From the June 2012 issue of Runner’s World
How running for two can change your goals
By Meghann Birks
My run once went like this: Get dressed. Put Garmin on. Either load my son into the pram or leave him with his Nan. Go out the front door. Run away. Come home after running a designated time or tally of kilometres. Proudly record data in my training diary.
Now it goes like this: Try to get dressed. Nothing fits. Find gigantic musty-smelling t-shirt in bottom of wardrobe. Strap on HRM. Drink some water. Pee. Put on shoes while huffing and puffing. Pee. Try to wrangle son into pram with little energy or patience. Pee. Feel hungry and eat half a banana. Feel sick. Leave house. Return after a few minutes for my phone in case of emergency. Pee. Leave again. Run sloooooowly up Mt. Everest (a.k.a. very tiny incline on my street not visible to the naked eye). Stop for rest at the top. Pee in some bushes. Run slightly faster for a few kilometres while trying not to mentally calculate time and/or distance. Come home, feel elated but tired, and settle in to enjoy some post-exercise acrobatics from the growing baby in my belly.
Yep, I’m running for two!
I didn’t run through my first pregnancy. As soon as it was confirmed, I stopped, despite my doctor’s advice to keep running. It was irrational, I know, but every time I broke into a jog, I was convinced my son would fall out. I switched to walking and yoga, which was nice, but it wasn’t the 40-kilometre a week I was accustomed to and I paid for it mentally and physically. The change in my routine plus a very healthy appetite led to a 40-kilogram weight gain, high blood pressure, and a three-day labour and emergency C-section. As a formerly obese person who has worked very hard to make changes in my life, I will never forget the feeling of looking in the mirror when my son was about four months old and thinking, “There’s that fat girl again. Damn.” As much as I loved being a mum, all of my choices and their consequences coloured my early experiences and made a tough gig even harder.
This time, I am determined to do things differently. With great support from my husband, family, friends, doctors and midwives, I am still running at the halfway mark of this pregnancy. During the first three months I felt nauseous and was exhausted for most of the time. But when I ran I didn’t feel like throwing up so I did it most days. By the third month, I was wearing my “Running for 2” shirt, partly because I was proud to be a pregnant runner and partly because I wanted people to know why I was going so slow. Now in my fifth month, I am obviously pregnant, and I earn both applause and thumbs up from fellow runners, with only the occasional disapproving glance. My weight gain is normal, my blood pressure fantastic, and I feel great. My mental sate is decidedly more even keeled than last time and I feel better prepared for what lay ahead and beyond the labour.
Most of all, however, it’s been an exercise in letting go of expectations, something this Type A really struggles with. Every run is based solely on how I feel. Most days, luckily, I still manage five or six kilometres but sometimes I turn around after three. I’m not running for a PB or to burn off last night’s meal. I’m running to clear my mind, tune into my body and to stay strong.
And it feels great.
Like this article? Subscribe to Runner’s World and save up to A$35 on the retail price (delivered directly to your door) and receive a FREE pair of Brooks socks PLUS if you subscribe for two years you will also receive a FREE Runner’s World watch.
If you missed picking this issue up at newsstands you can purchase your Runner's World back issue here today!