Friday, April 5, 2013

Running Struggles

            As I wrote earlier, I ran a half-marathon at 13 weeks.  I was running around 30 miles per week for quite a stretch after that even.  Typically I was doing five easy pace runs, a long run, and a run with some speed work mixed into it every week.  My goal was to keep that up at least through the second trimester.  I’ve known women who gave up running during pregnancy for various reasons (back, hip, knee pain, etc), and others who have run throughout their entire pregnancy.  Of course I wanted to be one of those who continued with it until the very end.
            My hips never bothered me (I had wider hips to start with), but I started having pelvic pain between weeks 20 and 21 of pregnancy.  This is where the pelvic bones come together, and the pain was not only from them starting to separate, but also from the ligaments being stretched from it, all in my body’s way of preparing for childbirth.  I had my last long run of eight miles at the start of the pain.  It was tough but I pushed through the pain and got the run in.  The next day I tried to run with a friend (which would put me at a slightly faster pace than my easy pace), and that was the last time I was able to run at a faster pace.  I was in so much pain from it.
            I really struggled with what to do in regards to my running after that.  For a while it even hurt when I would walk (I became a slow walker, which is not normal), and even when I would lift a leg to dress.  I had become accustomed to running every day, and so while I took a couple days off from running, I really wanted to get back out there, even if I needed to slow down my pace.  I remember leaving my house multiple times, only to give in to the pain only a block or so later and walk back.  It  became too much to push through at times.  I felt I had too many months to go with my pregnancy though, that I just wasn’t willing to give up completely on it yet.  If I did, I feared that it would take me so much longer to get back into running shape again after the baby was born.
Slowly the pain did become more tolerable and under control.  I cut back on my weekly mileage, the distance of my longest run, and slowed all my runs considerably in pace.  Both my weekly miles and my longest run distance were cut in half.  Even at a slower pace I had to limit the long run because I started noticing some pain in my hip flexor as well from running.  I never had that problem from running before, so I concluded I must have been running differently in order to try and run more comfortably through the pain.  If I kept my distances lower, then I had less issues with it. 
Eventually I could walk and dress without pain, but it continued to affect my running for the rest of pregnancy.  In the second trimester I would occasionally have good days even where I was able to run close to my former easy pace.  They weren’t very often, but they made running much more enjoyable for those times!  I slowed again in my last trimester.  It was like my body just was not able to go any faster, with the limitations put on by my own body.  The mileage and the frequency also continued to drop in the last month of pregnancy, but I’ll get more detailed with that later on!

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