I had sworn off my favorite June race- a 5K sponsored by a local restaurant that ends with margaritas- for obvious reasons, the least of which wasn't the fact I cant drink the AWESOME 16oz margarita you are rewarded with, the very hilly course, and Dr. B's instructions that I was NOT to run in heat and humidity (the likes of which this race is known to have because of it's late afternoon/early evening start time). But I did sneak in my town's race on the first weekend of June and then signed up for a 5K that benefits the Police Department of the township next to ours (that offers reciprocity to our Borough Police).
I'd forgotten the minor hills that township has... :) But even with that, I finished in 44:36. Faster than my 32w2d 5K (which did include stopping twice to snuggle the kids, so I wasn't really "faster" this time), and the exact same time as my very first 5K, way back when! (Had that margarita with pride back then!) Running alone (I mean, I wasn't "alone" but I didn't have a buddy) was kind of sad, since I love the camaraderie of running, but whenever I passed anyone (which I did... twice... two kids, actually), I would slow down and check in with them (I was near the end of the race... last runners crossed around the one hour mark), to make sure they were okay and that really was my favorite part of running today.
The cops I ran by made comments about me not going into labor and that the baby was going to run from the moment he was born :), and I was asked several times how far along I was. I'm guessing I was the only pregnant runner; when I was finishing, people cheered and the policeman at the finish line said my name and something I don't remember (which made people clap more, so I'm assuming it was a baby comment??? I had my headphones on). But it was a great race and I had a fun time.
|Last Preggers Race @ 34w2d|
It's bittersweet, though. I'm beyond words happy to be staring 35 weeks in the face and still physically able to run (even if I'm hitting a 14+ minute mile these days instead of 9 minute ones). To know how hard it has been to get to this point- and not just from a pregnancy standpoint but from a physical, healthy standpoint- and to be here... I just... I don't even know what to say. I had a stupid Kool-Aid grin on my face as I ran down the last stretch towards the police station, where the finish line was, because all I could think of was "Wow, I did this... I'm in the last half of the third trimester of pregnancy- where I thought I'd never, ever be- and I did this". It's been an amazing journey, both as a mom and as a runner. To know we are a little over 5 weeks from meeting this little guy... Just takes my breath away.
But I have to admit too, that I'm tired. 45 minutes of running isn't a lot and yet, for me now, with the extra weight, the extra calorie/hydration needs, the difference in gravity with my belly sticking out... it's been harder than it was, even when I weighed more than I do now and was less physically able to run. From a cardio and muscular standpoint, it's still the running I was able to do pre-pregnancy but with everything else... There is a physical difference and I'd be lying if I said it was easy breasy. Instead, I find that my mind is constantly calculating what I need to be doing to make sure I'm breathing well enough for Michael, drinking enough for Michael, recovering enough for Michael- things that are important. But, to be honest, running is a selfish endeavor for me. It's something that has been mine and is mine and that I take for myself; emotionally, I think I'm ready to have a break from sharing that and not being able to just be free and let go, and let my body drink/breathe/etc as it needs to without over analyzing it. And physically, I think my new body is happy for a break. There have been moments in the third trimester, where I've run and needed to physically hold my belly for a bit because the baby is in an awkward spot and putting pain on a nerve or where I've needed to walk, not because I needed the walk but because I needed to give him time to shift. And afterwards, whereas I used to be super energized post a run (even after the MCM), now, I am wiped out and want to sleep. My mind and body are both ready for a break, even if the spirit that fuels my passion for lacing up doesn't want to admit it.
It's been one hell of a run, people. I sit here, teary eyed, looking back on how far I've come as a runner but mostly over the last 34 weeks. To have my final race of this pregnancy match my first race time... to have been able to do it alone on the course... To have just been able to put my legs in front of the other and make it from start to end... there will never be enough gratitude to the people who have helped me get to this point in running or in pregnancy... I'll never be able to say thank you enough, just for the experience and the healing this has brought me.
And now... for that aforementioned nap...