Week 34... I can't believe I'm typing that number. I'm actually closer to 35 weeks than 34 at this point, but it's been a busy week and I had a doc appointment on Wednesday so I figured I would wait to post until I had some additional updating to do. Actually, I was ready to post in Week 34 IMMEDIATELY because... drum roll... I was able to run five miles on Sunday (2/23/14) without any walk breaks. Of course, this didn't include the usual pee breaks but I don't count those since I've been taking multiple pee breaks during a run pretty much since the beginning of this journey. Anyway, Sunday was Tyler's birthday so I was sad to not share the exciting moment with him but he wanted to get a few more days of skiing in before the end of the season so he went up to Snowshoe for the night and I stayed at home. I would have gone with him but I teach on Monday's so it just wasn't in the cards for me all the way around. Trust me, if I could snowboard, I would have made it happen, unfortunately that is the one physical activity I truly haven't been able to continue throughout pregnancy (nor would I even attempt it... I don't trust other people enough to NOT run into me). So even though he wasn't around on that beautiful sunny 70-degree day in the middle of February, I got some quality miles in with Rocco. You can see from the picture how he shared my happiness in finishing a run on an incredible, unseasonably warm day. :) Keep in mind, when I say run... I'm talking like a pace of 5.5 on the treadmill... not very fast. BUT, it's fast enough to fulfull my running craving plus my belly is definitely much bigger these days, so it's good enough for me.
We had another check-up this past Wednesday and as of that visit, I've gained about 25lbs. I say "about" since this doesn't account for clothing weight, etc. but I think it's safe to say I'm definitely on or around 25lbs and boy do I feel it now! T2 kicks me in my ribs so hard at times I have to slump down in my office chair or change my body position to alleviate the pressure. Even right now as I type this sitting on my stability ball chair, he is rolling around and obviously quite cramped in an increasingly smaller space for his growing body. It's so exciting though to feel his activity, and it's definitely one of the many blessings of pregnancy that you truly can't appreciate until you're experiencing it, rib cage pressure and all :)
Despite the added weight and "growing" discomfort, I'm still doing the usual- swimming, indoor cycling, elliptical/jogging and lifting. I've cut back to three days/week of lifting just to try and start to "tell" my body the reduced workout schedule will be the new normal for a while. I am SO thankful, however, to have access to some basic equipment at home so I really don't ever have to skip a workout. We even bought a second indoor trainer so Tyler and I can ride inside together and watch Netflix, for now just for the sake of time/convenience, and later on so that we can share baby duties and not have to leave the house! The room is positioned off our bedroom with a separate set of french doors so we can close the bike noise off from the rest of the upstairs if necessary, so I'm hoping the date night equipment will keep me sane during the early part of T2's life when I can't go anywhere besides home. Of course we have other equipment for home workout basics (dumbbells, stability ball, etc) but in terms of getting pre-baby body back to my standards, some home cardio equipment is a must.
As for lifting, let me say this for my pregnant or one-day-pregnant friends who currently lift weights: your body is amazing and smart. It will tell you to back off, it will tell you to keep moving, it will tell you when to take a day off... the key is listening to your body. While I reiterated on my FB page that my pregnancy posts are about my personal experience alone, I can say that if someone like Jillian Michaels is considered a "fitness expert" (and I use quotations loosely, she is an embarrassment to licensed fitness professionals), I would say my advice would be considered a legitimate expert opinion. At any rate, this is true not only of pregnancy but any medical condition you may face: strength training is beneficial for your bone density, metabolism, mental health, functional fitness, you name it. Just because you are pregnant does not mean you should suddenly stop lifting and switch to yoga. Don't get me wrong, yoga is great and if yoga is your form of strength training, keep practicing yoga by all means. However, I've heard several stories from friends recently how they have shared their lifting habits with their doctors who have in turn tried to convince these folks to cut WAY back, basically to the point of not lifting at all.
From my PERSONAL experience, I can say lifting through my pregnancy has helped avoid back pain until now, almost 35 weeks... I think that's pretty damn good. Even now it's not constant pain, it's just a level of discomfort I do not usually feel, but it's tolerable and I can fully function in my normal daily routine without any problems. My PROFESSIONAL recommendation is this: the primary concerns with lifting during pregnancy are obstructing normal blood flow/oxygen to the fetus and elevating your core body temperature and/or heart rate to unsafe or near maximal levels. If you are currently lifting weights or practicing regular cardiovascular exercise, you should continue these activities throughout your pregnancy. It is healthy for you as well as the baby to keep up your health habits as much as possible. In short: don't get overheated, and don't hold your breath or do anything that leaves you gasping for air. I mean, duh... right? That leaves you a LOT of opportunity to stay active, it's just taking the intensity down a few notches depending on what you're accustomed to doing and your level of activity tolerance while pregnant. There will be days you feel like shit and don't want to get off the couch, so don't. Pregnancy is not a time to push yourself and trudge through a workout when you are exhausted. THIS IS YOUR BODY TELLING YOU TO REST. However, if you feel good, like I did last Sunday while the sun was shining and I could practically hear my running shoes yelling at me to try a run again, then go do something active! Pregnancy doesn't mean you're down and out, or injured, or debilitated in any way: it means you're responsible for making another human life, so it's important to be as healthy as possible. Last time I checked, being healthy includes listening to your body and being active when you feel up to it :)