Now that I am almost 39 weeks pregnant and still running, I’m starting to let myself think about some races I’d like to do after baby. I was hesitant to do this before now and still am to a point, because I want to have realistic expectations and not put too much pressure on my future postpartum self. I know that what I am able to do in terms of running and races after this baby is born pretty much depends on three main factors:
- How long I am able to run during pregnancy (or how close to delivery)
- When baby is born
- What type of birth/recovery I end up having
With Kevin, I ran until the day my water broke. I had a smooth labor/delivery and I was cleared by my midwife to start running again at 4 weeks postpartum. There was exactly a month between my last pregnant run and my first postpartum run. Obviously my body had been through a LOT during that month, but my baseline fitness was still there so I was able to start up again and run 3 miles straight pretty easily. In my opinion and knowing myself as a runner, there’s a big difference between taking 1 month off from running during pregnancy/recovery and 2-3 months, or more. I was lucky last time with how it worked out, but I wasn’t sure it would be that way this time. The only thing I know at this point is that I’m almost 39 weeks pregnant and still running- which is good! But what I don’t know yet is when my baby will actually come. It could be as early as tomorrow or as late as June 1st when I am 42 weeks. I also don’t know how birth will unfold and how quickly I’ll recover this time. This second pregnancy has been harder on my body so I imagine recovering from a second baby will be more challenging than the first. So many unknowns still!
Despite not knowing what will happen, I have some late 2015/early 2016 races that I would love to complete and I think are pretty realistic for the most part, especially considering my goals and expectations for them are very low. Here is my post-baby #2 race “wish list” 🙂
Hartwood 10 Miler (August 16th, 2015). This one is a HUGE maybe. Obviously, the farther I get in pregnancy the least likely this race is to happen because it’s in mid-August. I just love this local race and have done it for the past few years. If I end up running it, it will be solely for fun – no watch, no expectations, and most likely a run/walk approach. I’m not making any decisions until after I start running again post-partum to see how I feel. As of last week at 38 weeks pregnant I was still running 5 miles semi-easily, so I don’t think it’s impossible to build back up after baby – assuming I have a smooth labor/delivery and recovery. But I also don’t know if I’ll even have the desire to do a race like this that soon after baby. We’ll see!
Wilson Bridge Half Marathon (October 4, 2015). This one is a lot more realistic! I did this race last year for the first time and absolutely loved it. I did my first post-partum half marathon 5 months after having Kevin, and this would be about the same timing. Again, I would be doing this half just for completion and not to push myself at all.
Richmond Half Marathon (November 14, 2015). Very excited about this one! I have never run this race before, but last year I went down to support my friend Amanda as she did the full marathon. I loved the energy and the organization and everything about this race. This year a bunch of my friends plan to go down to do the half and I am going to join them. Like the Wilson Bridge half, I don’t plan to put any pressure on myself in terms of time or a goal. It is a much flatter race than the Wilson Bridge race though, so it will be interesting to see how the results vary.
Myrtle Beach Marathon (March 5, 2016). Yes, I plan to go back to Myrtle Beach to conquer the full marathon that beat me the last time I attempted it. I told myself I would never want to try to ‘race’ the Myrtle Beach Marathon again after my DNF, and that the next time I tried it I would do it for fun, without a watch or any expectations. I don’t think there’s a better time to do a marathon with this mindset than after having another baby. This is the same approach I took when I did my first full after having Kevin (The OBX Marathon) and I had an amazing experience. The difference between this one and OBX is that I ran that race at 14 months post-partum, and this one would be around 10 months post-partum, which may make it more difficult. My plan to prepare for this marathon is to take more of a laid-back approach- not doing speedwork or anything and just focusing on growing my long run, walking and running if necessary. I will also have to be mindful of breastfeeding during it all too, so it will take some figuring out, but I’m excited to go back and run this race for FUN without any stress. I definitely have unfinished business to take care of 🙂
Those are the big races I would love to complete within my first post-partum year. I would love to do some shorter races too, like 5 and 10Ks, but those aren’t set in stone yet and won’t be for a while. My plan after the Myrtle Beach Marathon is to take it easier for a couple months, and then start training harder that summer for a fall marathon, where I’ll have more of a time goal in mind. By the time I run a fall 2016 marathon I’ll be closer to 18 months post-partum and my body should ready to ramp it up and go for it! I am excited to see what I can do, especially since I was able to get new PRs in all distances (5K, 10K, 15K, 10 mile, and full marathon- all but that pesky half marathon!!) after having Kevin. Here’s to becoming a stronger and faster mother runner!