Friday, February 17, 2012

Case in Point*

This morning I had planned to run with my girls.  They were meeting at 5:30, which is 30 minutes later than usual.  That is kind of a big deal, especially to this pregnant lady!  I awoke a few minutes before my alarm and laid there thinking. Since I'm slower than I used to be and usually get slower and slower as a run progresses, and since I also need a pit stop by mile 3, I wasn't sure joining the girls was such a good idea, even though I really wanted to see them.  So I got up and got dressed, but I didn't leave until 5:30 so that the girls would already be running by the time I got there.

I was looking forward to a 6 miler.  For some reason 6 miles is the magic number that makes me feel like I'm still the pre-pregnant me.  Not that I want to be the pre-pregnant me, so I can't really explain that, but it makes me feel like I can still run.  Or something.  For some time now 6 miles has been my fall-back day or my "whatever" day and even an easy run during certain training seasons, so I find myself wanting to hang on to that distance for dear life.  These days I rarely have enough time or energy for a 6 miler, so I thought this morning was my chance.

My first mistake was starting out too fast.  Before I was pregnant this pace would have been fine, but with a baby on board my steam runs out a lot quicker than it used to, so I've got to conserve even on shorter runs.  I passed pit stop #1 and decided I could make it a bit further before I needed it.  I made for pit stop #2, which was only about a half mile from the first one.  I made my pit stop and headed back toward my car, thinking of routes to get me to 6 miles before I got there.

When I was about 3.5 miles out, the steam was gone.  At first I thought I'd have 6 miles when I got back to my car, but I soon realized I would only have 5.  I was sort of disappointed and I thought I'd go the long way to add that mile, but I also knew the smartest thing was to run straight back.  I was right.  By the time I got to my car, I was worn out.

To describe it for those who have not run while pregnant, it feels a lot like the end of a long run (not one of those amazing ones, but the one that for some reason doesn't go well). It doesn't hurt, but my legs feel heavy and tired, drained of energy.  Or maybe it is like the day after a long run when you go for a few miles and you haven't recovered enough to rebuild your energy stores. No pain, but no umph either.  I have felt this feeling many times when not pregnant, but it is still disheartening to get there so quickly these days.

And I don't really have a lot to compare it too as far as other pregnant runners go.  Some women stop running very early in their pregnancy (and I can certainly understand why).  Some women run a little the whole way through (my personal goal) and some women run half-marathons and marathons up to the very end (I'm not sure whether I should admire this or shake my head).  It is just like with non-pregnant runners.  Everyone is different, so I can only do what this body says I can do.

Jason is very encouraging when it comes to this.  He makes me feel good about whatever mileage or workout I am able to do, always assuring me it was plenty and to listen to my body.  He is often the voice of reason when I want to do more than I should, and he is often (dare I say always?) right.  I'm grateful for that, even if in the moment I roll my eyes and say testily, "I'm fine!" 

Still, as I walked around the parking lot after my run, I saw the gorgeous sunrise that was waiting to be noticed.  Even if I'd done only 1 mile, that sight would have been worth it.  My feelings of disappointment soon gave way to the much preferred ones of gratitude.  I'd gotten out for an early morning run, and that takes some doing these days.  I'd seen a lovely sunrise, and it has been a while since I've enjoyed one of those.  Despite not going my desired distance I had still gotten some exercise and that is always a triumph.  And after work I could go straight home and hang with Jason, and that will be a first for this week. 

As I drove home, I was not so disappointed.  I was even sort of proud of myself for doing my run in the morning.  I decided my reward would be an iced coffee (a new craving of late) at some point during the day, and that made the whole going-to-work thing not so bad either.

*This post is an example of what I briefly mentioned in the previous post, Random Bits about Running and Pregnancy, although I really have no idea what "case in point" means and I feel bad about that since I am (was) an English major and we are supposed to know everything about the English language.


  1. Great job!! I'm so impressed that you are able to run 5 miles while pregnant!! I ran up until 7 weeks being pregnant, because I didn't know I was, but then was told not to run by a doctor who was not my OB and so I stopped. Once I met with my OB, about 2 weeks later, he said I could run but wanted my heart rate in a certain range and it didn't take much to get it there so I stopped running at about 14 weeks and that was really hard. Next time around I plan to run most of my pregnancy. Thanks for the post it's great to know it can be done and prepares me for what it will be like. :)

  2. Hi Kris! Yeah, my doc said to keep doing what I was doing, so I just take it day by day, run by run and listen to my body. When I get too tired or if I get uncomfortable, then I know it is time to call it a day for that run. So far, so good and I am thankful for every day during this pregnancy that I get to run.

  3. I remember worrying about heart rate and internal body temperature a lot when pregnant, and probably all for naught. Sounds like you are doing things right. You are listening to your body and not pushing too hard.

  4. Yeah, when I run I just run but when I get tired or my abdomen starts to ache or pull, I stop. That's usually 4-5 miles comfortably unless I start off really slow, then I can get to 6. I really do need to slow down for more reasons than getting to go 6 miles. I'm so much more winded now - even at 9:00 pace!