Last month, my team had two mile time trials: one local one for the chapter, and the other as a larger Bay Area meet up at Kezar Stadium. I ran the first with my Oakland gals on a rubber track near home at 20 weeks of pregnancy. Two weeks later, I ran the second trial as a road mile some 1200′ further up in the Mt. Hood Village region of Oregon since I was on vacation with my family during the meetup at Kezar. Though I ran the second mile alone, I wanted that solidarity with my teammates a state away before I commenced vacay-touristy activities for the day with the family.
The track mile was a 5:58 and the road mile was a 6:19. Both miles felt just challenging enough for me to feel like both miles were good efforts. Per what feels the norm now during pregnancy, during both trials I was mentally very uncomfortable pushing beyond 85-90%, the baby kept churning but didn’t ball up and hit my bladder, and each time trial I kept counting down the tenths of the mile until I was done. To give a sense of how out of whack my heart rate continues to be, on the track it peaked at 186, while during the road mile it was a peak of 142.
Both of these were PRs for pregnancy running, especially since I didn’t do any time trials during my first pregnancy. While I’m sometimes frustrated with what my body won’t do now during easy runs and in any kind of effort, I also know that it’s important to remind myself that my body is just different and will always be. To me, pregnancy like a long test of patience, and one that doesn’t have a clear end because postpartum care and rehabilitation is so vital. However, I remind myself often in those moments of frustration that there’s a time to be fast – whatever that may mean for me – and a time to coast. This would be a time to coast.
When I re-applied to be a RADrabbit – brand ambassador for running apparel company rabbit – I explicitly stated that I would be documenting this pregnancy on social media to contribute to the normalization of women continuing to be active throughout their pregnancies. I know I am far from someone like Alysia Montaño, racing high profile 800m races during pregnancy (btw I met her in person recently and she’s so awesome and easy to talk to) and utilizing her visibility to share the gospel of women doing hard things – especially exercise. Like many in the online community I’m plugged into, I’m a self-coached recreational runner that uses running to decompress, stay physically and mentally healthy, and connect with others. It’s my hope that my posts on IG and occasional write-ups here encourage women to continue doing what feels right for their mental and physical health, as well as that of their babies. (It should go without saying, always consult your physician.)
If by chance you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that I’ve not had the most fun with pregnancy, and I’m always in awe of people who have a great time while they’re expecting. This pregnancy I’ve had frequent tension headaches and developed a brand new cat allergy, which is especially unfortunate because I think cats are wonderful. I get bad charlie horse calf cramps a couple of times a week. To top it all off, as of just over a week ago, I’ve been plagued with extremely bad insomnia, which means I’m getting anywhere between 2 and 5 hours of sleep a night in fragments.
All that aside, I really like a run in my daily routine, whether it’s 1 mile or 12, because it just makes me feel good and as normal as normal can be when everything feels like it is constantly changing. Since Boston, my weekly mileage has stayed at about 30-35 miles, which is around what it normally would be after a big race. This breaks down to:
1-2 really short active rest days of 1-3 easy miles
3-5 days of 4-ish -6 miles – one of which miiiggghhhtttt be a workout with the team
1 long run of 8-10 miles.
I run 3 to 4 of my runs per week on the treadmill to keep the impact lighter on my hips and lower back, where I can tend to feel the most jarring and tension (also cuz of where I’m carrying the baby). As I get bigger and am more affected by symptoms of pregnancy, I’m taking more easy days, and dropping more and more mileage as time goes on. I am just fine shuffling a mile a day for however long for that little bit of release and calm in my day.
By no means does this mean that I believe that running during pregnancy is the gospel, nor do I recommend it above all other forms of staying active. I simply like the running thing and feel good doing it! The health bonus is simply that – a happy bonus!