Saturday, May 30, 2009

300 extra calories?!

The concept of the extra calories during pregnancy has been in my head a bit more this week. Earlier this week I received a newsletter for expectant moms reminding me that the perk of being pregnant is the 300 extra calories I get to eat every day.

This type of email bugs me a bit. Over the past few months I've done some searching of information about pregnancy and nutrition. Although there are some good sources out there it seems there are more places that merely mention this magical number of extra calories you deserve or get as a reward for being pregnant. It bothers me that many women might not give it much more thought and may just see that number and run with it, or eat with it in this case.

I've noticed a few things for myself that I feel are worth mentioning. Keep in mind, this is what I've noticed and it probably won't hold true for everyone.

First, what's the deal with the 300 calories?

Basically, that's the number of calories your baby needs to grow.

Second, is there something we should know about the breakdown of those 300 calories?

All calories are not equal (this goes without being said) but there are certain things pregnant moms need more of; folate, calcium, and iron. The folate usually comes from prenatal vitamins but the calcium and iron come from the foods you choice to eat. Personally, I have noticed I feel hungry on days when I haven't had extra protein early in the day. Which brings me to the next question...

Third, are you really eating for two people?

Heck, if I were only eating 300 calories a day I'd be dead by now. I laugh whenever I hear the phrase, "Eating for two." If I were eating for two of me I would probably gain 80lbs and be on bed rest for the next 4 months. I'm eating for a baby and a mom who isn't working out as much as before.

In January and February I was very hungry, a lot. There were a couple of nights when I ate 1/2 a pizza at dinner. But, during those 2 months I was working out about 4 hrs more per week and had a lot more intensity. Overall, I'm eating about the same as I did before. This might make some wonder if I'm eating enough but I tend to think I am. My baby is growing up well and I've been feeling relatively strong too. Keep in mind, with 3-4 hrs less working out per week and less intensity I'm sure my body is using less calories than it is when I am actually training for an Ironman.

Fourth, do we really need those 300 calories?

As I just mentioned, I am most likely using less calories per day than I was last summer. So maybe every pregnant lady needs to sit down and ask her self a few things before the arbitrarily extra calories... Was I getting more calories than I needed before? Have I cut back any activity since I became pregnant? Are there certain foods I should be including in those extra calories?

*** On a side note, Michael just walked in the door, as I am writing this. He went flying to Llano today to get some BBQ. He told me to close my eyes because he had a present for me. I had already seen a box in his hands and replied, "Michael, I know I've been eating more beef but I really didn't want a box of BBQ."

"Are your eyes still closed?" He walked over and opened the box.

"Oh my Gosh, you brought me an apple pie." :)

Time to hop off the soapbox! (I have pie)

Even if I don't need those extra calories I can still say I am quite excited to get some pie. After all, I too want to have a little treat too myself while I am pregnant.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Can you still see my abs?

During my 2nd semester of my senior year in college, my friend Carmen and I took weight lifting together. We had more than met our requirements for graduation so we decided it might be fun to overload our schedule a bit with some fun stuff, we also took a drafting class.

While we were weight lifting Carmen told me that her goal was to get enough abs to see the line down the center of her belly. I don't know that I ever got to that point my senior year but I've never forgotten that comment, it is my measure of being fit or unfit.

Carmen and I are now both pregnant for the first time, she's about 8 weeks ahead of me. It's funny how many of my friends from college are also pregnant right now... although I have a feeling I'm the only one of us who's wondering if her abs have disappeared yet.

The picture above was taken yesterday morning. I'm pretty sure the line is gone from the center of my belly. I'm also pretty sure there are plenty of people out there who don't think I look 22 1/2 weeks pregnant.

Therefore, Michael asked me to show off my pregnant belly look (see picture 2). Before I got pregnant I used to buff out my stomach real far whenever I was full and joke about eating too much. Michael asked me to do that again yesterday morning. Here's the result...

I'm pretty sure most people would agree I look pregnant in that picture. Of course, I'm sure my belly will stick out a lot farther in a few months but that's about all I can do right now. You'll just have to keep checking back to see how big is actually becomes.

Okay... enough of the goofing around. Here's what it looks like when I am not trying to buff it out. Do I look pregnant yet?

Today I had a friend point out something very useful. She reminded me that being told I look chubby and not pregnant is not so bad. After all, I'm still working out and my baby is healthy. She's correct, I'm very appreciative that Baby G is doing well!

Stomach Measurements

On Tues I had another doctor's appointment. Michael didn't go to this one, we'd been told last time that this appointment would be relatively uneventful. It was as promised, the biggest activity was measuring Baby G's heart rate (about 140 bpm right now) and measuring my stomach. I found this to be mildly amusing... yes, my stomach is actually getting bigger, what a surprise.

Since I feel as if my stomach is getting big, I decided it was time for the MG vs MG comparison measurement. I keep telling Michael my stomach is bigger than his and he tells me it's not even close. So we grabbed a measuring device (ie serial cable) to com pair our stomach girth at the belly button. Nope... I was not even close. Guess Michael was correct, I'm not huge yet.

We also took some new pictures of my stomach growth progress. I'll post those up tonight or tomorrow, when I'm at my house computer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Maturnity Clothes

After my doctor appointment today I ventured over to the maternity store to see what they had. Yesterday I was told, "You don't look pregnant, you just look chubby." I did not really know how to take that but thought it might be time to actually buy something that fits around my belly instead of just wearing loose clothing. A few weeks ago I joked with a few people that I was going to find a shirt that said, "I'm not fat, my baby is." The comment yesterday made me curious if such a thing exists.

Apparently there are some close ones; the shirt in this picture and another one I saw that read "Mommy... and me" Maybe that would stop people from saying they don't believe I'm pregnant. Or maybe not, the lady in the store even looked at me and asked, "You're pregnant? Are you past 3 months yet?" Good grief!

Of course, I'm sure the day will come very soon when my brother jumps for joy as my belly sticks out farther than his. He keeps telling me I'm going to get huge. He happened to call my cell as I was in the dressing room to try a couple of shirts on. I told him there was a round pillow in the dressing room to Velcro around your belly. Of course, I tested it out and looked at myself in horror, how in the world could my belly possibly get that big in another 4 months. If that happens I will be huge!

Turtle Outswims the speedy male ITU guys

The blurry turtle in this picture was spotted swimming in Lady Bird Lake (aka Town Lake) about 30s before the ITU men were flying through the water next to his location. Good news for the turtle, he'd already dove deep into the water before the washing machine of speedy guys passed by.

I'm pretty sure this turtle is a stronger swimmer than I am. Good thing nobody challenged me to race the turtle, that might have been embarrassing, especially since the turtle has never been taught how to swim. Just for the record, I think I could have taken him with my paddles and pull bouy.

Yesterday was the first time Austin has hosted and ITU triathlon. Michael watched the race from his position in transition and I did my best to run around the course cheering for the few people I knew.

Among this small group was our homestay for weekend, Andrew McCartney, from Victoria Canada. Michael and I had the pleasure of hosting Andrew this past week and were impressed with his overall character and easy going nature. Keep your eye out for him over the next few years and be sure to root for him if you ever see him at a race, he is a genuine person and has a solid head on his shoulders.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I just walked into the door from a run that did not go as planned. After 1 mile of struggling with exhausted legs and tough breathing I stalled, contemplating the usefulness of the run. I turned another direction and walked 3 miles instead.

As I wondered around the neighborhood I had some time to clear my head and convince myself I am not weak. This actually took quite some effort to do, after all I'd just given up after running less than a mile. I can try again tomorrow but what will happen in 2 or 3 months when it is hotter and my belly is larger? What if I start to quit more often or stop running all together? This might seem humorous to others but to me this fear is a logical one.

After all, I am surrounded by people who tend to push themselves to their limits all the time, physically and mentally. I don't want to feel that I am using pregnancy as an excuse to be soft. Part of me wants to believe that it won't be my limiter, that I'll be able to disprove all the people who tell me I'm going to get huge, stop running, or loose the energy I used to have.

Yesterday morning I watched Unbreakable while I was on the trainer. There is one scene when Bruce Willis is loading up the bench press with as much weight as he can find, to test his physical limits.

To a certain extent I believe there are a lot of us doing the same thing, in our own way. For some the test occurs at work. Others try to fit in an endless amount of activities or try to balance an active social life. Athletes will try to push their bodies harder and farther.

The question then becomes, will you realize your limits before you actually break?

Although I cut the run off and walked home, I was still doing something. I stopped early enough to give my body some rest and leave the option open to head out tomorrow morning and see if I'm feeling good. Maybe learning to adjust is more valuable than trying to see what it takes to completely run myself and baby G into the ground... hopefully that is the case because it's the argument I've used to justify today's 'workout'.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Spectating Must Haves

As I look forward to a season of spectating and volunteering at races it's time to mention some of those must have items. Magazines run these type of filler articles all the time, is it wrong to do that on your blog?

The picture in this post was taken at the Splash & Dash on Tues night. For those of you who aren't from Austin, you can learn more about this popular Austin event at BTW, don't forget to sign up early for June because the event is getting pretty popular.

Michelle L and I are showing you a few things you'll need to spectate and volunteer at your next event.

First, you'll need some hydration; water bottle, can of soda, or whatever you can get a hold of. Since I'm pregnant I've decided to carry about 80 mL around with me to all events. (BTW, I'll have this with me to watch the Cap TX Tri on Monday).

Next, you'll want something to protect your eyes from the sun. Hats, visors, and sunglasses are good for that.

Keeping cool is also a necessity, Michelle and I both opted for some dryfit shirts. Note, mine is currently hanging from my Camelpak since I've decided to show off my huge belly.

Which brings me to the last essential of spectating, sunblock. Michelle L is showing off the built-in type of sunblock, dark skin. For those of you who happen to be unlucky enough to have pale skin and grow up in areas with 300 days of overcast per year, I'd recommend SPF 40+ for every occasion. Without the correct skin protection you might end up looking like Magda by the end of the summer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What happened to your arm?

After work on Thursday night I got ready for my 'run.' I'll be honest, I had already cashed it in before I began. I had been exhausted that morning and my legs felt dead. I knew there was a good chance I'd bag the run and go for a walk instead. It took all of 2min on the move before that decision was finalized.

As I was walking around Lady Bird Lake (aka Town Lake) I passed a lot of bat watches and runners. On my way back I saw a couple walking up ahead, they'd been sitting on the lawn about 1/4 back when I first saw them.

"You walk a lot! We saw you walking way back there." The girl shouted down the path. I thought this was a bit odd, they'd seen me cover about 1/2 mile total. I would hardly call that a lot but I might not be normal, who knows.

"Actually, I was supposed to be running," was my response.

As she got closer she had time to give me a full inspection, "Wow, what happened to your arm?" She was questioning my birthmark. This was not the first time I've ever been asked about it. I used to get asked so many questions as a kid that I refused to ever wear anything without sleeves until I was dating Michael. The question itself isn't what threw me off, it was the shock she had about this messily red spot but did not give a second thought to the size of my belly.

Oh well, guess I'll just keep waiting for the day when someone asks me if I am pregnant who does not already know the answer.

To make up for my failed run on Thursday night, I ran my familiar 'Park Loop' on Friday morning. It was slower than I'd been on Tues but still respectable. I've run the Park Loop hundreds of times since I've moved to Austin and have time ranges for what I consider to be great, good, satisfactory, and bad. Thus far all of my pregnancy runs had remained in the good range although Friday morning was dangerously close to satisfactory.

Funny thing happened this weekend, after being tired all week I decided to take Sat off from working out and do a brick on Sunday. After hopping off the trainer at 2hr ran a park loop. It was mid 60's when I left and it felt amazing! When I got home I looked at my watch in shock, I'd just run the loop in my 2nd fastest time ever.

I have no clue how I pulled that off but it certainly made my day. After all, I am still the same Michelle who will always want to be smarter, faster, and stronger than the Michelle of the day before. Good thing I don't care if I'm lighter than Michelle of the day before ;)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

2 Engineering Degrees = 3 Dr. Suess Books

Last month Michael told me we'd paid off one of my school loans... that was not the last. After a couple of Engineering degrees from Carnegie Mellon we'd built up quite a bit of school loan debt.

We also spent quite a lot of text books. It's always a bit amazing when you go ring up a semester of books and realize you just spent $500 on a set of used books.

Michael and I have been holding onto almost all of our books for years. Today we decided it was time to get rid of them, to make some space for Baby G. After all, she's probably not going to be too interested in them for a few years.

So we piled our text books and a number of other books into the car and drove them over to Half Price books. As I waited for our 'offer' I went over to look for some books to read to Baby G.

After about 30 min we were called to the front to get our offer of $65. It was almost depressing to think how thousands of dollars and many hours in the library had just turned into a few kids books.

Michael joked, "I wonder how much you could sell your diploma for?"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

That's Huge!

Michael's sister and her boyfriend come to visit for the weekend. They brought us a couple of gifts for Baby G, a sleeper and a new born sized onsie.

As you can see, I was a little concerned when I held the onsie up to my stomach; it's huge! I can't possibly fathom how quickly my stomach will be growing over the next 4 months to reach a size that's large enough to fit a stuffed onsie inside me.

Michael tried to reassure me, "Don't worry, the diaper will fill up half the Onsie."

That does make it sound a bit better but still has me a bit concerned. After all my brain still has the part that thinks like an enginerd and knows there will be a severe bottle neck during the process of birth. Unfortunately my body happens to contain the piping system which Baby G will travel through, eek!

Speaking of diapers, I registered for Austin Diaper Delivery yesterday through the Austin Baby gift registry: We know a few other families that have done this, it's a great idea. Austin Baby delivers a batch of cloth diapers every week and picks up the soiled ones.

It's great because you can have a few months of getting used to the cloth diapers without all the cleanup. Once you've got things figured out you can buy your own cloth diapers and wash them yourself. Less diapers into the landfill and a bit of help while we're getting used to Baby G, sounds like a great plan to me :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Apple Pie

For my entire life, apple pie has been one of my favorite deserts (dark chocolate beats it out). My grandmother and mother make great apple pie and I miss it quite a bit. One of the perks about doing IM Lake Placid is my mom lives a few hours away so she comes to watch the race and bakes me a pie while I'm out on the run. There is nothing quite as wonderful as getting a huge piece of warm apple pie after finishing a day of racing.

They'd share the recipe with me but for some reason I just don't want to know the recipe, sometimes ignorance is bliss. My brother knows the recipe, he made his first pie at Thanksgiving. He did a great job for his first time and I'm waiting to taste the second iteration.

This waiting has turned into a pit of a joke, or maybe I should call it a quest. For some reason a nice piece of home made apple pie seems almost impossible to find in Austin. I have been wanting a piece for weeks, this single pregnancy craving has turned into a story.

Michael's sister and boyfriend are in town for the weekend (she'll be doing the Rookie on Sunday). After dinner I proposed the idea of looking for a piece of pie. On Tues I was told to find Frisco, they might have pie.

Michael pulled out the trustee Iphone and looked up the address on Burnet. We drove over and after a few loops decided the place was no longer there. Instead we settled for a visit to Hey Cupcake, after all it's supposedly a hot spot in Austin. Honestly, it was a huge disappointment, cupcakes are not apple pie!

So... I am still waiting... hoping that I will manage to find a piece of apple pie in the next 20 weeks. After all, every pregnant lady deserves to have one craving, right?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Half Way

I'm at the half way point in my pregnancy. Above are a couple of pictures Michael took this morning.

Over the past few weeks I've had quite a few people comment that I don't look pregnant. Honestly, I don't know what to think about this type of statement. I've gained about 10 lbs and I can certainly see it so it almost makes me feel worse that people say I look that same. Heck, that's a huge % of my body weight. But then again, I know plenty of people who were frustrated by the opposite type of comments when they were pregnant. People assuming someone was much farther along b/c they look big.

Today I was talking to a friend who's had 2 children. She said she popped out a lot quicker with the second one, I've heard that a lot. We decided there's nothing you can really say to a pregnant lady about her size. No matter what, it is likely to come out incorrectly. But then again, if you don't say anything it's also bad b/c the pregnant lady wonders why nobody comments on her big belly, do they just think I'm getting fat?

I've started to count the number of times I hear a 'you don't look pregnant' type comment in a day. Today was 4x, not too shabby. I have a feeling I might hear it a few more times on Sunday. It will be the inevitable response when people ask me why I'm not racing and I tell them I'm pregnant (update on the Rookie Comment Count to follow at a later date).

Since there is apparently no correct thing to say, I've come up with the correct thing to say to me, "Wow Michelle, you're the fittest looking pregnant girl I've seen all day." In most cases I'm sure this would be a true statement ;)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wanting to race

At some point in our lives we all encounter something we want to do which we are told we can not do. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don't. I had a friend who said his belief was something along the lines of doing what he wanted and asking for forgiveness later. Of course, this mindset could get you in a lot of trouble if you don't have a sense of right and wrong.

A month ago my doctor told me she did not want me to ride my bike on the road past 14 weeks of pregnancy. That rule is a personal one from the doctor but I'm sure we can all understand the safety concerns behind her rule. But, she did agree to give me some leeway to race at Galveston, so long as I stopped after that. When I returned from Galveston I removed my race wheels and put on my trainer wheels. My bike has been set up in the middle of the kitchen ever since.

For the most part this has not bothered me. Michael set up a computer so I can watch movies or listen to music. I can go to the bathroom whenever I want, I can grab food whenever I want, and I don't even have to pull over to the side of the road to answer the phone. I've got plenty of intervals written into my workouts to keep me from getting bored.

Trouble is, all this trainer riding has made me curious. How is my fitness? Am I get stronger by riding the trainer all the time? Plus, my running has not slowed down too much and my body seems to be feeling somewhat normal. So naturally, I want to go race, that's what I like to do.

The Rookie is on Sunday, I am registered. I'd assumed it was going to be my last race of the season. I was planning to race against Michael and see how hard it would be to drop him when I'm 20 weeks pregnant. But my doctor's rules were different than some other people have been told so I'm up a creek.

Even though it's not what I want to do, I'm actually going to listen to authority and leave my bike at home. After all, it is only a race and baby G would not be too happy with me if something happened when I was breaking the rules.

I will be in transition though, I'm taking over Michael's usual job as transition coordinator. This makes me feel better b/c I can convince myself I'm doing something to allow Michael the ability to race.

That brings me to my next point... If I can't race, I think Michael should. So if you see him, encourage him to keep up the training b/c he's got a lot more racing this season if he's going to take over where I left off.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Control Systems

Those of you who went to college with me might have a keen memory of control systems but that's not really what this discussion is about. Instead of tossing out a lot of ramble of feedback and feed forward data I wanted to talk about something I've found a lot of interest in, my body's inherent control systems.

I have a bad habit of paying a lot of attention to what my body is doing. I say it's a bad habit b/c I probably know too much about my weight fluctuations during the day and throughout the week. I pay so much attention to these fluctuations that Michael has actually hidden the scale from me in the past so I will forget about it for a while.

There are a few other observations about myself which I've become someone interested in, one of them is temperature control. A while back I began to notice some of the ways my body worked to control my core temperature as well as my temperature at certain locations of my body. After long rides I can be covered in sweat and bright red in the face yet my saddle has distinct areas which are always cold. Each of us has this inherent temperature control built in, the body knows which organs need to be kept at a certain temperature and regulates blood flow accordingly.

So why is this interesting now? I've noticed a new effect recently; when I finish a workout my belly is chilly. My shoulders might be bright red and I might have a pool of sweat below my bike but my belly is cold. I've heard a lot of warnings about not overheating while pregnant b/c the kiddo will warm up even more but I can't help to wonder, is that all as bad as everyone says or does my body seem to have an inherent understanding to keep that area cool?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I could eat a cow... well maybe not an entire cow...

When I was in college I joined the meal plan at Michael's fraternity for a couple of years. Since he was on the meal plan and we ate together every day it was the most logical thing to do. Trouble is, I have never been a big fan of food prepared for a mass of people, especially when that mass of people is on a budget. The net result is usually low quality, greasy food with all the nutrients cooked out (if they had any to begin with). Lucky for me, there was a solution: The Curtis Vegetarian.

Curtis was the cook for the fraternity while we were in school. He was a great guy, always friendly to the people who were honest with him. He made a real effort to keep people happy when he could which worked out well for me. It became a little confusing when I tried to tell him which meat I would and would not eat. So we decided it was easier to just tell him I was vegetarian. It worked out perfectly; he cooked a huge mass of food for the guys and made a single size portion of something completely different for me. He even learned to tell Michael what dinner was ahead of time, to see if he might want the mass meal or mine too. It didn't hurt that Michael was the finance chair and wrote Curtis's paycheck. Yes, I was spoiled but I made an effort to always express my gratitude for my extra attention.

It's been over a decade but I'd still consider myself a Curtis vegetarian, I am rather picky about the meat I eat and often choose vegetarian options for that reason. But that has changed a bit since I've been pregnant, I've discovered new items such as the beef cuts which are good for stew or stir fry. I haven't had any chicken in months, and I've been careful about my fish but I've been eating beef and lamb whenever I get the chance. (Still no pig though, that won't change).

So I've spent a couple of months eating all cow parts, without much concern where they came from. Okay, that might be a bit of a lie... we watched Herald and Kumar go to White Castle last night and that pile of sliders did not look good. As of yet, I still haven't caved and eaten any burgers from Jack in the Box.

I have recently discovered my inability to eat the entire cow at once. It appears the rumors about getting filled quickly are true. This new physical limitation is quite troublesome for a person who's eyes are bigger than their stomach. In the past it's been very rare for me to leave food on my plate unless it tastes horrible. Lately I've had a bit more trouble polishing off the American sized portions.

Of course, I must admit I get rather amused while watching my stomach grow before my eyes as I'm eating a meal. The down side is how long I feel Thanksgiving Day Stuffed. On Thursday night I ate a normal portion of pasta and was still stuffed when I woke up on Friday. Kind of reminds me of some drunk who passed their limits one night and woke up the next morning still tipsy from the night before and didn't reach their hang over until lunch.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Challenge

My mother has told me that at a young age I always knew what I wanted to accomplish and made sure it would happen. Apparently I insisted on using a real cup at a young age and proclaimed my independence on my 2nd birthday. Basically I was done wearing diapers and letting her pick out my clothes. I know there are many people out there who don't really appreciate my lack of fashion but since I haven't cared yet, I don't know if I ever will.

Clothing choices aren't the reason for this blog post, it was more to do with the challenges I'm starting to realize. Although I have failed before a number of times there have only been a few times in my life when I've felt my efforts are yielding very little improvement. There were a couple of classes in college like that (no other details will be told on this topic) and there have been a few times when I haven't been able to accomplish some physical task I want to achieve. The knack for swimming is one of those instances.

I know I have a much greater swimming ability than the majority of the world but I'm pretty sure most of the people out there don't ever go to a pool so it's not a fair comparison. I also know a lot of people who swim a lot less than me (Michael included) and swim as as well or better than I do. A number of them learned how to swim as kids but there are others who learned as adults and seemed to pick up this elusive skill.

I keep heading over to the pool and still haven't figured out the secret to this mystical motion referred to as swimming. Unfortunately for me, I have also gotten a bit slower since I've been pregnant.

That in itself is not the big challenge, the big challenge is learning to accept where I'm at. Although I know it's normal to be slowing down a bit and I need to be gaining weight, it's still a little difficult to allow without a fight. I want to be getting fitter and faster, not the reverse. That part of my brain that always knows what it wants tells me that I should be able to run and ride my trainer all the way through my pregnancy, regardless of what season it is. It tells me that I should be just as strong and swim just as fast because I don't want to move backwards from where I'm at now. That's the challenge, allowing myself to change in a direction that counters my usual goals.