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Runner Mamas Part 1 of 2: Running While Pregnant
I knew from the moment I got the positive reading on the (6) pregnancy test(s) that I was not going to be the gal running a marathon while 9 months pregnant. I did, however, picture myself running at least until I had too much belly to be comfortable. I even asked my ob/gyn what she thought about it. She told me that I could run the same as I always had but that most ladies stopped around 25-30 weeks because of the Belly of Doom™. Okay maybe she didn’t exactly say “Belly of Doom” but that’s what I heard.
So I had grand plans of running my way through the majority of my pregnancy. I imagined I would be that amazingly fit runner mama-to-be with the adorable maternity tops accentuating my bump, a happy grin on my face because running made me feel oh so energized…I would trot down the road as people smiled and waved, encouraging me in my amazingly fit runner mama-to-be-ness…
…and then I woke up to the First Trimester (of Doom).
“Woke up” is probably a poor choice of words. Even though I was upright and (mostly) functioning, there wasn’t a whole lot of being awake going on in the first three months of my pregnancy. Running most certainly did NOT make me feel oh so energized.
I ran on the treadmill a few times but decided after about 7 exhaustive weeks that running was not my pregnant exercise of choice. I was a full-time student and also working full-time with an hour commute in each direction. On top of that, being a narcoleptic with Pregnant Brain made even the simplest of tasks nearly insurmountable. Often I had trouble staying awake on the drive home. I was beginning to get anxious in addition to the fatigue. Something had to go. Not wanting to have a stressed-out pregnancy, I decided to drop the running. I knew I’d be able to pick it back up and it’d be waiting patiently when I did.
So the energized runner mama-to-be I was not. But I was okay with that. I’d been waiting a long time to start a family so I figured waiting a short while to run wouldn’t be so bad. I did a LOT of walking, yoga, and even some elliptical work (which earned me some interesting looks and comments toward the end of my pregnancy…what, I’m supposed to sit on my giant butt and eat bon bons for 2-3 more months?).
Pregnancy (and having a child, but that’s a different post) taught me that you have to take things as they come and adapt to what works best for you and yours. I chose not to run throughout my pregnancy but there are many women who absolutely can and do. Below are some ladies who made running while pregnant work for them.
One of my “Tweeple” (did I just type that?), Katie, is one of those amazingly fit runner mamas-to-be who has even continued racing while pregnant. She has also discovered a creative and fun way to get her speed back while removing the Belly of Doom™ stress from her body – the Alter-G Treadmill. The closest one of these to me is in Kentucky. I might have driven to Kentucky to have had this experience while pregnant. Read about Katie’s out-of-this-world run here: “I Ran on the Moon – My Anti-Gravity Running Experience”
Another of my “Tweeps” (I’m starting to annoy myself now…), Adrienne (who also prego-raced) maintains her smokin’ runner mama-to-be status by using the treadmill, taking it slow, and listening to her body. Even though she feels the frustration of not being able to run in quite the same way she used to, she has found a way to stick with it by making adjustments to her routine. What’s even more impressive is that she manages to find time for regular workouts in the midst of taking care of a lot of people. Here’s a glimpse into Adrienne’s busy life: “slow FAT pregnant RUNNER”
And finally, fellow “Twerson” (okay, now that’s just silly.) Stephanie has remained a svelte runner mama-to-be cruising through her second pregnancy with the wise acceptance of its physical limitations. Like Katie and Adrienne, Stephanie also laments losing her usual speed and distance but has welcomed the deceleration as definitely worth it for the end result. She notes that slowing down can often remind us why we’re out there to begin with – for the joy of the run. Stephanie explains what she’s learned from her growing belly in: “Things the Bump is Teaching me”
I didn’t run past the first few months of pregnancy but I did the best I felt I could do to remain fit and zen. Many women like Katie, Adrienne, and Stephanie are lucky enough to be able to keep running (even with the dreaded Belly of Doom™). They may not be able to go as fast or as far as they’d like – but they’re compromising and sacrificing as necessary to do what’s best to take care of themselves and their growing babies.
And that, my friends, is what being a good (runner) mama is all about.
Up Next: “Runner Mamas Part 2 of 2: Running After Pregnancy”