Winter has hit with a chilly, chilly force. Welcome to Wisconsin!

December was actually unseasonably mild, and I was able run outside in the glorious fresh air. Even as my tummy grew, my runs remained fairly consistent. It was awesome.

Then January hit with a snowy, icy, sub-zero vengeance.

In truth, I used to hate winter running. Inhaling the cold air hurt my lungs, wearing multiple layers of clothing made running feel awkward and bulky, and trying to maneuver over mounds of snow and ice was not my idea of fun. But last winter I discover the beauty and fun of winter running, and I fully intended to continue running outside this winter. I knew that pregnancy would add a few extra issues: finding clothing that fit, maintaining balance, and being extra cautious. I was fine with that. But there were a few things I hadn’t considered:

  • The dark While running in the snow and ice is always a little precarious, when pregnant it could be pretty nasty. Balance is compromised, which makes hopping over snow mounds or catching oneself while sliding on ice downright dangerous. Considering my optimal times for running are before sunrise, I am not comfortable trying to manage ice and snow in the dark. Call me crazy.
  • The ice Oh, and speaking of ice, so not worth the risk. We’ve had some nasty weather (rain and freezing temps, plus snow), and I can’t justify risking the fall just to prove to myself I can still run outside. I’m fully confident Baby Girl is protected in her cozy womb, but considering a fall could hurt more than just me, I’m not interested in taking that chance.
  • The cold I can handle plenty of cold. I was born and raised in WI, and I lived in Minnesota throughout college and the two years following graduation; I can handle cold. But my rule of thumb is, once the temp dips below zero, I stay indoors. For two reasons: Your speed slows down the colder it gets (and I’m already running slower than a turtle), and I get crazy dry skin when pregnant (which may sound silly, but it can get pretty bad).

This limited me to either stop running, or move indoors. I opted for the latter.

I’m not the biggest fan of the treadmill. I can appreciate the convenience and the location (my basement), but it is mentally taxing.  The clock stares at you, unmoving, begging you to stop. Its flash is like a siren’s song of ease: “Just hit STOP. You’ve been on long enough. Take a walking break. It’s no big deal.” And the exhaustive running to – literally – nowhere.

  
But I committed to running throughout this pregnancy as long as I could. So I’m going to focus on the positive of the dreadmill – I mean treadmill:

  • Close to a bathroom This is probably the best reason to use a treadmill. As my belly grows and puts more and more pressure on my bladder, the proximity to a bathroom is really handy.
  • Safety There are no curbs to watch out for, no ice or snow, and  – should anything happen – you’re usually in an area with people (i.e. the gym, your home, etc.) Plus, you can control the speed to force yourself to slow down.
  • Entertainment I like to think its a great time to catch up on TV,  reading, or podcasts. At least that’s what I try to convince myself.
  • A fourth reason I thought I could come up with another. I’ll keep thinking and get back to you.

Honestly, treadmill running is hard, but I’m hoping that the sub-zero temps will let up soon and I can continue running outside. Until then, my belly and I will be frequenting the treadmill. Ho-hum.

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