Wednesday, May 28, 2008
FINISH LINES AND DUE DATES
Hello everyone! I’m Nikkei, and I’m new to the group. I recently saw this sculpture of a runner crossing the finish line in the lobby of KHQ-TV in Spokane. It resembles all of the dozens of runners I see in my neighborhood all of the time: stick thin and already fit! Spokane is full of runners, but I’ve never seen someone around here running that is obviously pregnant. I want to take a big black water balloon and tape it to the abdomen of this sculpture—now that would be motivating! The trouble I have with running while pregnant is that I can’t seem to reconcile finish lines and due dates. It is hard for me to be motivated to run while pregnant because of two reasons: 1…there is no chance for me to break a PR so using a race (trying to cross the finish line faster than before) as a training motivator doesn’t work for me…and…2…I worry about my heart rate and the efficiency of my placenta to deliver oxygen to the baby.
I know that if I don’t eat well enough, my body will steal nutrients from itself and give them to the baby first. I may suffer, but the baby won’t unless I’m seriously malnourished. However, I don’t know what will happen when I put myself in a state of oxygen deprivation. If I am in an anaerobic state, what happens to the placenta? Will the baby get the oxygen first? The medical community doesn’t have very many answers about what happens when women run while pregnant. My father-in-law is an ob-gyn, and he explained that it is difficult to study. Not many women are willing to run while pregnant. It seems to me that the members of this blog would be prime picking for a team of researchers that wanted to study this issue. Until the studies are done, I’ve decided to modify the standard suggestion of “don’t let your heart rate go above 140”—My goal is to keep my heart rate between 150 and 160. My resting heart rate is already at least 30 bpm more than it was just one year ago, so pregnancy alone really works my heart. If I stayed at 140 or below, I wouldn’t be running at all. But if I stay around 160, I’ll be below what I believe to be my anaerobic threshold. I’m about 22 weeks pregnant now, and I presume that my pace will increasingly diminish as I stay within my target zone, but that is okay. I need to focus on my due date rather than another finish line and a chance to set a PR. Marathons provide wonderful analogies for motherhood, but right now, more than halfway through a pregnancy, thinking about finish lines and timing chips is frustrating. I’m trying hard to think of my due date as the only finish line now, and I have to carefully pace myself so that I can cross it with a healthy baby in tow…even if that means that my pace will get slower and slower and I have to resist my desire to go faster and faster.
For those of you who are currently running and pregnant, or who have done so in the past, I would love to know about the guidelines that you set for yourself (heart rate zones, distances, etc.).