Running in the First Trimester

When I first thought that I might write about being pregnant, one of the things I thought I’d write a lot about was running. I spent the weeks before I knew I was pregnant reading everything I could about running through pregnancy, and loved the few blogs I did find that gave specific information. Not because I wanted a training plan to follow, but because I (obviously) like to know what to expect whenever possible. My college teammate and I went for an easy run last weekend and she reminded me that our assistant coach was pregnant during our senior year, and I realized: she’d been the person who let me know, without ever saying anything at all, that it was okay, healthy, and for some people, happy, to run through pregnancy. Suddenly, I remembered 8-month-pregnant Coach at our conference meet, the team jokes about what would happen if she went into labor at Nationals (I vaguely remember that she stayed home for that trip since it was so close to her due date). Nothing every seemed strange about Coach running with us on our easy days (at some point I’m assuming she ran with slower groups rather than the varsity runners, but now I can’t remember), and remembering all of this has been a good reminder how the overall message, that she cared enough about the sport, and about us, to keep coaching even when she obviously had other important things going on in her life, stuck with me much more than if she missed a meet or a practice or sat out some runs (things I’ve been worrying about with my girls). I hope I can be that role model to some of the girls on my team.

So, how have I been feeling on the run? Pretty good. Last Thursday I did my last training run with the varsity girls. We were doing an easy 5 mile loop, probably around 8:00 pace, when I noticed that the hills felt tough, and that I was breathing hard enough to make my stomach feel a little uncomfortable. At first, I thought that our typical pace-pusher (every team has one, right? It’s a lovable position, but usually a single identifiable person) was leading us a bit faster than we needed to be going, but then I listened to the breathing around me, and noticed that all the other girls seemed fine, chattering away about plans for Memorial Day weekend and goals for our upcoming conference meet.

I’m going to miss running with the girls because it’s the time I’ve used to check in with as many of them individually as possible, and because it’s so much more convenient than running at 4:30am (before school) or after a 12 hour work day when I get home. At the same time, it’s been nice to run alone, watch free, and at whatever pace strikes my fancy. This week, I’ve been participating in a consultancy in another district, so I’ve had a little more time in the mornings to enjoy beautiful, crisp spring mornings and then feast on consultancy-provided pastries all day (what is it about those costco brownies they always give you at these things that makes them irresistible?). Just in the past few days, I’ve started to notice that I’m consistently a lot hungrier than I was a few weeks ago (though I have to say I have yet to feel anything that compares to 70 mile-a-week hunger).

If any future or recently pregnant ladies are snooping the internet trying to find out what another pregnant stranger is doing in terms of running while she’s pregnant, here is how my past two weeks have gone. (For reference, before I got pregnant, I was running about 45 miles a week; I always run 7 days a week [for sanity not out of insanity, I promise] and typically did 1 or 2 speed workouts with the high school girls I coach and 1 long run of about 10-12 miles on my own. Most of my runs were between 7:30-8:30 pace and I was in shape to race about a 19:45 5k/1:30 half marathon.) Rather than boring anyone who might be reading with the details of which route, who I ran with, what time of day, etc., I thought I might just screenshot my training log calendar.

This log shows from the middle of the 7th to middle of 12th week of pregnancy:

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Some days have felt slow and sluggish and sore-chested. Other days, like yesterday’s sunny but cool morning when I’d promised myself a giant scone for breakfast post-run, have felt surprisingly wonderful. The biggest change, besides my pace slowing and being tentative and uninterested in doing any speed workouts or really long runs, is that I can’t run on an empty stomach. Hills feel proportionately harder than flat running does (maybe due to extra weight? As of last week, I had gained four pounds, but feel like I’ve been gaining a pound a day since then, so who knows).

I recently ordered a support band for when my belly starts to grow, and have been asking my midwife at each appointment if it is still okay for me to be running. I’m happy and thankful that I have been able to run and enjoy it so consistently so far, and am trying to remind myself on each run how grateful I am that this is still a part of my day.

 

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