Saturday, June 29, 2013

the post in which i am humbled by the long run

yesterday i wrote a guest post for a friend about running & exercising during pregnancy. i feel as if i was in very good shape (for me) when i got pregnant and continued to exercise regularly throughout my pregnancy. when we found out back in august, i was already at the end of a long and intense marathon training program and after doing some research and talking to a doctor (not my doctor*) about running while pregnant, i decided to go ahead and run the two marathons i had already trained for.

*my doctor was not keen on me running while pregnant. another doctor in her office is a runner and is an advocate for pregnant runners. i did not want to switch doctors as i am really overall happy with mine, but i knew that running being a passion of mine i would want to continue to do so. my doctor didnt tell me no i couldnt run, but i was happy to hear the support of a medical professional before i continued.

all that being said, the marathons (as are all of them) werent easy. at 7 weeks pregnant not much had changed in my body other than being overly emotional and my boobs growing (heh heh). covering the 26.2 miles in the fastest time i ever had felt great. i had trained hard for that and it paid off. two weeks later, however, was a different story. sure i was sore as would be expected, but my heart rate had gone from a normally low resting rate of 45 to almost double that. i also think that i was more in my head than in the previous marathon, and was very concerned about the health of my baby vs what i was doing out there (sure the marathon is for me, but i couldnt be selfish any more). overall i felt awful, and knew at the end i had to take it easy so that i didnt get hurt or risk something happening to the baby. from that day on i continued to run but really slowed things down a lot and walked/stopped if anything felt out of the ordinary or painful.

i continued to run up until just past the 28 week mark. when we went to florida and ran the gasparilla 5k, i knew my running would be coming to an end, and soon. my legs were filled with much more fluid than normal. my growing belly added excess weight i was not used to. my pelvis was shifting and it became very painful at times. everything just felt off. as much as i wish i could have been one of those people to go out for a run the day they delivered, i knew this wasnt in the cards for me, and i learned to be ok with this. i continued to walk a lot and got some good miles in on the stationary bike and elliptical. i am confident that continuing to work out throughout the remainder of my pregnancy, despite not being able to run, seriously helped with my easy delivery and recovery.

what i was not prepared for was just how difficult it was going to be for me getting back into running. i think i had this grand idea that i would just bounce back. the weight came off quickly and easily and i was walking the next day after delivery. i continued to walk daily and was feeling great. at 3 weeks postpartum i decided i would give running a try. i ran one mile... nothing fast, but i ran. and mentally i felt great. physically my heart was beating like crazy and my legs were sore. i needed it though, and i was eager to get more miles in.

at 4 weeks postpartum i started training for the mount desert island marathon (october 20th, an 18 week plan). i went with a very basic beginners program starting with 3 mile days during the week, and a long run of 6 miles the first weekend. i did it, and was again sore, but my heart and breathing had settled down and i really thought i was coming back fairly easily. i even ran a 5k on wednesday at a 8:46 pace... things were feeling good. enter in todays 7.5 mile run.

i met kristal at her house and she had mapped out a 7 mile run through gorham. she said it was flat (or maybe im making this up so i can be mad at her). i actually got fairly good sleep last night as henry had been awake all day yesterday refusing to nap. i had my usual cup of coffee and peanut butter toast before heading over. both of us ditched our long sleeved shirts before even starting the run, hazy and humid 65 degrees. i had told her i would want to probably try for 9:30 pace and she was on board with that (shes pretty stupid fast these days, so i was pleased she would stick with me). as always, i started out too fast and the first two miles were 9:19 and 9:08. whoops. we also had run up some really dumb hills right from the start. so much for flat.

it got hotter and more humid as we went on, and i started feeling pretty bad. i continue to get nervous about drinking too much water after over hydrating at around the lake last year, but i knew i still needed the fluids. sadly, this made me have to pee and i almost didnt make it to the dunkin donuts bathroom at mile 5.5. (side note: delivering a baby does weird things to your body if you can imagine so its not so easy to hold it anymore... when i gotta go, i gotta go. also, long runs need to have more bathroom options or ill be ducking into the woods). we both agreed at DD's we were pretty sad we didnt have our phones because we both wanted kristals husband to come pick us up... we were a disgusting mess. but we only had what was supposed to be 1.5 miles left, so we decided to gut it out.

at just over 6 miles, i started getting light headed. this was just how i felt at mdi last year when i thought i was going to pass out. not good. i had on two sports bras (again, yay pregnancy body changes) and i felt like i couldnt get a deep breath from the tightness. i dumped some cold water on my neck and head and we started to walk a bit. from there til her street we ran and walked some (sorry kristal!) but i felt better that way. in the end we finished at 7.5 miles in 1:14:47, averaging just under 10 min miles.

for pre pregnancy danielle, this would be a disaster of a run. i know i put my expectations way too high for this early postpartum, and this run really put me back in my place. i am happy to be back out there on the road but i now know its going to be a longer road back to where i used to be than i had originally thought. my body has changed, my mentality has changed, and whether i finish the marathon running, walking, or at all, im happy that i can still run.


  1. Woods all the way girl! A little TMI but I have it down that I just pee along the rail trail now, no woods. Just a little shift of the shorts. Try it!

    I'm so happy you are back running! You are one amazing woman!

    1. thanks :) it will come back eventually, just happy to be active again. will i see you soon?

  2. :( sorry about the hills :( Gorham is a little hilly than I thought.
    I agree with Jen you are one amazing woman! I'm inspired by you!

    1. you know im just joking around with ya ;)

    2. oh good! :) I thought you'd never run with me again!

  3. Umpf I can just imagine how you were feeling. I am so proud of you for getting out there though and love how you have all this support. Cannot wait to run with you at MDI!

  4. You are doing great! You now got the 'bad' run out of the way and now all that's left are perfect runs to run. :)

  5. I think whether you're post-baby or not, we all need runs that keep us humble. This one will teach you that it's going to be work, just like it used to be, but that you can and will make some incredible progress.

    Great run - keep it up lady. You'll get there! xoxo