If you follow me on IG, then you already know my husband and I are expecting baby #2. If not, then, SURPRISE. Now you know.
My first pregnancy wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. I didn’t know I was pregnant for a while. I thought my symptoms were from a nasty flu that made repeated rounds through my family and my husband’s family the months leading up to our wedding. Those symptoms never abated after the first trimester, as many promised me, and I continued to struggle with vomiting until the day I delivered. I did run throughout the pregnancy, including the day I delivered. But after the Boston Marathon at about 6 weeks (and unknowingly pregnant), I didn’t race. I only ran one other event later that year, a very slow turkey trot in Boston about a month from delivery and dealing with painful Braxton-Hicks contractions the whole hilly 5k distance.
This time around, I knew everything was off from week 3 of the pregnancy, and felt far worse. By She.Is.Beautiful Santa Cruz weekend, I had been fighting the good fight against nausea, dry heaving, and hot/cold sweats for nearly a month. But like during the first pregnancy, I didn’t even think about not running. It made me feel semi-normal. It’s part of my daily routine, and how I process my day. In order to keep running, I knew I had to make some adjustments.
I normally never pay attention to heart rate during my runs, regardless of type: easy/recovery run, speed workout, or hill and trail. However, during the early weeks, I started noticing that my pulse would sudden spike at random times. I began paying attention to my heart rate during training during the last couple of months, trying to find the sweet spots in long runs for what felt like reasonable steady states. While I adjusted to all of this, I also noticed my stride changing constantly, which also made all of my steps feel very weird and wobbly. More days during the week on the treadmill helped take some of the pressure off of my hips and knees, especially on the days I felt like a baby deer.
Race weekend for She.Is.Beautiful, Santa Cruz, took place on a fairly gusty St. Patrick’s Day. I jogged from my hotel to the start, and had a great reunion with friends and teammates I don’t see as often as I would like , and some teammates from other chapters that I never or have never seen. With how woozy I was already feeling, I felt really comforted by looking around at all these spectacularly strong women and feeling like I had an army of badasses who have my back. In general, it was just damn cool to be at a sporting event celebrating our girl power.
At the start, some asked me what I was going to try for, and I replied, “Whatever feels good.” As I wasn’t showing and not telling too many people that I was expecting, I simply explained that I was coming off of a cold. Since I was holding back the desire to throw up, I elected to not bother with strides. I was also trying really hard to focus on anything but the hot/cold sweats that kept bothering me.
I started out faster than I ended, with a small group of runners that started off chasing the Strava Track Club leaders. I ran with teammates Becky and Erin for the first couple of miles, and then backed off after the 2 mile mark a bit to be a little more conservative with my efforts. Erin pulled ahead, and then so did Wolfpacker Jenn with a woman dressed as Wonder Woman. I gave them words of encouragement and then set myself to try to find some pocket of ease, because I simply didn’t feel good. The cold/hot sweats came in waves when big gusts of wind weren’t, so I didn’t feel like I could physically catch a break. The end result was that I felt more and more nauseated as the race progressed.
Miles 4 and 5 were basically about smiling for others and bracing myself against strong wind gusts coming off of the water. The last mile or so was spent mostly dodging people – 5k finishers – while yelling, “Excuse us, 10k finishers coming through!” and “Thank you!” as I passed. These last three miles, I stayed roughly 10 meters behind Jenn and Wonder Woman, thinking that if I couldn’t kick to catch them, I could at least help clear the way for them. In the end, my splits were 6:02, 6:09, 6:08, 6:18, 6:17, 6:27, 5:46, which led to a 5th place 38:03 finish and roughly 2 minute PR since Fall of 2015.
There were three really bright spots during the race: The first was seeing all of the women and girls running on the other side of West Cliff after the turnaround point. Everyone looked so happy and there was this really awesome culture of cheering each other on. The second were all of the signs dotting the entire course with amazing messages like, “I love the girly things like ambition, making the calls, and crushing goals”. I couldn’t help but smile reading those signs. The third was the fact that D saw me finish. He spotted me before my husband did and shrieked at anyone who would listen, “Momma! That’s my momma!”. He’s seen me in a handful of events now, and with this particular race, he thinks that only women run really freaking fast – “More faster than daddies and boys”. I won’t correct him for the time being.
Overall, I loved the She.Is.Beautiful experience. It was a truly feel-good sort of event. The race effort was a decent one, despite running into headwinds for about half of the race (which I don’t really mind) , and feeling so very, very blah for most of it (that’s just out of my control). It was great workout prep for Boston. I was very glad to have shown up, seen my friends do amazing things, and picked up a PR when I don’t expect too many of those running ones the rest of this year!