Throughout these last 29 weeks, I’ve done my best to listen to my body, something I am told that pregnant and non-pregnant runners alike should follow my lead on (thanks Erin!) Running Bay to Breakers was when I first heard a clear, solid warning shot from my body: “Hey. We can handle this okay down here today, but you’re going to have to start reigning it in a little.” When I felt the first notions of weight shift, I slowed my pace and focused on my stride. When I felt the first ligament aches, I strapped on my FITsplint and don’t workout without it now. When my knees and hips spoke up during Bay to Breakers due to rapid front-loading of weight, I went against my minimalist history and snapped up a pair of Hoka One One Cliftons.
It’s almost become a mantra for me: “Move as best you can, while you can.”
And now it’s finally happening: I’m slowing down in a more obvious fashion. What can I do but be okay with it? At least I’m still movin’ – as best I can.
Since Bay to Breakers, I have kept pretty busy.
– I survived my glucose test. As someone who isn’t good at fasting normally, fasting, drinking a bottle of “cheap kids soft drink”-like beverage and then hanging out for two more hours without eating was rough. I likened the post-beverage experience to drinking too much Red Bull in college while writing papers. Suddenly, your heart rate is up, you feel a little jittery and you sweat at random. It made seeing a note on the bottle about not consuming the beverage unless requested by medical professionals rather comical. Who would drink that stuff of their own accord?
– On days that allow it, I’ve logged some very short runs in the aforementioned Hokas. Notably, they did bring relief to my knees and hips, something the baby boomers of the office laughed with me about. “See?,” they said, “That’s why [we] like them! Game changers.”
– The opportunity arose to work the Sparkle Athletic booth at the Run Like a Diva San Francisco expo and I of course accepted. Not only is working the booth fun, the gals helped make sure I got my bib last year when I ran, so I wasn’t going to miss a chance to help them. Carrie was a joy to work with and it was my pleasure to share homemade cupcakes. It was rather fun to have women comment on my bump while I helped them with skirts and sleeves. One woman said it was “so inspiring” that I was still running while pregnant, a comment that really made my day and I have held onto since.
The race director for the Title 9K series, a women’s-focused run series my workplace puts on that includes two dedicated stroller divisions, has long said that I am easily T9K’s biggest advocate. I’ve participated in every Bay Area race, helped out in Boulder and was given the opportunity this year to return to Spokane for the second Title 9K Spokane and first-ever Title 9K 5K option. Let’s be real: when the director asked me to be a part of her “dream team” for her final race with us and asked if I would announce the race, I jumped on it! (Need help at your upcoming event? I’m a seasoned packet pick-up, aid station, bag check, finisher’s area, pre-race prep pro, in my humble opinion. Holler!)
While I was in Spokane, the day before the race I laced up and previewed the Title 9K Spokane 5K course at Riverfront Park with a coworker. This proved to be highly beneficial, as we followed the arrows that had already been laid out and were able to identify some sticky spots in the loop that might be confusing, allowing us to ensure that either signage was added or that course marshalls would be present to direct the flow of traffic. My 3.1 miles for the day were dedicated to someone who cannot run — yet. Thank you Carla for slowing your roll a bit so speed bump and I could keep up. All of us had fun enjoying what little down time we had amidst the race-prep madness. Plus, who could say no to a giant Radio Flyer with a slide? Not us!
The race itself was highly memorable for me, and not just because it was my first time working a Title 9K as the announcer – or because I was pregnant (which, mind you, made the “usual” long days seem even longer.) The Spokane Title 9K yielded a first that really made my heart sing. Sure, it’s a women’s focused race and yes, it furnishes two categories solely for stroller participants. Yes, the Ragamuffin Run pre-race is always adorable… but that wasn’t what nearly brought me to tears this year. It was a smiling winner: not only did she win the stroller runner division, she won the ENTIRE 9K race.
At the race start, participants are allowed to seed themselves as they see fit and I definitely saw quite a few folks giving the woman whose stroller wheel was on the start line questioning looks. There were murmurs. There was even someone who told her “Strollers start in the back.” But I saw the confidence in her stance, paired with an Ironman-edition BOB stroller, and knew that this woman meant business. She wasn’t improperly seeded: she was there to win. As she pulled through the finish with a big smile, the child in the stroller cheering as well, my heart sang. Not only had we of the race series ever had a stroller come through in first place, this woman embodied so much that we as women strive for. She was an athlete, healthy, fit, and happy and it showed. At the awards ceremony, it was clear that her children shared this love with their mother and were proud of her, eager to follow in her footsteps. She had found a balance of training for herself and spending time with her family, all while keeping things fun for everyone.
Really, she embodied what I hope to one day.
It’s only a matter of time now for me. Here’s to one day leading by example and being that smiling mom with the cheering child in the stroller.