Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Foggy Brain and Fatness

I had planned to write about fatness today, but I feel I must first address my newest “symptom” of Foggy Brain (Cerebrus foggitis).

So I’m supposed to be taking an old KnowledgeBase article at work and revising it to meet new IRS standards. I stare at one article. I stare at the new standards. Something doesn’t connect. It can’t be the fatigue. I just know it isn’t the fatigue. It’s something much more sinister. Is cerebrus foggitis a known symptom of first-trimester pregnancy? I don’t know. But I’ve been informed that I’m allowed to blame every little thing on pregnancy for the next seven and a half months, so there you go.

Now, about fatness. Pregnancy makes women fat. I know that. I’m OK with that. As a former fat person who lost weight the old-fashioned way (exercise and healthy eating) and has kept it off for almost twenty years, I’m not worried about being able to lose my pregnancy pounds after Scout is born. I know I’ll get fat because I need to get fat, and that’s fine. I’ll start running again when I can, and a year or so of running should have me looking like myself again.

But I really want to keep up with my running for as long as I can during this pregnancy. Sure, running makes me skinny, but that’s not why I want to keep up with it. I want to keep running because I feel so much better when I’m running regularly—better than if I’m walking regularly, or lifting weights, or attending aerobics classes, or doing Stairmaster or the elliptical machine. There is something about the endorphins that accompany regular running. I need them.

Last night I went to the gym to run. I felt exhausted from the NyQuil effect of pregnancy, but I knew I needed to run. I got on the treadmill and ran most of my five miles at around an 11:00 pace (about 5.5 mph). That’s significantly slower than I would usually run. But it’s what I can manage right now. I sped up to a 6-mph pace for a mile, but I got too tired, so I walked for a minute, then went back to about 5.6 mph.

“Listen to your body.” That’s what my doctor and the midwife both said. Their words of advice regarding the half-marathon were wildly divergent (“Don’t do it!” “You should be OK, if you feel up to it.”); the one thing they did agree on was that I should listen to my body. So that’s what I’m doing.

I’m also slowing down after each mile to walk for 30-45 seconds, even if I don’t feel like I need to. That helps with endurance.

After I finished the run, I felt better than I had all day. Running just helps.

I’m going to continue to run between 15-25 miles per week for as long as I feel up to it. I’ll also do some strength training and core work. I’m not trying to stay thin. I’m just trying to stay healthy.

I think Scout would appreciate that.

I'm also planning to make sure I get about 2,000 calories per day, plus 100 calories for each mile I plan to run that day. That will be a challenge, since I generally eat about 1,400 calories a day. But now that I'm eating for 1.001, that needs to change.

Amazing how 0.001 humans in one's belly can require so many calories.

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