Cranking at the third trimester
So its been a pretty long while since I’ve posted anything – with getting ready for the holidays I have been way too busy to think about blogging. Luckily I have been able to get outside climbing a good bit since my last blog post (as well as logging plenty of miles in the climbing gym). Oh yeah – and with April 2nd quickly approaching, I am officially in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy! Since I’ve only been climbing at the local crag save for a couple days at Sandrock, Alabama over the holidays, I figured that I’d use this blog post to focus on the changes I’ve had to make with regards to climbing over the past 2 trimesters.
My doctor had said that I could and should continue doing any activity I had been engaged in prior to pregnancy, so long as I took certain precautions. As far as other sports go, I switched from mountain biking to road biking pretty much right away b/c although I love single-track, I’m not very good at it, and thought the fall potential was too risky. My running pace has slowed significantly, and I have to give myself walk breaks often to keep my heart rate down, but overall has felt fine. And of course with all those joint relaxing hormones raging through my body, yoga has felt fantastic!!! With climbing, the main things I had to be careful about were jarring falls from more than a few feet, any kind of trauma to my abdomen, and harness pressure along the abdomen. So I stopped leading around 8 weeks or so, only bouldered indoors well within my limit (although I stopped bouldering altogether at 17 weeks), and switched into a full-body harness at around 20 weeks when my belly started getting bigger.
Early on the main difference that I noticed was that I would get really winded by minimal effort. It seemed that whenever I put my pack on to hike in or out, I was automatically really out of breath. It was frustrating to me that although I clearly couldn’t function at full capacity, there were no outward signs of what was going on with my body – no one knew I was pregnant unless I told them.
Once I hit my 2nd trimester my energy came back, and I didn’t feel like I was slowing anyone down on approaches anymore. The waist belt on my pack started to get uncomfortable b/c of my growing belly at about 17 weeks, so I switched to carrying only my harness, food, and water in a day pack, and my sweet husband turned into my lovable pack mule, carrying his stuff as well as the rest of all of our gear. I debuted my CAMP full-body harness in the gym at 20 weeks. Let me tell you, it is hideous (we refer to it as the big blue seatbelt), but significantly more comfortable since my belly can blare out as much as it needs to! It’s not very much fun to hang in, but let’s face it, I’m not really projecting routes at this point anyway, so the majority of my hanging time is only when I’m being lowered.
I’m currently 27 weeks along (around 6.5 months), and I have obviously noticed huge changes in my body over the past several weeks. Rather than give you way more information than you’d ever want to know, I’ll just tell you the changes that I’ve noticed with my climbing…The first thing I noticed was that rocking onto a high step is really difficult – my belly gets in the way when I bend and I have a hard time reaching the hold I’m going for. Also, my core strength is shot – if I’m doing a big move I often find that I don’t have enough “hang time” to reach out and grab the hold I’m going for – its like my abs can’t keep me close enough to the wall long enough. As my uterus moves higher and higher up along my torso, my lungs are a little bit smashed, and that whole out of breath feeling from the 1st trimester has come back.
Oddly enough, I haven’t noticed my balance feeling off like I had expected it would. I wonder if its b/c I’ve been consistently climbing 2-4 times a week and my center of gravity has been changing gradually enough for my body to subconsciously make the adjustments it needs to keep me balanced. I have a feeling that had I stopped climbing for several weeks due to morning sickness or what not and then come back to it, it might be a different story. Even though at this point I’ve only gained around 12 pounds or so, those pounds are all in one spot, and on really overhanging routes I definitely feel the extra weight sloshing around in there. Couple that with the reaching over the belly issues mentioned earlier, and roofs are officially no longer my friend! However, on crimpy, technical slab stuff, I feel almost like my old self!
I also have noticed that my attitude has changed a bit. Early on I had some pride issues with depending on other people to put up routes for me, since anything on the sharp end was out. I came to terms with this issue on a Labor Day trip to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, which I blogged about a couple of months ago. However, now that my belly is so big, it’s not even tempting to lead anymore – maybe its maternal instinct kicking in already, but I am all of a sudden very aware of this giant bulge in front of me, and have developed a strong urge to protect that section of my body at all costs – so the idea of risking a big whipper at this point is totally out of the question. But I do still miss it…and since I did leave a lot of projects unfinished when I got preggers, make no mistake I will be back as soon as I can to tick those off my list!
Even though I’ve cut myself a whole lot of slack (if I get shut down on a route I’m pretty quick to play the pregnancy card, and just give myself points for being out there!), I have been keeping track of some numbers just for fun. At some point early on I decided to make sure I got on at least one 5.11 for every week of my pregnancy (preferably outside, but indoors if I couldn’t make it out that week), with a goal of seeing how long I could climb 5.11 clean. I have no idea of what to expect, but so far I’m 27 weeks and counting – but as my belly gets bigger by the day, I feel like those days are quickly drawing to a close. So when I can’t get any 11’s clean anymore, I’ll start keeping track of weeks of clean 5.10’s, then 5.9, then 5.8, etc. And I’m guessing at some point I may be too big and cumbersome for climbing to be fun anymore. And if that happens, then I’ll happily retire my full-body seatbelt harness until I can fit into my regular comfy harness and get back to the crag – with a little one in tow!
For more visit:erica.thelineberrys.com
MORE BLOGS FROM ERICA: