Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nurse of midwife. The information expressed in the series “Mom on the Run” should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before running during pregnancy and postpartum.
Welcome to “Mom on the Run!” A blog feature that shares a mom-on-the-run and her story of running during and after pregnancy. My hope is to provide a resource for women who are thinking about running during pregnancy. The overarching theme: everyone is different. No two pregnancies are the same and of course no two stories of running during pregnancy are the same. In this series you will find a wide range of experiences that both inspire and comfort runners who are pregnant or have recently given birth. To read about other “Moms on the Run” click HERE.
This month I’m excited to introduce you to Christina from Crazy Mama Runner. I had the chance to meet and run with Christina this summer and she’s a dedicated mom who loves to run! She and her hubby have three little ones ages five and under; they recently welcomed adorable Lucille this past June. Christina is a fellow New Englander and she’s been training through this crazy winter we’ve been having. Way to go Christina!
Tell me a little bit about your pregnancy and your little ones: I just recently had baby #3. A little girl, Lucille who was born at the end of June. I also have a son, Maxwell who is 2.5 and another daughter, Ella who is 5.5. All three of my babies were results of long trying to conceive journeys and unexplained infertility. I carried all three to 39 weeks gestation and had natural, no drug births.
Did you run through your pregnancy? If not why not? I did not run through my first pregnancy. I was a new runner then and after 18 months of seeing negative pregnancy tests I just didn’t want to do anything at all that I thought would jeopardize the little bean. However, the second pregnancy I had used running as an outlet for the severe depression round two of infertility brought. I was running more and felt comfortable keeping it going as long as I felt good. I ended up running until 35 weeks with #2 and finished out a road race series. The third time around I was in training mode when I finally got pregnant. So that little sugar plum was my womb warrior through a series and a half marathon. I ran until the week I delivered her.
Prior to pregnancy about how often were you running? Prior to being pregnant this last time I was running 15-25 miles a week.
How would you characterize your pregnancy, labor and delivery? My pregnancies were all low risk and text book uneventful. My labors were anywhere from 56 hours (first time around) to 2 hours this last time. I managed to not ever push for more than 12 minutes in fact the last baby was literally born in one push. No tearing, no stitches ever needed and recovery was easy.
Once you found out you were expecting did your running change? Did you consciously drop mileage or ease back on pace? Once I found out I was pregnant, I expected to have to deal with my running changing. I knew not to push it in a race and that it was a good idea to be able to keep conversational pace. So as I got further and further along my pace slowed drastically. I started cutting back around 28 weeks just because my hips and back were starting to bother me so I did short runs more often.
What was your running like during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters of your pregnancy?
First: Barely any change at all. I even managed to PR a half marathon at 10 weeks pregnant by over 20 mins.
Second: Here my pace started to slow and I struggled with hydration, trying to drink enough so as not to not have Braxton-Hicks contractions during a run.
Third: Here I got really slow and started getting sore in my hips and back. I cut back on the millage and tried to accept the slower than slow pace I had to deal with.
Did you incorporate cross training into your weekly exercise routine? If so what did you do? and what did you find most enjoyable? I mostly kept up my prepregnancy routine with crossfit and running until about 16 weeks. Then I switched to using the bike and yoga for the rest of the pregnancy along with running.
Did your attitude towards running change during pregnancy? Oh my gosh did my attitude change! My love/hate relationship had more extremes then before. I wanted to be out there and love it but at the same time I had a really hard time accepting my new pace and endurance levels. Basically, I was a pregnant hot mess over the whole thing.
Did your run any races during pregnancy? If so what was your approach to racing, was it different than normal? I ran a bunch of races. Each race I approached with the attitude of running it for fun. No racing, no trying to PR. I looked at it as bonding with the babe and something to put in their baby book. ‘You ran the SeaCoast Half Marathon when you were just a 10 week fetus…’
What was the most challenging aspect of running during pregnancy? The most challenging was mentally accepting the my slowing pace. I had worked so so so hard to get to where I was as a runner. Being able to run a 26 min 5k meant alot to me, I know that is not a pace that is ever competitive but it was my prize for pushing myself to limits I never thought I had. Watching that time increase more and more while it felt like everyone around me was doing fantastic times was emotionally and mentally devasting to me. I felt like I wasn’t a runner anymore.
When did you stop running during pregnancy? Or did you run right up until your delivery date? I stopped about 5 days before the baby was born. I was just so tired and felt like I needed to rest up for the big day.
What was your return to running like postpartum? How soon did you start running and did you feel your attitude towards running was different? I am now currently trying to make my return. I gave myself three weeks then did some run/walking. At 6 weeks I hit the running again. It is slow going. I can not believe how far I have to go to get to back to where I was. It feels overwhelming and stressful. I was expecting a little more of an easier transition. My body even though I feel fantastic just needs to recover more I guess.
What advice do you have for running during pregnancy? Advice? Only run if you TRULY want to. Don’t do it because you feel like you have to in order to keep your “runner” status. [I just love this! And love Christina’s honesty here.] Listen to your body, take things one day at a time and enjoy growing that little sweet miracle.
Where can readers find you?
Facebook: Crazy Mama Runner
Christina has shared a few pregnancy and running related posts on her blog. You can check them out HERE and HERE.
Pregnant or not, do you ever find yourself feeling like you’re not a “runner” because of reasons x or y or z?
I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:
Email: RunFarGirl [at] gmail [dot] com
Daily Mile: dailymile.com/people/scanney