Running Pregnant

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I am a low stress runner.  I am not an elite runner. I'm not a particularly competitive runner.  I'm not even a particularly fast runner.  File me under "reluctant runner."

{Dreaming of skinnier first long race in 2011-- the Army Ten Miler}

Even though I love it, I don't know much about my pace, all of my clothes are from Target, and I have never eaten one of those energy gels.  There are no stickers on my car, I don't have any cool socks, and spoiler alert: this girl doesn't own a foam roller.

I promise you, it's not a too-cool-for-school thing-- I have so much respect for serious runners. I just don't invest that much into it.  I know and do enough to be safe about running distance, but beyond that...I just kinda run.  I love it and run a few long races a year so I have something to keep me at it.

So I don't exactly fit the profile of someone who would run late into pregnancy.

{Feeling skeptical about a run at five months}

But this being my second pregnancy and knowing more about what happens to my body before, during, and after childbirth, I decided to not give myself a free pass to sit this one out just because I was pregnant. I wondered what would happen if I kept running as long as I felt up to it.

So after my long, exhausting, busy, squishy first trimester, I resumed my typical exercise routine-- an hour of cardio 3-4 days a week, strengthening once or twice a week via Stroller Strides, and a long run once a week. Nothing my body hadn't already been doing, so I knew I was safe.  Sure, I breathed like Darth Vader and had to modify a few routines {elliptical resistance went waaaaay down} but it made me feel better in every way-- lighter, stronger, less puffy, more energy.  With running specifically, I quickly realized I couldn't run more than two miles without a break, so I transitioned to a walk-run: walking a quarter mile for every half mile I ran.

And now, here I am. Six months in and I'm still going strong.  My aches and pains are different-- easy runs are quickly followed by low back and pelvic pain, and I always, always have to pee {I am so over peeing}.  I keep plenty of water on hand and usually a snack, just in case. A few people have questioned me running five, six, seven miles pregnant but it's nothing I wasn't doing before.  And the thing about me being a low stress runner, I'm not out to prove anything. I trust myself; I'm never going to push through or ignore something I shouldn't. I'm just not that emotionally committed to it.

So my favorite race, a ten miler along the Potomac River, is coming up next month and I'm going to see if I can maintain my routine until then.  I'll be waddling well into my third trimester, and six weeks away is a long time in pregnancy land and I may hit a wall. But until then, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.  It has made me so much better and stronger this go round.

So we'll see-- hopefully I'll have a fun running update for you next month!

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