It is really disappointing how many negative articles with people’s assumptions and opinions have really stigmatized women running while pregnant. I am reminded of how there was a time when women were not able to run marathons at all due to society thinking that they were too fragile for the sport and the distance. The story of Kathy Switzer was and still is so inspirational, because I believe it paved the way for women to see and believe they could run the marathon distance as well ― and did! I believe inspirational stories of women running while pregnant and still having healthy babies will enable society to become more familiar and perhaps decrease any perceived stigmas against it.
I am neither a medical professional nor a professional runner, and therefore my intention is not to provide any medical or training advice. I am just your average Runner Mama with a 3-year-old and one on the way! My goal for sharing my story is to decrease the unfamiliarity and perceived stigmas and shed a positive light on the women who are already runners and choose to continue to run while pregnant.
“It seems that being pregnant we are told all the things we cannot do instead of the things we can do.”
Back in January 2016, I along with two friends registered for an out-of-state marathon. About a month later I was beginning to have symptoms of fatigue, mood swings, and weight gain. I thought it was due to being a year older in three months; however, I quickly discovered it was because I was pregnant. Immediately, I decided to get my marathon registration transferred to my husband, who is also a runner. I was really down upon doing this transfer, as I didn’t feel it was fair to let him have all the fun of training for the marathon and receiving a medal after crossing the finish line. It seems that being pregnant we are told all the things we cannot do instead of the things we can do. Being pregnant I felt that I was now limited and therefore never even gave myself a chance.
After a couple of correspondences with the race director to switch the marathon registration to my husband, it occurred to me that I might be limiting myself and my ability to still continue to train and participate in this marathon even though I was pregnant. The thought of doing 26.2 miles pregnant scared me, as it was something I had never done before. At the same time, however, the idea filled me with excitement and energy ― similar to riding a roller coaster for the first time. I decided to go for it!
I started my training back in March, figuring that I could take my time for the next 16 weeks to train for the marathon scheduled in June 2016. I was still in my first trimester and felt incredibly queasy, which was completely opposite of how I felt when I was pregnant with my first child. Although I felt great with my first child’s pregnancy, I never ran more than six miles. Ironically, with this second child’s pregnancy, my queasiness actually disappeared during my runs, and I would feel full of energy. I began to feel great about this marathon training and realized the positive impact it was having on my pregnancy.
Fast forward to the present. I am now at the end of my fifth month (21 weeks) of my pregnancy and have four weeks of training left until the day of the marathon. So far, my training has gone incredibly well, and I have had the opportunity to bond with my unborn child during my quiet long runs. My completion of an 18-mile training run last week was so incredibly significant to me, as it gave me a great sense of pride and accomplishment during this wonderful pregnancy marathon training experience.
“My queasiness actually disappeared during my runs, and I would feel full of energy. I began to feel great about this marathon training and realized the positive impact it was having on my pregnancy.”
This week I will be at the peak of my training and doing a 20-mile long run, then tapering (decreasing mileage) until the day of the marathon. I will be sharing my experience over the next couple of weeks. Follow me and my unborn running partner as we count down the days until we run The Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon June 12, 2016!