Human Buoy


I haven’t taken a picture of myself in the water yet, so we’re going to pretend that the above picture is me and not a stock photo off Getty Images, and that I look this graceful when I swim now.

It is kind of amazing, you really do ride super high in the water when you have this much fat on you.  And since people have been constantly asking me what I can and can’t do in the water now that I am this shape and size…

Things I can do:

  • Freestyle
  • Flipturns (harder to do when wearing a pull buoy)
  • Backstroke

Things I cannot do:

  • Breastroke kick
  • Butterfly
  • Get out of the pool without using the ladder (this was a painful, embarrassing lesson to learn)

In addition to the swimming part, I have taken it upon myself to very conspicuously waddle back and forth in front of the tan, skinny, bikini-clad 15 year olds flirting with the teenage pool guards at least 2x per pool trip and soak in the looks of combined fascination/horror, selflessly serving as cautionary tale for what can happen when you make certain life choices.

My work here is done.

The (D)evolution of the Exercise Regimen

MyCollage_020 weeks vs. 35 weeks

What a difference 15 weeks makes (the light in our bathroom is terrible, which is why the picture quality is so crappy.  And why I look like a pixelated vampire albino in one of them.)

Much like the rest of me, my “exercise regimen” has morphed pretty significantly in the past 9 months or so.  I don’t think I fully grasped before how difficult it would be just to move when you’re shaped like this.

But anyway, in a nutshell:

Months 0-1.5:


  • Running: finished up my training and ran Smokies Half Marathon in Gatlinburg hoping for a PR.  Almost barfed/passed out/died at the end (see above, mile 12.5) with a sub-par time and had no idea why I felt so horrible.  Found out a few days after the race.

Months 1.5-3:


  • Running: Started training for the NYC Half (which I had already signed up for and been awarded a slot), but left my watch at home to avoid feeling any sort of pressure to pick up the pace.  Just nice easy miles.
  • Yoga: Continued with hot yoga, after the OK from the doctor (it wasn’t Bikram, the room is around 90, the doctor said it was fine as long as I drank a lot of water and didn’t spend too much time lying on my back).
  • Swimming: Kept swimming sporadically, would do the full workout (usually 4-5K), felt sluggish but could still hang.

Months 3-4.5:


  • Running: Ran NYC Half right around 18 weeks at a really smooth, comfortable pace, felt great during and after the race, no problem (aside from sorer-than-usual stomach muscles the following week)
  • Yoga: Got kicked out by the instructor.  Bummer.
  • Swimming: 3000-4000 yards about 2x a week

Months 4.5-6:

  • Running: Kept jogging/wogging a couple of miles at a time a few times a week.  But around 6 months that resulted in a strained round ligament, which made rolling over in bed and general movement painful, which turned into me being like F-U RUNNING, I H8 U 4 EVA!!!!!  Some women run throughout their entire pregnancy.  Not me.  No more running for a while.
  • Swimming: Per the doctor’s encouragement, really tried to focus on getting in the water regularly, swimming 3-4x a week.

Months 6-7.5:


  • Walking: start walking to work when I could, or doing “longer” (3-4 mile) walks after work if I don’t have time to walk in the morning.  It’s a nice alternative to running, gives me a chance to catch up on my podcasts.
  • Swimming: OUTDOOR POOLS OPEN!  Which means long course.  Distance starts to decline, but still try to go 3-4x a week.
  • Video: And then, I do something I never ever thought I would do: pull out my stretchy cords, try to push all of the thoughts about how ridiculous I look out of my head, plop myself in front of the TV and start doing an exercise video.  But it’s OK, because it’s the Summer Sanders Prenatal Workout DVD (damn you Amazon and your targeted advertising) and Summer Sanders is Summer Sanders (and it cost me $8, including shipping.)  Right?  I’m skeptical, but do like some of the stretching and upper body strengthening stuff, so I do it maybe once a week.

Months 7.5-9:


  • Walking: Thanks to an old injury, SI joint started to SERIOUSLY flare up around week 32, and plain old walking becomes horribly, horribly painful.  Like, almost-start-to-cry-when-crossing-the-street-because-I’m -not-sure-how-I’m-going-to-step-up-to-get-back-on-the-sidewalk-when-I-get-to-the-curb kind of pain.  Getting from the office to the parking lot requires at least 15 minutes of mental preparation.  So I go to the PT, who tells me, “Sorry, your back isn’t going to get any better until after the baby comes.  The best you can do is try to stop it from getting worse.”  Ugh.  No more walking.  But fortunately…
  • Swimming: …the outdoor pools are still open!  Start going to the pool 5-6x a week.  I use the word “swimming” here loosely: I use my arms and legs to get from one end of the pool to the other.  Distance per “workout” gradually declines, but I make just getting in the water a priority.  There’s not a lot of structure to what I do, I don’t push myself at all, the point is to take some of the weight off and stretch out and move a little bit.  And, of course, get my tan on.
  • Video: With walking totally out of the picture, I throw myself full force into the 45 min workout video.  I now have the entire video memorized and can do it on silent while I watch episodes of Orange is the New Black.  My past self would totally be judging my present self.  And I don’t even care.  Paul is like:


…and that’s where we are.

Going on 37 weeks, I’m down to maternity videos and floating. But it turns out minimal walking + more swimming = back pain GONE.  Yes, that’s right.  I can waddle like a normal human being, and it is such a relief.  Stairs are no longer my worst enemy.  Things are looking up.

I’m also convinced the continued “exercise” has helped my sleeping.  Well, that and the pillow.

So yes, my feet are like sausages, getting up from a reclined position requires superhuman strength, and I need Paul’s help taking my shoes off…but I really can’t complain.  Things haven’t been that bad.  And while I know that is largely due to genetics and luck of the draw, I do attribute at least some of my good fortune to the fact I have been able to keep moving–however slowly–in some way, shape, or form.  It’s not always pretty, and I know for a fact that my two-piece suit has thoroughly offended the old ladies in the water aerobics class at the Y.  But it makes a difference.

An object at rest

Time for a little science.  Let’s go back to high school physics.

Force =  Mass x Acceleration


A = F/M

So, what happens when mass gets bigger:


…and force gets smaller?


This.  Acceleration rapidly approaches zero.  Add some 90 degree heat with humidity on top of that, and you may actually experience negative speed.

And, as usually happens when I sit on the couch in my sweats for extended periods of time (see: here and here and here), running a marathon suddenly seems like a SUPER FUN idea and I want to sign up for a race.  Or 10.  I know it won’t happen for a while, considering I can’t even jogsuffle across the street right now, but I’ve started putting together a potential list of races for next year.

Speaking of moving, the Oatmeal just published one of his best posts yet (which is saying something) about why he runs long distances.   Worth the read.

But for now, it’s more of this:IMG957983

And swimming, swimming, swimming as long as I can.  Just about a month to go.

In the meantime…find a way to silence your Blerches.

Pillow Fight


Say hello to my new best friend (not Nerlens, though he’s up there.)

I came home from work one day to an enormous box waiting for me in the living room.  What the f, you might ask, is that?  A pregnancy pillow.  From my mother in law and sister in law.

At first I was like, woah.  Overkill.  Then I laid down in it…and have been wondering ever since how I lived without one.  It’s like a body pillow that hugs you back.   These should not just be reserved for pregnancy.  And it has been super helpful since I started getting pretty bad lower back pain this past week (hello, third trimester).  So despite its appearance, much to Paul’s chagrin, this is where it lives now.