After my nice treadmill run on Monday, the snow had melted enough that the roads were pretty clear the rest of the week so I was happy to run outside.
Tuesday, I ran 4 miles on my lunch break again, and it was a harder one for me. I wanted to run on the flat trail, but it still had too much snow so I stuck to the roads where there are more hills. I would run and then I felt like I stopped and walked a lot during this run. I got through it though.
Wednesday Darla asked me to run with her again. I really was feeling bad that I struggled so much running with her the week before, but she said she didn’t mind. We were able to run on the trails again and it felt so much better. I was breathing hard, but we didn’t stop at all and we ran 3 miles, all with me feeling pretty good.
I took Thursday as a rest day and it was much needed. My legs were just getting kind of sore and stiff and I think mentally I needed it too. I ran on Friday, but was crunched for time as I had a meeting right before and after my lunch. I knew I was just going 3 miles, but it takes me a lot longer to run and get dressed now. I ran on the trails again and felt pretty good, but did want to stop a couple times. I knew if I did, it would just eat away at my time I got to eat lunch, so I pushed on and ended up having a really good run.
Saturday I took as a rest day too since I’m traveling next week and my days will be sort of different. I have to admit it felt good to not run on a Saturday! That’s a rarity for me! I woke up with no alarm about 6 am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I got a lot of errands done.
So today was the day for my weekend long run, which these days is at 5 miles. Saturday, it was 44 degrees and clear, and overnight we got a huge wind and snow storm! We still only got about an inch of snow so I really debated running outside or on the treadmill. It was cold outside, 4 with the wind chill and the snow was still coming down. If I was only running 3 I would have chose the treadmill, but I knew it would be really hard for me mentally to get through 5 on it. Tim graciously offered to run 3 miles with me outside and I was glad to take him up on it!
We started running about 10:30 am and the roads had a nice coating of snow, but really weren’t too slippery. Tim and I haven’t run together in such a long time and it was so nice to run with him again! We actually were clipping off a really good pace too, considering the snow and the wind. We ran the first mile in about 8:38, but the next two were 8:12 and 8:13–my fastest splits in a while! I think it really helped me mentally to have him there, it just felt like old times when we were out running together. Then, as we were almost done he told me that he’s proud of me. That really made me feel loved and appreciated.
I dropped him off at home at 3 miles and then I stopped for a minute and walked and caught my breath. I probably could have kept going, but I felt better doing this. The last two miles by myself were more challenging.
I got through them by stopping for about 10 seconds every half mile. That sounds sort of strange, but in a way it was like doing an interval workout. One of the things I miss the most about running non-pregnant is the variety and the challenges. Focusing on running for 800 meters, resting and then running another 800 meters for some reason felt similar enough to my workouts that it worked. As I was finishing up the last 800, I wanted so badly to be done. I wasn’t in pain, but I was breathing hard and it was cold and windy and the snow was coming down hard. I looked up into the sky and saw the big flakes filling it like a snow globe. I thought about how beautiful it looked and that I needed to focus on that beauty to get me through the last 400 meters.
A lot of people think I’m crazy for continuing to run this far into the pregnancy. Some people ask with a genuine curiosity, others say they’re impressed by it (yet I wonder if secretly they think I’m crazy too) and some people I can just tell think that I run due to some type of pride or vanity that I can’t get away from. I wish I could tell them that the truth is so much more wonderful than that.
Yes, I do it for the health of me and the baby, for sure, but there’s so much more. Even though it sounds sometimes like I’m not enjoying it because I just want it to be over, I know in my head and my heart that I’m getting so much more than physical health out of this crazy sport. Even the “workout” I did today had lessons. Its hard to explain it to people that have never experienced the true joy that running can bring. There’s the sense of accomplishment, for one. I didn’t HAVE to run 5 miles today. No one would have thought less of me if I’d only gone 3 or not even run at all at nearly 34 weeks. It wasn’t easy, but I did it and that felt good. It made me feel strong, capable. I have this body, that is in a transformation right now and its big and its awkward and its puffy and its beautiful in the things its able to do. And the fact that I’m able to work with it so well and still push myself without pushing too much is really a compliment to how amazing it truly is.
Labor and delivery are going to be hard work. I’ve never been through it before, but I have no doubt that statement is true. But as I worked with my body today and got through that last 400 meters, I know I can work with it when the time comes for labor too. If I can just get through the contraction like I got through the 800 meters. If I can learn to look at the beauty around me and focus on something stronger than the pain and effort, I know I can get through it. And that is why I continue to run. For as long as I possibly can.