Over the past year and a half, running has become part of my life and I was determined to keep it up as long as I could during my pregnancy. It probably helped that I came across a couple of people who ran far into their pregnancies – the kind of stories that tweaked my “If they can do it, so can I!” competitive nature.
I also found a really helpful book – as best I can tell the only book – about pregnancy and running: Runner’s World Guide to Running and Pregnancy by Chris Lundgren. I liked how the book went month by month and gave a good overview of what were reasonable running expectations for that month. Probably my favorite piece of advice was to change your distance measure from regular miles to “maternity miles.” A maternity mile was equal to 10 minutes of running. As I got slower and slower, it definitely made me feel better to think of two regular miles as three maternity miles.
The book also includes nutrition plans and case studies. Most of the examples were of women who ran longer, farther and fastest than I did before pregnancy, but I thought the author did a good job of making sure to communicate that at the end of the day you do the best you can. Don’t kill yourself.
Throughout this pregnancy people would ask how long I was planning to keep running, and since this was uncharted territory for me I would reply, “Until it hurts.” I crossed some invisible threshold at 27 weeks where if I did anything more than jog very slowly, my whole baby belly would feel like it was contracting into an extremely painful bowling ball. Basically, it was my round ligaments screaming at me. Finally at 29 weeks I very regretfully decided to back down to power walking. We’re in Texas in the middle of a historic heat wave, and I started swelling so much that I was risking injury to keep running.
In the 6.5 months of this pregnancy, I logged over 175 miles of running. It’s been very cathartic as we’ve faced a lot of uncertainty with Michael’s job situation, and now as we’re in the process of moving to another state. It’s been a mood-booster when hormones attack. It’s helped me feel at least as energetic as I did with my first pregnancy six years ago.
But what I’m really going to miss is freaking out old ladies. Like the elderly woman who drove by me while I was jogging a few weeks ago and, looking horrified, mouthed “OH NO!”