I opened the computer the other day, saw my blog load up and realized I was long overdue for another post. Especially being that the last one was announcing upcoming baby Martinez and many weeks have passed without an update. So here we go….
* all photos are iPhone pictures taken predominately by the huzband *
a few of the COTR runners
I encountered two pregnant woman the past few years that made a lasting impression on me. The first was through a Team World Vision race the huzband was in charge of in New York. She was an avid runner and was signed up for the TWV half marathon. With the go ahead from her doctor, I recall watching her run through Flushing Meadow Park with a belly full of baby and a smile on her face.
Some time later, while visiting my brother and his family in Oklahoma, I attended a workout class with my sister-in-law. (Side note : she attends Body & Soul and every time I visit, I make it a point to go as much as I can. I have come to really enjoy Body & Soul.) One of her instructors at the time was not only pregnant; she was very pregnant. With both these women, it struck a chord with me of how they walked a healthy lifestyle throughout pregnancy; one that challenged the norm and revealed there was more to be had. I made a mental note that if I was pregnant again, I wanted to walk that same kind of healthy and active lifestyle.
And little did I know the opportunity would arise. I signed up for a half marathon in Anchorage long before I knew I was pregnant (or even thought I would be.) So when the pregnancy test turned up positive during my half marathon training, there was no question in my mind that my training would continue. Rest assured that I discussed running during pregnancy with my mid wife and was given the all clear. When things came up, I asked and she was able to shed light on what was going on, like needing to drink more water than when I’m not pregnant and how uterine cramping is a sign of dehydration.
I have to give a shout out and say how thankful I am for my running partners Joelle & Renee. During training they not only ran with me but were more than obliging to a slower pace, walking breaks, pee breaks and everything else that comes along with running while pregnant. Having them helped keep me accountable as well as helped the miles go by quickly. I am also extremely thankful for the huzband as when race day came, he stuck by my side the whole way, ran ahead to wait in bathroom lines, ran back to get more oranges, ran in front to block wind and rain and ran along side while telling all who would listen that his wife was running whilst pregnant.
running with Joelle
hiking the Butte with Renee
So here is the long overdue look at the 17th week of this pregnancy…
On June 21, the first day of summer as well as the huzband’s birthday, we awoke to a rainy day, dawned our running clothes and rain jackets, drove the hour into Anchorage for the Mayor’s Half Marathon. I grabbed a free Kaladi latte by the start line and we huddled under a tent to try to stay as dry as possible while waiting for the race to start.
the huzband and I as the half marathon is about to start
Through my training, as the weeks of not only half marathon training passed by but also the weeks in pregnancy, I realized whenever I went for a run, there was a lot of body/uterine/baby adjustment when I started out. Therefore, I adjusted by starting my runs by walking anywhere from 1/2 a mile to over a mile (depending how long that days run was) to allow for all that to take place without placing extra stress on my body by running through it. So for 13.1 miles, I walked the first mile which allowed my body to work through all the shifting and cramping while hordes of people ran past me. After the first few blocks along local Anchorage streets, the race path took us onto the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. The trail (a concrete path) follows the Anchorage coastline for 11 miles. The race was on this trail for a few miles before departing.
pretty much soaked by mile one
After the first mile, we (the huzband and I) picked up an easy pace and started the actual running part of running a race! Whatever plan I had etched out in my mind of what my run would be, the number of miles ran and what miles I would walk, all went to pot by mile 3. I had intended to make it about 5 miles before breaking for a walk (having walked the first mile and ran 4) however by mile 3 I had to pee. Plain and simple, I couldn’t wait any more, there was a short line for the port-a-potties and my bladder decided race day it was going to act like a typical pregnant woman’s bladder!
Despite my efforts to regain normalcy in my attempted running plan, normalcy never came. We ran, we walked, we (as in I) used the bathroom, shoes came untied, and then the water stations came filled with pretzels and gloriously, delicious oranges. What can one do but fill their hands up and walk whilst enjoying a juicy, scrumptious slice of orange.
When the race departed the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, it entered a private road. Around mile 5-6 there was a long, slow incline that ran parallel to the Anchorage airport. Though it was neat to watch all the planes take off, this section also happened to feel like a prickly, wet wind tunnel. The wind was blowing so strongly against you while rain pelted you in the face, eyes and anywhere else it could possible bring pain to. My legs grew tired not just from working its way uphill but against the wind. The huzband tried to take some of the brunt of it by running in front of me. I think it helped?
I know it doesn’t look like it’s going uphill, windy or rainy but I promise you, it was all of those!
I know I could have walked but I wanted to try to make it to mile 7 and then break. (Still holding onto a bit of my running plan.) Therefore I was more than happy to see mile marker 6 approaching directing us to enter tree covered protection. Little did I know what lay before.
beginning at mile 6, a nice long mud path
As we turned the corner what lay before us was what once looked to have been just a dirt path, was now a slippery, muddy path. Um, really? It was here I laughed and said, “Yup, I’m running a half marathon in Alaska! All I need now is a moose or bear to charge me.” It was along this path that any attempt at holding onto a running plan was just completely thrown to the gusty winds. This pregnant momma was NOT going to slip and slide and get a butt full of mud! So for the next mile, I walked, at times gingerly, I occasionally slipped, I held onto the huzband, and bravely hopped over this beyond muddy path. And I can say I came out at mile 7 mud free, well except for my shoes.
Not long after returning to solid ground (and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail), I came upon runners that had stopped and were snapping pictures of the trees. Well, their focus wasn’t the trees and I knew one of two things were mixed in those trees. Thankfully, it wasn’t a bear! Now my Alaskan half marathon was complete with a moose spotting!
By mile 10, my energy was sucked gone. My legs were beyond tired, my walking breaks were growing longer and longer and my running stints shorter and shorter. My energy was lacking and I just wanted to be done. Sounds like a typical half marathon? Yes it does however this was my third half marathon (first pregnant) and I could tell my tiredness was different. My body had been expending energy getting throughout the race while caring for a little being inside. It was saying it was tired of working two jobs at once. I knew I wanted to finishes the race strong so I saved what little energy I had left for the last mile. I do have to say, the thin mints served at the last aid station were quite the helpful pick me up!
Back on the local roads, a few more uphill blocks and ……
Though one could say so much went “wrong” with this half marathon, from the rain to the muddy paths, from the wonky running/walking to the various bathroom breaks, for me it was a wonderfully delightful day! I had the huzband with me the entire time, encouraging me and bragging about me (and the belly full of baby) to all those who would listen. Our conversations were filled with baby talk, names (or lack there of), our little V, our future, goals, hearts desires, and so much more! It was like a wonderfully long, almost uninterrupted date. I couldn’t have asked for a better day and am so thankful I am able and capable of doing this!
the huzband and I