Taking the “Running” out of “Running Through This World”

Baby clothes and running shoes do NOT go well together

Lately I’ve been feeling like I did during my freshman track season. It is not a good feeling. On the assurance that I would NOT actually have to run (“you can be a thrower!”), I joined the track team as an out-of-shape ninth grader with the hopes of scoring a cool track sweatshirt.

I did have to run. Three miserable laps around the track as a “warm up.” I couldn’t even make it once around with slowing to a walk. And I was a terrible thrower. I lived in daily fear of track practice. I couldn’t keep up with the slowest of the slow. It took me a good couple months before I could complete those three laps around the track. (Yes, I know. It’s not even a mile).

That summer something clicked, I could suddenly make it through three and then five mile runs. I joined the cross country team and have been a runner ever since. I’d taken pride in the fact that I could always, in an emergency, drop everything and run three or eight or thirteen miles if I had to.

I forgot what it’s like to desperately try to keep pace with someone. I forgot what it was like to attempt to keep your hard breathing under wraps so the person you are running with wouldn’t know how much you’re struggling. I forgot how embarrassing it is to have to stop and slow down…one mile into a run. I forgot how hard running can be.

When I got pregnant six months ago, I confidently assumed that I’d run all through my pregnancy. People do it all the time! Doctors say as long as you were already a runner, you were good to continue. I’d already planned on running a half marathon at five months pregnant and maybe even Grandma’s full marathon in Wisconsin the month after that.

That sooooo did not happen.

Running sucks when you are pregnant. I wasn’t even a month along when a friend and I went on a fast four mile run. I spend the next day curled up in bed with cramps, convinced that I had killed the baby. On the repeated assurance of my doctor and ten different pregnancy books I kept trying. I slogged through slow runs, wishing I could hold my boobs and belly while running (wouldn’t that have looked cool?) I managed a slow three miles a couple times a week, but I dreaded those runs like I used to dread track practice my freshman year. Last week I laced up my running shoes and headed out with the lofty goal of running two miles. I made it about five steps and decided that I was done running. I have officially given up.

I can still log miles on the elliptical. I can swim laps. I can lift weights at BodyPump, and I can walk, but those things just don’t have the same ring or allure. “Lifting Weights Through this World” is just not a cool title for a blog. So hopefully you lovely readers will forgive me for carrying on with a misleading title for the next three or four months. While you are all out running, I’ll be taking a nap.

Running during Pregnancy


Jenna Vandenberg

Teacher, writer, runner, mom and wife.

Comments (2)

  • Kati Simon

    Jen! I stopped running at about 20 weeks with Rece. Yes, it sucked, and I felt like a failure, but the important thing is you stay healthy (not try to run like you did before you had a human being growing in you!). Plus, the good news is, once baby is born and you’re recovered, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll get back into running. It’ll be like you never stopped:) Love you!!!

  • Thanks KK – I think not being able to bounce back is one of the things that scares me. Thanks for the positivity 🙂 See ya in August, I hope!

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