For those of you who have not been reading my blog since my first pregnancy, I need to do a bit of explaining.
I started my blog as an online diary, where I described my life, being in love, being pregnant and my training and weight gain (running 16 miles then 13 miles a day and sometimes swimming and biking and a desire to limit my pregnancy weight gain to 5.5 kg and then 7 kg).
Well, I never really expected anyone would care or start reading, and I definitely didn't expect people would start suggesting that what I was doing was unhealthy.
I went back and dug up some of the comments directed at my blog during my first pregnancy, which ultimately led me to be very defensive; constantly wanting to PROVE that lot of exercise IS beneficial to both mother and baby.
"82 miles plus the cross training you did is not moderate. 3 hours is not moderate...and you're willing to take a chance on the baby inside of you with something that is an unknown? 82 miles a week of running in addition to 20 miles on the bike and whatever else you were doing? That is not moderate, it is not vigorous, it is extreme even for healthy non-pregnant people. There is no science here, only anecdotes, and you're willing to risk your child with that. You're disgusting and I feel sorry that you're going to parent this child." Running Coach
I started crying after I read that one. Certainly not because what Running Coach said was true, but because of the accusation.
Here are some more...
"... a woman who did that sort of thing. She was an aerobics instructor. She's teach 3 classes, run, swim, bike, stayed skinny throughout pregnancy. The kid was born with major neuromuscular issues."
"there were some women I used to swim with in AZ that were going on club bike rides during their 8th month. Just silly considering the dangers."
"If and when that time comes, I am not getting on my bike again until the kid is out of me."
The last woman went on to get pregnant, continued to exercise and on her blog wrote how astounded she was that people gave her a hard time when she was running at 6 months. Hopefully her change in attitude reflects our society's. Not that I was a pariah or anything.
James Clapp has shown that at least 3 days a week of exercise is associated with higher intelligence and better coordination in children. The upper limit for a healthy amount of exercise has moved higher and higher (used to be no more than 1 mile of running a day in the 1970's).
I don't know how many people now would step up and accuse of woman of being a danger to her baby if she ran an ultramarathon or completed an ironman pregnant. But maybe there are more than I think. When googling pregnant ironman last night I found this "If you're trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, you can give up rock star running and your dreams of an ironman". It really said rock star running. I couldn't make this up, people.
And then a woman on a forum in Wisconsin inquired about doing an ironman pregnant. A response: "I had a good friend who was training for an ironman while pregnant and miscarried. Don't take the chance." SLG response: "I had a friend who was sitting in a rocking chair and had a cat jump in her lap. She then miscarried. Avoid cats! Oh, and rocking chairs."
I was on my way to Cross Fit last night and a paragraph from "A Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy" came into my head. (this is a paraphrase; I don't have the book here). "When I was in my first pregnancy, I continued to lift weights, thinking I could get away with exercising while pregnant. I had grand ideas of staying in shape. On the way home from the gym, I started bleeding and had a miscarriage. Of course, I don't know if lifting weights caused it, but women, do yourself a favor: spend these 9 months on the couch otherwise you'll always blame yourself for exercising if something goes wrong". Vicki Iovine.
Response from SLG: "Well, Vicki, I loved your sense of humor throughout the book, especially when you got all horny and imagined your husband as a cowboy, but suggesting that exercising was the cause of your miscarriage does women all over the world a disservice. And, even more so, the idea that they should lay around on the couch. Complications with pregnancy arise more and more due to excess weight gain, gestational diabetes and preterm birth is associated with the 'western lifestyle', which no doubt includes a sedentary life style. And thanks to you, I was imagining my little morula falling out of me into bloody pieces while swining a kettelbell..."
So I asked the Cross Fit instructor, "Are there any specific guidelines for pregnant women?" (basically curious if our traditionally male-chauvinistic society is still imposing limits on pregnant women). In Danish "Well, I think you should just do as much as you can for as long as you can, while you're still comfortable doing it."
And THAT made perfect sense. Finally.
My last pregnancy was so wonderful and I had a beautiful (at least to me), healthy baby boy. And not only that, I lost the few pounds I had wanted to lose and got into better shape than I started off in. The only thing I would do differently during this pregnancy is more cross training from the beginning so I can continue effective speedwork and hopefully avoid or delay any problems with my Sacroiliac joint.
Off my pedestal now. I am not going to prove anything this time. I am just going to enjoy this pregancy, the way I feel is best. Here are some pictures from my idyllic bike ride to Hjulbæk yesterday (sorry, no pictures of me. I'm getting a little sick of my charming, beautiful face).
Oh, sorry, and I just have to add this one of The Lorax, in true gangster style, with his little cousin, Ayla.
Running Song of the Day: We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP (an adaptation fo the the Italian classic: Tu Vuo Fa' L'americano by Renato Corsarone)
Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman