28 weeks pregnant

So I’ve just hit 28 weeks and my third trimester.

It really is so mental how quickly it flies by. But looking back so much has happened! Thankfully the second trimester has been an utter dream really. I haven’t had a huge amount to complain about, especially compared to the hell of the first trimester.

28 weeks

This week has been especially good though as we were able to get in a lot of family time (albeit in gardens) and enjoy Easter as best as we could. On Good Friday Kyle and I headed to Stansted House to go for a lovely walk.

The weather was cold but sunny. I’ve been to Stansted House a few times – a couple of those times doing the Stansted Slog Half Marathon.

Let me tell you, that is not a half for the faint hearted! Undulating and off-road, but beautiful. Sadly it hasn’t been running for the past few years, COVID aside.

Anyway we had a lovely walk and decided to drop in to the gorgeous café to see if we could grab a hot drink. Well that escalated quickly when we saw just how many cakes they had on  display. We quickly upgraded our drinks to something a little more elaborate.

Kyle went for a sausage roll and slice of lemon drizzle, whereas I went for a warmed cheese scone followed by a Bakewell tart slice.

Oh wow it was fantastic! We did have to sit in our cars to eat it though due to the COVID rules but this was quite fun. We’ll definitely be going back again!

On Saturday I had the pleasure of Kyle joining me again for a long run. This time I managed to persuade him to join me for a bit longer. I was grateful for his company because along the Southsea promenade the wind was really quite relentless against us.

Kyle was great at keeping me going and motivating. In my mind I was just aiming to get to the public loo the other side of Southsea (just over 3 miles from my last loo visit – so kind of perfect). I’m definitely slowing down. Things are getting harder. But it’s still enjoyable and comfortable (not perfect but small aches here and there rather than any major discomfort or pain thankfully). I am finding though that I’m ready to stop running around 11-12 miles. I get tired, hungry and my hips are aching enough for me to know my body is done.

Easter itself was good. We saw my parents and some of Kyle’s family which was lovely. I also caught up with my sister who I hadn’t seen in over a year. Her work schedule clashes with mine and she lives in Southampton so it makes it tricky to meet up regular (and COVID, obviously). It was lovely to see her and for her to see my expanding bump.

Kyle and I also ate obscene amounts of chocolate in the form of eggs, brownies and Colin the Caterpillar (it’s my mum’s life mission to get us every new Colin – and for that I am ever grateful).

A lovely gift from Kyle’s mum (made by Kyle’s sister who has a side hustle baking business – find her HERE)

I do have moments of deep panic where I wonder if I’m eating too much chocolate and cake. But considering my weight gain has been steady and within the normal guidelines – and I have no other risk factors, I think I’m OK. Plus my diet hasn’t changed from before I was pregnant. I was just as greedy before.

These are just adorable and so tasty!

For my sanity though I am going to check with my midwife about gestational diabetes because when I’m halfway through an Easter egg these things can haunt me!

So a fairly quiet Easter really. I would have loved to have gone out for Sunday lunch or seen more of our family but hey ho – soon! I can’t wait for next year’s Easter where we can celebrate with the little man and make new traditions and memories. Very exciting!

How did you spend your Easter?

Do you enjoy Easter egg chocolate?

Sweet or savoury scone? I love them both!

26 weeks pregnant

Another week pregnant and I’m expanding!

It’s incredible how quickly my body is getting bigger. My tummy is just fully out there now and I love it! I’m finally at that point when I walk down the road I look pregnant. I’ve always wanted to look pregnant so this is very exciting for me. I know that’s a little weird.

I didn’t always know if I wanted to have children but I did always want to know what pregnancy was like and to look pregnant. My body has always looked a certain way for all my life so for it to change so dramatically is just mental to me. I look down and there’s my bump!

Happily I haven’t really had to buy any maternity clothes (apart from buying bigger bras and sports bras) as of yet. I’m waiting until the shops open and for the weather to get warmer. That way I can just prioritise on some essential summer tops and dresses. As well as being able to actually try them on as honestly my body is getting so different I have no idea what things will fit or not! I’ve already bought a second hand pair of shorts on Depop so I’m ready to go on that front at least.

In terms of other updates for my pregnancy, I generally still feel very good. One huge positive is feeling the little guy move throughout the day. It feels so incredible. It began a few weeks ago as little flutters – or more like bubbles bursting to me. But now it’s like proper movement going across my tummy. I can see the movements from the outside and they can be fairly strong!

Kyle has felt him move several times too which is lovely. We had a funny moment one evening where we were both singing (badly) different songs to see if he’d move in response and it was clear his favourite genre was 90s pop (we both had a good memory for those lyrics haha).

One negative is waking up quite consistently throughout the night – or early morning. It’s like 4am and bam I’m awake. I guess because the light starts to come in through the gaps in the curtains and then I spend an hour or so just struggling to get back to sleep. It’s frustrating as I’m trying to bank (or just enjoy) as much sleep as possible before the baby arrives as I know later I’ll be looking back in envy at this time.

As a back sleeper it’s hard to be fully comfortable on my side, despite the pregnancy pillow so a lot of tossing and turning happens as well. And my hips feeling creaky because of the position. Sleeping on your back is bad for the baby’s health (due to a large vein running down your back and potentially getting cut off due to the weight) and it’s not comfortable anyway right now (it feels very weird) so it’s a bit of a lose-lose situation sadly.

Running however is continuing to go well which, I know I keep saying, I’m so grateful for. It’s not always perfectly smooth and comfortable though, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes my hips ache a lot, I constantly need a wee, sometimes the baby is in a low position which feels really awkward, and I’m a lot slower. But I always enjoy the run and feeling like an absolute warrior human running along whilst knowing I’m also growing a baby.

On Saturday I was pleasantly surprised to have Kyle join me for three miles of my long run which was just so lovely. He hasn’t been running a huge amount since we moved to Portsmouth. He’s running around once or twice a week for 3-5 miles but he likes to go later in the day and likes to really blast the speed. Whereas I’m enjoying far more slow and slightly longer runs in the morning. So we’re a bit out of sync!

But anyway he wanted to do a bit further a run so he joined me for three, and then ran back home again for another three. My plan was for around 12 miles and it was lovely to have him join me for the first bit rather than just listen to podcasts the entire way. I felt a little bad as just before three miles is where my first wee stop and he kindly waited for me before us carrying on for a few more minutes and then saying goodbye.

It was nice for him to see me run as I’m now so much further along in my pregnancy. I think the last time we ran together was early in my first trimester! I’m hoping he might join me for a little bit further this Saturday, but we’ll see 😉

Food-wise things are still good. Though apples, crisps and hot chocolate are still not back on the menu which blows my mind. Cake, chocolate and salads are good so there’s a happy balance, eh? I’ve also been branching out and trying new things. One of those being more vegetarian meals from Hello Fresh (we really love a lentil meal!) as well as testing out and really enjoying this vegan healthy ready meal from Tweakd.

Tweakd are a company that make home delivered pre-prepared frozen meals which are designed for athletic goals. The company was founded by an elite sports chef, Omar Meziane, and a top sports nutritionist, Mike Naylor – so people who know their stuff! Your goals can be immune health, building muscle, endurance, and/or recovery (the different meals can cover several of these goals). So definitely athletes in mind.

I picked the butternut squash and lentil lasagne, a vegan meal aiming to help recovery, endurance and muscle building. It sounded delicious and I’m definitely not adverse to trying something vegan once in a while. It was really tasty and the portion size was pretty good, though for a greedy person like me it was more of a lunch meal than a dinner meal.

Thinking about it, this would be ideal just after we have the baby – healthy ready meals with zero fuss and supporting us during a tough hectic time!

I was clearly too hungry to take a photo of it actually cooked though, apologies!

Do you ever eat pre-prepared meals?

Do you try and eat more veggie or vegan from time to time?

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the Tweakd meal for free in exchange for a review. All opionions are my own honest ones.**

25 weeks pregnant

I’m 25 weeks pregnant!

I will definitely say that I’m feeling pretty good and happy. I have few complaints and know I am still so lucky to still be so active with my running, strength workouts and general walking. What I have noticed however is my recovery is a lot longer and harder.

For example, I ran 13.1 miles at the weekend and while it was tougher than what I’d have found pre-pregnancy and slower (of course) I found it OK and was happy to reach that distance. However afterwards was a different story. Instead of jumping into the day as normal with good energy levels, I found I was drained. I was definitely impacted by the distance on the day of and the day after. I felt sapped. It’s such a crazy (though understandable) change.

I’m the girl who would run 18 miles on a Sunday and then be up 5.30am at the gym the next day feeling fine. A hard marathon would make me feel this way, but not a gentle half. It’s a real adjustment to my brain. I took a rest day afterwards and napped, which really helped. It’s just about accepting that I have a certain level of energy and if I use it up on a run I have to pay for that later.

That said, I loved the run and I was happy to take it easier afterwards. I’m proud of my body and it’s capabilities. I just need to reset expectations and allow these adjustments to happen.

And I take each run as it comes. I fully expect at some point to be lowering the miles or stopping so every successful problem-free run is a gift. So far I’ve dropped my Sunday runs so instead of running around 30ish miles a week I now run 24-27 miles a week, depending how long my Saturday run is.

I love my mid-week runs. I run the same 7 mile route each time and honestly I just thoroughly enjoy it. I have a perfect pit stop at 3 miles for a lovely clean public loo, and then I’m into Old Portsmouth and running along Southsea seafront and I just adore it. Being so close to the sea (despite being very much a land creature!) is just so refreshing and invigorating.

Yes sometimes the weather can be awful right by the coast – you really are open to the elements – but when you can see the waves and smell the sea air it really does make up for it. I love it. It will make me very sad to cut back these runs as it take about 3 miles to get to the seafront so realistically I wouldn’t be able to head down there.

We can get to the east coastal area from our house in just over a mile so that’s good but it’s not a route I particularly enjoy as much. I have no idea why really as it’s a lovely route and you can get onto some trails quite quickly. I think I just really have a good association with my 7 miler as it’s the route I’ve been using since being pregnant and it just has happy vibes.

And it’s funny because I’ve been passing a building with big windows for ages and, as narcissistic as this sound, I often use it as a mirror to see myself. My changing body is just incredible for me to see, especially when I’m running, so I often look into it as I run just to see what I look like.

Anyway, inside the building they’ve been doing some work. I had no idea what for until they put a big logo and their branding on the window and funnily enough it’s called “Window into the Womb”. It’s a private scanning facility! The irony of me looking into the window to see my pregnant body and it turns out to be a pregnancy scanning facility is quite amusing.

On a non-running note, the other thing I’ve noticed is a dull period-like ache around my lower tummy. I believe this is round ligament pain – though for me it’s not painful, just achy. It makes me feel like I have a bad period. Some people apparently feel sharp pains and others more a dull ache. I just pop a hot water bottle on the area and that helps.

It’s annoying because I feel like I’ve overcome some hip pains with strength training (all about those squats, bridges and clams!) and now I have this, which I don’t believe any strength training will help as it’s all internal and to do with my uterus expanding. Though certain yoga moves do tend to ease it a bit.

To be honest, it’s not that bad and certainly manageable during the day but it’s when it wakes my up in the night and I’m lying there feeling sorry for myself then it gets annoying. But paracetamol dulls it down a bit thankfully.

Speaking of sleep, getting comfortable is tricky. I have my pregnancy pillow which is great but as a back sleeper it’s just not the same. I can drift off OK but when I wake up in the night I really struggle to get comfortable again. Very frustrating considering I want to be getting lots of sleep while I can!

But other than that, I honestly can’t complain! I’m thankful for my body and how it’s doing – it seems to be just getting on with it all. It’samazing how much my body is very much in control, rather than my mind. Previously I could get over things with some talking to’s and mind-over-matter mentality, but now it’s like “if thebody says no it means no”. And I’m OK with that 🙂

Do you have particular routes you just really enjoy and do all the time?

Do you do any yoga or stretching when you get aches and pains?

Week 24 of being pregnant – featuring a lot of chocolate!

Week 24 of my pregnant and how are things going?

Well, pretty well actually! I feel really good. My energy levels are good, I’m sleeping well (though still grumbling about now being a side sleeper… I miss sleeping on my back so much!) and I’m still running three times a weeks (roughly around 25 miles/week) and strength training 3-4 times a week.

Running is getting slower of course and I’m finding both my hips get achy towards the end. But I’ve had some acupuncture and massage which massively helped, as does the lovely long hot water bottle Kyle’s sister bought me. Lots of good stretches throughout the day definitely ease the discomfort too.

I love running so much right now. I like to go first thing and just seeing the weather getting better makes me so happy. I might not be nearly as fast as I was before but I still get the same enjoyment. And the podcasts I listen to while running are now not just about running, food and movies but sprinkled with a heavy dose of pregnancy and baby related ones too.

Who’d have thought this would happen, definitely not me! I especially like Made by Mamas (though the number of adverts and sponsors they have in each episode REALLY annoys me) and the Pregnancy Wellness Podcast.

Food-wise things have been very good lately. Kyle amazingly treated me to some INCREDIBLE millionaire rocky roads from the Instagrammer @Nickichanlam (I’ve mentioned her before – she’s so so good). They were BRICKS!

They had a layer of caramel and a top layer of chocolate and then were basically packed full of mini-eggs, biscuit and marshmallows. So fricking good! I had one at 11am one day and basically was full until dinner that evening – and for me that’s really something!

I was also recently sent a super tasty set of drinks, Super DC, from Gusto. They’re basically healthily pimped out soft drinks aimed to boost your immune system as they’re packed full of vitamins.

They come in two flavours: Super DC Blood Orange and Super DC Blackcurrant & Elderberry. They’re full of antioxidants and contain a huge boost of Vitamin D and Vitamin C, for only around 60 calories a can.

 They actually taste REALLY good. The blood orange flavour tasted like a posh Fanta (and I love Fanta).

I honestly wanted to guzzle all the cans, they were super refreshing. Unfortunately they contain a bit too much Vitamin A for me being pregnant so I could only do a taste test, but this was good news for Kyle as he really liked them too.

I was also sent a really cool gift idea – a CHOCOLATE themed gift idea. It’s called ChocFace and basically you choose the photos you want to go on top of Belgian chocolate, which is all edible.

You can personalise what you call the box too, which I love

They come displayed in a really lovely box. I was quite impressed – the photos looked super clear and the chocolate was actually really tasty. I yomped my way through the box fairly quickly, I’m ashamed to say! It’s such a novel and fun idea. Really good gift for someone I think.

Slightly vainly I chose photos of myself and Kyle!

And on the note of food, Kyle and I had Monday and Tuesday off and we spent one of those days having a lovely walk down Southsea seafront and got some takeaway food from one of our favourite spots, The Parade Tearooms.

My favourite menu item from them is the Jane Salad (which I’ve had MANY times). It’s ginormous. And the takeaway version is just as big – giving you a large box of the cold items (salad bits, cheese, coleslaw) and then a large box of the hot items (crispy bacon, chicken and crispy potatoes). It was so good!

Unfortunately  my eyes were far too big for my tummy because after finishing this enormous salad I also wolfed down a gigantic wedge of tiffin afterwards.

This was a BIG mistake as honestly I felt so full for the rest of the day it wasn’t fun. I can definitely see this getting worse the longer the pregnancy continues because my stomach capacity just isn’t going to be what it used to be. Greedy Anna is going to have problems!

What’s your favourite, rocky road or tiffin? To be honest I’m not entirely sure the difference! I think rocky road has marshmallows and tiffin has raisins…

What’s your favourite salad? I really love caesar salads (especially if there are anchovies in it).

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Gusto drinks and the ChocFace chocolates for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

My Running For Two Half Marathon at almost 20 weeks

So this “race” recap is a bit delayed as it was actually back in Feb that I ran it when I was almost 20 weeks pregnant (I’m now 23 weeks pregnant). But hey ho!

With still being able to currently run fairly comfortably (*touch wood*) I’d said to Kyle that it was such a shame there were no races for me to plod round as I’d love to get a medal that I could later show our little guy and be like “I got this when you were inside of me”.

Obviously with the lockdown, races just weren’t being scheduled anytime soon (of course). The nearest races seemed to be late May or June. By that time I would be fairly heavily pregnant and I couldn’t guarantee I’d be able to run 5k let alone a half marathon.

I toyed with the idea of doing an official virtual one but Kyle said if I was going to have to do it on my own anyway I might as well just make my own up and really personalise it. It would save a bit of money and I could schedule it however I fancied. This sounded perfect.

I decided to go for a half marathon and came up with my own route round where I lived and created my own bib and name for the “race”: the Running For Two Half Marathon. I mentioned it to my parents and they said they’d come and support as well, which was lovely (strictly speaking breaking the rules a little but they would stand a distance from Kyle and obviously I’d just be running past).

I decided to go with the Sunday just before I turned 20 weeks, so almost half way, which fit nicely with the half distance as the little guy would be half baked. I had a pizza the night before, as is my pre-race tradition, and got myself mentally prepared. I’d been running 10-12 miles  for a few weeks so I wasn’t too worried about the distance – or how long it would take me as this wasn’t about times.

Unfortunately on the morning I woke up to aggressively windy and cold weather. As my route was basically along the coastline I knew I was in for a rough time. But it was planned, my parents were heading over to stand in the spot they were going to cheer from (about 9 miles – then the plan would be they’d walk down to mile 11, and then I’d finish near Baffins Pond and they’d walk down to see me, from afar), so I couldn’t back out now.

I’d dressed snuggly in two layers and my hat, gloves (and yes, shorts). Within two miles I realised I wasn’t warming up that much. Usually by half a mile I’m good but the wind was so icy and was tearing through my layers and stinging my legs. The wind was pushing from the side and I knew from the direction it was going it was going to be horrendous along the seafront.

I got to my three mile loo stop (my absolute saviour at the moment) and had a quick wee. No run can go without this anymore! I can pretty much manage up to four miles before it becomes impossible. Luckily all over Portsmouth there are some decent quality public toilets – especially in Southsea along the front. As I would in a race, I didn’t stop my watch.

Then I headed off through Old Portsmouth to then turn east towards the front. Ah jeeze. That icy wind was straight against me. It was AWFUL. Had I not been doing a race and had Kyle and my parents not been waiting at a certain spot, I honestly would have turned around and headed back home. I knew I had three miles along the front with this wind and it was soul destroying, not to mention freezing.

It was such a rubbish day. Normally if it’s windy or a bit overcast people still come and walk and spend time down the seafront but there was a sparsity of people on the prom, and those that were there looked miserable.

I just put my head down and counted down the 0.1 miles. Eventually I finally got to my next loo stop and thankfully turned the corner to head back north. The relief for both the loo and the wind to stop being full against me was incredible.

Now I was almost at 7 miles and knew it wouldn’t be such a slog to get to my parents. It was basically all north to them, so the wind was just be sideways on me not against me. But it was still cold. I just wasn’t warming up. It wasn’t even because of the pregnancy that this was hard, it was just an awful run because of the external conditions.

Finally I could see from about 0.5 miles away where my parents and Kyle would be. I could just make out their bodies. I felt immensely sorry for them. At least I was running so wasn’t absolutely freezing, whereas I knew them just standing there in the cold wind would be horrendous. I felt very bad indeed.

Eventually I got near enough to hear them shouting my name and cheering me on, like the absolute troopers they are. I could barely raise a smile to them though. I was cold to my core, so fed up and mentally drained. This was not the glorious celebratory run I’d hoped for.

I quickly told them I was changing my route as the one I’d planned  involved heading back to where I’d come from, and that was just utterly miserably in my mind. I wanted to keep moving to other areas and not head back to the hell I’d come from.

So I carried on running north until I roughly worked out if I turned back I could make the 13.1 mile distance if I just ran home. There was no way I wanted to be outside anymore. I wanted a hot shower, hot porridge and a cup of tea. I quickly rang Kyle and explained that was what I was doing. My parents could meet me there and we could chat from the front door. I felt bad but realistically it was no better than standing outside in Baffins Pond.

Happily they’d actually parked the car near to where they’d stood so they had been able to shelter in the car for warmth while I was running to them. So they drove back to our house (yes with Kyle masked up in the back of the car… it was just too cold to expect him to walk the mile back – at least both my parents had had the vaccine at this point).

I sped up on the final mile knowing I was heading home to warmth and shelter and then finally finished to them clapping me along the street which was lovely.

I ran 1:58:34 which I’m over the moon with, especially with two toilet stops. Under two hours was an unimportant goal I’d vaguely had in my mind so it was nice to achieve it. Long gone are the days of sub 1:40 or even sub 1:45 halves!

I’m really pleased I got the run done. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for and to be honest we were all feeling pretty rubbish afterwards. I felt terrible for my lovely supporters but they assured me it was fine and they were happy to see me achieve this milestone. To be honest, had I have known what the weather was going to be like in reality then I’d have changed the day. But it was what it was. It was certainly memorable!

And I got a medal! We had one made and I’ll be able to show our little man and say that I ran a very tough run to get this for him! And that’s something special to me at least.

Have you been running in the cold temperatures?

Have you been doing any virtual races?