Throughout my pregnancy, I have maintained my practice of running. After I was given the all-clear post-IVF, I put my running shoes on and started out again. Slowly. Very Carefully. With just a hint of trepidation.
At first, I had to stop and walk a lot. I was tired and out of practice for the first time in 7 years. This annoyed me to no end. I am a seasoned runner, damn it! Walking is for sissies! Rationally, I got why I was slowing down. But as any runner will tell you, it is a mental game more than anything, and mentally I felt like I should be pushing myself harder.
I had to change my expectations. Instead of running with my gadgets that calculate distance, time, and pace, I just run for time now. I set the clock for 35 minutes, then run/walk until I’m done. This sounds so simple, but it is huge shift for me.
It has also helped me reconnect with this sport I love so much. I run now for the grace of it. For the joy of being outside. For the clarity I get on each run. It also reminds me that even as my body changes, I’m still incredibly strong. Sure, my glutes and quads are not what they used to be (let alone my abs. HA!) But I’m out there and this requires a particular kind of courage: To do my best that day, no matter what that day brings me.
Exercising while pregnant is weird because it follows the opposite path of what you’re used to. Instead of improving over time, I have been slowing down or having to modify workouts. Instead of getting stronger each week, I’ve had to figure out what I can’t do anymore. It’s a downer if I think about it too much. I’m used to literally feeling the progress that comes with exercise. Again, it’s about changing my expectations. So now it is less about performance and more about simple movement.
I realize at some point running while pregnant will not be a good idea. As my doctor put it, my body will tell me when it is ready to stop and I just have to listen. I’ve also started adding pregnancy pilates to my work out. Truth be told, I find it exceedingly tedious, but it is good for me. It keeps my legs and core strong, and it keeps me moving. At the moment, I’m running 2-3 times a week, and doing pilates 2-3 times a week.
On this morning’s run, I was feeling electric. The weather was perfect– 50 degrees and sunny. Chick was cooperating by keeping movement to a minimum. I felt strong and empowered, even as other runners breezed by me like gazelles. “Yeah, but are you running and carrying a baby? I AM A WARRIOR!” As I stopped mid-run to stretch, I took a photo of the view from where I stood: My running shoes peeking out from my baby belly. Feeling good about where I was at that moment, I posted it to Instagram and finished my run.
Which is when I realized that I kinda, sorta forgot about my and Mr. O’s “No Social Media Pregnancy Announcements.” I also forgot that there are some people following me who don’t know about Chick. So I got a flood of “likes” and “OMG” style comments. In my exuberance, I inadvertently outed myself as pregnant. Oops.
It isn’t that I want to avoid social media altogether. It’s just that I remember being ambushed by the announcements of friends. I hate the idea that someone saw my picture and had a similar reaction. I also want to be so mindful of Chick’s own privacy– Chick may not want a kabillion pictures all over the interwebs before they can even get born.
Thankfully, Mr. O didn’t seem to mind my slip, and was one of the first to “like” my photo. Along with 23 other people… and counting.