I wouldn’t call it luck, nor would I call it good genes. To tell you the truth, this journey has had its challenges, and the lineage I come from has a history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Do you want to know how I was able to run a marathon at six months pregnant?
When I first began training for the marathon, I had only one goal in mind: to be included in this marathon event and not to be excluded due to pregnancy. I figured I would train and see how that went, and if anything I could run a portion of it. If I made it to the finish line, then that would be a bonus! In addition, I recognized this as a great opportunity to show that pregnancy does not have to be a limitation for women; instead, continuing to engage in desired activities can be a positive experience, as it has been on my own pregnancy.
So how was I able to run a marathon at six months pregnant? Well, let me first start by stating that the marathon itself was easy ― it was the training that was challenging and really determined whether or not I could run a marathon during pregnancy. During training I mostly ran on my own. There was no water stations, no spectators cheering me on, and bathrooms were not exactly always easy to find. I knew that if I could complete my training and continue to feel good, running the marathon would not be much harder ― and I was right!
One of the most significant factors I believe that contributed to my success in training and running a marathon during pregnancy was the fact I always went on how I felt. Running continued to make me feel amazing, and therefore I knew as long as I continued to feel like this it was not harmful to me or my unborn child. In my opinion, it would’ve been more detrimental to stop running and quite possibly might have had an effect on my health and wellness, trickling perhaps to my unborn baby.
I have battled a few challenges during my training, such as having to adjust to my incredibly rapidly changing body and figuring out quickly how to accommodate my new body’s additional needs. This at times would be frustrating to me, as it seemed I was constantly trying to adapt. Ultimately, I learned to be patient, flexible, and increasingly in tune with my body. I never pushed myself during my runs and always made sure to stay well-hydrated and nourished. In addition, I made having plenty of sleep at night a priority, which really helped.
This is my experience of running a marathon at six months pregnant:
The morning of the marathon I woke up extra early, as I wanted to take my time getting dressed, eating breakfast, and to run one mile prior to leaving for the actual marathon. (I don’t usually run a mile prior to a marathon; however, I discovered during my training that it took a mile to get the baby in position and get my body going.) I figured this race would take me at least five hours to complete, and therefore I opted for an early start. I knew if I did the early start I would be more at ease in taking my time, plus I would likely finish with the majority of the runners, which I felt would help to bring me in at the end.
I couldn’t have picked a more perfect race to run at six months pregnant. The course was absolutely gorgeous, and the weather was perfect! To support and sustain my energy, I planned to stop at every water station, plus carry my own hydration pack of water and use it as a backup. In addition, I packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fig bars, banana, trail mix, and GU energy gels. I had more than enough to fuel me through the marathon!
The first 16 miles I felt so good that I ended up running a faster pace than predicted. Spectators were cheering me on, weather was perfect, and the course was mainly downhill. Just after mile 16 it all caught up with me, and I began to slow down because my knee began to bother me. I had realized I had taken off way too fast ― a total rookie mistake! As I slowed down, I began talking with another runner who I had met during two previous bathroom stops. I noticed that she kept a great pace doing a combination of running and walking. When I told her that my knee was bothering me, she invited me to join her, and I did! I now had company during the last 10 miles of the race. At this point I knew that if I could make it to mile 20 (which was only four miles away) then I was home free, and if my knee still bothered me, I could walk the remainder of the course. When I arrived at mile 20 my knee began to feel better, and it was then that I knew I would make it to the finish line!
When I saw the finish line in the distance, I immediately felt a wonderful euphoric feeling combined with excitement and a great adrenaline rush ― a runner high at six months pregnant! I actually slowed down to savor and enjoy every second of this feeling crossing the finish line with my baby! As I saw my husband along with the crowd clapping and cheering for me, I began to tear up. I began to think about how grateful I was for this opportunity and for all the support I received. Most of all, I felt such a powerful bond with my unborn child, because we just accomplished running a marathon together, a life-changing event for all who attempt let alone pursue while six months pregnant!