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Take A Chill Pill: 34 week update

Runners are very good at taking directions. You tell us to run 80-85 miles this week and we’ll log 82. Practice starts at 8.a.m we’ll roll in around 7:58 watches in hand, laces tied and chomping at the bit. Be sure to sleep 8-9 hours a night to recover? You got it. You must suffer through 16-18 mile long runs with blisters, consume copious amounts of unappetizing gels, and seek out voluntary massage and painful ART sessions just so you can callous your body for racing. √√√ Then one day out of nowhere you are told to rest and submissively become a sedentary human being stripped of all the joys of exercise. Hold the phone!

 

I’m in the home stretch of this pregnancy sitting (literally) at 34 weeks. Recently I was experiencing what felt like frequent and strong Braxton Hicks contractions that were occurring more than I thought normal at this juncture. As a precaution I went in to see my doctor for some testing and turns out my body was sneakily trying to go into pre-term labor. Any woman who has had children before can attest that having your baby earlier than you due date is a welcomed surprise. However there is a crucial developmental mark that all babies should get to before entering the world. This period is around 36-37 weeks and is considered full term because the baby’s brain and lung development has reached it’s full capacity. So at 33 weeks my doctor suggested we take some precautions. I was given a few medications to slow contractions down, some meds for the baby’s development, and in a nutshell told to chill. Bed rest is a very ancient term that my doctor doesn’t like to use but she knew in my case as a highly active individual whose job is exercising it would feel like bed rest. blog 32 weeks backyard

 

The news was a little alarming at first as I questioned and wondered whether I did anything to induce this? Thankfully I was reassured I hadn’t as I didn’t have any of the main risk factors for pre term labor. Except for one prevalent circumstance: subsequent pregnancies close together. I’m basically the poster child for this with only 6 months separating my 2 pregnancies and 15 months between due dates. I remember this being one of my fears when I found out about my 2nd pregnancy, that my body wouldn’t handle going through this process again so soon. Yet I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve had a great and healthy pregnancy, my body simply knows what to do and us trying to rush the process. Typical Runner!

 

IMG_9878I’ve never liked comparing pregnancy to an injury but in this case it’s fitting and helping me get through this period of “chilling.” Every woman’s pregnancy is different, as some women can run up to the day they go into labor while others only make it to 22 weeks before their body gives them signs to back off. I made goals for this pregnancy as I do for most of my training cycles throughout my career. They were just toned down quite a bit from normal. I hoped to average 50 miles a week and run as long as my body permitted without any pain. I was fortunate to have stayed healthy the entire time, train with my teammates (partially), and although I made it less time than my last pregnancy the quality of the training was far greater. After 28 weeks my pelvis area and surrounding ligaments indicated my running days were over so I transitioned to a regime of 20-30 mins of cross training on the bike trainer or Elliptigo. I aimed for 6 days a week and hadblog 34 weeks elliptigo been fairly consistent for the past 6 weeks.  Since the plug was pulled on that plan here’s how I see it: Say you’re coming back from an injury and cross training to avoid the stress of weight bearing too quickly. 6 weeks in, the doc says “actually the injury has regressed a little so you’ll have to dial it back to allow further healing. “Oh cool so you’re telling me you already took the joy of running away, now you wanna strip me of all endorphins?” Sounds like a good idea: CAUTION very pregnant lady unable to release stress or sweat, be advised. Seriously it’s not all that bad. Sarcasm aside I’m taking this 3 week hiatus from movement and focusing on the simply things that often get neglected when we’re busy. I’m constantly pulling motivation from my teammates’ training and racing, other post partum moms on their comeback trail, and keeping the big picture of my career at hand. The good news: after 36 weeks my doctor says all bets are off. At the point the baby will be fully developed, ready to make his entrance, and I can resume whatever training I want. So I’m looking for a marathon at the end of August, any suggestions? 🙂

 

Dream Big-

Steph

 

As always I try to keep my journey as transparent as possible. Trying to keep it real for all you runners, readers, and moms out there and show how we may all travel down different paths but some have more connections to others, we just need to share it.

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Escape to Flagstaff at our 2015 Camp!

Why put on a running camp now?

 

Many times the idea of putting on a running camp has come up in conversation between Steph and I. Long car rides, flights across the country, running in the woods of Flagstaff, etc. We get really excited, have all these ideas and inevitably time passes and we don’t end up going through with it. “We can do it next summer” is a common conclusion to all the chit chat. With Steph due with baby #2 Sept 19 and a 1 year old running around, we realized there is never going to be a perfect time to put on a camp. Rarely is there ever a perfect time for anything. So here we are getting ready to host the inaugural Running with the Bruces running camp, August 20-24 in Flagstaff, AZ. Read More

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Going into Hibernation

Bear hibernation refers to seasonal reduction in metabolism coinciding with scare food and cold weather. It has been studied that bears can hibernate for up to 7 1/2 months without eating, drinking, peeing, or pooping. Well I’m headed into my own hibernation. Not quite like that of a bear but in my own terms. June 25th marked my last run of this pregnancy. It was fitting that it took place in Eugene, OR during the USA track champs with my Oiselle gals. I ran 2.6 miles of achy, yucky, heavy, gloriously sweating mess. I had a feeling it would be my last as my runs were getting progressively shorter and how I felt days post run were a tell-tale sign my time was up. Read More

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Those who can, do. Those who can’t teach.

Those who can, do. Those you can’t teach.

 

I always thought this a strange and disheartening quote until I became pregnant again after months of hard work and training post 1st baby. As I am approaching my 7th month of pregnancy, with baby #2 due mid September my training has slowed to a somewhat halt and my body no longer wants to “do” what I had in mind for it. I had a good run for sure these last few months but it has been challenging accepting I must re-shift my focus and rest once again. Granted it is doing what it needs to do according to mother nature and the natural process of preparing for labor. In the running world that we live in, track season is in full swing with US nationals 2 weeks aways, summer road racing just around the corner and instead of competing, I’m cheering and coaching through this 2015 season. Those who can run, do run. Those who can’t run, cheer. Full circle. Read More

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A Bump in the Road

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” -Allen Saunders

 

2015 was always about making a plan but being flexible. A plan that included returning to normal high volume training, and sketching out a race calendar that led me on a great path towards 2016. All of this while shifting my priorities to being a mom first, professional runner second. It was to be a challenge, but one I had been craving and looking forward to for years. You see the Olympics only occur every 4 years. So for a typical pro runner whose career lasts a healthy chunk of time, they might have 3 or 4 attempts at molding themselves into the best version of the runner they are and lining up against all the other talented, motivated, and hungry athletes that the U.S. churns out each year. Read More