While ultra running hasn't been my entire focus for my adult life, it has played a pretty prominent role. I love my job, friends, and other parts of life, but running is always there. I have never been afraid to take a day or seven off if I don't feel like running, but for the better part of the last ten years, most days include a quiet run, usually accompanied by just my dog and thoughts. I fully enjoy being out in nature, experiencing the seasons, and rooting myself to this place through the trails. Some of my best ideas were born as I huffed my way up a hill with Nikki trotting beside me.
Beginning last September-not so much. As it turns out, growing a baby takes a lot of energy. Apparently women don't burn extra calories in the first trimester, which just doesn't compute to me based on anecdotal evidence and what one's body is actually creating, but I digress. I basically went from trying to refrain from passing out on my massage table all day, to coming home and doing absolutely as little as possible.
Being pregnant is interesting in so many ways, one of which is people touching my belly. I was forewarned, which was good, as I'm not the most touchy-feely person (despite my career). Another shouldn't come as a surprise, but of course makes total sense: everyone wants to know how I've been feeling and wish me well. When word got out (it doesn't take long in a tiny town), many women told me they felt the best they have ever felt while pregnant. Huh? I am not one of those women. I certainly have not had some of the horrific experiences I've heard some women relate, but I would by no means say I feel the best I've felt: something has taken over my body, taken all my energy, and made my hips wider (among other physical changes I thought would take a while).
At this point, a pity party seemed the best response. Of course I knew I wasn't the first athlete to be pregnant, but it's the first time I've had to let go of whatever fitness goals I have for a reason out of my control. For several months now, I had lost fitness and didn't have anything to work toward. I wasn't able to wallow quite as much as I thought I would, unfortunately, as I began to get some energy back and put it to somewhat good use. Work was still quite demanding, however, so those short outings became shorter and less frequent. Then one day while living vicariously through others, I read Ellie Greenwood's (trail running bad a** and nice person) article on iRunFar about her year of injuries, and it dawned on me: pregnancy is like an injury! People get injured all the time and have to deal with this. And they recover! In the years I've been running (knock on wood), I've been lucky enough to only have had a brief stint of tendonitis that resolved after a few weeks. Amazing runners have setbacks and they come back from them! However simple and obvious that realization was, I felt better immediately. Plus, I'm basically blood doping right now and taking human growth hormone, so it's better than an injury! And I'll have a baby at the end of it!