21 Weeks Pregnant

Week 21 here we are.

I won’t lie, nothing much has greatly changed in the context of the pregnancy or my life because happily the pregnancy is going smoothly for now, and less happily because lockdown is life so exciting activities are somewhat limited.

That being said, the weather is on the change to spring-like feels and when the sun is out I am so much  happier! I definitely feels like this spring is a LONG TIME coming, you know? We had the darkness of Lockdown 3 over Christmas and then January and February basically being a bit poo, it’s like the weather is foreshadowing better times to come.

And I’m sure everyone is ready for them! Boris’ announcement this week has given us a bit more hope. We actually have DATES to look towards and plan to. Yes it might be months away before life returns to somewhat normality but we have a timeline now thank god!

I did have a little blip last week where at the start of the week I felt a bit meh. I figured it was lockdown fatigue but after my run  on Thursday morning I quickly went downhill and had to go back to bed. I just felt completely and utterly drained. I felt a little sick and just an overwhelming sense of tiredness. I had fears of first trimester-ness coming back with a vengeance. I took Thursday and Friday off from work and of course exercise and literally just spent it in bed with my iPad and a book.

It did me the world of good! By Friday evening (good planning eh!) I was feeling far more energised and alive (and ready for our usual takeaway, obviously) and by Saturday I was even well enough to go for a 10 mile run. Perhaps somewhat optimistically going that  distance I realise, but I went with the flow and it just felt good. The weather definitely helped and I came back with a spring in my step.

Usually I don’t get ill that often but I think this past couple of weeks the baby has had a bit of a growth spurt which has taken a lot of my energy and just knocked me for six. Running on Thursday morning clearly exacerbated things and my body said “nope!”. Being pregnant is hard and I’m not quite the machine (in my head) that I once used to be. But I was sensible and took the rest and then reverted back to Anna normality 😉

My hips have begun to ache a lot more and sometimes running can annoy this so I’m taking each run as it comes. Sometimes missing a usual run and doing a YouTube fitness video instead. I’ve become a lot more relaxed about this because I’m just happy to keep my body moving in a comfortable way that helps keep the baby and me strong.

I do feel like my bump has definitely “popped” more and I’m feeling less bloated and more like an actual pregnant person. With the weather warming up I was able to go for a walk with my coat unzipped and with less of a baggy huge jumper and felt like it was the first time the world had seen my bump. The world didn’t care, but every window I passed I was gawping at myself and my little tummy proudly sticking out. Finally!

Food-wise I’ve been all about chicken. I over did getting Indian takeaways (two a week!) and have now become obsessed with roast chicken, boiled veg and BBQ sauce. I either cook it myself or get it delivered (which is ultimately less faff and SO much tastier as whatever they put on it makes it taste incredible). It’s become a problem. But weirdly the thought of chicken wings and  KFC still are not doing it for me. These used to be my absolute favourite chicken takeaways!

And on a final note, our 20 week NHS scan and midwife appointment went really well! All healthy and happy and now I’m trying to read as much as I can about different bits and bobs to feel somewhat in control when the baby arrives. I have ages yet but it helps calm me a bit to feel I’m learning something ahead of time.

What’s your favourite takeaway?

Are you a good ill person? What’s your favourite way to recover?

5 Top Healthy Habits of a Highly Motivated Runner

Wow has it gotten cold in the UK, eh!? I’m still out running though and enjoying it. No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices 😉 Today I have a great article on some good tips for being a motivated runner. Enjoy!

If you are a runner looking to accomplish your goals and even go ahead to beat a personal record, then you must cultivate a few habits of successful runners.

All runners are always looking for ways to improve their running, no matter their level of expertise. This is why you will find most of them pushing themselves to the limit to avoid the risk of stalling. 

One of the many ways to maintain and accomplish your running goals is by adopting healthy habits. Below are some of the healthy habits shared by effective and motivated runners to help you build your running lifestyle. 

  1. Plan ahead

Are there times where you are left wondering what’s for lunch at the last minute, then you end up eating high-calorie foods that are bad for your health? That too applies to running.

Ensure that you schedule your runs in advance and run them as unmovable appointments. This helps to ensure that you stick to your timetable. So, as the week begins, take your calendar, schedule all your week runs. Also, make meal plans ahead of time and set aside time for cooking.

  1. Become a morning runner

Most people don’t have enough time to keep a running routine for a long while still juggling between work and other responsibilities. However, there is a solution, which is to start running in the morning.

According to the U.S& World Report News, running in the morning has a lot of benefits, including the satisfactory feeling that your run is out of the way before life gets in. it also ensures that the runner enjoys long-term results, improved productivity as well as boosted metabolism.

  1. Strength train regularly

Some runners, especially beginners, are hesitant to start due to the myth that it will make them bulky and slower. But this is not the case; strength training is actually enjoyable and makes you an effective runner. 

Strength training is a physical activity meant to improve the runners’ muscles by exercising a certain muscle against external resistance. The benefits of this activity include increased running efficiency, improved endurance to help your body deal better with the stress of running, and much more.

  1. Hydrate and eat more vegetables

For runners, the food you consume is much more than just a meal because it acts like fuel.

What you eat or drink is very important, and therefore you are advised to check how you eat and make those healthy changes. Also, ensure that you carry a hydration pack for hiking as it is designed to transport water and make drinking more convenient when running.

  1. Stay consistent

To improve in running, you need to stay consistent. Do not take a week’s time off if you don’t have an injury.

Staying consistent involves creating exercises and diet plans and making sure you stick to the schedules.

Conclusion

Running on a daily basis and having healthy meals doesn’t have to feel like a punishment. In fact, they should be the motivation to make you a faster and effective runner.

Are you a morning runner?

Do you strength train to help your running?

First trimester to second – how I feel, running and food

I’m quite comfortably in the second trimester of my pregnancy now at 18 weeks and enjoying life.

So far I think I’ve put on about 3-4lbs – I’m assuming it’s going to increase quite quickly at some point!

Comparative to the first trimester, it’s an utter breeze. No constant feelings of nausea, no feeling like I was limited in what I could eat for fear of it turning my stomach or being too much. While I still can’t eat certain foods (apples, shockingly, can you even believe? Along with ice cream, hot chocolate and chicken wings), I can pretty much eat most things and eat far bigger portions than I was able.

Porridge thankfully doesn’t make me feel sick anymore and I’m gradually increasing my portion size little by little. Pre-pregnancy I would have a giant bowl, but then I had to half that bowl to a teeny tiny portion and now it’s about 3/4 of the way there again, hurrah!

My chocolate eating, however, has become quite something. I eat it every single day. Now previously I would of course eat chocolate regularly but this is literally every night.

I just love having a black decaf coffee a few lines of the Cadbury’s Mini Egg Bars (you must try if you haven’t) or Tony’s Chocolonely or Toblerone. Basically anything. We have a lot of chocolate in the house and every single night I’ll be getting some.

I’m not worried because it’s not like I’m eating an entire bar every single night (though some nights I do get close!) but to me it’s balance. We have nice balanced meals most days and if I eat a lot of chocolate one evening, I’ll make sure to eat more vegetables and less chocolate the next day.

My energy levels are so much better too. During the first trimester I was exhausted ALL the time. I had to take 30-60 minute naps in the afternoon to get through the day (thank god for WFH!). If I ran I would be totally drained for the rest of the day. My standing desk became my sitting desk and doing my usual strength workouts became very hard. Following along to YouTube workouts was tough as I felt so unfit.

To be honest I thought this was only going to get worse. However happily it has not. I no longer need naps, running and working out feel normal again and I get through the day without feeling like I’m walking through treacle. It’s crazy how things change so quickly.

In terms of my running, I’m still slower than pre-pregnancy, of course, but I have some mornings where I feel more energised  and zippy than usual and can be around 8:15-8:30 paces.

But then there are other runs where I’m nice and comfortable just going along at 8:50-9 min miles.

Running, despite being slower, doesn’t feel vastly different to how it used to. I do feel a pressure and slight weight in my lower tummy and this will often result in my needing to stop  a number of times to go for a wee during my longer runs. But I don’t feel any discomfort or pains when I run, or afterwards (otherwise I’d stop).

I did have a minor blip recently where my left of hip started to bug me. It felt like a niggle I’d had before so I didn’t think it was pregnancy related. But perhaps due to all the changes in my body and hormones it was exacerbated? Who knows. I was sensible though and rested it for about 6 days. Instead I did YouTube workouts instead and rehabbed my hip with squats, lunges and glute work. I found these definitely helped.

Now the hip issue has gone and I’m back to my usual runs. While I’m so glad it cleared up quickly and it wasn’t a long-term thing (touch wood) it did give me The Fear a bit. I really want to maintain my running as best as I can during this pregnancy. Now of course, as I keep saying, I know my paces will drop further and I will eventually be running less but I do want to continue to run every week as much as my body will allow. So far 30 miles a week with a 10-13 mile long run at the weekend is working perfectly. I adore my running at the moment, especially with lockdown. It’s such mental refresher and a way I derive great happiness in this worrying and admittedly rather boring time.

This is why when I started to get a niggle I was quick to react and take some time off. I’m  happy to take a number of days off rather than weeks off because weeks are big in this pregnancy journey. Lots is changing and I don’t want to suddenly try running again after a lot of time off and realise my body is just not able to anymore.

I know that might be a silly way to look at it and factually not accurate at all but it definitely encouraged me to be far more sensible than I’ve ever been. Normally I’d have pushed through the runs regardless, but I stopped straight away even though it wasn’t painful per se, just a bit niggly. Pain is usually what stops me. However I nipped it in the bud before it even got there, whew! A lesson for future non-pregnant Anna I think…

Did you run through your pregnancy (if you’re female and had children!)?

Do you like to snack in the evening?

What food would you hate to not be able to eat anymore?

Just keep swimming… or running

I realise my blog has suddenly become quite pregnancy focused. Somewhat understandable as that’s what’s currently going on right now for me, and let’s be honest there’s not much else happening anyway!

I’m now a couple of days away from 15 weeks and feeling miles better than I was during the first trimester.

Some days I get a little bit of random nausea early in the morning but mostly I’m out of the woods. Just general tiredness really. And other than the increasing size of my boobs, I pretty much look the same as before. I don’t currently have a noticeable bump. If I eat a lot in the evening (like when we get a takeaway at the weekend) it definitely pops out more, but I’m guessing this is mostly bloating and the food I’ve just eaten. By morning I’m back to “normal”.

Other than my pregnancy, Kyle and I are just pootling along through Lockdown 3.0… WFH during the week, Facetiming family and friends and then getting a takeaway or two at the weekend to keep us from going mad.

Last weekend was nice as my friend Mark was able to join me for a 10k run on Saturday morning. It was just so nice to run with someone else! I did used to run with Kyle at least once a week but he’s struggling a little with motivation (no races, no parkrun) and doesn’t particularly want to get up early in the week like I do. For me, if I don’t run in the morning I’d really struggle to go later as my motivation just dips completely.

So anyway Mark and I were able to run together and it just reminded me how easy running feels when you’re chatting away with someone. Hopefully we’ll do it again soon. He’s coming back from injury so my pregnancy pace was luckily not too slow for him! (He’s quite zippy normally).

I’m trying not to think too much about the coming months if I’m honest. Kyle and I deliberately didn’t take any holiday other than the Bank Holidays over Christmas so we could carry more holiday over to this year. The plan being that we could go on a little “baby moon” (hate that phrase) before the baby arrives.

We have to take this holiday though before the end of March and I’m panicking we won’t be able to go anywhere because we’ll still be locked down. Obviously I don’t expect us to go anywhere abroad, but I’d love to go somewhere other than Portsmouth right now! A little AirBnb, some walks, some time together just the two of us.

I’d dread that we’d have to take the holiday and be sat inside our house. I would go mad. And I don’t really want to take any holiday after March for the 2021 allocation because this is going to help boost my maternity leave pay. Argh. But it’ll be what it’ll be.

So we just work weekend to weekend and try to find little things to keep us going. Like ordering doughnuts from the local bakery. Or trying new takeaways near us.

Delicious cake from The Parade Tearooms

Or going for walks down to Southsea and getting takeaway coffees and cake.

Anything to just keep it from feeling too much like Groundhog Day.

How are you doing?

Are you planning any holidays this year?

First trimester – running and how I’ve felt

In general I think I can say I had a good first trimester.

The worst part was, by far, the nausea. At the beginning, from about five weeks to eight weeks, I felt incredibly sick. The nausea would start as soon as I woke up (or even waking me up from 4am) and then continue throughout the day until the late afternoon. I found it very hard and I’ll admit I ended up in tears a number of times, saying to Kyle I wished I could be put in a coma until the second trimester.

I wasn’t actually sick but I wonder if I had have been that would have been better. I wanted to be sick and was close a few times but it never happened. There were foods I had to immediately cut out. Foods I had been eating for YEARS suddenly became trigger foods to intense nausea.

Now eating became purely functional, which was really sad for me. I’m the kind of person who enjoys my food, looks forward to every meal and enjoys eating big meals. But suddenly that disappeared. All my usual food loves vanished. The thought of porridge made me feel so sick. At first I tried to continue to eat it and I’d just feel a bit queasy afterwards. But then quickly I couldn’t even be near it. I had to switch to a very bland scrambled egg in a warmed pitta bread.

Food was no longer about tasting good or bringing enjoyment, but about filling me up just enough. Not too much because if I ate just slightly too much (not even too much for me as I can eat A LOT, but too much like slightly past the point of just hitting satiety) I would feel rubbish for hours afterwards. Because feeling rubbish was so bad and mentally draining I just avoided anything that wasn’t plain, carby and easy to digest. It wasn’t worth trying to see if I could risk it.

The 1st thing I’d eat in a morning

I stopped eating my salads at lunch time (salads I’d been eating since I started working over 10 years ago). Vegetables quickly disappeared from my diet unless they were hidden away. Gone were the days I’d pile up the plate with broccoli and cauliflower. Nope. I remember watching Kyle eating a Dominoes – which is something I’d never eat as I’m not a takeaway pizza fan – and have such a strong desire for it. Dominoes suddenly became a staple Friday night meal.

I quickly learnt how to navigate through the day – keeping my foods simple and eating small portions spaced out. I started to get some weird cravings as well. I watched a scene on the Crown where the queen ate a Greek salad and I suddenly couldn’t think of anything else but large chunks of cucumber, olives, feta and tomatoes.

And things like cheesy chips, Wotsits, Doritos and tangy Haribo’s occupied my thoughts regularly. I couldn’t get enough. But things like ice cream, cups of tea or coffee, my usual favourite crisps and evening hot chocolate quickly disappeared.

Other symptoms were spots (delightful) and incredible feelings of tiredness. I started ot regularly have a 20-30min afternoon nap as my energy just dipped so much. Other than that, I can’t say I suffered from much else thankfully!

In terms of my running, it was incredible how quickly pregnancy affected it. Like the night before I found out I was pregnant my run was terrible. I was running going “why does this feel so hard and yet I’m not even pushing the pace?”. It was another reason I thought I was coming down with something or that my iron levels were low. I literally went from running 8min/miles nice and easy to finding 8.30s to be like sprinting. But I was just happy to still be able to run. And as soon as I realised the reason for my runs feeling hard was because I was pregnant, it became a lot easier mentally.

I also found running an escape from the nausea. It was nice to be outside with the fresh air. Amazingly I’ve managed to keep my mileage around 30 miles per week but take each run as it comes. I literally don’t care about pace anymore. I just want to be able to continue running for as long as I can. If that means going a lot slower – that’s fine! But of course I’ll listen to my body and if anything feels off or wrong, I’ll stop. And I have no ego about maintaining my mileage or speed. I’m fully prepared for everything to decrease (or potentially stop) the further along I go through this pregnancy. But so far so good!

I still love my long weekend run, but it’s not at a max of 13 miles. And sometimes I feel absolutely great afterwards and sometimes I feel utterly drained. But on the whole, I believe running is good for me and I’ve had no ill effects from it (other than the tiredness occasionally). But as my boobs become bigger I have had to buy some new bigger sports bra as the friction and tightness can cause a lot of issues!

I’m now comfortably in the second trimester at almost 14 weeks (we are week ahead of what we thought after having our NHs scan!) and I feel pretty good in general. Running is a bit easier as I have more energy. Nausea rarely crops up unless I eat something a bit off (apples are very hit and miss sadly). As I said, I’ll continue working out and running while it feels comfortable and I have no issues. I’ll take each day as it comes, with no goals or targets (i.e. pressure) in mind.

Do you have any goals for 2021?

Did you run through your pregnancy?

If you were pregnant, how did you find the first trimester?