For one thing, I think that from this current place of happily married life, and expecting my first child, I've been looking back on how I handled recent struggles, namely the question of Joe getting an annulment, and the gloom of infertility, and have been judging myself pretty critically. Now that everything has gone our way -- the annulment granted, our wedding held in the church in 2017, and a healthy pregnancy achieved after 14 months of trying -- I've been feeling a bit ashamed, like I was weak and without faith in how I let those struggles get me down.
I'm finally getting to a point, though, where I can be a little gentle with myself and affirm that I did show strength in getting through those tough times, in that together, Joe and I didn't give up, but persevered, doing whatever we could to make our dreams a reality.
In the last few months, I've been thinking about starting to blog again, but I've debated whether I should post publicly anymore, or whether I should just continue to journal privately. I am leaning towards continuing to write occasional blog posts, because I have encountered people on the trails, at packet pickups, and at aid stations who mention that they've read my blog and enjoyed it. It's hard for me to imagine that -- again, I'm super-critical of my writing -- but if my posts can provide any useful information or entertainment for a couple people, that's great. And if no one wants to read my posts, that is perfectly fine, too -- they are still good thinking exercises for me.
So here's a quick rundown of some key reflections related to running and this pregnancy, from week 33:
1. Running during pregnancy is hard!
I started off feeling like I could keep running (jogging) my entire pregnancy -- despite the fact that the day before I took the positive pregnancy test, I DNF'd a 3-mile run. I maintained my confidence through about month four, when I was reduced to walk/jogs consisting of maybe half a mile of jogging at any given time. I tried a belly band and didn't feel like it helped much. My problems include breathlessness, GI issues, and a lack of energy. I had been inspired by women I'd read about online who said they ran all throughout their pregnancies (one lady said her pace slowed about 30 seconds per mile, boo hoo), but at the 5-month mark, I gave up. It actually was a relief to feel like I didn't need to force myself to try to run every day. In this third trimester I've found that I can jog about the length of a block, so when I'm feeling especially good, I will jog the downhills during my walks. Even jogging for short bursts gives me a quick happy feeling that I'm still a runner and will one day be able to really run again.
2. I have enjoyed staying active in other ways.
I joined the Y and have been swimming about 2 days a week for 30 minutes at a time. I have also made a habit of doing prenatal strength videos on YouTube, pretty much every other day. I'd especially recommend those by BodyFit by Amy. When I feared my center of gravity was making me clumsy, I pulled my balance board out of the closet holding my "Useless Exercise Equipment" (Joe's words). I balance on each foot for one minute, and then on both feet for one minute. (See, it's not useless, Joe!) I also walk for 30-90 minutes about 6 days a week. We were blessed to enjoy great hiking all summer on our various trips, including in the San Juans in CO, Glacier National Park in MT, and Washington state. I'm hoping that by staying active and maintaining strength and conditioning, it will be (slightly) easier to return to trail running after the baby is born.
3. I am itching to be a competitive trail runner again. I don't know whether that will happen. I think I'm okay with that.
I've already signed up for my first ultra post-baby: Brazos Bend 50. I've already expressed to Rob Goyen that I want to be part of Team TROT again in 2019-2020. It feels like it's been forever since I've actually been a successful ultrarunner. I felt like I broke myself two years ago, after running Tahoe 200 and J&J 100k in quick succession -- both in September 2017. DNFing the Cactus Rose 100 the following month was a tough blow, as that is traditionally my favorite race, and one I had completed four times previously.
I spent 2018 trying to recover from burnout. I ran only 4 ultras that year, including 2 of the Capt'n Karl's night races that I love, and the Alamo City 50k. The night races went well -- I think I got a 4th place and a 2nd place -- and then at Alamo City I felt like I could barely make a forward motion with my legs. That entire race was a painful death march in the hot sun. It left a doubt in my mind whether I will ever be able to be an ultrarunner again. It's hard to imagine how I could ever have done 50 mile or 100 mile races, when even running 5 miles seems hard. I know that post-baby it will not be easier. But I also have such wonderful role models of women who make working, raising kids, and training work, and who are then able to show their children an invaluable example of grit, work ethic, and perseverance. These women inspire me to give it my all, and I plan to. I don't know what that will look like in my case, whether I will ultimately get back to being able to run long distances well or not, but I am looking forward to trying.
|Bridge to Heaven trail, CO - Photo by Joe Prusaitis. 4.5 months pregnant. I look taller than Joe!|
|Mt. St. Helen's National Volcanic Monument. 6 months pregnant. Photo by Joe.|