Monday, November 4, 2013

Conversations with my body

Total steps yesterday:  9,210
Exercise for today:  1 mile run, 1.5 mile elliptical

So this morning I decided to register for a 5k race in early December.  I can de-register later if I'm not up for it, but I figured I was still feeling good and running well, so I felt comfortable signing up.

And then I headed to the gym for my planned 3 mile run, and my body said: 

Obviously I'm a huge believer in listening to said body, so I pushed through a mile just to make sure I wasn't being a baby, and then quit and switched to the elliptical.  It was the right choice, even if it wasn't the planned workout.

Most runners / racers seem to be pretty attuned to their bods, but I wanted to share a few things about how I've learned to differentiate wanting to stop from needing to stop while pregnant.  When not pregnant, I don't worry about this - if I have a run on my schedule, I run it regardless of how I'm feeling, unless an injury or illness keeps me from even starting.  But once I've started, I push through.  And for the first bit of my pregnancy, I still felt comfortable doing this.  Now there are certain things that set off warning bells and let me know it's time to stop. 

  • About three minutes in to my run I got really warm and my face flushed.  This has been fairly common in my runs the last few weeks, so I wasn't too worried.  I took a sip of water, which normally calms it, and kept running.  About a minute later I still felt warm, but wasn't as aware of it because I was more focused on:
  • A side stitch.  For as common as side stitches are in running, I don't get them that often.  When I do, it's typically deep in to a long run, and a few minutes of really concentrated breathing (in through the nose, out through the mouth) resolves the issue.  Today, the stitch didn't go away and seemed to be spreading a bit deeper in to my abdomen.  I think the culprit was actually my running belt - I think it was positioned too high and too tightly, because I loosened it after I:
  • Slowed down.  When I was about three quarters of a mile in, still feeling warm and dealing with a stitch, I decided to slow down my pace to see if that helped.  I dropped from 5.5 mph to 5.3 mph, and then down to 5 mph to finish off the mile.  I figured the slower speed might help, and it did for about 20 seconds, but then I started feeling rough again.  I finished off the mile just out of pigheadedness, then slowed to a walk for a few minutes.
In the end, I think the determining factor for me comes down to whether or not my attempts to ease a pain do any good.  If my standard methods of pushing through aren't working, then it's probably a sign that something isn't right.  When on longer training runs, it's not uncommon for me to want to walk.  When I do, I'll do a mental inventory of the different parts of me to figure out what wants to quit.  Legs feeling strong?  Heartbeat at a good rate?  Breath not too fast?  If those things all feel okay, then it's usually just a discouraging voice telling me to walk.  I do the same thing now, but I add in pregnancy specific questions:  abdomen feeling okay?  Core temperature seem normal?  Does water help me feel better?  When I take the time to ask myself those questions, it's easier to make the decisions that are right for me, and hopefully right for Lil W.
And for the record, now I feel totally fine, and Lil W is moving a normal amount, so I'm not concerned about doing any permanent damage.  It was just an off running day - tomorrow is another chance.

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