I am finally through my first trimester of my pregnancy! Robert and I were so excited to share the news that we are expecting. Obviously though being pregnant and running long distances on trails do not always go hand in hand. Here are the top five realities I have been dealing with as a runner in the past three months.
- Everyone you know suddenly became a runner and a doctor overnight. Now I love all the concern my family and friends have for my well being and that of my baby, but trust me within five minutes of telling most people that we were expecting I heard something along the lines of, “well you better stop running.” Not to sound ungrateful for what I am sure is simply the desire to keep me safe, but when the heck did everyone have time to attend medical school without me realizing it?! Oddly enough those people in my life who are doctors or nurses are the few you haven’t mentioned my hobby. Most likely because they understand that going from being a long distance trail runner to someone who doesn’t run overnight would most likely be more detrimental to my body. I have cut back- my long run this week was six miles which to put things in perspective is usually a weekday workout distance- but cutting running out of my life entirely would not be good for my body or my mind. For the record my doctor has encouraged me to keep doing whatever normal exercise is for me until at least 30-34 weeks and then we will reassess. Now she doesn’t want me training for my first ultra, but has continuously encouraged me to keep up a normal exercise routine. Running is what keeps me sane- poor Robert already has to deal with pregnancy hormones, cutting running out will only make me crazier and that poor man already puts up with a lot dealing with me!
- I don’t have to win every race. I love racing. Even more- I love winning. I am an extremely competitive person no matter what I am doing- it’s pretty much in our family bloodline to take everything seriously and always go for the w. I tend to win or at least place in my age group at races and I enjoy doing so which is why I train hard to make that happen. Saturday at the 5k we ran Robert won the race. I was out front with him at the beginning and could see he was going to break away from the two men he was packed up with. At the time I was first place female averaging a pace that was pushing it, but that I could have sustained if I pushed myself. The second place female passed me and I had a decision to make. Pace with her knowing well that I could definitely overdo it if that was my play, or relax a bit and realize that I’m not getting paid to do this and that it is not worth the risk. I chose the latter and still was able to finish fifth female and first in my age group. Not as great as winning side by side with Robert, but in the long run I think I made the right choice. Two weeks ago at the stage race we ran I completed the twelve miles of day one with about a three minute lead in my age group after waking up to what I thought were some allergies. After a really great run during the 14 miles of stage 2 I had accumulated about an 8-10 minute lead and realized that Claritin was not doing anything for my symptoms so I probably had a cold. Saturday night I was experiencing excruciating pain in my right hip to the point that I started having muscle spasms that caused my teeth to chatter. Sunday morning I woke up and felt okay. My cold sucked but I could put pressure on my hip without breaking down in pain. Robert and I spent about an hour going back and forth about whether or not I should run that day. After a lot of tears because I knew I would win if I got out there, but also knew I probably wouldn’t be walking Monday morning if I ran, I decided to stay back at the hotel and take my first DNF. Pregnant running does not mean I have lost my competitive side, but for the time being I need to put that aside if I am going to be racing because it is not safe or necessary for me or my baby to push myself to my extreme limits.
- I may not get a run in every day on the schedule. I am tired all the time now. Waking up is a struggle every day so running before work is not going to happen, and by the time I get out of school after being in my sauna of a classroom and dealing with my students all day all I want to do is nap. It is OKAY. I may not get in a run every day, or it might only be three miles instead of five. Some days my cardio is simply walking a few laps around our neighborhood because it is 90 degrees when I get home and I do not really want to run in that heat. I am missing running on a consistent basis because I love running, however I get that right now it is not always going to happen. It does not make me a less dedicated runner or a lazy bum- it makes me a soon-to-be mother who is trying to take care of my mind and the body that is working hard to create the ganoosh growing inside of me.
- Running nutrition takes on a whole new meaning and finesse. So take morning sickness, food aversions, nausea, and a lack of appetite and combine that with an early morning race or long run on the weekend. Sounds lovely right? I think the hardest part for me is eating like I used to the night before a long run to get the calories and nutrition I need ahead of time. I just do not have the appetite I have always had although luckily I have not had trouble keeping food down. With that though it is a battle to give my body what it needs before heading out for a double digit run (which I swear I’m cutting back on). I also have had trouble taking in nutrition while running. This is not shocking because I have always had trouble with figuring out my nutrition while running. That combined with my pregnancy equals more issues than ever. I have fallen in love with pretzels on long runs now. I am not sure if it is the salt, the crunch, or the fact that it is actually solid food, but they have definitely been the first thing I am grabbing at aid stations. Oddly enough I have also been sucking down my BOOM gels way more often during a run as well. Apparently the baby enjoys running snack time as well. However, the nausea that I have when I eat any meal is still there while running. Finding the balance has been difficult, but as I roll into week 14 of my pregnancy and leave the first trimester behind it has been starting to get slightly easier for my stomach to handle.
- I truly do have the world’s most amazing and supportive husband by my side. No matter how slow I go now, how much I have to cut a run short by, or how many times I cancel on him in the morning because I cannot get out of bed he never complains or says a word. When I had to decide whether or not to run day 3 of the stage race he expressed his concern as my husband and our child’s father, but would have supported any decision I made because he knew I needed to make the decision for myself. He is there when I need him to pick me up and put me in bed because my hip isn’t letting me be mobile and always there at the finish line when I finally get my butt across it. He puts newspapers in my sneakers when they are soaked through from mud and water. He always ensures I have a water bottle filled with Scratch and enough BOOMs in my pack to get me through a run. When I run out of hydration he always selflessly gives me his. Robert is constantly taking care of me every day and inspiring me to be the best teacher, runner, wife, sister, daughter, and soon to be mom I can be. He is putting up with my crazy hormones and sitting with me through what seems to be hours at the dinner table because I am eating so slowly as of late. He also is not one of the people telling me to stop running. He is telling me it’s going to be an adjustment and I have to listen to my body and run the pace and distance that I can handle that day, but he is not asking me to stop fulfilling my passion. For that and so many other reasons, I love him.
So here’s to my first trimester being conquered. Hopefully I will have a successful last race at the half marathon in Annapolis during my second. Baby McMILEan might come out with running sneakers on. I wonder if they’ll have rock plates in them or not.