Back in December / January I thought it would be a really great idea to run Ragnar Cape Cod at 25 weeks pregnant. I mean, how hard could it be? I’d take a set of sort legs and coast through 13 ish miles easy. Yeah, I was not bright. After a first trimester filled with nausea, vomiting and a massive amount of weight gain, I finally started running consistently again around 11 or 12 weeks (early February). I hung around 10-15 miles a week for most of February, March and April and really started to feel good again in the last few weeks. I’ve even been swimming and doing strength work and (shocker) the plan is to get on the trainer this weekend. That being said, I was incredibly nervous as Ragnar approached. I was signed up to run legs of 3.3, 4.0 and 5.8 miles and the miles combined with fatigue of traveling all week (Louisville and Minneapolis) and lack of sleep made me nervous. As this is my first time pregnant, I’m not the best at understanding how easy or hard something it going to be (see e.g. trying to get out of the pool after a swim is incredibly hard), so here are some things I learned from our weekend running adventure:
- Comfort, comfort, comfort — The best adjective I can use to describe my pregnancy is uncomfortable. Some days nothing feels good (especially days that require multiple airplane flights). Finding running clothes that work and are comfortable has been a huge challenge, especially running clothes. After much trial and error I’ve settled on Long Flyte Shorts and Endorphin Knickers for bottoms (seamless is my friend), Drape Tank and Endorphin Tank for tops and the Gifted Verrazano Bra (I’m wearing the long flyte shorts and endorphin tank in the picture above). Everything stays put, nothing rides up and I don’t feel like anything is putting too much stress on my belly (I do, however, miss wearing Distance Shorts, ahhhhhh draw strings).
- Managing Expectations — I am, and always have been, my own worst enemy. With running (and swimming) I want to be able to do what I did a year or two ago. While I understand that I’m pregnant and my body is completely differnt than its ever been (my uterus is currently the size of a soccer ball), I still want to be able to *perform*. For Ragnar it took a lot of effort not to obsess over the pace my Garmin showed and just to focus on running to my ability as it now is. Could I run 8 minute miles a year ago, yes. Is that where I’m at now, no.
- Knowing How to Accept Help — I always like to be the helper and not the helpee. Someone gets injured and can’t finish a leg, I’ll pick up the mileage. Someone wants company on a long or difficult leg, I’ll volunteer to run along. Right now I’m the one who needs the help. On my final leg of 5.8 miles, I was nervous about running alone so Amy ran the first three miles with me and Ryan jumped in for the last 2.8.
- The Importance of the Little Things (Like Sleep) — I’m good at making things work. I pride myself at being pragmatic and being able to make do. The more pregnant I get, the harder that gets. This is the first Ragnar that I’ve brought multiple pillows (including my awesome Snoogle Pillow) and blanket and actually made an effort to find a warm, comfortable place to try to rest (Ryan also served as an excellent pillow and source of warmth). I also made a huge effort to eat like a human being during the relay (hooray salad with chicken instead of a stuffed pretzel at the Driftwood Publick House in Plymouth, MA) and to drink enough water to fill a small swimming pool. By doing the little things right, while I was exhausted at the end, it was a good exhaustion.
- Good People Are Best Ever — Ragnar wouldn’t be Ragnar unless you had a team. Our van was awesome. Everyone was ridiculously supportive of my crazy idea that running a 200 mile relay was a good idea. Even more important everyone had fantastic attitudes — we were there to have fun and kick a little ass where we could but not at the expense of anyone else. It was my favorite time of team, encouraging everyone to do their personal best, whatever that it. I can’t say enough thanks to Ryan, Amy, Jen, Laura, Kourtney and Gerrard for making it an awesome experience.
This was year three of Ragnar Cape Cod for me and I hope to be back next year (in faster form) for year four. Up next for me is the BAA 10K on June 26th. I’ve proven to myself that I can do Ragnar at 25 weeks pregnant, now I need to see if 10K at 32 weeks is also a possibility.