The reason why I’ve not blogged recently is because, for the last 9 months, I’ve been pregnant.
Pregnancy and running are an unhappy combination. For starters, the advice about whether or not to run during pregnancy is at best mixed. Doctors are happy to give general statements about ‘keeping fit’, whilst others frown seriously at the prospect of you bouncing your unborn, upside-down baby around.
The idea of being pregnant, and getting ever bigger and ever slower, was not one that ever appealed to me. But, one thing was for sure, I wanted to keep fit. Everyone said that pregnancy, labour, and birth would all be eased along if the mama-to-be kept active. But in terms of what to do, how much, and when, no one would be specific on such details.
Fortunately, a friend introduced me to a recent new mother, Susie Mitchell. Susie is one of Ireland’s top cyclists. Even more astounding is that, a mere five months after giving birth, she won a Masters World Championship Track Cycling title. Such was her maternity experience is that she is currently busy publishing a book on her experiences, “From Pregnancy to Podium”. I met her for the first time when I was four months gone. And she gave me the best advice that a pregnant sports lover could get…. “Listen to your body”.
For years, I’ve listened to my body. When I’m injured, I rest. When I’m tired, I’ll do a different type of session. So, why stop listening whilst pregnant, even if my body was playing a slightly different tune?
So, in my first trimester, I continued running. And then in my second trimester, with the bump starting to appear, I kept on running, albeit at a slower and slower speed every week. By the time I reached week 28 and my third trimester, I knew my days were numbered. Until, one day during week 30, I had the scare of my life. I was running as normal, heading out for a slow hour long jog around the block. After 30 minutes, I started to run down a slight incline, only to develop the worst stitch of my life. I was reduced to walking, but the stitch wouldn’t go away. I had left the house without a mobile, and seriously thought I would never ever get home again.
When I did reach home, I broke down in tears, mainly from shock as opposed to pain. And then I knew that for the next 10 weeks, my running days would have to be curtailed. I heard my body telling me that I had had a good stint for 30 weeks, and now it was time to temporarily call it a day.
I’ve listened to my body for the last 9 months, whilst it changed subtly with every single day. And now that my cool baby boy has popped out, I will listen to my body again as I try to regain my fitness whilst learning how to be a brand new mum.