With May comes a few more open afternoons and evenings. School is beginning to wrap up, along with other commitments, such as Girls on the Run, church choir, and Matt’s track season. So, if you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s post, I have a little more time to get in the kitchen and make some delicious food. And maybe possibly some ice cream in the next few weeks.
But, open afternoons also mean the return of my afternoon runs in the sunshine! Lately, I have had something after work everyday during the week, forcing me to the treadmill for a morning run. I love getting my workouts done in the morning, but I was also missing being able to run outside at a pace I set, not one set by a machine.
So, yesterday, I laced up my Asics and went on a lovely 3 mile run after I got home from work. 3 miles is my absolute favorite distance – short enough to bang one out in under 30 minutes, but also long enough to actually feel like I am getting a good workout in. Yesterday’s went something like this:
Mile 1 = 9:59
Mile 2.1 = 10:00
Mile 3 = 8:50
Avg. Pace = 9:18
Not too shabby for being 17 weeks pregnant. But, it’s also nothing like I was doing just a few short months ago. As a pregnant runner, one of my biggest struggles has been letting go of my ego. I am an extremely competitive person. I don’t always like to show that side of me because it’s not my “pretty” side. I love to win, and I love to be the best. I’m pretty sure that has something to do with my Type A personality.
So, seeing my runs go from sub-8 minute miles to closer to 10-minute miles was a pretty tough blow to my ego. I know I really shouldn’t be complaining since I know plenty of people who are injured and physically can’t run (my dear husband included), but it has taken another major attitude adjustment on my part.
A week after finding out I was pregnant, I ran a 4 mile road race. I talked about how it would just be fun and that I didn’t want to worry about my time. Yeah, that was a huge lie. First, if ya’ll would’ve seen my time, you would’ve known something was up (it was really slow for me) and at the time, only Matt, the doctor, and myself knew of our little baby. But, also, had I been worried about my time, I would’ve pushed my pregnant body way too much.
Running is now extremely difficult for me, physically + mentally. I used to think it was hard to run “that slow” at a 9 to 10 minute per mile pace. (Please keep in mind, pace is relative. I am not calling anyone else slow. It is just much slower than MY normal pace.) Now, it is hard for me to run anything faster than that pace. My body physically won’t let me. My legs feel great, but I normally feel like I can’t breathe or my heart is going to beat out of my chest – both signs that I need to run even slower than I was. Some days are better than others, but the majority of the time, it’s a struggle.
Mentally has been much harder to get past. First of all, I’m constantly worried about whether or not the baby is OK. Am I going too fast? Is my heart rate too high? How do I know that everything is OK with the baby? I hate the constant worry, but my baby is my #1 priority now, and if I have to stop running, I will. It’s a sacrifice I am more than willing to make to have a healthy baby at the end of this journey.
But, I am also having difficulty getting past being so much slower and not being able to do the same amount of work I used to do. I know this will sound crazy, but I am missing speed work. I miss busting out 400 meter repeats. I miss tempo runs. I miss pushing my body to it’s limits. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to still be running 5 months pregnant, but it has been very tough mentally to take my competitiveness back several notches.
I know that slower, easier runs will be well worth it in the long run, obviously. I just have to get over my stubbornness. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it. I know things will only get harder as my belly grows bigger, so I know it’s going to be a constant struggle and adjustment. Definitely a work in progress.