Pregnancy is no joke! I don’t care how many Ultra Marathons you have run, or how close together they were… pregnancy will suck the life and energy out of you like nothing ever before.  Regardless of how tough I try to be, it still slaps me upside the head and knocks me right out (in bed for days at times!).  Your energy level is limited, but the catch is…you don’t ever know what that day will bring.  You may be able to have a full day of energy, a few hours of productivity, or none at all as you lay in bed all day! As challenging as it has been, it also has been going by incredibly fast.  Partly, because I planned on keeping myself busy with still continuing to train, “run” races, and attain some family time.

Michele Yates hiking Taylor Park - 6 Months Pregnant

Taylor Park – 6 Months Pregnant

I think one could comfortably compare pregnancy with running an Ultra Marathon Stage race.   Despite how fast you want to go and get it over with, you still must endure the daily pain of it all, to attain the prize.

Pregnancy started out a bit rough for me. I was already struggling with unknown medical conditions and trying to get to the bottom of those, but before I knew it… I was also pregnant!  Those first few months were spent in bed, sleeping and sleeping and more sleeping (better than puking though!) The early pain of pregnancy would not only have me questioning the health situation, but had the doctors a bit baffled too. It felt like I had a monster clawing my entire rib cage out all the way down to …well I think he kicked me in the crotch too!  Run?! Yeah right! I couldn’t even get out of bed to walk to the kitchen let alone run. I was totally disappointed after hearing of other athletes able to run, and actually RACE through the first trimester, and this challenged me mentally to the extremes.

After a few months went by, I was indeed able to start running. Eating and nutrition at this point…totally out the window! My 30 minute run/walks were something I looked forward to on an every other day basis while biking and doing the elliptical kept me sane on the other days.  I was able to maintain my 3x a week strength program but it was modified in order to adhere to the situation.  Planks were a new found glory! One of the few core exercises approved for a pregnant women to do.  The problem now lied in the refrigerator… I couldn’t even look at a tub of hummus without wanting to barf (and currently still can’t at 6.5 months pregnant).

Cimmarron 50K

Michele Yates runs the Cimmaroon 50 K 4 months pregnant.

At least I was able to do something… and that something built up to running some races, quality strength workouts, and some gratifying hikes.  With nutrition, I tried not to be too hard on myself, and actually enjoy some pizza, cookies, and other treats that I wouldn’t typically eat.  At 9.5 weeks pregnant I ran the Cimarron 50k at an average elevation of 8,400 feet in 4:41:55, 1st female.  I couldn’t pass up another opportunity I was presented with to run the Gunnison 100k at 4 months pregnant.  Finishing 2nd female in 12:01:50 with 11,638 was an absolute delight.

Gunnison 100 mile ultra race - a few months pregnant Michele Yates

Gunnison 100 Mile Ultra Race

My final race for pregnancy would be the Waugoshance Trail Marathon while visiting my family in Michigan: again, another unexpected glee, finishing 2nd female in a time of3:46 at 5 months pregnant.  I’ve said it before with just racing, but now I can say it with an overflowing heart (although there is a lot of negative humor in this blog), I TRULY feel blessed (after all, who wouldn’t want to create a magnificent little human being of their own?!).

 I could only hope that this bout of energy would last…even though pregnancy hasn’t been as glamourous for me as most make it out to be.  The only glow I had was from the oil accumulating on my face, in my hair and at least I had a Prego belly to hide all the gas and bloat J …not to mention numerous other surprises they forget to tell you about.  I thought peeing your pants through a race was bad, trying “snissing.” Yeah that is what they call peeing when you sneeze because the baby is putting so much pressure on your bladder.

waugashonce trail marathon - michele yates looking strong

Waugashonce Trail Marathon

As I enter the final trimester (I am back in SLOW-MO MODE), I have encountered some hang ups with running. One being a cranky SI Joint that I’ve learned that I HAVE to address daily in order to run just a few times a week, as well as locking down my nutrition so I don’t blow up like a whale (yeah, good luck with that ) and being sure my baby is as healthy as possible.  I am back to training mostly on the elliptical, bike, and some exceptional long hikes. My strength training continues 3x a week and throughout pregnancy, hip strength exercises have been my main focus.  My closing goals are now to maintain health, fitness, and be as prepared as possible for the new little member of Team Yates.

*Michele was an integral part of the UD Women’s Collective and helped with extensive product testing of the Jenny Collection. She usually uses the Ultra Vesta for hikes and long runs.  Follow her at on Facebook for updates.