I had two thoughts the night before the half marathon. The first, as I timed contractions on the couch (they went away after about 90 minutes) was that I sort of felt like I would rather have a baby than have to get my stuff ready for the run the next day. An early baby, how novel would that be!
The second thought was the honest question: when does pregnant Ingrid trump runner Ingrid? Pregnancy and all it involves are not particularly controllable on many (any?)levels. I really hoped that the day of the half marathon was not the day my body would say that I just couldn’t run another mile (or that many miles all together).
I awoke to a beautiful (contraction free) Autumn morning. Roughly 50 degrees, no chance of rain, and really just the kind of day you want to go out and run. Having taken the day before off I really did want to go run. I had to remind myself that I took a taper day and not an entire week… but I still don’t like tapering, even pregnant.
At the same time I felt a little stressed at the thought that pregnancy might get in the way of the days’ running plans, I also felt blissfully unstressed to not really have a time goal. Honestly, I was so excited that after 12 weeks my friend (first half marathon!!!!) was going to the starting line and that I would get to be there too. Sometimes helping other people get to their goals is just as, or even more rewarding, than hitting my own.
This was the fifth year that the Wildlife marathon/half marathon/5K has been in existence. I ran the inaugural year, right after having Isaac and the second year as well. I missed two years in there, and I was pleased to see how the event has grown since. It was fun to be back. We picked up our packet, got our race numbers and chips on, and headed to the restroom. That was my first clue that I was going to get many more comments this event. The whole pregnancy thing, you know? Most of them were positive, and honestly, I don’t know that I would have cared much if they weren’t. I’d already run this by my midwife and I know my body, plus this is my third baby. Along with that is the woman who ran the full marathon in Chicago at 38 weeks and then had her baby… who cares about a half marathon when someone has already done the full and made the nightly news?
We went outside and found that there was already quite the pack of runners lined up. Just as we were trying to get a few pictures the gun went off. What! So soon? We were caught off guard and (fortunately) had what we needed on us already. We dropped our bags at Husband’s feet and started running. I felt a bit discombobulated. It was almost that feeling that you have in bad running dreams (except I should have been naked and unable to tie my shoes). Very weird. I have never been caught off guard by a start before!
The first mile took us through downtown Concord and I remarked that they’d slightly changed the course. I got a few more comments about being pregnant and, by half a mile in, someone had pointed out both and OBGYN and a nurse. You know, just in case I suddenly had the baby right there with zero labor beforehand. Somewhere in between mile 1 and 2 I realized that Candy and I, rather than being late for our half marathon start, had accidentally started with the marathoners instead! They started 5 minutes earlier and took a slightly different route. This was disconcerting to say the least, since the two of us are very good “rule followers” and here we were, with a 5 minute head start… and no wonder everyone was giving me weird looks, they thought I was running the full marathon! Since the course at the start for the full was slightly different than the start for the half, it added 0.1-0.2 miles to our total distance. Maddening. I am still kicking myself, just a little, and was annoyed that it messed up the distance for my friend’s first half. HOW DID I LET US GET INTO THE WRONG RUNNING THRONG? Augh.
Moving on, which we did. The course was lovely and the trees were glorious. The sun was out, but mostly not in our eyes or beating down on us. It was fun, after so many dark and early morning runs to be running in daylight. The trail is quite flat, and the half marathon course is out and back. There were a couple of cheering areas, but really not a whole lot of people out to see us run. No one even at the turn around point, which was weird.
I was feeling so laid back about the whole thing that I did not catch a single mile split. This was my third half marathon run with another person and without music and I was enjoying it and enjoying seeing Candy hit new distances. Our longest run together was 11 miles, and there is something really amazing about being with a runner who is running further than they ever have before. Less fun were the contractions that I had throughout the entire run, not a new thing, but more than Braxton Hicks contractions, some of them grimace worthy. I am used to them kicking up by the end of a normal run, but these started almost immediately and stayed pretty constant. Running through contractions isn’t the most fun a girl could have, but they weren’t horrendous either. I tried to drink at the aid stations and I ate a Gu pre-run and 6 shot blocks during.
I definitely was feeling a little tired by mile 9 and knew we were running faster than our normal long run pace. We’d both said that we’d like to finish under 2:10, I was pretty sure we could come close to the 2 hour mark though. More than the tiredness was the knowledge that I was just going to be sort of sort and uncomfortable because I am so late in pregnancy. That whole baby head in the pelvis bit is not so comfortable when running (or really ever). Okay, so I was going to be sore, big deal. We kept running. The last few miles on the trail are fairly lonely so I was glad to be with another person and was glad that Candy didn’t have to do it on her own.
One detail that surprised me was how poorly the course was marked between miles 11-12. I think more than a few people took a wrong turn because there were no signs and no people directing traffic at that point – definitely something to remedy! My memory served me wrong, as I remembered ALL of mile 13 as uphill, when really it’s just the first bit. Duly noted, and now I can stop exaggerating! We were both getting tired as we neared the finish line, but I was so excited to see that we did 13.1 miles (unofficially on my Garmin) at 1:59.01. With the additional bit of mileage we added by setting off with the marathoners, our official chip time was 2:01.10, still good for 5th in my age group and an average 9:15 pace.
I was so proud of both of us!
Also, our medals were awesome.
Then I spent from 12:45 to bedtime timing contractions that were real contractions 3-7 minutes apart and thought that maybe I would have a baby. No luck. They died out around bedtime and left me with nothing crossed off on my to do list, the house a mess, and no bread made. Not exactly how I wanted to start my week!
I was definitely achy last night, though this morning I rode the bike for an hour and am feeling good. I guess my body, even late in pregnancy is fairly resilient. I had a fantastic time yesterday. It felt great to be able to run the half marathon, to meet the goal, and especially to be with a friend as she completed one of her big goals. What an awesome thing to be a part of! At the same time, I don’t know that I would recommend running a half at 38.5 weeks. Definitely not the most comfortable thing I have ever done!
It feels good, though a little strange to be done with everything. I guess that I just hang out and wait for a baby to show up in another 2 weeks. Time to shift from running mode to pregnancy mode. Though if 41 weeks finds me still pregnant I may attempt another 13.1 all on my own!