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Summer Racin’

For (what felt like) a long time, I couldn’t plan or even think about races because I felt so awful. Under that fog of never-ending fatigue, I was pretty sure that I’d never feel normal again…which made it tough to set goals or take on any sort of training.

But things are changing. Running is slowly getting better and I’m feeling a bit more energetic. And just like that, the drive to race is coming back strong.

Plus, I have to admit that I have some major race envy right now. Hearing about people training for and competing in fun summer races (especially now that relay season is back in full swing) has given me a deep ache that I haven’t felt in quite some time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be pregnant and I know I’m so fortunate to be able to experience this but…my heart longs for a starting line and some good old-fashioned runner’s high.

IMG 7184Post-race glow. It’s been so long!

I say all this knowing full well that racing while pregnant is going to be very very different. Probably even more so than I realize. And I know that it’s going to be difficult to tame that inner competitor. It’s one thing for me to take it easy on a run around the neighborhood after work…another thing altogether when I’m on the starting line feeling that adrenaline rush. Now obviously I’m not going to be physically capable of pushing my body to the same levels I did pre-pregnancy, and I’d never want to do anything to put Baby at risk, BUT doesn’t mean that I won’t want to…deep down. I’m fully expecting to feel some sort of internal struggle while I’m out there (though I’m preparing myself not to act on it!).

So I need some advice:

1.) Pregnant runners — how did you calm that competitive beast during a race? Again, I have no delusions that I’ll get out there and my speed will magically come back. I know my new limitations and really, I just want to have a goal to work toward and be a part of the racing environment again. I’m more wondering about how you came to terms with your new limitations and simply enjoyed racing for fun.

2.) How did you assure your nervous husband that everything will be okay? Evan is (understandably) a little hesitant about the whole racing thing. I don’t blame him — he knows how much I (normally) like to push, and although he trusts me, I know it must be hard to “sit on the sidelines” as I grow this baby. I’m so close to the baby all the time, it can be easy to forget what it must be like for him — in a position where he has essentially no control over something so important. I respect his feelings and he fully supports me, but I think he needs some reassurance from people who have been there before.

All that said, I currently have my eyes on a few summer races. They’re all short, local, and relatively inexpensive. Nothing that will take weeks of training or a complicated plan to prepare for. But, hopefully they’ll be fun ways to stay motivated to run during the summer (I need all the help I can get these days!) AND help me scratch that race itch. I feel like I’m going to be pregnant forever. It’ll be nice to have some mini-goals to work toward along the way.

With the exception of the Grafton race and the Cigna 5K (which I’ll be doing with work), I’m going to hold off on actually signing up for a little while. Obviously I need to respect all the effort my body is putting into growing a human right now, and so I won’t actually participate if I’m not feeling up to it.

Bill Powers Memorial Firecracker 4-miler on July 4th

I love the sound of this race because it’s so Brattleboro — local/organic foods, compostable cups, reusable water bottles — just the epitome of this quirky, crunchy little Vermont town. Plus it’s on the 4th, and I haven’t actually done a race on the 4th of July in a very long time.

Grafton Ponds Bear Hill 5K/10K on July 6th


Yeah, I know…two races in one week might be a bit ambitious. But this is the inaugural event in my old town — the town that brought me to VT. I’ve got to go back to support it!

Stowe 8-miler on July 14th

I know it’ll be hilly and tough, but the race looks so fun! Plus there’s ice cream (and Smuttynose, though I’ll have to miss out) at the finish. How can I say no to that?

Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race on August 8th

This is an evening race…in August. It’s going to be hot. And I’m still going to be pregnant. But work is putting together a team and I really want to be a part of it.

Just as a closing note…despite all my babble above, I am really excited about racing with Baby. Running and racing while pregnant are things I always hoped I’d be able to do. I love the thought of sharing this passion with our growing baby and the bond that that creates. I accept that right now my primary “training plan” is focused on growing a healthy human child, not running and racing. But I do hope to be able to continue doing so for as long as he/she will let me.

Let the summer of short/EASY racing begin!

42 Responses to Summer Racin’

  1. I’m not pregnant and have never been, but I can imagine how special it would be to race while pregnant! Oh, and I’m only an hour and a 1/2 from Brattleboro…just saying :)

    • Maybe you should come do the 5K too then! Just saying :)

      I’m actually an hour away from Brattleboro now. We were a bit closer when we first moved to VT and I miss it!

      • Aww I would but I’m already signed up for one in NH on the 4th. Would love to come to VT for a race sometime though!

  2. My main advice is that sometimes you have to ignore what other people think of running while pregnant (even your husband). Its your body and you will know if you need to stop, take a break, a walk break or know that you have to scratch the whole run because it just isnt working.

    You may even have it in your head that you are going to run X amount of miles on a day and that day comes and your body is telling you that you need to rest. I have come to terms with that over the months, and it mainly came in the first and third trimesters as, I felt FANTASTIC during my second trimester.

    Being at the end of my 34th week, I ran 2 half marathons within the first month of being pregnant and not really knowing I was pregnant. The first, I ran my fastest half to date. The 2nd half marathon I ran, we ran Vegas, I had an idea that I was pregnant but I was running with my husband for fun and our main goal was just to enjoy the race. I did get a few side stitches but nothing worrysome.

    I also ran a 5k Memorial Day weekend and knew I wouldnt be able to full out race it. So I made mini goals. To finish under a certain time, or allow myself to walk the hills if needed, etc. I was disappointed in my finish time (it was really slow, for me), but that is because I am competitive but I did really well and came in 5th for my age group.

    Just enjoy racing at this time in your life and don’t make it about a specific time goal to beat, etc. Take people’s advice with a grain of salt (people’s opinions will come out of the wood work), but ultimately, you know best. And as long as you and your doctor are on the same page. You are good to go.

    • Thank you! This is all excellent advice. And it’s funny you say that about people’s opinions, because I’m not even noticeably pregnant yet and am ALREADY experiencing this. If there’s one thing that people have strong opinions on, it’s what women should/shouldn’t do during pregnancy… (though I’m sure you could say the same about child rearing…)

      I’m trying hard to be flexible with my goals, but so far that’s one of the hardest adjustments. I’m used to following a training plan and working toward (difficult) goals. It’s a different mindset to just relax and see what my body can do day after day.

      • I have been forunate enough that I didnt really start showing til I was about 7 months. When I ran my last 5k at 7 1/2 months pregnant, I looked like I just had a little bit of bloat going on so no one really knew I was pregnant, only the people I was with. My husband was pretty loud about how I did considering I was 7 1/2 months along, but I dont think people cared. HaHa!

  3. I had a friend who did races through her 3rd trimester. She used a heart rate monitor and had a max number that she tried not to exceed. She paid attention to her body but knew that was a good way to contain her effort in races.

    No pregnancies for me, but I’m glad to hear you want to continue to run :)

    • That’s a smart way to go about it. I don’t have a HR monitor, so for now have just been going by my breathing/perceived effort. Something to think about though for the future!

  4. The Stowe 8 miler is so fun! The course is beautiful and it’s really not too hilly (one at the end though…), and the ice cream at the finish is the best part, of course. Last year, it was really hot though.
    Lauren´s last post ..4 Tips for Quick & Healthy Meals

    • Sounds awesome! Thanks! And I know it has the potential to be super hot, so I’m not planning on going into it with any specific time goals. I’ll just see what the weather is like and adjust…even if it means totally turning off that competitive voice and walking :)

  5. I’ve always wanted to do the Stowe 8 miler, but it always falls on the end of my camping vacation week…
    christa´s last post ..Back on Track

  6. Run with slower friends during the race! This will help you you keep your competitive side in check and make the husband worry less. Plus it’s lots of fun!
    Jen´s last post ..Mommy brags

    • Unfortunately I don’t have any running friends in VT, slower or otherwise! (well, besides my husband but don’t tell him I said that… ;))

  7. LOVE Stowe 8 miler. I wish I was going to be home for it. I used to run it every year. Dude, you’ll probably still be winning races, even with #cheeseboobs

  8. Don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but congratulations on the babes! I’m a newer runner and much slower than you are but still battled with my inner competitive side, so I totally get it. I kept up with the racing because the goal to work toward and the motivation are my favorite.

    I’ve only run two races so far, and I picked short ones — an 8K at 19 weeks and a 5K at 29 weeks. Honestly, your body will tell you when to turn off your competitive side. You just have to listen to it. For example, I still went into the 5K with A and B goals, but it was HOT that day, and when my legs didn’t feel so fresh in the first mile, I knew I had to adjust. I just became focused on enjoying the experience and thinking about the baby. Thinking about the baby (and knowing that you’re sharing the experience with the baby) will make it easier every time. Also once you start to really show, random people will be super impressed with your racing. It’s kinda fun. (Then the racer in you will have to ignore the time that will likely be considerably slower than anything you’ve done before.)

    My husband was on board, in part because he ran with me. I don’t know if this is possible for you, because mine is faster than I am–particularly as this pregnancy marches on. But even if he hadn’t, he knows I stop to walk when something feels strange. Just make sure yours knows that too. You’re still early on enough to that you probably haven’t had the issue, but it’ll happen. :) My husband was also reassured by my doctor’s instruction/encouragement that I keep running.

    • Thank you so much for commenting Sarah! It’s great to hear from other pregnant runners who are still running/racing (congrats on that, btw!) and I love your perspective/advice. I’m going to try to run with my husband for a couple of them – I’m definitely roping him into the 4th of July race and the trail 5K as well. He’s faster than me when he actually trains but since he hasn’t been running much I think we’ll be a good match (although I’ve already told him: “you can’t let your pregnant wife beat you!” ha). It has also helped to have him come to the check ups with me and hear the midwife encourage me to continue running. So hopefully after a few races he will relax a little.

  9. I’ve never commented before but wanted to say congratulations! I gave birth to my daughter a year ago (sniffle) and ran up until I was 35 weeks. I actually completed 11 races including a half marathon during my pregnancy – I ran 9 of them (the last one at 31 weeks) and walked 2. My pace was VERY slow, I walked when I needed to walk but overall I was just so happy to still be running!

    I did struggle with being slow and definitely had runner jealousy – my husband set a huge PR in the half when I was in my third trimester and I couldn’t help but feel sad for myself. I worried that I would never run fast again. I’m thankful that hasn’t been the case – I’ve actually gotten quite a bit faster since before my pregnancy. You know your body best, see how you feel and go for it if you’re up to it!

    • Thank you! And thanks for sharing your experience. 11 races during pregnancy is incredible! I really want to continue running/racing throughout and what you said is so true — I’m so happy at this point to be able to run…so I need to focus on that instead of my stats. And it’s great to hear that you’ve gotten faster since giving birth to your daughter (congratulations btw!). I know I need to appreciate this downtime so then when I am able to train again, I’ll be motivated to work extra hard.

  10. J made me wear an HRM while I was still running and if my HR got over a certain threshold (not the out of date 140, but the more normal for me 160-165) I had to walk it back down. I listened to him. It helped reassure him that I was taking care of his baby but still enjoying something I love.
    Emily N´s last post ..Transitions and Life’s Changes

  11. I joined a 20K marathon race once when I was almost three months pregnant. At first, my husband really opposed my decision but fortunately, he let me joined the race. I did great in the race and I didn’t feel any physical discomfort during the race.
    Noemi Bostrom´s last post ..ChaLean Extreme Workout Schedule

  12. races, shaces, get back to blogging about cheese baby.
    Christina Lynne´s last post ..Strawberry Short Cake

  13. Congratulations on your pregnancy, Lauren! I’m 20 weeks pregnant with kid #2 and have done a few 10ks during this pregnancy. I didn’t “race” those 10ks; I used the talk test- if I was running so fast that I wasn’t able to hold a conversation, I made myself slow down. At times, not allowing myself to go all-out was frustrating, but I’m still so glad I ran those races. Wearing a race bib and surrounding myself with people who were running their hearts out gave me a huge lift, emotionally.

    As for how to handle nervous significant others, I’m assuming you’ve gotten the green light to race from your medical provider? If so, I’d remind your husband your doc or midwife is supportive of your running and has given you the o.k, and that you’ll listen to your body and stop or walk if something doesn’t feel right. I think once that first race goes fine and your husband sees that you are no worse for the wear, he’ll be a bit less anxious about the other races you’ve signed up for.

    • Congrats on yours as well! :)

      I love what you said about getting an emotional lift from just being at the race. I’m really looking forward to being surrounded by other runners again. I know it’ll be hard to hold back and not actually race, but I need to tell myself that just being a part of that atmosphere again is enough. And I’ll consider myself lucky for as long as I’ll be able to do it.

      And yes – my midwife has been very encouraging about my running. To the point where I wasn’t doing much during the first trimester because I felt so awful and she kept reassuring me that it was OKAY to run and I can start doing more once I start feeling better. My husband has come to a couple check-ups with me and although I think it really helped for him to hear it, I think it’s an adjustment for him too. We’re planning on running together for the first race, so hopefully that will help ease his anxiety a little bit.

  14. well i have some experience with #1 :). the baby will naturally tame your competitive beast by slowing you way down. and then you adjust your goals accordingly. like my drive to finish in under 2 hours at the HM. it’s all about perspective. i wouldn’t consider a 1:59 HM finish fast (for me, of course) BUT, at 10 weeks pregnant, i’ll take it.

    i also find that people are so amazed that you are running races while pregnant that no one even asks or is concerned with your finish time. it’s like an ultra – finish time no longer matters – what counts is that you finish!
    kristy´s last post ..Spilling The Beans…

  15. I’m excited to read your journey through running and pregnancy! Someday I hope to be a pregnant runner.
    I’ll amp up my competitive streak in my races this summer in your honor. :)
    Elizabeth´s last post ..Relay Iowa (Part 1)

  16. 1. I couldn’t figure out how to calm the competitive beast. I kept saying that I was going to but then race day would come, and my body just went into auto pilot. The good news is during every race, my body did a good job at regulating itself. I felt amazing, so I pushed hard. I basically went by the rule that if I couldn’t breathe, the baby probably couldn’t breathe. So I just made sure that I was in tune with how I was feeling and I made a deal with myself that if I started to feel bad or out of breath, I would slow down.

    2. My husband was the same way. After the gun went off at my first pregnant race, he calmed down a lot. He actually got really excited. It was a duathlon, so between the first and second run, he was pumped about my pace and he just kept saying I looked so great out there and so much faster than he thought I would be at that point. He realized that he had to trust my maternal instinct to take care of the baby. I think seeing me out there doing my thing and not looking like I was dying, was calming for him.
    After that he started to brag about me racing pregnant. It was so cute.
    Tami Washenko´s last post ..We Are Here…27 Weeks

    • I read your recap from that duathlon — you are a pregnant running BEAST! haha I hope to have a fraction of your speed during my upcoming races! And I think it’s so cute that your husband got really excited for you during it. I have a feeling mine will too…he just needs to get used to the idea first.

  17. 1. I’ve done two races during my pregnancy (I’m currently 36 weeks). The first was at 6 weeks, so right after I found out that Junior even existed. I wasn’t feeling a ton of fatigue and didn’t have morning sickness, so I just told myself I’d “only go as fast as my body will let me”. I ended up with a 5 miler PR. Oops. So the competitive streak was really hard to quiet at that point (for the record, I felt great during the race and afterwards, no adverse effects).

    The second race was at 29 weeks. By that point, my pace had slowed considerably (My body started telling me “hey lady its time to slow the F down” at 19 weeks) and my waistline had expanded considerably so it was a lot easier to quiet my need to be competitive because I knew that if I tried to run faster than my current 12 min/mile pace, things would start to hurt and that is no fun when you’re in the midst of a 6.5 mile race.

    The biggest thing for me has been to make sure my breathing is still staying relatively easy during runs and to keep myself at a conversational pace. That, and if I felt excessively tired or sore after a run that I wouldn’t normally be tired or sore after then I knew I needed to slow down or shorten the distance a bit. Your body will definitely tell you when you’re overdoing it :)

    2. My husband worried about me running for pretty much the whole time I was running (up until about 5 weeks ago). After a few runs he realized I was still coming home happy and relaxed and not having any issues, plus I tried to make sure I was running with someone whenever possible just in case. I also made sure to have my Road ID on me at all times, and started carrying my cell phone with me in a Spibelt juuuuuust in case. He’s done some bragging about me staying active, but he did look a little relieved when I told him I was hanging up the running shoes for a bit too 😉
    Lori´s last post ..Whirlwind weekend

    • That’s awesome that he was bragging! Thanks for sharing your experiences. I find it really helpful and encouraging. I’ve also been trying to carry my phone with me more often (I never did before) and have a GoSportID that I’ve been trying to wear every run (I used to be so good about it but then got forgetful for awhile).

  18. obviously have absolutely no experience but my friend, Alma, is pregnant and ran Eugene (1/2). she just stopped running a month or so ago, i think? http://averagewomanrunner.blogspot.com/2013_04_01_archive.html
    she may have good advice…
    elizabeth´s last post ..9 weeks and What Runners Look Like

  19. I feel very competitive (against myself) when I’m running so I feel ya! Instead of focusing on time I made other goals. I did a 5-miler race when I was 11 weeks (when I was still feeling crappy – although running always helped my nausea) and I ran it for run (it was really fun). I also ran a half when I was 17 weeks and again at 24 weeks. At 17 weeks I felt great and was able to run almost the whole time (with just one pee break). My goal was to beat my PW (I did by all of one minute!!) and to finish the race with my running buddy (we have run together for 3+ years, but never finished together). The race at 24 weeks was REALLY hard (I was already huge – hello 3rd baby!) and my goal was just finish, which I did.

    As for Evan’s fears — just keep letting him know that you would never do anything to harm the baby. Your body will definitely let you know when it’s too much and I know you will listen to it!
    Michelle´s last post ..Things Lately

    • Thanks Michelle! I need to get better about coming up with non-time related goals (although I like the one to not beat your PW!).

  20. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I live in central VT, and can definitely recommend the Stowe 8 Miler. It is really fun, with a rolling course and great food afterwards. I’ll be there!

    • Thank you! And thanks for the recommendation!! Please say hi if you see me…I’ll be the large one ambling slowly along and diving headfirst into the ice cream as soon as I finish 😉 I can’t wait!

  21. I am so intrigued to follow your progress- your pregnancy story is EXACTLY where my husband and I are right now… sorta trying but not being technical or overthinking it, and I’m training for a fall marathon that I had originally hoped I would BQ at.

    I’m sure you’ll figure out the best option for you and how to balance pregnancy needs with competitive drive. Good luck!
    Laurel´s last post ..CSA Week 3

  22. I ran 4 races while pregnant – all in the second trimester. A 5K at 17wks, 10K at 18wks, 15K at 19 wks, and a 5-miler at 27 weeks. They all went well and were a lot of fun – although I discovered I was sort of a terrible pregnant racer. I didn’t know how to pull it back and be okay with people passing me – that competitive drive doesn’t just magically disappear! I decided to stop racing because of this. I had visions of doing some 5K’s in my third trimester (32 weeks tomorrow) but I just couldn’t trust myself to pull it back. These days I am limiting myself to 3 miles and I am hovering around a 10 min pace (if I get any slower, I won’t be able to call it running anymore!).

    I enjoy longer distances much more, so I’d have to say my best race was the 15K. It was a hilly course and I went out really conservatively and was able to finish really strong. I also carried a hand bottle so I’d have my own water at all times. I found the second trimester running to feel the best – but I did always have the need for a pee stop about a mile into every run!

    Definitely do a race later on where you are visibly pregnant. My 5-miler at 27 weeks was so much fun – simply because watching the facial expressions of other runners as they get passed by a pregnant runner is priceless! :)

    • That’s exactly what I’m afraid of! In the past I’ve said “I’m just doing this race for fun” and then I haven’t been able to stop myself from going all out. I know I cannot do that right now, so I made a promise to my husband (and myself) that if I really can’t hold back, I’ll stop racing. I don’t want to do anything stupid.

      And the needing to pee thing is crazy! No matter how many times I go before I leave, I always feel the need within the first mile. How is there anything even in there at that point?? haha

  23. I love the Cigna 5k! That was my very first race, so it holds a special place in my heart :)

    I always wish that I could go back to visit during the time it’s held, but I’m usually not in NH on the weekdays. Enjoy, it’s a great race!

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