On the run…with a bump

This post is something that I’ve been trying to write for a few weeks now. In fact, almost every time that I lace up my sneakers and hit the road outside my house, I think about how I need to get these feelings and thoughts out. This entry will be the first in my series of articles directly on running while pregnant (though by the time it is published, I will be in my second trimester). While I’m super excited to expecting my second child, there are a few other emotions that have decided to tag along for the ride (or shall I say, run).

I’ve been running for so many years now, it’s hard to remember when I began. I think I started either early in high school and my love and commitment to running has increased steadily since then. I’ve taught running clinics, sold running clothing, actively promoted running to everyone I know and I currently share my runs with my 2 year old daughter. So, you could say that running is a big part of my life.

I ran almost entirely through my first pregnancy. Around 8 months, I had to retire my sneakers due to some SI joint pain. Quite soon after my daughter was born, I was back out, slowly picking up where I left off and experiencing once again, the freedom and joy that I get from putting one foot down in front of the other. While I do race from time to time, I’m not a runner that is obsessed with Personal Bests or tracking my kilometres so I never felt any pressure to maintain my pre-pregnancy times during my pregnancy runs. I was simply happy to be running.

Now however, with one pregnancy and one miscarriage under my belt, I can’t honestly say that I don’t worry while running. I don’t attribute my miscarriage to running at all but I also don’t feel like going through that unpleasant and sad experience again. I find myself in a complicated state of mind in which half of me worries about everything that I do and the other half has taken the opinion that I didn’t do anything to cause the first miscarriage so there’s little I could do to prevent a second one. It’s an odd place to be caught as neither the rock nor the hard place seem to make much sense.

So, why keep running if I feel this way? Good question and I probably should have a better answer but here it is: I want to and I truly believe that it’s not bad for me or my baby. If I did, I know that I wouldn’t do it. But knowing something deep down doesn’t always keep those self-doubts from coming up to the surface. And that’s why I’m sharing this experience with all of you. Because I’m sure that there are probably a lot of other women out there who struggle with these kinds of emotions. Maybe reading about my experiences can help women be less afraid and more informed about enjoying physical activities while pregnant.

If you’re pregnant (or hoping to become pregnant soon), here are a few things from my personal running-while-pregnant story that I consider worthy of sharing:

First, this is, sadly, not the time to start running for the first time in your life. If you are an avid runner or have a least run quite consistently in the past, then ask your doctor or midwife about continuing to run. You might want to skip the first trimester all together or maybe just tone it down a bit (the old, run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute routine is always something good to fall back on).

Second, while your doctor’s advice is important and not to be disrespected in any way for anything your read here, don’t be shocked if you come up against a surprised reaction. Not a lot of people are used to women running while pregnant and your doctor has (or at least should have) your best interests at heart. If you do want to discuss running while pregnant with him/her, prepare yourself by doing some research beforehand on what medical associations and doctors are saying. Here’s one good place to start: http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2013/06/training-tips/baby-gate-running-during-pregnancy_13431

Third, be kind to yourself. If you’re tired, accept it. If you’re hungry, eat something. And if you’re in pain, stop! There won’t be anyone handing out medals when you arrive home and even if there were, it’s probably not worth it to you or your baby to get one.

I’ll be blogging throughout my pregnancy no matter how long my running shoes stay on!

Happy running!