It’s hard to believe that this pregnancy is already more than two thirds of the way complete. After what felt like a very slow first trimester, the second trimester really flew by. Running in the second trimester was so different than the first, and I am still learning more and more each day.
Staying healthy throughout pregnancy has always (and will continue to be) been my number one priority – especially when running while pregnant.
Running in the second trimester has been a whirlwind.
A few weeks into the summer, I started to experience some intense chest pain. This pain was unlike anything I’d ever experienced, but between the timing and this being my first pregnancy, I initially assumed that it was just heartburn.
As the pain continued to progress, I noticed that it did not intensify after I’d eaten. Tums seemed to be of no help either, but luckily I had an appointment with my doctor already scheduled, so I waited a few days to check in with her.
After explaining the pain to my doctor, she told me that it sounded nothing like typical pregnancy-related acid reflux, and that I should get it checked out in urgent care just to be sure it was nothing serious.
Thus began my journey from urgent care to the ER, where many tests were run, and yet 8 hours later I left “against medical advice” after receiving no further diagnosis. I opted to consult my rheumatologist, as I had a strong suspicion that this pain was related to my autoimmune disease and not pregnancy.
Lo and behold, 48 hours later I had a diagnosis of pericarditis and pleurisy, and although the pain still remained intense, I felt much better knowing that it was something that was treatable, fairly common, and had no effect on pregnancy.
But, the pain left me on the couch for multiple weeks, forcing me to take a break from running.
Thus began my return to pregnant running.
After about three weeks with no running, I slowly began my return to running well into the second trimester. Due to this break, running in the second trimester started out feeling much more challenging than the first.
into the second trimester. Due to this break, running in the second trimester started out feeling much more challenging than the first.
Between nearly a month of absolutely no exercise, along with scaling things way back in the first trimester, I felt like I was just about starting from scratch in terms of my running fitness.
It took a few days (okay, maybe weeks) of feeling sorry for myself before I finally decided to adjust my goals and expectations to this new season of running and make a plan to take things a day at a time.
I signed up for two fall 5ks to give myself a goal and feel purposeful as we headed into my favorite running season (fall running is the best)!
The training plan I created for myself was unlike any I had created before. The first week started out with incredibly low mileage – running only a mile or so at a time – and included a breakdown of walk/run intervals.
Things started out with a simple .15 mile of running followed by .10 mile of walking, repeated for my designated distance. When I first got started, even these intervals felt like a massive challenge! It was incredibly humbling to imagine ever running 26.2 miles, let alone doing so at a pace that was nearly 5 minutes faster per mile.
However, things did begin to pickup and I was excited to see progress along the way. After about 6 weeks of training, I was able to successfully complete a 5k while running 90% of the time.
Running during the second trimester of pregnancy has taught me SO many lessons.
This trimester began in a whirlwind, but as things calmed down, I found myself experiencing a bit of an identity crisis. I had not realized just how much of a role running played in the way I viewed myself, challenged myself, and managed stress.
When mileage and pace disappeared over night, I found myself feeling a bit sad. While I am beyond thrilled to be experiencing a natural, healthy pregnancy, it’s hard not to miss the long runs and tough workouts of marathon training during this time.
However, I have learned (and am still learning) that running will always be there for you. This new season brings many sweet surprises and rewards that are unlike anything else in life. The reminder of this new life inside my belly brings a smile to my face every day, and feelings of joy which are indescribable.
Although I am missing my higher mileage weeks, I am learning that running will always be there to bring excitement, purpose and satisfaction. Ultimately, the fact that that feeling may come from running the first .15 mile interval after weeks off or finishing a 10 mile tempo run doesn’t make a difference.
Running in the second trimester brings a reminder to listen to your body.
Running while pregnant has reminded me that these seasons are temporary, and it’s important to live in the present instead of always wishing for the future or dreaming of the past. In less than three months our sweet baby will be here, and I’ll no longer be able to feel her in my belly on the run.
This second trimester has helped me learn to listen to my body more than look at my watch during a run, and judge success based on how I am feeling rather than numbers.
As runners, it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap – whether we compare ourselves to where we used to be or compare ourselves to other runners in similar situations.
I’m learning that every body is different and although situations may seem similar on the surface, each runner comes from a different circumstance. Being patient with where you are now, finding a new sense of purpose, and celebrating progress along the way is the only way to enjoy it.
Healthy running during pregnancy is always something worth celebrating.
As the weeks have passed, running while pregnant is starting to feel more natural. Running during the second trimester certainly brought more energy and less sickness, for which I am extremely grateful.
Now that the third trimester is beginning, we will see how things change as my belly continues to grow. My plan is to continue taking things one day at a time and adjust as necessary. This may mean incorporating even more walk breaks, slowing down yet again, or eventually switching to walking altogether.
Whatever these last three months bring, I am grateful for every single mile so far with our baby girl, and continue to be impressed with my body. I’m thankful to feel strong and capable while creating another human being, and excited to share a healthy perspective with our daughter in the future.