As I type up this post, I have to laugh at myself a little. I am by no means an expert on exercising or running while pregnant. Honestly, I am learning new things every time I lace up my shoes. For that reason, I wasn’t going to write up anything about how running has been going for me. But then I realized that the fact that I am learning so much means that I should share my experiences. I’ve only been at it for a week, but each time I get out there I am amazed by what my body can do.
You see, this pregnancy hasn’t been a cake-walk for me. I was doing great in the beginning. I kept lifting and running in my daily routine and I was thrilled. I even ran a half-marathon at 7 and 1/2 weeks. It went downhill fast toward the end of my first trimester. I posted recently about how I had completely given up on exercising while pregnant. That same post was also what I needed to jolt me back into healthy eating and working out. I was so depressed about how the past few months had been… that I hadn’t notice that I was feeling better and could get out and do things. I immediately got up and went for a run. I quickly learned that I could enjoy running again.
There are, however, some huge differences in how, why, and when I run. I run slowly, I run to stay healthy for my baby, and I only run when it feels right. I’ve learned through trial and error what will now work for my body. It’s been hard, but it’s been worth it. I feel like my body has been teaching me “lessons” as I go.
Lesson One: Drop your expectations.
There was a time when those numbers would have seriously upset me. Now I’m excited to have made it over two miles, and it doesn’t bother me one bit if it was by walking or running. Before finding out I was pregnant, I would always push myself. You can run harder. You can run faster. You can run longer. I rarely accepted excuses for myself. If I was having a bad day, if I was sick, if it hurt… I just pushed through. Those days are long gone! Now just getting out there is a huge accomplishment. Some days I feel almost back to normal and can run without feeling the need to take a walking break. Other days I hit the road ready to run, but quickly find that I’ll be doing a lot more walking than jogging or running. I am much more in tune with my body now, and it really is amazing to see what it’s capable of doing!
Lesson Two: Seriously, it’s okay to take breaks.
Really. I promise. It’s actually the smart thing to do! There is a nice little bench I pass by in my neighborhood where I like to take a break. It’s a chance to catch my breath, take a sip of water, and sometimes even stop and sit for a little bit. (I also like to picture me swinging the baby here soon!)
Lesson Three: Be proud of yourself.
This is probably the most important thing I have learned. I spent months feeling sorry for myself. I can’t do this, I can’t wear that, I can’t eat this… the list goes on. Now I’ve realized that the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Think about it, when you’re pregnant you are always doing two things at once. Yeah, you might be working out right now… but you are also creating a new life. I’d say that’s something to be proud of.
I’d also like to mention for anyone reading from my neighborhood… that was not Barney the dinosaur you saw jogging past your house. That was me. Seriously, how ridiculous is this? I can barely see my feet, and I think the color purple may have been a bad call on my part. 😉
Now that I’ve typed this up, I’m heading to Costco. It’s time to exercise my jaw. Free samples are right up my alley these days!