My third trimester half marathon adventure

It turns out, running a half marathon seven months pregnant is about as easy as it sounds. With 25 extra pounds to lug around, I managed to finish a half marathon recently, only to have my “bun in the oven” wake me up after her long nap to kick me, as if to say, “You’re only doing a half marathon, Mom, not a full marathon? Slacker.” She’s a tough coach!

After doing a ten mile training run at 9 min/mile pace, I remember thinking I could possibly run under 2 hours, but decided instead to put my ego aside and take this opportunity, after 20 years of racing, to focus on truly enjoying this experience, with no goal time in mind, especially since this race was on cement rather than trail, with each footstrike taxing my lower back, hips, and knees far more than trail running, pregnant or not. I decided to stay very chill, really listen to my body (in case my growing baby, who loves it when I run, decides she doesn’t want to go that far or fast that day far any reason and sends even the slightest signal since she’s in charge), run when I felt like it, walk when I felt like it, stop at all water stations and port-a-potties, thank all volunteers, and cheer on fellow racers. Success! According to my watch, my finishing time was 2:32, though I stopped it while waiting in line for my bathroom stops, so my official time would be a few minutes more. I started out at 7:30 pace for the first two (downhill) miles, and even though I felt good, made myself slow down to 8:30/9 min mile for the next few miles, hit the halfway point at around 1 hour, walked a couple miles when indigestion settled in nowhere near a bathroom, and then did a jog/walk combo for the last half as the indigestion went away but my lower back and hips inevitably started to get sore under the added weight. Although indigestion is common during pregnancy, in retrospect, I probably got it simply from not sticking with my usual strict pre-race meal. I figured I wasn’t running hard, so It wouldn’t matter, but it turns out it did. It’s okay, though, because I wasn’t worried about time, and walking allowed me to engage in conversation with the people around me, soak in some waterfront views, and enjoy a sense of accomplishment not only in finishing, but in feeling pretty good the rest of the day, injury-free and not too terribly sore, either.

I’d be lying if I said a part of me isn’t itchin’ to race hard again, blasting off the starting line with a rush of adrenaline, pushing myself to the max throughout a race, chasing after competitors, and sprinting home all-out, but for now, I’m embracing this phase of my life, a passage of time where my top priority is to be a healthy, fit mama for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Besides, deep down, I’ll know I’ll back out there before long, more excited to run fast and race hard than ever!

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