If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever. Winnie the Pooh

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stubborn Love

Hold on to me as me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
~Phillip Phillips

I'll never forget the time I was pregnant with Claire;  I was hugely pregnant, due within weeks and was sitting through a teacher's workshop for hours on end.   The highschool desks were killing my back and I was just at a point of sheer exhaustion in my pregnancy.  As I was waddling from the lunch break back to the classroom, a friend walked up and casually asked, "How's it going?"  I thought she meant, well, me.  So I complained of various aches and how long the workshop felt.  She looked a bit surprised and said: Well why would you sign up for it if you are just going to complain? Ouch.  My mouth snapped closed and I muttered, an I'll see you later, as I contemplated, why DID I sign up for it?  When I signed up for the session months before, I had no idea just how uncomfortable you get in those last weeks: it hurts to breathe, to walk, to be.  Looking back on that day, I have to give my friend grace, she had not, at that time, ever experienced pregnancy.  I think if she had, her words would have been a bit more sympathetic.

And yet, I find myself in a similar situation.  I'm only 16 weeks pregnant, and as my body is adjusting, changing, growing, I'm reminded of the old aches and pains pregnacy brings to a mother's body.  I'll complain a bit here and there and yet I hear my friend's words: Why would you sign up for this if you are just going to complain?  Why? Oh why, indeed.  Simply: Love.  I already know this little person is meant to be a part of this world. Our lives.  Our family.  There is nothing like the experience of pregnancy in this world.  Growing a baby.  My body is no longer just my body, it's the safe place to grow and feed and love a tiny little human being who I have yet to lay eyes on.

Every decision I make in regards to MY body first has to be good and right for the Baby.  Which of course makes me want to talk about my experience and journey of being a Pregnant Running Mama.  It's a new and unfamiliar road for me.  Dear Friends and Family, let me assure you: I would never, ever do anything to put my baby in harms way.  Not for the love of running.  Not for anything in this world.  So when you hear of me running a half marathon or logging a long run on the weekend, I promise you, Baby is safe, healthy and dare I say: happy.  I know I'm at my happiest when I'm running. So I imagine little Baby just enjoying the ride and all the good vibes I'm putting out. 

And just as running has it's ups and downs, being a pregnant runner is no exception.  I'm hardly even showing and yet my running has changed drastically.  An easy 10 miler is no longer so easy.  Ligament and back pain creeped up very early on in the pregnancy and made running uncomfortable.  But as I told Chris, I got that pain in my last two pregnacies when I sat around and did nothing, I may as well get moving.

The hardest thing I've had to come to terms with is my pace.  I was in denial that I was slowing down.  Blaming the summer heat.  But the truth is, as it hit me during my long run last weekend: pregnancy is slowing me down.  I had to mourn that and let it go.  I've accepted it.  I imagine as Baby grows bigger and my tummy gets rounder I'll slow down even more.  But silly me, just as when I signed up for that seminar months before Baby Claire was due, had no idea what I signed up for when I told myself I'd continue running throughout my last pregnancy.  I imagined myself with basketball sized belly running my usual route at my usual pace.  My pregnant body laughed at my idealistic self and snapped me into reality last weekend as I struggled up what I call my Heartbreak Hill (And who am I kidding, I never get the cute, round, belly, just an overall largeness).  My usual 8:45 pace was slowed down to a 10:45 pace. I somtimes feel like I'm barely moving when I run that pace.  And yet I have to tell myself: But you ARE moving.  Let the pace go and accept what your body is doing.  It's slowing you down for a reason.  Don't forget: you are growing a Life.

I'll admit it, I cried a little.  Ok, a lot, this past week (Pregancy hormones...ugh).  I felt like my body was betraying me.  And then I had an OB appointment.  Hearing Little Baby's heartbeat snapped me back into reality.  The steady beat of Baby's heart sounded like: Love-Love Love-Love Love-Love, to me.  Oh Baby, Love.  I love this Baby who I haven't met.  More than runningMore than myself.  So I'll continute on this Pregnant Running Mama journey for as long as Baby allows.  If I make it to the end, that would be amazing.  If I tucker out before that, well, then I can honestly say I gave it my all but I'll listen to my body, my doctor and that amazing, wonderful, beautiful, little thing called Love in my tummy.

I often give myself little pep-talks when I'm working through a difficult run.  And I heard the words of The Lumineers say it just right during a recent run:  It's better to feel pain, than nothing at all.  The opposite of love's indifference... So keep your head up, my love. 

Keeping my head up.  Happy Running.
                                              Baby 4.0 and me at 16 weeks, after a great run.  


  1. You are, my friend, amazing. And anyone who could ever think that you would put your baby in danger to run or for any other reason cannot possibly really know you. Keep it up Mama. You are an inspiration!

  2. Thank you so much for being so honest in your journey. it's not something we embrace for ourselves very often, it's changing, but we still have a long way to go. i believe vulnerability is one of the most important things in being our authentic selves. Nicole, you are authentic.

  3. Congrats on your pregnancy! I ran throughout my last pregnancy and truly loved it - good runs and bad ones. It was so liberating. Ignore the pace/distance and just "be in the run". I believe I'm a stronger runner today because I kept at it during my entire pregnancy.

  4. Keep up the strong work! Tell the Nay-sayers to put away their bottles of Hate-orade :) You are an inspiration!