Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category
Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
It’s interesting (lame, but interesting) that two diseases that lurk in my family history have reared their ugly heads during pregnancy – first hypothyroidism, and now, diabetes. Luckily, both should disappear after I give birth.
Gestational diabetes behaves similarly to Type 2, but isn’t related to your diet or activity level prior to diagnosis. Hormones coming from the placenta make you insulin resistant (to make sure the fetus gets enough glucose to grow), and problems arise if your pancreas is not able to keep up with your body’s increasing demands for insulin. Congratulations, you now have diabeetus! If undetected or uncontrolled, this will lead to your fetus getting way too much glucose every time you eat, which can make her gain an excessive amount of weight and possibly become hypoglycemic after birth when her constant stream of glucose is cut off. Once you deliver the placenta, you will no longer be diabetic. Huzzah!
Now I have to follow special dietary guidelines and measure my blood glucose four times a day. Luckily (most of it is luck, but there’s also a lot of work and commitment) I’ve been able to control this with diet and exercise so far, but since my body’s insulin needs will keep rising until week 38 or so and you just never know what the placenta is going to decide to do during that time, I can’t rest easy quite yet. If I do have to go on medication to control this, I will be moved from the midwifery clinic to a high risk OB. I love my midwives, so I am very, very motivated to make this work…but like I said, it really is the placenta that’s calling the shots.
The dietary changes haven’t been that bad – most of my normal meals fit into the guidelines (and beans, my beloved musical fruits, work wonders for mah sugahs), but I have to make sure all my meals and snacks are a balanced mix of enough carbs, protein and fat, and no more pizza or Trader Joe’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup binges. (There’s a Trader Joe’s next to our hospital though, so you can guess what my first post-partum snack is going to be.)
The biggest surprise for me is how important exercise and general movement is. I knew theoretically that physical activity is a good way to fight insulin resistance, but it wasn’t until I could see it in my own blood glucose values that I realized just how big of a difference it really does make. I make it a priority to exercise after every meal now, whereas before, I would honestly usually just eat and then plop down in front of the tv or computer for a couple of hours.
In the interest of finding the silver lining(s) of this whole situation and staying positive:
- more frequent exercise is making me feel great mentally and physically – my pelvis even seems less cranky now that I’m spending less time lounging on the couch – and I’ve finally started doing some strength training again (when it’s too hot to go for a walk)
- Wellie and Basil are in heaven when I take them for walks after every meal and pretty much think I’m the best human ever
- Housework counts as physical activity, so JK pretty much thinks I’m the best human ever
- I’m motivated to eat so much healthier than I would normally (especially when it’s hot as Hades outside and ice cream exists), and Lil’ Fetus and I are getting all sorts of excellent nutrition from all the greens and veggies I’m eating
- I’m also gaining less weight than I normally would have, which will hopefully make it easier to keep hiking through these last few months
Speaking of hiking, if(/when) I do at some point crave some sort of foodstuff that I really shouldn’t eat, I can most likely eat it while on a hike, ’cause that shizz burns glucose like nobody’s business. We hiked to Talapus and Olallie Lakes a couple of weeks ago, and no matter how many date balls I threw down my gullet, my blood sugar stayed nice and balanced the entire time. Maybe I can try some peanut butter cups next time…
– Talapus & Olallie Lakes | 6 miles | 1200 feet elevation gain –
Monday, June 23rd, 2014
Two weeks ago, I turned 32. I never actually remember how old I am anymore, because senility (I usually just ask JK how old he is, then subtract a year), but birthdays should be celebrated nonetheless – and my birthdays are best celebrated in the Teanaway.
My birthday weekend officially began late Thursday night when JK finally felt (and saw!) the baby kicking for the first time! Huzzah! Then I had time to watch the first episode of the new season of Orange is the New Black before we left on Friday afternoon, which meant I had Pulaski at Night stuck in my head all weekend, setting the mood for an excellent trip.
Our tradition is to hike Iron Peak to celebrate the Aging of Ingunn, but since I’m also dealing with the Aging of Fetus this year, I decided it would be too much elevation gain for my rickety pelvis. My new tactic is to pick trails out of the Best Hikes With Kids book, which touted Esmeralda Basin as a good alternative.
We set our sights on Fortune Creek Pass and noticed a little too late that I was overextending myself a bit too much on the muddy and snowy sections of the trail. It finally caught up to me when we were literally minutes away from the pass, and I decided to override my summit fever and call it quits right there. It felt like such a mature, adult decision to make, but then again I am 32 now.
26 weeks and feeling great, except for that damn pelvis.
This time I mean it, no more walking on snow for me until winter.
A slow, uncomfortable waddle later, we were back in camp. I was pretty useless and immobile at this point, but JK claimed he didn’t mind doing the camp chores and cooking. He’s a good one.
The dogs, however, were no help at all.
We spent the rest of the weekend talking, laughing, reading, eating, staring at the fire, cooling off in the creek, sniffing ponderosa pines, playing with the dogs, enjoying the moment.
It was perfect. I think I like 32.
– Esmeralda Basin | 7 miles | 1750 feet elevation gain –
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
In my last post, I was all excited about feeling great after a longer hike. I must have jinxed myself. The following weekend, JK and I hiked Teanaway Ridge in search of shrooms and blooms – we were too early for both, but what I did find was that walking hurt. A lot.
In the following days, so did little movements like getting up from the couch and turning over in bed. I tried to rest and not do any exercise for most of a week, but, as always, that led to lower back pain and severe down-in-the-dumpsiness.
My yoga teacher told me to make sure I keep my hips level and legs together whenever I change positions (like getting off the couch), which helps a lot, and I also bought this maternity support belt to wear when I walk. It’s a minor miracle worker – when I wear it, I’m able to walk without feeling like my pelvis is being ripped apart by a thousand monkeys. The only complaint I have about it is that it takes what is normally a rather cute baby bump and squeezes all the extraneous blubber up, transforming it into a most impressive muffin top. Oh well, there’s no place for vanity in hiking (or in pregnancy, as I am learning).
After testing the belt on Cougar Mountain and in the Redmond Watershed with great success, I felt ready to try a “real” hike again, especially since summer seems to have arrived very early in Washington this year!
I picked Twin Lakes near Lake Wenatchee, a new trail for us but one that was reported as being snow-free. I refuse to hike on snow these days, since I worry about slipping, falling, and smushing my belly. Even if I just slip and don’t fall, it’s going to hurt like the dickens, thanks to that delightfully unstable pelvis of mine.
Anyway, back to the trail. Instant favorite. There was so much variety! Wildflowers, open viewpoints, riverside walking, a surprisingly pretty marsh, giant cedars, a stretch of forest that reminded us of hiking in the tropics, two different (but somewhat similar, being Twin Lakes and all) lakes, and, at last, shrooms!
The only parts I didn’t like were the ravenous mosquitoes (the price you pay for the pretty marsh) and the log crossing. It’s an easy crossing and I wouldn’t normally give it a second thought, but given the baby-smushing risk, I’ve decided to not cross another slick log like that this season. It’s just not worth it.
By the time we made it to the lakes, I was both happy and tired – a little too tired. JK had brought a full-length sleeping pad that I could stretch out on, and I did my best to rehydrate and eat everything in sight.
Luckily it wasn’t such a bad place to spend an hour or two!
This was the hike that made me realize that my body is calling the shots from now on, and it’s not something I can just mentally push through – an unfamiliar thought for someone who struggles with always feeling like she’s too lazy. Staying active during these last months is good (for body, mind, and baby), overdoing it is not.
What really brought it home was how I felt the next day. Ever since my pelvic issues started, I’ve felt awful the rest of the day after a walk or a yoga class, but then felt a million times better the next day. This time, however, it just got worse and worse, and by late Sunday afternoon I couldn’t stand up without wincing or walk without a significant waddle.
Then, aaahhh, Monday morning brought relief. JK has helped me out with this exercise whenever the pain has been bad, and when we tried it on Monday morning, I heard a loud popping/clicking sound, and suddenly the pain was gone – I could walk like a normal person! I could even get up from the couch with all my weight on one leg!! From what I can tell, my pubic symphysis must have been way out of alignment, and the sound I heard was of it popping back into place.
As miraculous as it felt, I fully expect this pain to come back throughout the rest of my pregnancy, possibly getting worse and worse (based on the horror stories I’ve read on the internets). It doesn’t seem like anyone knows how to prevent it, so I’ll just keep my movements controlled, do my kegels like a champ, use my belt, and find a list of nice, short, well-shaded hikes to go on this summer…and, when hiking FOMO inevitably sets in, remember that this is but one summer out of my life, those mountains aren’t going anywhere, and what I am doing is way, way more important to me than trail time.
– Twin Lakes | 8 miles | 1000 feet elevation gain –
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
…of course, “farther” is relative and I wouldn’t normally call ten miles a very long hike, but in the context of pregnancy (and not having done anything near that length since my frozen chanterelle traverse on Tiger Mountain last fall) my pre-hike anxiety brain turned those ten miles to Goat Lake and back into an epic undertaking, even with the modest elevation gain.
Turns out it wasn’t epic at all. In fact, it felt wonderful – the best I’ve felt on a hike this whole pregnancy – and I honestly didn’t want it to end. The grade was perfect and the trail so pretty, especially along the river on the lower trail, that I felt I could keep hiking forever. I guess this is the magic of the second trimester; at 22 weeks I am past the all-consuming fatigue of the first months, but not yet so huge that moving around is a pain in the ass.
This was my first sort-of (and non-canine) Mother’s Day, and I was more than happy to let Lil’ Fetus take me hiking to celebrate. Our family has never celebrated Mother’s and Father’s Day (and they’re on different dates in Norway than in the U.S.), but if I can use it as an excuse to go hiking with my daughter, I’m all in. I think I’ll enjoy this tradition. Especially if there’s cake.
– Goat Lake | 10 miles | 1400 feet elevation gain –
Monday, May 12th, 2014
I know a lot of people love to hate the Issaquah Alps, but I have really grown fond of them over the last couple of years. I wonder if some of the negativity stems from the fact that a lot of people only visit these wooded gems on crappy days in the middle of winter and never get to experience how lovely they can be in the summer and fall.
I think I could be perfectly happy and content if for some reason I was only allowed to hike and run on Cougar and Tiger the rest of my life (this attitude will probably serve me well over the next couple of years when bigger adventures will be harder to execute). I’ve experienced some amazing moments of peace and flow and wild endorphin rushes on those little mountains, and I’ve barely even scratched the surface of the trails that are available.
I finally managed to convert JK into a Cougar Mountain fanboy a couple of weeks ago on an evening hike/run in the AA Peak area. It was his first time seeing the trails all greened-up for late spring, and that huge grin stayed glued to his face the entire night.
Unfortunately, I think this trip was my last attempt at running this pregnancy. It just didn’t feel good as I was doing it (especially downhill, the whole pelvic area felt unstable). I switched to walking pretty early on, but I was still rewarded with a several days of extra grumpy round ligaments, to the point where it was keeping me up at night. I’ll stick with walking from now on.
Speaking of walking, the pups and I have really upped our daily strolls lately – partly due to the sheer magnetic force of the gorgeous, green spring trails, but mostly due to the fact that I have completely weaned myself off Diclegis, and fresh air and exercise is doing a fairly good job of taking care of the remaining morning sickness.
Wellie and Basil are thrilled with this new development, as it often leads to several walks a day, and I am hoping the extra exercise will make up for the fact that I am eating like a person who is constantly hung over. At the very least, all that walking works wonders for my mental health.