Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a national champion runner with multiple records in distances ranging from marathons to 100 mile trail races.

September 2013
« Aug   Oct »


New Balance Team Pregnancy Blog Part 9: Spitting, Wet T-Shirts, and Training


How many weeks along are you and what’s the baby’s fruit/veggie size?  

Liza: According to my belly button, the baby is ready to come out of the oven.  I’m due on October 14th.  19 days.  I had to see the OB for Old Ladies today for an ultrasound (more on that later), and she asked me what the nurse midwives’ plan was if I didn’t deliver by 40 weeks.  I spat at her.  No, not really.  I was still lying flat on the table covered in ultrasound gel and it would have taken me too long to sit upright to get within spitting distance.  I told her the midwives and I hadn’t discussed the 40+ week plan yet, but I’d be sure to do that when I saw them next.

Old Lady OB: “Well, let’s hope let don’t let you go much past 40 weeks.”

Me: “Yeah…”

Anyway, they estimated that the baby weighed about 6 pounds 2 ounces.  A six-pound 2-ounce winter melon.

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Brandy:  I’ll be 34 weeks pregnant on Thursday! This means I have approximately 21-42 days left!  The baby is the size of a durian fruit! I’ve actually never heard of a durian fruit.

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2. What’s your training been like this week?


Monday:  Easy 60 minutes in the morning on the bike path-trails were too sloppy and wet; easy 2 miles with dogs in the afternoon—no watch

Tuesday:  Easy 65 minutes with the dogs on trails

Wednesday:  Easy run with dogs at the dog park 36 minutes in the morning

Thursday:  Easy run with dogs—30 minutes in the morning; easy run with XC team 25 minutes in the afternoon.

Friday:  Nice hike up Elephant Butte with a friend 1:15-1:30

Saturday:  Approximately 3 hour hike with a friend @ Herman’s Gulch

Sunday:  Bergen Peak- 2 hour run; definitely felt slower than usual.  May be the last time up before baby!

Monday:  Easy 65 minutes with dogs on trails

Tuesday:  Easy 35 minutes with dogs at dog park; 43 minutes with XC team this afternoon

Liza:  The baby shifted and my back pain disappeared last week.  I promptly strapped on a belly band and headed out for a run.  My right glute started to ache almost immediately and I ended up walking after 2 miles as the pain migrated to my back again.  It seems like I’ll be working on my uphill power hiking the rest of this pregnancy.  (19 days Miss Winter Melon!)  I’ve set the treadmill at a 15% grade and I hike with a purpose for an hour daily.  I’m getting faster, which is satisfying.  I plan to add arm weights back in this week and longer hikes – and maybe some random jumping up and down…


3. Have you done any strength training during your third trimester?

Brandy: Other than regular hilly runs, I haven’t done much strength training during my pregnancy other than some girly push-ups and planks. Strength training is a missing component of my regular training plan; it is something I do need to get better at incorporating into my regime along with yoga and/or pilates!

This article about a pregnant weight-lifter created quite a stir on the Internet.

Liza:  I was doing a bunch of kettlebell workouts for my arms and legs until about a month ago when the back pain hit.  I really enjoy these workouts and the cheesy guy on the workout video who talks about “trouble zones,”  and I’m looking forward to doing them again.  I’ll be doing seated dumbbell workouts for the next couple of weeks instead.

4. When is the first race you have scheduled after your delivery?  

Liza:  Well, if I’m able to deliver without a c-section, I’m going to walk 25 miles of the Cactus Rose 100-mile Relay at the end of October.  My team is calling itself “The Four Humors,” and I am very excited to be Phlegm.  So many costume possibilities.

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Then I’ll run the Bandera 100k in January.  I love that course, and I’ll get my 500k jacket this year one way or another.   My first racing will come at the Rocky Raccoon 100 on February 1st.  (My 42nd birthday!)  I’ll be racing with nursing stops and a pretty fast build-up, so we’ll see what happens.  My goal is to to train as hard as I can and then enjoy the miles – and miles.

Brandy:  If all goes well with labor and delivery, I hope to walk the local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  I’ll probably jump into a few snowshoe races to “race” myself back into shape in January.  The dates of these races haven’t been posted yet.  I will be doing the Vail Winter Uphill on February 22nd and that’ll probably be my first “real” test of fitness.

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5. Has your appetite or diet changed much during the pregnancy?

Liza:  The first trimester hormones laid me pretty low emotionally and I ate a slew of fried, fast, and sweet foods.  Donuts.  What-a-burger Meals.  (Extra large fries, please.)  Nachos.  I ate these things even though I knew they’d make me feel awful.  Prior to the pregnancy, I’d been on a sugar and processed-foods free diet.  After the hormone fog lifted, I slowly dropped the sugar again.  (No sugar pretty much nixes fast and highly processed foods.)  Diet soda cravings still overcome me from time to time though.  (It’s still 90+ degrees in San Antonio and I’m more than 9-months pregnant and I’m not drinking beer – Give me a darn soda!)

Brandy: I haven’t had any super strange cravings like pickles and ice-cream or anything. I’ve always had a hearty appetite which has continued through pregnancy.  Unfortunately, I haven’t even tried to tame my sweet tooth, so, more than likely, this little baby is going to have an affinity for chocolate and all things sweet. Other than my aversion towards coffee, I’ve also noticed sugar-free gum doesn’t taste as good to me as usual.

6. What fun pregnancy “side effects” have you experienced these past few weeks?

Brandy: Gas, burping, lack of sleep, more frequent urination and definite “baby brain!

I had friends over on Saturday night while Matt was away hunting. We finished our movie just before 10:00 and as I was peeing, I realized we were down to shreds of toilet paper on the roll. Surely, we had more somewhere… I always stock up at Costco. I searched the usual closets, other bathroom, etc. No toilet paper to be found.  I figured we at least had some Kleenex I could make work until morning. Not the case. So at 10:00pm on Saturday night, I headed over to Safeway to get both TP and Kleenex.  The irony is the next morning when I got back from my run, I found the Costco toilet paper. I’d walked past it at least 3 times the night before and we had at least 16 rolls left. Not kidding!

Liza:  More amazing leg cramps.  I’m not a cramper during races, so these excruciating middle-of-the-night Charley horses have given me a bunch of empathy for you crampers out there.  I’m about as full of empathy as I’m going to get at this point though, and I’m looking forward to stretching out again without my calves seizing.  And I’m sure Eliot’s also looking forward to sleeping through the night without being woken up by profanities and whimpering.  9-month pregnant ladies with Charlie horses do not attractive bedmates.

I also don’t sleep much anymore.  I’m crazy tired, and I certainly try to sleep every night, but I don’t make it much longer than four hours at a time.  I told the midwife about this yesterday, and she said, “Yeah.  That happens now.”  So I wasn’t expecting any sort of solution, but I was hoping for a bit more than bored disinterest.  I need my mom.  🙂

7.  Are you planning to nurse?  How long?  How will you manage that during races?

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I totally want this baby hat. (Liza)

Liza:  Yup. I nursed Asa for about two years, and I’d like to do the same with this baby.  It was difficult to get started, but it got easier and easier as time went on – and I was fortunate to have a group of supportive mom friends.  Nursing during races and figuring out how to manage long training runs was messy in the early months (literally and figuratively), but later it just became one more piece of the puzzle.  And really, stopping at an aid station to nurse or pump is easier than doing a lot of other things you have to do during a 100-mile race.  (Try squatting to relieve yourself at mile 80.)  And there’s no choice anyway.  Do it or explode.

There’s a pretty funny series of photos from Rocky in 2009 in which I get bustier in each consecutive shot.  They’re like these weird before and after breast augmentation photos at a plastic surgeon’s office – if that plastic surgeon was an ultrarunner.

Brandy: I am planning to be a milk machine. Matt and I attended a breastfeeding class last Monday; 3 hours of fun!  I’m nervous about the whole ordeal, but I understand what a gift it is for the baby. I think I’m going to set my goal in 3 month increments. I  know  one year is recommended. Ideally, I’d like to make it at least 6 months with more in storage to supplement as we introduce solid foods.  Thankfully, my races aren’t as long as Liza’s 100-milers, but I’m still not sure how it’s going to work before and fit into the whole warm-up routine. I guess this is something I’ll figure out.  More for another blog!

8. Pregnancy story of the week?

Brandy: Last Monday, due to the flooding in Evergreen, I decided to give my precious trails a day off and let them dry out as I went for a nice easy run on the bike path in town. There was a light rain when I started, so I wore a light jacket. Well, I quickly got hot and tied my jacket around my waste not even thinking about the white running t-shirt I had on which was now wet and probably protruding my preggo belly. On my way home, I got stuck waiting for a red light, so I was jogging in place trying to stay warm lost in thought.  Finally, my attention was jolted as I heard “ma’am”, “ma’am” realizing this woman had her car window down and was trying to get my attention. I looked over and she was almost frantic asking me if I needed a ride somewhere. I had to go on to explain I run for enjoyment and was just waiting for the light to change. I guess you don’t see a pregnant lady running in the rain all that often.  It is nice to know I would have community support if needed! Just prior to that, another woman on the trail had commented, “You’re still out here, huh?”.

Liza:  My belly measured small at my appointment with the nurse midwives on Monday morning.  (Fundal height is measured from the top of the uterus to the pubic bone, and it’s supposed to be about the same number as the baby’s gestational age.  37 weeks = 37 centimeters … give or take a centimeter or two.  I’d been tracking along at two centimeters below expected the past few weeks, which wasn’t a big deal because I am a small person.  And small people are allowed to have proportionally smaller bellies.  But Monday morning, I was 4 centimeters smaller than expected and the nurse midwife decided I should get an ultrasound just to make sure things were still going well for the baby.  I hadn’t slept much for the last three days, so I wasn’t concerned when the only ultrasound appointment available was the following week.   And then I got home and finished my coffee and started Googling… And then I had seven heart attacks and spent the rest of the day trying to get the ultrasound rescheduled.  The OB for Old Ladies was able to fit me in the following morning at 7:45, so I only had to make it through 17 hours of crazy 9-month pregnant lady worry, two boxes of Kleenex, and some traditional Catholic guilt about being an Old Pregnant Lady before they were able to confirm that I am just a small person – with a small belly – and a small (not freakishly so) baby.  (PS. Black and white ultrasound pictures are not attractive at 37+ weeks.  The baby looked like she had her face pressed up against a car window.)

9. Anything else?

Brandy: Time is going super fast now with coaching, teaching and getting ready for the baby. I’m getting excited but still nervous and apprehensive about the journey of parenthood ahead.

Liza:  Did I mention it’s going to be 95 degrees here in San Antonio today?  (That’s 950 pregnancy degrees.)  18 days…


Comments 9
  • Steve Quick
    Posted on

    Steve Quick Steve Quick

    Reply Author

    Durian smells like rotting eggs; it’s something Wseterners eat only on a dare, but is popular in the Hmong grocery stores here.

    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      I’m definitely forwarding that onto Brandy! I wish she lived in town (well, wish I was in Colorado right now) to buy her one. 🙂

  • Rick Rochelle
    Posted on

    Rick Rochelle Rick Rochelle

    Reply Author

    I’m so glad to hear your appointment went well yesterday. Being an engineer, I did the math: With 18 days to go, it’s like you are at mile 94! Go, Liza, go—or do I cheer for the baby?!

    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Thanks Rick! You are awesome. I think I get the cheering during — and the baby afterwards. 🙂

  • Iris
    Posted on

    Iris Iris

    Reply Author

    Liza, you are hilarious! Old lady babies turn out great, don’t worry! Psyched for your birth in the upcoming weeks. I was 2 weeks late and all turned out fine. I think they like to freak out older moms, but you are an extremely healthy 42, which has to matter a lot. Sending good vibes your way. Can’t wait to see photos of your baby when it is no longer a random vegetable.

    Hugs, Iris and 6 day old ZInnia

    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Thanks so much for that Iris. Your comment came just after I was told I was required to have a c-section if I didn’t deliver by 40 weeks. More Zinnia pictures please!!!

  • Jen
    Posted on

    Jen Jen

    Reply Author

    Liza- It’s so great that you and Brandy are sharing this. One thing that worked really well for me during nursing and racing was using a handheld manual pump (Advant makes a super lightweight one). I would attach it on my hydration pack and just pump on climbs- usually not saving the milk (you get the picture). It was quite the conversation starter…. happy labor:)

    • Liza Howard
      Posted on

      Liza Howard Liza Howard

      Reply Author

      Thanks so much Jen! I’m also a big fan of the handheld pump. I didn’t know enough to use it during races when Asa first came along, but I used it a ton during long NOLS trips. I’ll make sure to pass that info onto Brandy.