It’s been 32 weeks since I became a “party of two” runner, and those weeks have been about as up and down as your least favorite race course. As I come down the home stretch of this marathon, here’s a little update on my first experience running through pregnancy.
Going into my first pregnancy, I googled endlessly things like “pregnant running” hoping to find a What to Expect from your Running when You’re Expecting type of guideline for runners. But what I found instead was that everyone’s experience was very different. Even from one runner friend to another, it seemed everyone had a different journey when it came to running through pregnancy.
My experience has been, for the most part, pretty positive. At first I felt like I was at a disadvantage, being cleared to run post hip surgery when I was nine weeks pregnant. In retrospect, I think that may actually have been my saving grace as it forced me to ease into running. I gradually built up from zero, taking the miles slowly to let my legs and lungs catch up in the first trimester. I struggled with fatigue and sickness in the first trimester, so easy running was perfect.
By the middle of the second trimester I hit more of a groove. My endurance was coming back slowly, although my speed wasn’t there and I didn’t try to push it. Slow easy miles were my jam. I was able to run most days, even if just for a few miles.
My monthly mileage will ultimately end up a perfect bell curve from first to third trimester. At around 26 weeks I noticed I couldn’t make it more than 2 miles without a pee break (luckily my furry running buddy was A-Ok with that too). One day that problem spontaneously fixed itself; instead of constant pee breaks, I started to notice a shooting pain down my back and legs when I ran. Boom: kid changed positions and settled right on my sciatic nerve, where he’s been chillin’ ever since.
The sciatic pain, increased weight and horrific stride I’ve now picked up have all contributed to some pretty frustrating days and weeks in my third trimester. But every time I say it’s probably time to shut it down and give up on running for now, I have a good day that reminds me why I’ve kept going this far.
My speed and distance may be behind me now. Every run I inch closer to turning my yogs into straight walks. But when that day comes (tomorrow?), I’ll be okay with it. This experience has taught me more patience and more balance than I ever thought possible for my competitive, structure-driven self and for that I am eternally grateful.
I’m thankful every run that this little guy has let me keep doing what I love for as long as I have and I can only hope that means in a couple of months, he’ll be down to join me for a few miles in the stroller! Until then, I’ll keep chugging away, getting closer to “is that lady even moving forward?” status and thanking my legs, my tired feet and my little nugget for each of the nearly 600 miles they’ve let me log thus far.