Runners are creatures of habit. We run our same routes over and over, stick to our training styles and hate having our routines disrupted. But those routines can be upended by a few things: work, family schedules, illness, injury, pregnancy.
If we’re being honest, many of us would admit we ask ourselves how any of those changes will impact our running. Including me. Two months ago, I was that person. Only this time, it was two of those factors: returning to running post-injury while pregnant.
This pregnancy is something that my husband and I had wanted for a long time, so to say that I was excited is an understatement. But as timing always works out, the news came just days before I was slated to return to running after an August hip surgery and 4 months of running-free rehab.
For 16 straight weeks, I had patiently followed my PTs instructions and limited myself to asking once a week, “So how long you think before I can run?” When she finally gave me the green light, I had already spent days down the internet rabbit hole of everyone and their grandmother’s opinions on running during pregnancy. (Which is a scary place that I would not recommend visiting if you are or ever plan to become pregnant).
I’m pregnant! But I can run again! What now?
I have spent a lot of time wrestling with how exactly I want to approach the next several months and, of course, consulted several medical professionals. The overly competitive and hyper-driven athlete in me landed me in the surgery rehab position I’m in now, so I’m conscious not to let that part come back too strong. But at the same time, it’s difficult to walk away completely from running, because the potential to get back to running has driven me to become a stronger and more balanced person during my recovery. It’s a Jekyll and Hyde battle that I’m certain I’m not the first future mother runner (injured or not) to face.
Ultimately, I concluded that there is space for both parts of me: the motivated go-getter who finds so much joy in lacing up and hitting the road, and the patient and more balanced side that I’ve worked so hard to develop. If I don’t make room for them both now, how will I learn to do that when I’m a mother?
So what’s my plan? It’s to learn as much from both sides as I can. From the intensely motivated side I hope to get a little push to keep me moving when I can and to hold me accountable for the promises I make to myself and my family. And from the side of me that learned to slow down, I’m hoping for a little balance and perspective on the most important thing right now: growing a healthy running buddy for whom I will someday be a role model for how to approach sports and life.
We are runners, but we are also so many other things too: mothers, teachers, friends, motivators, hard workers, competitors and support systems. I’m a newbie to the mom role and I don’t know much but I do think that there’s space for more than a few of those versions of ourselves in running and I’m sure going to try my hardest to make room for them all.
Have you ever balanced injury comeback with pregnancy?