Running a Marathon While Pregnant
Running while pregnant has been a whole new experience for me. I’ve had to think a lot more about my breathing, heartrate, and of course there is the extra weight of the baby. I’ve had to tell myself that it’s ok to run slower and really listen to my body. When I signed up for the Salt Lake City half marathon, I was around 6 weeks pregnant. I was aware that I was pregnant and wanted the challenge. After an ok from my Dr., I began to make a training plan.
It was around 7-8 weeks that I really started to feel awful and the morning sickness really set in. I was throwing up, had no energy, wanted to sleep all of the time and pretty much had around the clock nausea. So much for a training plan, right? I ran when I could, but was very spotty with my training. When I hit around 16 weeks, I had a newfound energy. I could control my nausea for the most part by eating small meals and I was starting to get some energy back. Although I hadn’t lost all of my conditioning, I was definitely a lot slower than I was before I got pregnant. It didn’t really matter too much to me though. I’d been reading the book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy
and I realized that even though I was slow and it was hard, exercising was one of the best things I could be doing for my baby and me. More to come on that book in the future, it’s such a great read!
2 weeks ago, I did my longest run that I’d done in months, it was just over 10 miles. Again it was hard and I was really sore, but I made it. As I continued to prepare for my race, the tragedy in Boston happened. I felt sick to my stomach at what happened and couldn’t get it out of my head. As a runner, it’s such a thrilling experience to run a race. The adrenaline, the mind over matter and that rush of emotion you feel when you see someone cheering you on or you see the finish line. I knew even more that I wanted to run this half marathon, to run it in memory of those that were hurt or did not make it through what happened.
The morning of the half marathon it was rather cold and rainy. I kept hoping that the rain would stop, but it didn’t. We had a moment of silence before the race, and I sported a couple wrist bands and the color green to show support to Boston.
The first few miles, I felt really great and was running at a much faster pace than I thought I would be. By about mile 3, I was pretty soaked. I could feel the water squishing in between my toes every time I stepped down and my hands and wrists felt numb. At 3.5 miles, I had to pee for the first time. I’ve run 2 full marathons, and 5 half marathons previous to this race, and I’ve never had to stop to use the bathroom. I waited in line for about 7 minutes, but it was a total necessity. I had to stop 3 more times to use the bathroom throughout the race, and I figured that I spent close to 20 minutes in lines, lol. Every time I would stop, my knees would start throbbing. I don’t normally have too much knee pain when I run, and I’m sure it was due to the extra weight I was carrying. Although I’ve only gained 14 lbs so far this pregnancy, I feel every single pound of it. I had a lot of pelvic pressure too, especially when I would go downhill but I tried to focus on my music or think of something else.
At about mile 10, I just felt done. I was freezing, tired and my pelvis and knees just hurt. Right before mile 11, I contemplated just walking. Just then, I saw a familiar face. My brother and his friend stepped into sync with me and ran the last 2 miles with me. It was so nice to have them to talk to and hear their encouraging words.
As I neared the finish line, I spotted my dad with a video camera. He cheered and flashed me a big smile. Then I saw my husband and two boys cheering. I stopped to give them each a quick kiss before finishing. It was all I could do not to cry, I was feeling a lot of emotion. My time was quite a bit slower than it was last year, but it was such an amazing feeling to have accomplished it at almost 22 weeks pregnant. The rain had finally subsided as well, but I couldn’t stop shivering and chattering.
It was definitely the coldest and wettest race I’ve ever done, but it was an amazing experience. My 63 year old mom and sister ran it with me. After the race we went to my brother’s house to warm up and have some lunch. A few minutes into lunch, I could feel baby Nova bouncing around and kicking up a storm. She must have enjoyed her nap during the race, I’m sure the rocking was soothing. 😉 I’ve had many ask and even did some research on my own whether it was ok to run that far while pregnant. Without my standing in line bathroom time, I spent around 2 1/2 hours running. As I said before, I ok’d it with my Dr., and listened to my body. I hydrated, stopped for bathroom breaks and made sure to stay at a pace where I was never breathless. I’d say if you were in shape before your baby, to definitely sign up for races during your pregnancy. It’s that much more motivation to stay healthy!
As I continue further into this pregnancy, I’m going to keep running until I can’t. I will be coming down on my mileage and doing shorter runs though. I have some pretty lofty marathon goals after I have this baby, but I need to take it a day at a time. In the meantime, I’m going to be transitioning to some more minimalist type shoes. I’ve never tried a minimalist shoe, but I thought I would give it a go. I’ve run a couple of times in my new Skora Running shoes, and I’ll continue to do so over the coming months. I’ll let you know how the transition goes and if/how I like them.