Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wonderfully Magical (March 10, 2017)

March 10, 2017

That’s how I can best describe this process of growing a human – wonderfully magical. I wake up each morning remembering there is a sweet life growing inside of me. Yes, partially because of nausea, but mostly because this is a new and awesome experience. Now my little one is only the size of a blueberry, not exactly huge, but it has made its presence known. Somehow I feel his or her presence with me all the time. We have a bond I can’t describe, that will continue to grow and deepen. When I think of it, when I truly think it through, it IS wonderful and magical. How amazing it is to be a woman and be capable of having this happen in our lives. I know not all women choose this path or are able to follow this path when they want to, so I know I am truly blessed to have this journey. In fact, my husband and I had been trying a while, and for the longest time, I was discouraged and wondered if this would ever happen. But sometimes, dreams do come true.

In a few short days we have our first ultrasound and I will know how the little berry is doing. I hope to see the little heart beat nice and strong. I hope for peace of mind that everything is going as well as I believe it is going. Yet sometimes I am still in utter disbelief that it is happening at all.

Running this past while has also become wonderful again. I’m not training hard like Zahida normally does, but I have been running consistently. I haven’t had a sucky run day since the first run I tried as a pregnant lady. I imagine I might have more, or there may be days in the 3rd trimester that I am simply too large for it to be a desirable option. I don’t know if it’s easier now because I know what pace is manageable and I'm no longer forcing my old pace. I am rather happy going 1min/km slower than usual. Or is it because my anxiety over whether it really was safe to run has gone away? Yes, there were days where I'd run and feel tired after and worry unnecessarily that I had done something bad for the baby. But that feeling has passed because I know in my mind and in my heart of hearts that running isn't harmful (but beneficial). I can still run a decent distance fairly easily and it’s wonderfully magical that my favourite sport isn’t going anywhere anytime too soon.

And last Saturday, I ran my first race as a pregnant lady, the West Van Run 5K. Given 5K can be treated either seriously for time (the usual me) or as a fun run (the current me), I had the perfect event to just go with run method B and have some fun. I was a bit nervous about it, more that I would accidentally push myself too hard in the adrenaline and emotion of the crowd. I was also nervous about my ‘followers’ noticing a slow finish time. Or if I bumped into anyone there, that they would see me not doing warm-up strides, and they’d see me sneakily lining up at the back and starting out at a jog.

But, nobody I knew noticed me.

But someone else did. A woman about my age approached me, a complete stranger, wearing a beautifully fluorescent orange top, seeing me on my own likely pacing anxiously. She said, “today is my first ever race and I am so nervous! My kids are here to support me and everything.” She was exactly what I needed. And it was wonderfully magical

I responded congratulating her on the pending achievement, telling her how fun an event this was to do as a first. I then confided in this complete stranger about my own nerve-wracking milestone, “I have been running races for a number of years but I’m also very nervous about this one as it’s a first of a different kind. This is my first race as a pregnant woman, and I don’t know how I am going to feel out there.” My brave words were greeted with a smile. I say why not tell a stranger when I can’t tell just anyone I want. She wished me well too. She also told me that pregnancy is hard and everything after that is way way better. She thought it was admirable that I was running this race pregnant. Hopefully I looked suitably pregnant for her to believe me, haha!

I did what I alluded to above and sneakily lined myself up near the back of the pack to start the race. I set my watch screen to only show me heart rate and distance traveled, so I could monitor my effort without any indicator of pace or projected finish time. Anytime my heart rate would rise above where I wanted it, even if my legs and lungs could do it, I held them back and slowed right down.
I saw the woman in orange lined up ahead of me and I kept my eye on her. She was running about the same pace as I was, but it appears she either later slowed down, or I sped up, as I passed her around the 3km mark. As I did so, I wished her well and told her she was doing awesome. At the finish line, I waited for her to cross the line before I went to investigate the race food. I never learned her name, or shared my own, but it was so nice to unburden myself and tell her what I was going through. It was nice to have a high five with someone who too felt a great accomplishment for completing this race.

I ran this race with the intention of having fun and going an easy pace the whole way. I had assumed in my head, that my pregnancy pace would be a 7min/km and to expect about a 35min finish at the event. Anything near that or even longer than that would have to be fine with me. I realize this was a net-downhill course, but I kept an easy does it pace the whole way, never once feeling laboured breathing, and came in at 32:53 – enough to come in in the top half of all finishers. Much slower than a usual 5km race, but I’d say a pretty respectable finish considering my ‘condition’ and my approach. I hope to do about the same at St. Patty’s next week. I’ll use the same approach. There are a couple of hilly sections so I might be slower. But who cares – I’m not looking to win. I just want to keep running, having fun, and stay nice and healthy for the little blueberry!


  1. I love meeting people at races who are running that distance for the first time- its such a special moment to be a part of. SO so great when that happens :)

    Also, Im curious - how do you find bad running days while pregnant are different from bad running days in general? Or did you typically always have pretty good running days before you were pregnant? I know I have ridiculously slow days sometimes, or some days when I need to walk when usually I could hold a steady pace for a given distance. I guess most of my running career I've struggled with pretty bad anemia so some days my whole body would just kinda have zero energy and id be winded from simple things so if i tried to run on those days, my runs were terrible. So Im curious how your bad running days while pregnant are different.

  2. I think it's a little different. At least for me personally. It seems that my bad runs before pregnancy were hard yes, but I could always push through somehow. Here, a bad run is absolute exhaustion and continuing is not even an option. Perhaps it's mental - I don't just say "Suck it up buttercup" and keep going, but I recognize the need to not push too far and that any movement is good for mama and baby. So turning back and going home is the best option.

    1. Im glad you dont tell yourself to "suck it up buttercup" anymore - sounds like the self talk with running during pregnancy is overall a lot nicer, gentler and positive towards yourself :) Love it!

  3. yes, so much gentler. My hard-bossy-coach self can make her comeback in 2018!