{Run For Yourself} My Experience Running During Pregnancy So Far

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Today’s run was actually a good one. I felt only some sciatic nerve pain. I felt like I had to pee for only half of the four miles. With a mile walk break in the middle I was able to catch my breath and relieve the pressure from my pelvis and bladder. I enjoyed the brisk walking pace and the rockin’ holiday Pandora station, yet I couldn’t help but feel guilty for walking.

For runners there are all sorts of expectations we have for ourselves. Distance requirements for the run or miles to count. A pace we have to run to call it a run rather than a jog. Only a certain number of walk breaks to make it a “real” run. It’s funny in a way because when I hear others discuss their distances or paces from a recent run I always think good for them or way to go-never that doesn’t really count. When it comes to my own running I feel so different.

I’ll be the first to admit that running during pregnancy hasn’t been everything I thought it would. I envisioned a slower pace and a bigger bump to navigate, but really wasn’t prepared for the discomforts. Maybe part of this problem or unpreparedness was the fact that I so much wanted to love running while pregnant. I read blogs of runners who ran 30, 40 or more miles a week. I read about runners logging long runs on the weekends in the teens and completing half marathons. In truth, I read what I wanted to hear. I didn’t read any posts or articles about running not being enjoyable during pregnancy. Was that because there weren’t any or was I just not wanting to face the possibility? I don’t honestly know.
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What I do know now is that each preggo run is different, but overall I wouldn’t describe the experience as fun, carefree or a time to forget your worries as it often was in the past. It most certainly is not a time to run the days stress into the ground and nail an awesome pace without perceiving much effort as it often was. Days of pushing yourself to see how hard you can go and feeling such satisfaction and pride that your night is awesome are not going to happen while carrying a growing baby.

So what does happen?

Running while pregnant is different every single day, but overall I feel slow and sluggish. Each run inevitably brings the feeling of I have to pee. That sensation varies between I think I have to go, to I’m almost positive I have to go, to I have to go but I can hold it, to I need to pee now, RIGHT NOW! Every run is different, but even with a support belt the baby is on the bladder. Luckily there hasn’t been a “Did I just pee?” experience yet. Stay tuned though. Lucky you!

Running pregnant brings a whole new set of worries with it. Perhaps it’s more the first time preggo runner, but I’m still constantly checking in with myself about how I feel. Do I feel too much pressure, too hot, too tired, are my legs tired sore (this happens easily for me when it almost never happened before), am I breathing too heavy? Between checking in with myself and thoughts of how much I have to pee, it is a rare day where I lose a mile anymore. I feel every mile!

In the past this would have been me.  Today I know better!  Walking is not cheating, but great exercise.

In the past this would have been me. Today I know better! Walking is not cheating, but great exercise.


So after all this complaining why do I do it? I’m still running although slower and sometimes with walk breaks, in a sexy girdle, often not sure if I’m about to pee myself because…afterwards I feel good. I feel like my old self again. I feel stress washed away, more energetic and wanting to take care of myself in a healthy way in general. All the old feelings of running are still there even if they take the entire run to find them.

I share my experience thus far not to whine, complain or be negative. I share this not to gain sympathy or encouragement. I share my experience because I wish I had heard more from pregnant runners whose experiences weren’t always great. I wanted to put an honest post out there so others might know ahead of time that sometimes running while pregnant can be challenging. It often isn’t fun during, but the after is rewarding, healthy and can bring peace and consistency to a time in life that is often out of our control.

Since reading more on the topic I know I’m not alone. I’m doing my best to balance being healthy and active with not pushing too hard. I’ve read too many articles on pelvic floor weakness/damage and incontinence during running not to be cautious. You’ve been made aware!

The most important lesson to learn from all of this is to run for yourself whether pregnant or not. Run your own distances, paces and races. Run your own walk breaks or not. Run for you. Read about what others do to motivate and encourage yourself, but do not compare. Let other’s experiences be a guide, not a rule manuel. I’m finding more and more that if I run for myself I find more success and personal satisfaction…AND that is what running really should be about! Run for yourself!

Sarah

{Turkey Trot errr…NOT}

Today I got up ate a pre-run breakfast, dressed in the warm layers I’d laid out the night before for my Turkey Trot race, packed hydration, made a new mini-playlist, and headed to the race.  I was excited to wear my new Reebok Cold Weather Compression tights that I got a super good deal on at the new Dick’s Sporting Goods that just opened near me.  Things were going smoothly.  Except halfway through my 45 minute drive to packet pickup and the race I heard the local radio station talking about turkey trotters running past their window and how cold they looked.  Say WHAT??!!

I promptly asked Siri what time the Turkey Trot started only to find that it started at 8:00 a.m. not 9:00 a.m. like this past weekends trot.  I had it in my pregnant brain that both trots started at 9:00.  After triple checking my error, I turned the car around full of disappointment.  I might have even cried a few tears.  I know… no use crying over my first missed race by mistake except this was more than just a race for me.  It was likely my last race before a long winter of mostly indoor runs and not racing.  It may have been my last race pre-baby.

While I’m super excited to have this little one here, they are not going to be here for a while.  And that is a long while to not race.  I miss having a race on the calendar to look forward to.  I miss anticipating the miles of the race ahead and the sights of the course.  I miss having a training plan to follow.  I miss running FAST!!  Not that I would have been going fast today, but it would have been a race regardless.  In Wisconsin there are very few races between December and March and the few that take place may be too snowy and slippery for me to do so I can’t really count on those.

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So I let the tears come and went on my own turkey trot around my neighborhood.  It was a slow trot as it was snowy on the roads.  I’ll admit I worry about people’s judgements about pregnant woman running outside in the winter, but I also know I’ve run in the winter outside for the past 14 years and I know a thing or two about winter running.  I also would never run outside if I didn’t feel it was safe or that I’d be risking anything.  A few miles later and I felt so much happier, calmer and ready to be thankful for everything I have and for this little one on the way. So grateful to be having a healthy pregancy and baby thus far.

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Tomorrow we are halfway to their arrival. I know that halfway will feel long in terms of running and racing, but it seems so exciting and terrifying that in 20 weeks I will have a child. Crazy! I know all the runs inside and the fewer miles will be so worth the blessing on the way. Running always brings me perspective and calms the thoughts in my head.

Hopefully your Turkey Trots went as you planned and you were given the chance to find some perspective and gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sarah

{UW-L Turkey Trot 5k}

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The deer hunting weekend tradition continued this year with my eighth Turkey Trot 5k. The race is one of my favorites and has become such a tradition it would be strange not to be completing this event. Per the usual last few years we walked this event as not everyone in our group is a runner.

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The course has remained relatively unchanged over the years and the shirts are usually great. Every year I wonder what colors they will use and how they will incorporate Flash the Turkey onto the design.

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Post-race we went to a favorite local restaurant for brunch followed by a day of shopping and Starbucks red cups. I love traditions and look forward to this one each year.

What turkey trot traditions do you have?? Anyone racing a local turkey trot or Thanksgiving race??

Next up-Festival Foods Turkey Trot 5 Mile Race on Thanksgiving.

{Ghoulish Gallop 10k}

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A few weeks ago I ran the Ghoulish Gallop 10k. Since finding out I was pregnant a little over three months ago I haven’t been running as much as I’d hoped to.
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A combination of super busy work weeks (70+hours a week) and the first trimester kicking my ass makes for not so many miles. I knew a half marathon could have been possible, but honestly I didn’t feel like running one at all. A 10k was just right. Pregnant running is not the time to go in unprepared.

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The husband came along and took in the gorgeous neighborhood in the peak of fall colors with me on the run. While I was unprepared for the constant hills in this neighborhood, the distance felt good and I felt mostly strong. Despite feeling like I had to pee from mile two on I’d say this race was exactly what I was looking for.

My current paces are whatever I feel like that day. Sometimes in the 8’s, other days in the 9’s, occasionally in the 10’s and sometimes I just walk. I totally listen to my body and am doing what feels right. Race day was no different.

Post-run we enjoyed a delicious brunch…
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Before heading to a nearby state park for some fall hiking fun.

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Now that my energy is coming back, my nausea has subsided (mostly) and I’m done coaching, I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine. Any pregnant running tips?? Pregnant running gear??

Ghoulish Gallop 10k
Time: 1:01:30
Pace: 9:53