A month ago I was preparing to run in my fourth half marathon. Normally no big deal, right? But when you’re running 13.1 miles 22 weeks pregnant, it’s a little more nerve wracking than you’d think.
I had signed up for the Iron Horse Half Marathon back in April. It was a local race that was on my running bucket list, and can often be hard to get into the later you wait (they cap it at 1,500 runners). Then in June, the day after I ran in the Bourbon Derby Half Marathon, I discovered I was pregnant. From that point I decided I was going to continue to train for the Iron Horse anyway, keeping in mind anything the doctor said and knowing that I wasn’t going to be going for a PR in October.
Leading up to the race the weather was looking iffy–cold and rainy. Luckily, the weather held out and it was just chilly with sprinkles at the beginning of the race and at the end.
I had taken off a week and a half from any running because of a heel bruise, so I was worried about how I would handle the distance. I told myself my main goal was to try to make it through the first half of the course without walking, then continuously remind myself that it was OK to walk when I needed to. I made it through seven miles with only walking through a couple of the water stops, so I was proud of myself.
The second half of the race, I tried to stick to what I called the “pregnant mile interval”–run 10 minutes, then walk until the end of that current mile. It wasn’t until about mile 11 or 12 that I started to feel uncomfortable. I then realized I probably needed to pee, but there were no port-o-potties around, so I quickly whipped between a stone fence and a tree where no one could see. After that, i felt much better (first time I ever had to stop to use the bathroom during a race!) and just told myself I was almost there.
My goal was to finish before 2:30, and I was on track to do so. I saw one of my close friends who was volunteering close to the 13 mile marker and it lifted my spirits to push on. When I got to the finish line, I just started pumping my arms and “sprinted” to the finish. I was so surprised at how emotional I felt after I received my medal–was it the fact that I was done with the race, or the pregnancy hormones, or all of the above? I have no idea, but the last time I teared up at the finish line was my very first half marathon back in 2012.
My official finish time was 2:27:40. Definitely not a PR, but when you consider I had a hitchhiker with me the entire race, I think it’s pretty darn good!
So why did I decide to run a half marathon while pregnant? Why not?? I was completely honest with my doctor about my training, and as soon as I found out I informed my running group and my coaches at Man O’War CrossFit. A fellow Strider let me borrow her book Running & Pregnancy, so I read what to expect and how to handle each month and adjusted everything where needed. I quickly put aside my pride and knew that I couldn’t push for the faster race times, and that it was alright to walk when my heart rate was going too fast or I felt winded.
The longest distance I ran leading up to this race was 11 miles, and that was two weeks prior to the race. And I was OK with that. I ran one long distance training run a week and one shorter run every week, and did CrossFit four days a week.
Now I’m just running once or twice a week, up to 3.5-4 miles at a time in my neighborhood, and still doing CrossFit. My hope is to continue running until it’s too uncomfortable. Right now I’m at almost 28 weeks, and still doing alright.
What’s on tap for 2015? Spring races will have to be determined with the birth of Baby A&W and how the weather allows for outdoor running.
If you’re looking for a scenic race in Central Kentucky in October, I recommend the Iron Horse–just make sure you register early!
Note: Check back on Wednesday, I’ll have an awesome discount code to pass on to you from ProCompression!