Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The end of running for two

The day before a Clear Blue Easy confirmed what I'd been eagerly awaiting for the previous five months, I ran a 10-kilometer race. It was a Thanksgiving Day "Give-n-Gobble" fundraising run. That means in preparation I had run up to 8-mile training runs while newly pregnant. Over the next few weeks I ran far less, in part because that's normal for me following a race, but mainly because I was very tired and the news of being pregnant made it easier for me to give in to the urge to stay in bed when it was dark and rainy outside. I also did not feel my best--not exactly morning sickness, because I never actually felt nauseous, just a nagging stomachache most days.

By the time I started feeling better and found a way to work some running into daylight hours, it was difficult to get going again. I still have no idea how much of that is attributable to pregnancy and how much a result of the large step back in training.  Most likely it was a combination: pregnancy creating a more significant barrier than usual to bouncing back from inconsistent running.

I continued running about 3 days a week (in addition to Curves and occasional jaunts to the Y) for the next couple of months. In order to stay motivated, I selected a 10k race to run on March 3rd. I always prefer creating a training plan to guide me versus "winging it" each day.  The latter option results in defaulting to the same 3 mile loop at the same easy pace--okay for maintaining fitness but not for progressing.  By mid-February I was actively resisting the increasingly apparent notion that I was not going to be that lady with her 3rd-trimester bump bouncing down the sidewalk.

The hip discomfort was quite minor compared to the havoc being wreaked on my mind.  I was bothered by my slow pace and how difficult running felt. It's as if I could not get enough oxygen or I was tremendously out of shape. Even though I knew I could easily run/walk the 6.2-mile race I'd calendared, a week or so beforehand I decided I didn't want to do that.

I am gradually accepting my body's reality.  Right now I can probably run about a mile and a half before I start requiring walk breaks. Uphill? Forget about it.  Truthfully, the better verb than "running" for what I'm doing is "lumbering."  I'm lumbering on fast-forward.  And it's not because I'm extraordinarily huge. (Side note: since my whiny post last week about feeling fat, I checked my records from the last pregnancy to learn I had already gained 10 more pounds at this point-yikes! I now feel like my bump is just about right, as long as I don't Google Image Search for bellies of the same gestational age because some of those girls don't have any right to even use the word "bump" to label these pics where their stomach is flatter than mine was pre-pregnancy.) The reason I'm lumbering is because the hormone Relaxin is coursing through my body as if it plans to deliver this baby next week. Which means the round ligaments holding my femur inside my pelvis are all loosy-goosy so each step seems to take twice the effort--both for stability and propulsion.

Yeah, I'm a little disappointed not to be a hot pregnant chick in a skort and sports bra who can still bust out a 10k in under an hour. But once again I ask myself, "why?" Who is it that I'm trying to impress or what am I trying to prove?  Other runners I've talked to are impressed I've even kept with it this long. A mother quoted in an article I just read offers this advice to pregnant women: "don't run just because you feel like you have to." I must let go of this self-imposed pressure and listen to my body. A good power walk is just as good of exercise as running and much more practical in my current state.  I am dreading the misery of starting basically from scratch when I'm ready to begin running again this fall.  But a few more weeks or miles now is not going to make that experience any easier.  It is time to go with the flow, accept my limitations, and release this delusion that I am Super Woman.

1 comment:

Amber said...

I power-walked for an hour 4-5 days a week throughout my pregnancy with Harriette, and I attribute that entirely to why I gained only half of what I gained with Cyrus. My point is, I think power walking is great exercise, especially for the pregnant woman. Also, I found that once I started walking again after Harriette was born (which wasn't for 2 months, due to several things getting in my way) I returned to my pre-pregnancy pace very quickly, and am now running, which I definitely wasn't doing even when I got pregnant. I wasn't that fit when I got pregnant, and by walking throughout my pregnancy I'm now much more fit. So don't stress about it too much. Once that relaxin is gone, your body will bounce back, probably more quickly than you think. Good for you for running still, by the way!


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