Pregnancy Confession No. 3

[I ran a triathlon pregnant.]

I was one month pregnant.

Yes, I had morning all-day sickness.
In hindsight, I think mind-over-matter helped me finish the race.

Actually, I think mind-over-matter helped me start it.
Once I was into a groove, it didn't matter
that I was living off oyster crackers and carbonated water.

Once I trudged into the Gulf of Mexico at 7 a.m.
and began swimming half a mile
the nausea and fatigue I feared would keep me from competing
seemed to evaporate temporarily.

And in its place adrenaline began to pump.
Adrenaline can make you do anything.

When I finished the race,
I ate my weight in free beans and rice.
And like everything I ate that trimester,
it was unsatisfying and tasted like metal.

Yet I returned to the food tent for seconds.
I was ravenously hungry.

When I first learned I was pregnant
I worried I might not be able to continue training.

I was running, biking and swimming nearly every day.
I wondered if this regime was detrimental to pregnancy.

So I researched the topic online
and learned that
the biggest concern is overheating.

Women are advised not to exercise too strenuously
in blazing temperatures.

Like the hot bath thing,
raising your core body temperature for too long
can cause birth defects in the first trimester.

However, I also learned that if you were a runner pre-pregnancy
there was no harm in continuing your routine with child
if you exercised some caution.

Which I did.

To avoid overheating, I swam more than I ran.
I ran at night after the sun had set.
I carried two water bottles on my bike.

I stretched longer and deeper before and after
physical activity.

I trusted my body.
I trusted that I'd know when to slow down.

When to drink more water.
When to eat a protein bar.
When to breathe.

I finished the tri in 1 hour and 42 minutes.
Two minutes slower than my race time in April. 

I'm now five months pregnant
and still running my favorite three-mile stretch
along the water.

I've had to turn it down a few notches.
I walk/run/walk/run.
Joe calls it ralking.

It's not easy.
Most of the time my bladder
feels like it's going to explode.

I try to run light on my feet
to reduce pounding.

I like to believe I look like I'm running on air.
But really,
I look like a person running to the bathroom
about to piss their pants.

In October, after the triathlon was over
I spent the following two months
feeling like I was hung-over
on a sailboat
being tossed around in an angry sea.  

I was exhausted and frustrated
by my listlessness.

However, by the end of month three
I was feeling so spry and NORMAL
I craved the burning peace and quiet
of running.

The endorphins.
The challenge.
The people I crossed on route.

The open windows of the mansions I passed along the way.
The daydreaming that ensues on foot
or on bike, for that matter. 

But I moved too fast at first.
I pulled a groin muscle
and some other muscle that I didn't know existed.

My yoga teacher informed me that my piriformis muscle,
which is a fancy word for a butt muscle,
was likely inflamed, which had seriously irritated
my sciatic nerve.

She taught me how to stretch the piriformis.
And I religiously repeated these stretches every night
for two weeks until the pain subsided.

My midwife suggested I walk more and run less.
As much as it killed me, I heeded this advice.

I never thought I'd have to condition myself to relax.

I know this might sound ridiculous to a lot of you,
but I feel like I'm in training mode.
 I love training mode.

Except this time
I feel like I'm training for something
bigger than a triathlon.

I'm training for labor.

And when I cross that finish line
I'd like to think I was powered by endurance, stamina
and of course adrenaline.

if such a thing is possible.

For the best reward ever. 

PS. Happy birthday to my friend Ricci,
a new mama (and fellow runner)
and all around awesome female.

Thank you for always making sense of my whims.

You've grown in so many lovely ways,
but to me you're still capricious Ricci with the floppy shoes
and contagious wit
who loves her sweet baby and sweet husband
with unbridled joy.


  1. says

    This was the first thing I thought of when I read your news–about you running around like a Crazy being all pregnant. Having had the same sort of all day sickness and metal-taste symptoms with both my kids, I can’t imagine how you summoned the energy. That same adrenaline will get you through birth, though, and you’re lucky to have a great story to share with your little bean some day. Pun intended.

  2. Krystal says

    Okay, I didn’t even know you were pregnant, so CONGRATS are in order!!! Woohoo! Glad things are going well… :) You are awesome to be running a marathon while pregnant, and keeping up with your exercise routine, cuz labor can take a lot out of you!!! I know from 3 labors… lol When are you due, and hope your all-day sickness has gone away. 2 of 3 of my pregnancies, I was sick the whole way through, and NOTHING would help, so I know how that feels… Keep us all posted with how the pregnancy goes. :)

  3. says

    Yay for training, Heids! Made me want to do the 3-mile walk with you again. Thanks for the birthday shout out! Give lil’ Henry a kiss!

  4. says

    OK so first of all this post confirms just how hard core you ROCK. Second, it reminded me how intrigued I am with the whole “business” of birth. (And yes, I saw the documentary about it.) Do you plan to write a post about why you chose a midwife? If not can we correspond via email about it? I am very interested in any and all things non traditional hospital route and I was slightly overexcited to read the word “midwife.”

  5. heidi says

    Caitlin: I will absolutely write a post about why we opted to go with a midwife (and birthing center) over the traditional hospital route. With each passing day, I grow more and more comfortable with this decision. Stay tuned for more on the topic.

  6. says

    Wow – I’m impressed! I just keep thinking of the SATC movie where Charlotte stopped working out because she was afraid of doing something to harm the baby and then the doctor told her that she could continue with her regular activity if it’s something that her body was used to doing. :)

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