As a part of returning to this space, I want to dedicate a few posts to “pregnant running” – a recap of sorts of what I did and how I felt. When I found out that I was pregnant, I was training for the Baystate Marathon. None of what follows should be considered medical advice – I am leaving out some private details and sticking to the running portion of my pregnancy.
(at the end of the first 20 miler for Baystate- 2:49 total time for me).
Prior to finding out that I was pregnant, Teo and I ran at least a 16, 17, and 2 20 mile training runs. The first couple of long runs were in the pace range that I was expecting (8:20-8:30 pace)- but the last few, MAN were they a struggle. The final 20 mile run (in early September) I was totally exhausted, slow, and needed a million bathroom breaks. Over the next week running just got harder and some other symptoms popped up… and low and behold- we were pregnant!
After finding out that I was pregnant- I made some changes to my training and plans. My OB didn’t nix running the full marathon (plenty of women run full marathons pregnant)- I did. I would have only been 11, almost 12 weeks pregnant for the marathon and I just didn’t want to risk it. Since I had been running double digit training runs all along, I felt comfortable sticking with the half marathon distance. Other factors that I considered when deciding to run the half- did I really want to “slog” through 26.2 just to say that I had run a marathon pregnant? The quick answer- NO. Would I blame the marathon if I got injured, something happened to the baby, etc? Yes.
I felt different about the half marathon distance, though. Running less than 2 hours at a moderate pace was nothing new to me or the little one!
My running partner and I decided to run The Manchester by the Sea half a couple of weeks before the Baystate Marathon. I didn’t push the pace at all, but did need a bathroom break around 8 miles in. I ran a 1:53 (1:52:56)- about 8:37 pace- inclusive of a stop :).
(9.5 weeks pregnant)
(Baystate- 11.5 weeks pregnant)
I wanted to run Baystate a little faster- and I did! Only by a minute and a bit Baystate was completed in 1:51:48- for an 8:33 avg.
How it felt:
Running any faster than an 8 min/mile was tough almost immediately- I just felt short of breath and tired. Training paces were fine for the whole first trimester. As I closed in on 12 and 13 weeks I needed bathroom breaks, often. I was actually surprised that I didn’t need portapotties at Baystate- but I did need the post race food! After both halfs I had gas left in the tank- but by the end of the day on those race days I was WIPED OUT. Nap city.
Around 12 weeks I became full on exhausted. 8PM bedtime, evening nausea (though I was never sick)- but I kept up with my routine. Running still felt pretty good (even though it was slower)- and there was no medical reason to stop. Looking back on my logs I ran about 35-40 miles/week through 15 weeks pregnant without any problems.
And speaking of bathroom breaks- this was the most uncomfortable part of running in the second half of the first trimester, for me. I felt like I had constant pressure on my bladder. For someone so small at the time- Teo was making his presence known! It made running outside tough- I wanted a potty every 2 miles or so. I switched to running on the treadmill for the most part.
The takeaway- I listened to my body! Being pregnant changed my philosophy regarding running- no longer did I feel the need to hit a certain pace or distance- I just ran for the sake of running. In some ways this was exactly what I needed- I felt the “pressure” of performing and competing lift. During the two races I struggled a little bit with being “slow”- and thinking about what I “could” have run if I wasn’t pregnant- but by 13 weeks I was over that hump and just enjoying myself.