Thursday, November 1, 2012

Race Recap - Running for Two

After a long time of anticipation, I finally accomplished my goal: running a half marathon while being with child. Back in April, of this year, I signed up to run the Allstate Life Insurance 13.1 Dallas Half Marathon (a mouthful huh?) for the second time. Not two weeks after I signed up and paid my fee, did I find out what I was pregnant! Since the race was at least 6 months down the road I didn't worry too much about it but kept it in the back of my mind. I thought that if I felt okay to run at that point and my doctor gave me the go ahead then (and only then) would I run the race. Well, August rolled around and I was running again fairly consistently as the weather began to cool off. I told my doctor about the upcoming race and she encouraged me in my training. Early in September, as my tummy grew significantly bigger, I began to experience some pretty intense round ligament pain in my pelvic area. The nurse at the doctor's office encouraged me to purchase a maternity support belt to help ease the pain when I ran. It helped tremendously. Right after that I began to follow an 8-week training plan to get ready for the half marathon that had at one time seemed so far off! It was now right around the corner. The goal was to run 3 times a week and cross train when possible. I had already been running between 10-15 miles per week, and transitioning to the training plan was not that difficult. 

Each week I increased my mileage by about 2 miles, my longest "short" run was 5 miles at about 9:30min/mi pace. My longest "long" run was 10 miles at 10:00-12:00min/mi pace. Two weeks before the race I had an ultrasound where the sonographer measured the size of the baby to determine if he was growing at a normal rate. My doctor had said that if he was measuring small that I needed to ease up on running and possibly not run the race at all.  I was okay with that, I just wanted to do what was healthy and safest for Hudson! The ultrasound showed that he was growing right on par and my doctor said that I could keep on training. I completed that 10-miler on a warm Saturday afternoon only a week before the half marathon. I was starting to feel nervous about the reality of running this race. Was I crazy?! On Tuesday before the race, Chance mentioned that he wanted to run with me when we got home, and so we went for an easy 2.5 mile run on a beautiful evening. I began to feel run down on Thursday and so I took the day off to rest. As Saturday approached I was more and more nervous, but also excited. I couldn't believe it was finally here! On Friday night, I could not sleep and must have only gotten 3-4 hours of sleep. And then it was race morning. I got up around 5:30am, ate some breakfast and drank some coffee. The weather had changed and the temperature was a lovely 38 degrees at the start of the race! 

Chance and I drove downtown, parked, and jogged over to the starting line. It was a blistery morning but not a cloud in the sky and the buildings downtown twinkled as the sun rose. I warmed up and Chance practiced his photography skills. I hopped over to the starting line and chatted with a few ladies who asked, "Are you pregnant?!" It was funny to hear other people's responses to seeing me running alongside of them. At one point during the race a woman said, "I am just admiring you right now.. you must do this often!" I told her that it was not my first half marathon and that all I wanted to do was finish. I continued to run all the way until past mile 6 (after taking a short stretch break around mile 2) at which point I walked for about 2 minutes, through a water station. I was beginning to ache at this point, but did not feel at all fatigued. I kept running until mile 8 where I walked for a few minutes again and then kept running at a steady pace. After the 11 mile mark, at the American Airlines Center, I texted my friend Mallory and called Chance to tell them I was almost done! I'd be at the finish in about 20 minutes. I walked the next 1/2 mile and then ran the rest of the race, spotting Chance just before the finish line in the bright sunshine. My mood was light, I was thrilled to be finishing, and was just plain happy that I was able to run with my little buddy, Hudson, snoozing away inside of me. It was a great day and I am so glad that God allowed me to run. I will forever have the memories of running 13.1 miles while 29 weeks pregnant with our first child. 

To all those other pregnant (or future pregnant) ladies out there, I would encourage you to run through your pregnancy if you have a consistent running regime now. I would have been unwise had I not been a runner previous to becoming pregnant. If you are unsure about whether or not it is safe or healthy for you or your baby, let me give you some advice based on my own experience: 

  1. Running has helped me to stay energized. I have not been very tired throughout this pregnancy (only in the first trimester), and I attribute it to consistently running.
  2. Running has allowed me to gain very minimal pregnancy weight. I have gained the recommended amount of weight for my body size/type and basically all of the weight has been in my belly and upper body.
  3. Running has been a great motivator for labor! I am confident that if all goes according to plan, I will be able to have a natural birth no problem. I am hoping that training through my round ligament/pelvic pain has been a good setup for natural childbirth.
  4. Running has been a way that I have been reminded of the blessing, joy, and honor of carrying a child in my tummy for 9 months. I am continually amazed that there is a little person inside of me, living and growing. Every time I run I get to feel the changes that my body has experienced because of him! 
So after 30 weeks (today!) I can say that with all the excitement that I experienced in running this half marathon, I am even more excited to meet Hudson in just 10 more weeks! Please keep praying for me and Hudson, as Chance and I await his arrival!

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