After a couple of really hard weeks, I went into week 10 of my pregnancy, thinking it was time to give myself a bit more grace. I continued to practice yoga daily, but had taken a little break from running. In fact, I didn’t run a single mile all week until Saturday. And it wasn’t because I didn’t want to run, it was just that running wasn’t feeling very good.
Long before I found out I was pregnant, the whole Flex & Flow crew (including myself) had signed up for the Molalla River Trail Half Marathon. We had been talking about it for months; hell I had even signed Casey up to run it since it was his birthday weekend and we always seem to do some crazy run for his birthday. But as race day approached, I felt really uncertain whether or not I’d actually be able to toe the start line. I had been feeling so shitty all week, and just didn’t know if running 13 miles was in the cards for me or not.
Come race day, I woke early, feeling relatively good, and decided I wanted to run. I felt like I would be bummed out if I had to miss out and kept asking myself, what’s the harm in trying? Plus, I figured either way I could make a game time decision once we were actually there. Seeing all of my friends out there and knowing they’d be on the course with me gave me a much needed boost.
We caravanned over to the start area, where most of the group loaded up on school busses, and a few of us, including myself continued on in the car (because we had the dogs – Daisy and Abbie) to find parking closer to the actual start. We even found a bathroom on our way to the start which meant that it was potentially less gross than the starting line bathrooms (score!) and much less of a wait (double score!).
Once we got to the actual trailhead area, we found our group and marched up the 1/4 mile hill to the start line. Mark, Ben, and Scott were all there spectating and were kind enough to watch Abbie for us while we ran – which I might have been more nervous about than the race itself!
Once at the start line, they had us organize into waves by half marathon finish times. Robyn and I started in the group after Andrew and Travis (seemed about right) and made our way on to the course. At first I was feeling really good. The very first part of the course was a very slight climb and I was moving pretty easy. In fact, as I approached mile 3, I had already started passing people from the group that started in front of me. Somewhere around mile 5, I had Travis in my sights. As we approached the next climb, I was still feeling strong and passed him on the climb, and it was a nice boost to be running with him for a little while. When we got to the aid station, I realized there wasn’t much other than water and electrolyte drink, and had to rely on my little stash of snacks to keep me going (I really hadn’t packed very much to eat and was thankful for my big breakfast).
Around mile 8, I started to feel a little funny. I made sure I was drinking plenty of water and had another little snack, but couldn’t shake the feeling so I had to just slow my roll. Somewhere around mile 8, I saw Travis again and he passed me and flew off into the distance. I walked it off for about a minute and then brought myself back to a comfortable jog which I was able to maintain for the next two miles or so. At mile 10, we hit the biggest climb of the course, and it felt extra hard. I felt like I was struggling to get enough oxygen and like my legs just didn’t want to work. I had to slow down again and try and take it a bit “easy.” Once at the top of the climb, we started a descent towards the finish, which felt equally as hard.
Even though I knew I was nearly there, the last 2 miles or so were admittedly the longest miles of the entire race. I was hungry, thirsty, and feeling like I had reached my limit. And to top it all off, my nipples were on fire. Again, they felt like someone had rubbed sandpaper on them for the entirety of the race. Not a good feeling, to say the least. Despite my mood, I kept a good, steady pace, and fought off the negative thoughts – mostly by focusing on what I might get to eat once I was done.
When I finally had the finish line in my sights and could actually hear it, loud and clear, I made a mad dash toward it. When I crossed, I saw Abbie basically pulling arms off and choking herself in excitement and made my over to the group. I all but collapsed next to her and let her lick and jump all over me for a bit until I felt like I could stand up again.
Andrew and Travis were already there with medals around their necks. Andrew had come in 5th place overall with a time of 1:53, and Travis had come in 20th place overall with a time of 2:11…show offs. 🙂 I came in 27th place (5th female overall!!) with a time of 2:16. Not bad for a pregnant lady! Next up was Robyn, 32nd place (8th female overall!) with a time of 2:20….
…followed by Liz in 50th with a time of 2:37, Kelsey in 52nd with a time of 2:39, Nicci in 53rd with a time of 2:40, Casey in 54th place with a time of 2:41, and Emma in 56th with a time of 2:42. And Tasha and Cassidy absolutely rocked their 10Ks!
A kick ass group of runners!
While I had a great time running this race -especially with all of my friends – I think racing while pregnant might become a thing of the past. I think the mental challenge of needing to slow down and not push myself over the edge might be a little too much for me and my competitive nature. But I never say never…so I guess we’ll see.
Pregnant runners – any advice on sandpaper nipples? How long did y’all keep running or racing in your pregnancy?
Stay sweaty friends!