|Photo Credit: Steven White, Getty Images|
Pre-pregnancy, a five-mile run was my standard exercise routine before work a few mornings a week and sometimes, definitely if training for a race, I'd run a farther distance on days off or the weekends. I haven't run farther than three miles since I've been pregnant. I probably could have early on, but I was scared to push myself, so I arbitrarily decided that three miles was my limit. If short on time, I only run two miles or even a mile and a half.
I now realize how much I relied on 10+ mile runs to help me catch up on miles when I lagged behind my goals. I can't do that now, and I won't come anywhere close to meeting my 2011 running goals. But at least I'm still out there, doing what I can.
I don't run up hills any longer, and I can't run for miles straight without taking breaks. It's too hot, even at 6 a.m., and I get side stitches so easily now that as soon as I feel the slightest bit of pain, I stop and walk until it subsides. So, I run a few blocks, walk a few blocks, and then run some more.
Running while pregnant is incredibly humbling. I used to pass other runners as I lapped Lincoln Park; now nearly everyone--except for my dear, 87-year-old park walking friend Ellis--passes me. I am out of breath in ways I never have been before. I run at a snail's pace, not just because I'm carrying extra weight, but to allow plenty of time to catch myself in case I stumble or lose my balance.
I don't know how much these walks/runs a couple mornings a week are doing for me physically, but mentally, they are huge. My runner's high has never been higher. Even though I run slowly and don't go far, it feels like a huge accomplishment to do it at all.
Hoping I can keep running through the end of pregnancy and beyond...