As my pregnancy progressed, my symptoms stayed about the same as far as they affected my running. I continued getting slower, and it really wouldn’t have been safe to focus on getting faster at this point. A realistic goal for me became to stay under/around 12 minute miles. This was a comfortable pace for me to run/walk and allowed plenty of time for bathroom breaks, which I knew I would need to account for in the marathon.
Marathon training began for me in July, which is also when we announced we were pregnant. While overall the feedback I received was not negative, it wasn’t really positive either. My mom’s eyeballs almost fell out of her face when I told her I had every intention of running still. People always brought it up. “So, you’re still running?” “You’re not going to do the marathon still, are you?” I always told people that I was taking it one day at a time, but I felt I could do it. “Oh.”
I got to a place where I didn’t like talking about my running journey with anyone except my Girls on the Run training group-which is weird, because all I do is talk about running. THEY were supportive in so many ways and helped me stick to my training and deal with the emotional lack of support. It was particularly difficult to raise the $1,000 I needed in order to race. I’d had all of these fantasies that being pregnant and running a marathon would make people donate more readily because I was such a BA. In reality, I think I had a more difficult time getting people on board because they thought I wouldn’t make it.
Another supportive group, my Fleet Feet training team.
Well, I did it. I ran a freaking marathon 27 weeks pregnant (the last week of my second trimester). It was my first marathon ever. I ran a 6:06:56. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I came in within the allotted 6:30:00 and I DID IT. I literally feel like superwoman after doing that and nothing can stop me now. I fully intend to take that medal with me when I give birth to remind myself how amazing I am-not to brag, but crossing that finish line gave me a high that I will not soon forget.
I DID IT!
Recap of my race to come shortly.
All of the hype from marathon training was gone. After spending 5 days a week training for a race, I now had a huge void in my life. It’s called marathon letdown and it’s extremely common. Most people refocus on another race, which wasn’t possible for me. I just felt like I had nothing new to focus on aside from actually having a baby, which was still awhile away. On top of that, I aggravated a strained muscle at the marathon, so I had to take two weeks completely off from running.
My main goal in this third trimester has been to maintain some of the endurance I’ve built up so that labor, delivery, and recovery can be easier. After my two weeks off, I still had a limp but was approved to start running a mile at a time with plenty of RICE afterwards. It was so frustrating to see my marathon friends out running 15 milers on the weekends, fully recovered from their races, while I was still struggling with stairs.
I committed to a runstreak in November. I ran at least one mile every single day that month. Some days were a lot easier than others but somehow I still had a lot of trouble getting past 1.5-2 miles. Not that I was planning on doing a lot of long runs, but I felt I should be able to run a 5k with minimal walking since my body was accustomed to doing a lot more. A lot of the time I was still walking on my one mile runs and was doing most of them in 13-14 minutes. I found that once I started walking, I would have contractions and pushing through them at this stage was a mental battle I could not handle.
In December it got incredibly cold and icy so I allowed myself to stop the runstreak, although I did not quit running. I started taking rest days and going out for a run when the weather allowed, or when I had time to drive to the gym. Funny enough, I magically felt a lot better. My leg finally got to 100% and I was able to run 2-4 miles at a time. I even started getting faster! It is strange to think that in my second trimester I was running 11-12 minute miles and suddenly as I became more pregnant I was running 10-11 minute miles and consistently longer distances (of course not marathons). I still get contractions after about a mile and a half, but if I push through the first one, I can finish my workout. If I let myself give up on the first one, I cannot get back into it.
Christmas run with new gear.
Running is integral to my physical and emotional health. I can’t explain it, but I feel so much better on days that I run. It only made sense for me to continue as normal while pregnant. Extra bonus: marathon training required me to be super aware of my nutrition and allowed me to eat so much food without gaining a lot of extra weight.
Once I hit 37 weeks, I started hoping that my runs would induce labor naturally. And here I sit, nearly 40 weeks pregnant no longer even a little bit concerned about a run starting labor.
No, nothing fits me. Yes, I ran to Starbucks and back.
I am really looking forward to postpartum running, especially seeing how much stronger I can be without this extra weight.