Okay, so I know there are a few of you out there who are just a little bit crazy like me who would consider running a race while knowing you are pregnant. I ran the Pennsylvania Spartan Sprint 2011 (4+ miles) when I was three months along. Doesn’t compare to the women that have done it 5, 6, 7 months pregnant (amazing!) but this is how I did it and why I did it.
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I made sure I had the right conditioning.
First of all, if I had never done something like this before, I wouldn’t have tried it while pregnant. Pregnancy is not the first time you want to try something like this. Before I became pregnant, I was already running 8 miles comfortably with interval and weight training and I continued with that training through most of my pregnancy. I had done a Spartan race before so I knew what to expect. It still wasn’t easy, but my body was conditioned for something like this. You are constantly exhausted the first trimester so that first two miles uphill during the race was even more painful than if I was not pregnant, but thankfully I had been previously been training for endurance.
I did it for fun, not to compete.
When you are pregnant, you can’t really participate in a race to compete. I couldn’t push my body that hard without putting my baby at risk. Even though I didn’t do it for time (next time!), it was still a blast!
I stayed hydrated.
This was not optional for me. I was pregnant and I could not afford to dehydrate myself so I carried plenty of water and made sure I started drinking plenty of water several days before race day. I carried a a low -profile Camelbak like this one that you can order on Amazon. It was a little cumbersome but totally doable. (If you want more information on whether to use a Camelbak for a mud run and what is the best one to use, read my article, “The Best Camelbak for a Mud Run.”)
I ate a good breakfast before the race.
I had a bagel with peanut butter. And even though the Spartan race was only 4+ miles, the first half was mostly uphill. I wasn’t sure how my body was going to react so to be safe I carried a small granola bar in my Camelback as well just in case (and I did end up needing it!)
I ran the race with a partner.
In case I would find myself in a difficult situation, I had someone that could help me and someone that could spot me when going over obstacles–that was hubby. My husband stayed with me the whole time just in case I needed assistance.
I listened to my body.
It is amazing how your body will tell you if you are pushing yourself too far. I walked a couple of times because I had to. People were already impressed that I was doing this while pregnant, so there was nothing to prove and no shame in walking (even if you are not pregnant).
I skipped the obstacles that I felt were too dangerous.
I had to skip one of the obstacles and do the burpees instead (punishment for not completing an obstacle). There was one obstacle where you had to jump from one log to the other. The logs were muddy, very slippery, and very wide apart. I have very short legs so I made the call to skip that one because the risk of falling on my stomach was pretty high. And even though the baby is very well protected with ambiotic fluid, etc–I didn’t want to risk it.
I checked the weather.
One of the biggest risks for the baby while doing long distance running is actually overheating. If it had been scorching hot outside, I might have skipped the race altogether, but thank God the weather cooperated.
A lot of people thought I was crazy for doing this, but each of us have our own reasons why we would choose to do something like this while carrying a little one inside. I ran the race for my students. I was a youth group leader at the time with several teenage boys and one female who I was trying to motivate. Although some of them were in tip top shape and blew right through the course, there were others that were not. I stayed behind (along with hubby) to make sure the last of my students made it through the entire race. That one student never thought he could do something like this—but he finished. The look on his face when he crossed that finish line was priceless!
Next time it will be for time!!!
(Word of Caution: This is my experience and I am by no way endorsing that someone run a mud run while pregnant, especially if they are not in excellent shape to begin with. Follow your physicians guidelines and recommendations.)
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