A week later, I ran my first half-marathon – at 13 weeks! My husband, Andy, ran it with me. He said I could set the pace and understood I needed to be able to respond to any needs or warnings that my body might give me. I didn’t have a heart rate monitor, so again, I based the run and my pace off of my perception and just went by how I felt. This is how I gauged pretty much everything that I did. This may work for some women, though others may not be comfortable with that. It is something each woman will have to decide for herself, along with the advice of her doctor.
I wore a GPS watch so I knew my pace, and with Andy beside me, we could check in on how each other was feeling. My goal time was fairly conservative I felt, at a pace of 8 minutes/mile. We started off around 7:30 pace, each of us feeling good at that pace, so we decided to try and settle into that speed for a while. Our later miles actually got faster as we went along. I mostly concentrated on keeping my breathing relaxed and even, knowing that it would help me to keep my pace, and I hoped it would help keep my heart rate a little lower. It was also fortunate that it was fairly cool out when we started. There were water stations every 2 miles, and I made sure to take a cup at every one, knowing hydration was also important. We ended up finishing with an average pace of 7:23/mile, far exceeding my expectations!
The half-marathon marked the end of my race season for 2012. I raced the majority of it pregnant, but staying attentive to my body, trying to be more relaxed and staying on top of hydration, I felt good about the season and what I was able to do during my first trimester. All of this needs to also be kept in perspective, as this was my experience, and I had a high level of fitness going into it all, without any pregnancy complications. Your own personal circumstances and the advice of your doctor may lead to a very different experience for you. A lot was possible for me though, and I hope others will realize that pregnancy should not be treated as an injury where we are suddenly unable to do things.
What are your experiences?!