Training Tips

Training throughout Pregnancy: Trials of an Elite Distance Runner, Part I (First Trimester)

Like many parents-to-be, the initial response to my positive pregnancy test was somewhat of a blessed shock (it actually took me 4 tests to really believe the digitally read “pregnant” results and based on Kaia’s first ultra-sound, she shared our sentiment, lol). While my boyfriend and I had discussed becoming parents, it wasn’t something that we had expected to happen as I hit my heaviest training cycle running 70-80 miles a week plus cross-training in preparation for a fast Fall marathon.

Ironically, the exciting news came the day after returning from a weekend of pregnancy don’ts, having enjoyed wedding festivities at Disney’s Food and Wine Festival (yes, there were several alcoholic toasts involved) and winning a 10 mile running race in Florida heat and humidity. Goes to show my little girl is already a tough as nails fighter like mommy. =)

Kim

The proceeding weeks after discovering I was some 7-weeks pregnant were quite challenging as I was greeted with some pretty intense morning, or shall I say all day, sickness puking several times a day and experiencing fatigue somewhat symbolic of my bout with mono in college where I had to shut-eye more than open-eye on most days.  Thankfully I was tapering for Niagara Falls International Marathon so my training was at a minimal level. Even so, I doubted my capability of even finishing the marathon let alone remotely getting close to my sub 2:50 target after having to stop several times for a breather (and puking) during short marathon pace runs so I called the elite coordinator to ask about switching to the half marathon or 10k offering. She graciously congratulated me on the pregnancy and said it would be fine to switch so I started wrapping my head around the half marathon at 10-weeks pregnant instead of what I had trained for.

One of the challenges of being a typical driven Type A athletic personality type, unfortunately (and fortunately), is that it is hard to accept limitations or turn down a challenge so upon arriving onto the beautiful grounds painted with Fall colors of Niagara Falls and attending the expo, I decided to run the marathon at a more conservative pace than had originally planned. If my body rebelled during the race, I’d slow or stop as needed. And thus, my first marathon journey as a pregnant runner began and it definitely wasn’t going to be easy having started off puking most of my carbo-loading efforts, including my go-to race morning meal of a Pure Fit Nutrition bar, juice, and Infinit Run Sports drink. Miraculously, the race went off without a wave of nausea hitch. In the opening miles or shall I say opening half marathon, I found myself running comfortably with the leaders running a pace about 10-20 seconds per mile slower than my pre-pregnancy goal pace.  This unfortunately was short-lived as my carb-depleted muscles started to rebel and nausea kick-in just past the midway point and I had to let the top 2 jet ahead.  I was starting to regret my decision to tough the marathon out as my running started to become more of a run/walk with occasional morning sickness party on the side of the road. I still was determined to make it to that covenanted “falls” finish-line so I plugged on praying that I could stay in the #3 money spot. Sadly, that reality slipped by with just over a mile to go but I was able to hold onto to the #4 spot and earn accolades for being the fastest pregnant chick on the course with my 3:07 finish. This is one medal and finishing plaque that will be hung proudly in Kaia’s nursery.

Fastest momma-baby duo on the day

My recovery after the marathon proved to be an additional challenge, one that is somewhat foreign for a gal who already had logged three sub-3 marathons earlier in the year though not suprising. between “hitting the wall” due to the inability to carbo-load battling morning sickness and continued nausea that reduced me to eating mostly soups and other liquid nutrition as recovery. Like all uber mother runners do, however, I did recover from the race and all the obstacles of the first trimester but was definitely ecstatic to bury morning sickness and fatigue and get that giddy-up back into my running stride in trimester 2.

First Trimester Stats:

Weight Gain: 3-lbs

Food Staples: Greek yogurt, smoothies, soup

Average Run Mileage: 40-45 miles with a peak of 76 miles at 6 weeks pregnant

Proud Running Moments: 1st overall woman, She Runs Trail Half Marathon (4 weeks, unknowingly, pregnant); 1st overall woman, Disney’s Tower of Terror 10-miler (7 weeks, unknowingly, pregnant); 4th overall woman, Niagara Falls International Marathon (10 weeks, knowingly, pregnant)

About Kim Mueller, MS, RD, CSSD

Kim

Kim has been a runner for about 20 years. She is a Registered Dietitian, sports fanatic, outdoors lover, proud momma-to-be, and a dream chaser. As a Registered Dietitian, athlete, and mom-to-be, she is passionate about helping others realize their health and fitness goals. She enjoys writing about her life experiences as a Registered Dietitian, elite runner, and mom-to-be and educating others about health and fitness. Kim runs because running is something she fell into to get in shape for other sports and then fell in love with as a result of the amazing people she has met throughout the years and it’s ability to take her to fitness peaks no other sport really has.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FuelFactor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/FuelFactor

Blogger: http://fuel-factor.blogspot.com

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