Posted by: Ingrid | March 3, 2009

Half marathoning: AM I crazy?

I now have 2 half marathons that I’m considering and I really feel at this point like I don’t know what I’m doing.

The first, Visalia, is in 9 weeks.  At that point I will be 26 weeks, 4 days pregnant and just getting into my third trimester.  If I gain a full pound every week (hopefully I won’t but you never know), I will be around 144-145 by then and who knows how much my stomach will be sticking out at that point!  Then there is, of course, the unknown of how it will feel to run, if I will have any injuries, etc.  Though in the end it may just come down to the number of porta potties set up along the course!

I love the idea of doing this half marathon because this is where it all began last May.  Visalia was the first half marathon I signed up for and doing the same event a year later, with three other half marathons in between, has such a nice ring of completeness to it, life coming in a complete circle.  It’s also a very nice run – backroads through the orchards and a very small turnout – the feel of it is peaceful and relaxing.  Not to be left out is also the fact that it would feel good, triumphant even, to sign up for and run a half that far along in my pregnancy.  Plus my curiosity is piqued – can I do it?  What would it feel like?

I have until mid-April to decide and in the meantime have printed out a moderate 9 week half marathon training schedule that would have me running fewer miles than I currently log right now.  I figure I can train based on the program and see where I am come April.

As funny as it may sound, Visalia seems more doable than the other event I’m considering – the Nike Women’s half marathon in San Francisco.  The date?  October 14.  I would be roughly 2.5 months postpartum.  Running pregnant is one thing.  Running after a baby and thinking about feedings, leaking, and all the other things I don’t even think about right now is daunting.  Sign ups start tomorrow.  This event is so popular that you sign up and then they draw names.  Word has it that if you’re part of a group you have a better chance and I have a group.

This is one of those “must do” running events.  It’s on the streets of San Francisco, geared primarily for women, and there is the lure of really good chocolate and a Tiffany necklace for finishers at the end.  Again, there is the draw in wondering if I can do this.  It would definitely provide the external motivation to get back to running and back in shape ASAP.  It would be fairly low stress, having just given birth,  I have family in the area who I could introduce the baby to, and I would still be on maternity leave.

There are so many unknowns though.  What if the baby never sleeps through the night?  What if there are complications after the birth?  What if I get injured?  What if there’s no time to train?  What if they don’t make sports bras in my size once my milk comes in?

I suppose the worst case scenario has me walking 13.1 miles up the San Francisco hills, boobs leaking all the way.

Any moms out there who have done something like this and are willing to give their input?



  1. I can’t speak for the pregnant half marathon, though from personal experience, running wasn’t very comfortable for me when I was 7 months pregnant. Unless you are content with possibly walking a lot of it, I wouldn’t sign up.

    Regarding the postpartum one. It takes a woman 3-6 weeks to heal after labor. 6 weeks is most normal for 1st time moms. You CANNOT run until you are healed. If you do, it can potentially be very problematic. Walk, fine, but NOT run. I frankly think that lady who ran at 3 weeks postpartum was very stupid and I like exercise.

    So, you would not be able to start training until about a month before the event. Just a consideration.

    Another tidbit–running wiht boobs full of milk hearts like hell! (o:

    Sorry to be discouraging. I think running in pregnancy is great. I DID it! I just think that the postpartum scenario might be a little risky.

  2. I so can’t spell when i’m tired. Ha! “Hearts like hell” Good one, Kel

  3. I knew what you meant, but the typo made me laugh… thanks! 🙂

  4. I second Kelly’s concern about the post-partum running. Your doctor will probably tell you the same thing – too much exercise before you’ve healed (completely!) is actually quite dangerous. I find that even walking too far in those first 6 weeks will make me start bleeding again, and if you aren’t careful a little bleeding can become a LOT of bleeding and then you end up in the hospital.

  5. Yeah, I’m starting to think that committing to that half marathon 6 months out (it’s expensive too!) without knowing how my body will respond to the last half of pregnancy and delivery will be a bit more pressure than I feel comfortable with. I think I’ll play it by ear and maybe do Fresno again in mid-November. At least that course is flat! And cheaper. Thanks, guys!

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