The 9 month Taper

Posted by Jen on Apr 16, 2014 in Uncategorized |

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.

There's the boy at about 12 weeks

There’s the boy at about 12 weeks

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.

The last of the flat belly, me preggo at 8 weeks.

The last of the flat belly, me preggo at 8 weeks.

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.

A little time with my girl.  A little belly action at 13 weeks and whole lotta boob.  Not my favorite side effect.

A little time with my girl. A little belly action at 13 weeks and whole lotta boob. Not my favorite side effect.

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.

photo (13)

Almost 5 months. Oh its just starting.

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…



Apr 16, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Congratulations! I love baby news and what a gift to have conceived so soon after your miscarriages. Can’t believe you’ll still be at HR, but obviously, you’re a trooper.

I’ve always loved names that were formerly surnames like Carson, Riley, Carter, Jackson or if you’re really adventurous, cities or places that you love like Denali, Acadia, Brooklyn or Tennessee!

Apr 16, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Super Cool!!!! Breathe deep, seek peace. Enjoy the journey. :)

Apr 17, 2014 at 4:02 am

Congratulations! Also, thank you for having the courage to address such personal issues on your blog. As a long distance runner, I am so inspired by your running feats. There’s not much out there to guide the ladies when it comes to long-distance running and the 9-month taper, and I am really excited to read about your experience and get a little guidance on the subject! It seems appropriate that you’d be the trailblazer on this topic!

I am clueless when it comes to baby names, sorry!

Apr 17, 2014 at 6:56 am

Congratulations to you and JB on your coming baby boy. I can’t wait to share what you’ve written with my wife. We are expecting our first baby together, a boy, in July and you both share a lot of the same thoughts about maintaining fitness through pregnancy. Enjoy your taper!
P.S. We’re having a devil of a time with boy names too. I’m hoping we’ll just know when we meet him face to face.

Apr 17, 2014 at 7:00 am

Thanks Shelby! We were pretty amazed ourselves! Thanks for those great name ideas… its so hard to pick one:) See you at HR100

Apr 17, 2014 at 7:01 am

Thanks Lynette- Channeling my inner zen:)

Apr 17, 2014 at 7:03 am

Molly- I searched the web high and low for someone who had issues like mine and I too, found nothing. I know its all very personal stuff to share, but why not, you know- maybe it can help a little. Let’s see how this goes!!

Apr 17, 2014 at 7:04 am

John- Congrats to you as well. I totally agree, when you see that little face, you will know what he should be named:) Enjoy this awesome journey.

Olga King
Apr 17, 2014 at 11:44 am

Oh, my God, I missed on all the news and so happy to have stumbled here today and read the wonderful things happening ! (after not so good ones are passed, thankfully). Congratulations! You guys rock, I am wishing you much success in this journey, great summer, easy birth, and lots of bonding! As far as fitness goes, you are fully aware of Liza, I am certain:) I have a huge number of friends who kept active and “training” (adjusted) during pregnancies who were solid and great runner before, and then they shot out to become fantastic runners. So, don’t worry, you are awesome, and all will be just fine on that part! Congrats again!

Apr 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Hi Jen,
I’m so grateful that you shared this on your blog today. It’s really encouraging to know that even after 2 miscarriages you are now on your way to a healthy and normal pregnancy. Also knowing that you are an ultra runner and keeping up with the running is really great! There is so little information out there and I wish that more women would share their experiences so that we aren’t all left in the dark when we experience something that can be rather devastating. Thank you for sharing and congrats!

Apr 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Olga- Thank you so much! So nice to hear from you.. I missed being at Bandera this year and seeing your smiling face:) Next year? Thanks for the kind words- yes, Liza is amazing and a huge inspiration! Let’s hope you have a crystal ball (especially with the easy birth thing). Tell me things are great for you too? Hope to see you sooner than later…

Apr 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I wish more women would share their stories as well- the good,the bad, the whatever. I hope to continue to be what my daughter calls “The Truth fairy.” Best wishes!

Olga King
Apr 18, 2014 at 10:45 am

Things are much better in the head than in the health after 4 months of CMV (thing that took out Neal Gorman) last Fall into winter…but I am slowly coming back. I am looking forward seeing you anywhere and everywhere, and to the movies you guys are making! Sounds super-exciting!

Apr 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Congratulations! I have two girls myself (6 and almost 3) but I also miscarried before my oldest and there is nothing in the world that compares to the fear a woman has after they find themselves pregnant again. That little angel baby played a role in my life as I am sure your two have for you. I agree, no one talks about miscarriages and it is quite sad because we feel so alone when they happen.

Enjoy your pregnancy! Enjoy the moments with your daughter now as well. Watching sibling love develop has to be one of the coolest things I have ever witnessed.

As for boy names, we love Lake Tahoe (our daughter’s name is Sierra) and when I was pregnant with our second, we tried hard to find that perfect Tahoe boy name (we didn’t find out the sex of the baby). We ended up with another girl, so I’ll share some of ours Tahoe names. :)

Kyburz, Carson, Marlette, Zephyr, Sunny, Leaf

Apr 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Oh and one more thing! I suffer from endlessly low ferritin levels myself. I take an iron supplement now and it seems to keep it at the low end of normal vs dangerously low. I run ultras (not 100s, but 50s) and I work 3 jobs … I can totally relate to your body being tired especially when you throw traveling into the mix! Watch that iron/ferritin during pregnancy. Damn hormones I tell ya!

Apr 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Thank you so much Trailmomma! I can only imagine watching your two kids grow up with each other…truly something I am looking forward to. And yeah, ferritin is not fun, but its funny, with less running and lots of pre-natal vitamins (i.e.- iron) I am feeling better than usual:)
Love Tahoe as well and great name suggestions.

Apr 29, 2014 at 6:40 am

Hey Jen! Congrats!!! After years of keeping up with your blog, I finally have a comment, a name suggestion: “Cadence” …because this little one is teaching you that you have to take life in stride…..
Love and Prayers,
Tina Benna

Apr 30, 2014 at 9:12 am

Tina- oh, I had no idea you read this- so nice to hear from you and thank you. You guys make parenting look easy:) Hope to see you soon…




Copyright © 2014 A Girl’s Guide to Trail Running.

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