Running Pregnant: The GW Parkway Classic

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I did it, I made it!

Last I left you, I was somewhat training for my favorite race here in the DC area-- the GW Parkway Classic.  The late April weather is always great, registration rarely fills up early, and it's very well organized.  The route itself is scenic, the hills are gentle, and it's run along a single stretch of the George Washington Parkway, from Mt. Vernon down to Old Town Alexandria.  I love ten milers, it's low stress, and that's probably why it appeals to me.  Me, the low-stress runner.

But April was a crazy month traveling for Easter and hosting a lot of visitors, so my workout and eating routines were totally off.  Plus, I'm 31 weeks pregnant by now...did I mention that? How did I get this far?? I was unsure I could recover from my lapse but a week before the race, I managed 7.5 miles so I bit the bullet and registered.  I wasn't running with anyone, the forecast was terrible, and plenty of people told me I was nuts, so I wondered if it was worth it.  But I'd worked hard and knew that my body could safely handle it. I was much more concerned about my bladder's ability to travel ten miles than my legs.

So I registered last Monday, took it easy the rest of the week, and went through my typical weekend, pre-race routine:

1. Packet pick-up Friday.  Yay for tech tees and free granola bars!

2. Carb-loading Saturday.  {I probably should have done pasta, but whatever... I was hoping that cheese would keep me backed up, if y'know what I'm sayin... Plus, the cheesy bread from Monterey's in INSANE.}

3. Flat runner pics Saturday night.  Followed up with checking the forecast a thousand times...willing the rainy, 45 degree forecast to change.

4. Hate myself Sunday morning.  "Why the h-e-double hockey sticks am I up at dark so I can pay someone to RUN? Why do I do this?"

5. Race arrival. "These people are for real about running. Just look cool. Where are the bathrooms? Why do I do this?"

{The Parkway Classic bus system is super easy to use and very efficient, if you're looking for specific info on this race.  I usually use it, but this year had my husband drop me off at the start, which was also extremely easy. Bonus: Allowed me to leave the house later.}

I was eager for the race start. I am an introvert squared and I didn't have a buddy for this race, so I was happy to stop standing around trying to look busy. As soon as I crossed the start, I put in my ear buds-- new for me because I typically don't listen to music during races. 

{I made a playlist with "Shut Up and Dance" on it approximately twelve times. It came on notta once.}

And here's how I spent the next one hour, fifty-eight minutes, and twenty seconds...

Miles one and two.  "This sucks. Why am I doing this? Can I walk yet? Everyone is passing me-- I can't walk yet. This sucks."

Miles three, four, and five. Start my walk-run, based around hills rather than distance. Grab Powerade at every chance.  Resist the urge to stop for a bathroom-- my body CANNOT think it's okay to go to the bathroom.  But man, I wanted to stop.

Mile five.  Always at my favorite bridge.  The next glorious mile is downhill-- the best way to go into the second half.  No walking and my pace picked up.  I think I might just finish this thing.

Mile six, seven, eight. "Yeah yeah, the Potomac is pretty.  The sun is shining.  The trees are green.  My knee hurts.  I'm bored. Can I stop yet? Why did I do this?"  Somewhere in there, I heard spectators cheer me on for being pregnant and another runner, who I'd been around most of the race, came along side me and chatted with me for a bit. Starting to feel proud of myself.  Also, texted my mom and assured her I wasn't in labor.

                                        {Running to give Charlotte a smooch...}

Mile nine.  Old Town!  Brick row homes! Cobblestone streets! New scenery! Almost there.  Passed Tyler and Charlotte around 9.5.  So fun to see their smiling faces.

Mile ten! I finished!  Do not stop. Do not collect $200. Find Tyler. Find a bathroom.  Pregnant mama coming through.

My back and pelvis started to ache within minutes of finishing but it didn't stop us from enjoying a sunny brunch outside {yes-- I DID will that forecast away-- it was a gorgeous morning, without a drop of rain, and with plenty of sunshine in the 60s}.  I love the guiltless brunch and laziness that follows races.  Once home, I took a long shower, a long nap, and another bath to stave off some Braxton Hicks-- the first I'd felt this pregnancy and sufficiently freaked me out that I had sent myself into labor after all.  The ache in my pelvis and low back was bad, but nothing a lot of water, Tylenol, and rest didn't solve.

What I wouldn't typically talk about is that I'm really proud of myself. I'm not a super athlete. My time was nothing crazy. I'm not super competitive.  But I worked hard to stay this active this far into the pregnancy and worked hard to try to do this race.  It felt good to run by Charlotte and give her a big, sweaty kiss.  I want her to know what mamas can do and I want to be as healthy as I can, to be around for her as long as I can.  So, yeah...I'm proud of myself. And really, isn't the human body amazing?  It almost, almost makes me consider natural childbirth.

And so, here I am with nine weeks left of this pregnancy which sounds simultaneously so far away and so, so soon.  I plan to keep running, but probably more like four to six miles...I don't think this mama has any more ten milers in her!

Finally, here's the take away: pregnancy isn't a disability.  You don't need to run ten miles-- everyone has different pregnancies and different bodies.  But don't let yourself fall into the trap of eating more and exercising less because you're carrying a baby {obviously, medical issues and doctor's advice considered} .  Consult your doctor if you're new to exercise, or if you need some modification ideas {good, basic information here}, but don't sit this one out!  Your body will thank you, your brain will love it, and you and your baby will be better off.  So I dare you...grab your shoes and go buy some XL sports bras, you're going to need them!

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