four, I didn’t seem to have suffered too much. Frequent stopping to walk around is recommended to so circulation in your legs isn’t restricted. Stretching and flexing in your seat can also help things.

Drowsy driving on the other hand should be avoided at all costs. Don’t book hotel rooms before your trip, with lofty plans on making it ten hours in one day. Play it by ear instead, stopping for the night whenever and wherever you are when you get tired.

Overnight Camping:

I have to admit, I wasn’t really sold on the idea of camping, but I threw my sleeping bag and tent in my car anyways, just in case. When I pulled into Hardin, Montana I was exhausted, ready to be done driving, and not willing to spend $80 at a Super Eight. (Seriously. That was the going rate. I’ve paid less for a suite at Mandalay Bay.) I trudged over to the RV campground, paid $15, put up my tent, and had a surprisingly comfortable night. I’d set my tent up on a slight incline, and the uphill sleeping position resulted in my first night in three weeks without heartburn. Yay, camping! The drawback to pregnant camping is the annoying need to go to the bathroom at night.

And that’s it! Eat healthy, stop often, and don’t be afraid to camp. Pregnant road tripping is a piece of cake, even if you’re doing it by yourself.

**Update: At seven months pregnant, I’m just finishing up a two week road trip through the midwest where temperatures have been consistently above 100 degrees. Pregnant road tripping remains fun and doable even in summertime during the third trimester 🙂

Check out more resources on pregnant traveling on scoop.it.

Plans change. People get sick and miss vacations. Terrorist attacks ground planes. Injuries force you to bow out of races. Something cooler comes up or your bank account dips down.

Since all of the above things have happened to me (and many other travelers I assume), I try not to plan anything in advance. Sure, I might miss opportunities for cheap flights and hotels because I buy at the last minute, but such is life.

So against my better judgment, a few months ago I planned out six months of road races and travel. I didn’t buy any tickets, but I publicly posted my race plans which was bad enough. I’d just landed a semi-permanent job and I actually had an address, so I figured I was safe to start planning.

I was wrong.

In December I had a phone interview while waiting to board a plane in Las Vegas. By the time I’d reached my destination I had the job that I’d wanted for the past year and a half. A week later I flew back to Vegas, packed up my car, and was ready to head up to Denver.

But I wanted to see this guy first. We’d been dating for the past year and a half, keeping up a constant stream of communication while I was traveling. When I’d come through Vegas we’d ‘hang out.’ If ya know what I mean.

So the next morning my loaded down car, my apparently useless birth control, and I headed to Colorado. I spent two weeks blissfully unaware that I should be feeling exhausted and nauseous before taking that test.

So plans change. I didn’t run the tri-state 20 miler in New Hampshire in an effort to save money for impending day care and diaper expenses. I’m not training for the half marathon in Laramie as my body can’t seem to run further than six miles. I’ve forfeited $80 to the Grandma’s Marathon people, seeing as they have a very explicit no refund policy should you get injured or pregnant. Not that I’m complaining because feeling a baby kick just about as cool as crossing a finish line. For better or worse, plans change.

I really want to buy some airline tickets and sign up for some races in 2013, but something tells me that I’d hold off on making too many plans. Life may be a little different next year.