Well, I am almost halfway through this 9 month taper, you could say. It’s a bit of a different taper than the what I am used to, but one I have endured once before. No googling course maps or split times, but there is a definite race date in September. I’ve gained 12 pounds, am really only running about 30-40 miles a week and I tend to google things like boy names and lightweight breast pumps. I’ve totally lost race fitness and crave green apples, lots of them. A pretty wild journey of pregnancy.
We find ourselves expecting a little boy in the fall and we couldn’t be happier. We weren’t sure if it was going to happen to be quite honest. I promised over and over to JB that after Western States last year, I would slow down and be ready to complete our family. Eva is already 3 and we didn’t want to space our kids too far apart if we could help it. But how do you pause in competitive running when you have so many goals left to accomplish? Well, it turns out, you follow the path that is given to you, because running isn’t going anywhere. While the beginning of 2013 started out strong and my body was performing really well, I got a bit too ambitious and derailed the second half of the year. I tried to “do it all,” (mommy, jobs, running, lack of sleep) and well, learned you just can’t. (more on my revelation about that later) After my race at WS100 didn’t go to plan, and a DNF ensued, I felt I needed to make it right. So I hastily ran a few more races and all of a sudden, September and Run Rabbit Run 100 came and went with what was my slowest 100 miler to date. It was at that point that I could see I was at the stages of burnout and my body wasn’t taking my crazy life well any more. Not to mention, my daughter was asking when was she going to have a brother or sister. (Whew, no one ever warned me about that one- its the sweetest and most honest request ever and by the way, it worked). So, I committed to the process and got my head right. I knew it was now or never, and I trusted the path as it seemed so clear finally. We were thrilled to find ourselves pregnant right away. I really couldn’t believe it, I had just run a 100 miles 4 weeks before. A few weeks passed by in the pregnancy and I was out on a short run on the Donner Rim Trail, enjoying the fall colors, when I began cramping and bleeding pretty profusely. The days leading up to this, I told JB, I felt something wasn’t quite right. I was losing the feeling of being pregnant. Sure enough,the doctor couldn’t find the heartbeat and he told us we lost the baby. That was devastating to both JB and myself and something I wasn’t really prepared for. It began a time of uncertainty and some anxiety about what my body was capable of. I wondered if we tried too soon after my hundred miler that was so physically out of sorts for me. After waiting the time suggested by my doctor, we felt okay to try again. In early December, I got a positive pregnancy test, only to find out it didn’t stick around for more than a few days after. They call this a chemical miscarriage,where implantation does not fully happen. I was pretty down and sad after two miscarriages and I began questioning my body. My doctor told me, it’s rare to miscarry more than twice and he felt okay for us to give it another try if we were mentally okay to do so. I wanted some reason why it happened, but as life is constantly teaching me, sometimes there aren’t answers for a long time, if ever. I pondered my years long struggle with low ferritin levels and possibly irregular hormones, but neither case seemed too extreme. My doc suggested gaining a few pounds for hormone regulation- (i.e., body fat of runners can affect estrogen/progesterone levels,) adding more iron and to stop stressing. The key in all of that: STOP STRESSING!! Trust your body and it will happen. Plus I am not one to give up. In late January, we were surprised and blessed with the news, we were indeed pregnant again. While this pregnancy felt different right away (strong sense of those pregnancy hormones- fatigue, nausea, hunger pains) I was very, very cautious in celebrating it.
Once I went in around the 7 week mark and saw that tiny little heartbeat, I was emotionally overjoyed and relieved all at once. They say once you hit 12 weeks and beyond, the chance for miscarriage is less than 5%. I still pray every single night this little life will continue to grow. Occasionally, I get feelings of caution and well, being a bit scared, but each day is getting me closer to meeting this little love. But I am feeling really good and the baby seems really strong and healthy. Again, finding peace in my runs and in breathing deep. Not to mention, my daughter is so involved in the preparation for her little brother, we both get excited in talking about him, or letting her hold my belly and say “Good Morning brother or sister “(she’s still holding out hope for a sister).
I am really lucky that my sponsors are being totally supportive of this new pause in my racing. Hoka One One, Drymax and Vespa are totally on board. I am also excited to continue my work with Lululemon as they just opened a store in Reno. I am super thankful for all the support from each brand as much of this year will be me cheering from the sidelines. But, I’d imagine with all that extra belly I’ll be sporting soon, their logos will look even more prominent right? I also want to thank my coach, Ian Torrence, for not hesitating to give guidance to his first pregnant ultra runner. We (meaning I) have so much work to do come October.
My running plans: Since I am one of those people who is unable to take it easy when running with a race bib, I won’t put myself in that situation right now. No ultras, even though I dream about them all the time. Not even sure I want to line up for a road marathon. There is something I am really trying to facilitate here- a true break from racing. But I am still running as much as it feels good. Usually, 3-10 miles a day with the occasional long run and somedays nothing at all. But note, I am still gaining preggo weight like a champ- one of the biggest struggles for me is this part of the journey. I have also amped up some serious cross training and strength work about 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. Focusing on my weak glutes, tight hamstrings and overall core strength. This is the greatest lesson I learned from my first birth- you need all the strength training you can get. It seems to make all the difference in return to fitness.
I will definitely blog often to update and with shameless belly pics as long as I have them. I have no issues freely discussing the ins and outs of navigating this pregnancy- there are so many highs and lows, just like a real race. The good news is that I can’t lament about my state too much as JB and I will be extremely busy this summer- putting together a full on production at Hardrock 100, JB will be running Western States 100 and the new Tahoe 200. We are also in the works of launching a web based live TV show, TraiLive, where I will be hosting occasionally and commenting on all things ultra/trail running. We are also still working on the women’s ultrarunning film- more interviews, race footage and home town footage in production through this year. Not to mention, I still am working my corporate 9-5 biotech sales job with a ton of traveling and stress to boot. I know, its a lot and more than I can probably handle for too long.
While I am anxious to begin racing again, I am trying to stay in the moment and relish this really special time in my family’s life. I am growing a tiny person after all, which never ceases to amaze me. I have a new found appreciation for the beginning of life and the journey so many couples are on to conceive. We are so lucky. I have a feeling this baby will be here before we know it and the hard work will begin. But I am up for the challenge. The great parenthood journey is constantly teaching me patience, happiness in simplicity, and acceptance of things you can’t control.
Suggestions on boy names? So far this is alluding me…