13th Asheville Citizen Times Half Marathon: Pregnancy Training

I’m still trying to catch up on my pregnancy updates. Work is crazy busy and so are things at home. Sometimes it’s good to know your priorities…

The Decision to Run

I loved running the Asheville Citizen Times Half Marathon last year. My work covers 50% of the entry fee which is always a big motivator. I missed the first early fees but knew I had to make a decision by June 30th not to pay the full fee. Except that I got pregnant in June. So now what? I was really debating whether or not to run it. Training during summer is hard, but training during summer while pregnant? And during the first trimester? This was a whole new thing for me. Not that I have that much training and running experience yet non the less.

So I talked with my husband about it. Ultimately he is the one who motivated me to sign up. As he said it would be a good motivation to keep on training during pregnancy. I had just finished America’s Toughest Road Marathon and didn’t die from it. Thinking back of last year’s Half I honestly felt great after it. And let’s be honest if I felt that for any reason I should not run anymore or was told not to run by my practitioner I would have stopped. But both my midwife and obgyn said it was fine for me to continue to run. When asked if I could run long distances (I didn’t specify which but said I had just run a marathon) they just told me to listen to my body. Well then…  I signed up.

The Training

Last year I followed a rigorous training, the FIRST Half Marathon training plan. This year, being pregnant, was no year for hard training. I am not an Olympian, I am not paid to run. The life I carry is far more precious than any PR. So instead I looked for a beginners training that would just increase my mileage back to Half Marathon level on time. I ended up choosing the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training program. The one thing is, all my runs were “easy runs” in the sense that I was not aiming for any speedy pace, I just ran at the speed I felt like running.

I alternated trails and roads, I skipped some runs when I didn’t feel up to it. I even missed a whole week (week 11)and a 12 miles run because I somehow miscalculated my timing. I focused more on building my long run’s mileage slowly than anything else.

The Doubt

I’d be lying if I said I was excited about the race all summer long. There was more than one time when I questioned my sanity. There were days when I regretted signing up for the race all together.Why was I doing this to myself? This body needed rest not an 11 mile run! I really doubted myself when I fell during a 10 mile race and felt so tired from it.

But no matter what I am a runner and the though of a DNS or DNF did not appeal to me. I did not dismiss the doubt, but I chose a different approach. It didn’t matter how fast I finished the race, it didn’t even matter if I did not finish. My goal was to run, walk and have fun. I embraced the idea that I would not run the entire time because that’s what I had to do during training and I knew the race would be no different.

The Confidence

Both my 9 and 11 miles run were wonderful runs. Yes I had to stop and pee more than once. Yes my GI track was slower and I had to adapt to it, yes I walked. But I felt good running. Being out in the forest, feeling my feet hit the ground, listening to my breath. This is my meditation, my ME moment. I was enjoying myself. I knew that if I could finish an 11 miles trail/forest road run, I could finish a road Half Marathon while pregnant.

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