I am a runner. I am pregnant. Please do not STARE.

27 Jul

I knew the day would come when I would start getting “the look”…the wide-eyed, head-shaking, disapproving look of someone who thinks it is preposterous that I am running…pregnant. (Oh, the horror! The HORROR!) It happened to me for the first time, or the first time that I actually noticed it, last night. And, to be honest, it caught me completely and totally off-gaurd.

I am now at the point where I am obviously showing. I keep trying to convince myself that I am not really “out there” yet, but I think I am in denial. You know, especially when people in my run group who had not been there in a couple of weeks see me and say, “Whoa! You have really popped out there, haven’t you!?” Yeah, so, I am *officially* baby bumpin’.

Other than my belly poking out, I am trying to keep on keepin’ on as much as possible, in as much as the same way as before, but with my activities modified as I feel I need to. When I found out I was pregnant, it never really crossed my mind to not run. I mean, surely women did it all the time, right? I used to have a step aerobics instructor who taught classes until she was 8 months along. If she could bop up and down on a step, I could keep running, right? After consulting with my doctor, explaining to him that before getting pregnant my body had been used to some serious weekly mileage, he agreed to let me keep running as long as I felt that I could. I promised him that I would listen to my body and use common sense…and then I went on my happy little runner way. No big deal.

And it was not a big deal…until I got “the look” last night.

Last night’s group run took us up along the Mississippi River levee. I love this route because it is a straight out-and-back route that allows me to see all of my fellow runners. These days, my back-of-the-pack runner status lets me take in all the views and really watch the group as a whole. It is really fun to see that many people participating in a hobby they love so much. Ah, I digress…

Anyway, what is different about the levee route is the number of spectators. Keep in mind that these are not intentional running spectators, they are just people who happen to be up on the levee, enjoying the view of the river…they also just happened to get caught in our flash mob of running awesomeness.

NOT me, but she's my hero!

I have never felt my pregnant running was awkward until last night…about 1 mile into our route. At this point, I am up on the levee, shuffling along running, taking in the beautiful view of the pink sky across the river. Turning my head back in front of me (I really should be more careful about watching where I am going anyway) I see this older woman ahead pointing at me (obviously at my belly) and whispering to her husband. As I get closer, I actually hear her call out to me and say, “That isn’t good for the baby, you know!”

Say what? Did I really just get called out…by a total stranger?

By the time my brain wrapped itself around what this woman had said I was well on my way down the route and was not able to respond. Besides, I am not sure if I would have even wanted to break my stride and interrupt my run to do so. I have read plenty of articles on pregnant running (after all, I wanted to know what I was getting myself into), and I new the stares and comments would come at some point. However, I figured I would be prepared with some snappy, well thought out, and educated come-back about how I know my body better than anyone else and that, when done with care, running was a perfectly acceptable activity for a woman with child.

I missed the boat on this one. Oh well. I have no doubt that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I better think of that snappy come-back pretty quickly. I have a feeling that I will need to whip out my “why pregnant running is okay” factoid card more often in the coming weeks. I suppose it just comes with the territory.

So, just as a courtesy, if you are out there tearing it up on the road and you see a baby bumpin’ runner, please don’t stare or give a look of disgust. Jog on over to her, give her a high five, and tell her to keep on keepin’ on!

Have you ever run through a pregnancy? Have you ever run through some sort of injury or in a situation that caused you to get disapproving faces/comments from others? How did you respond to that?

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33 Responses to “I am a runner. I am pregnant. Please do not STARE.”

  1. DubyaWife July 27, 2011 at 9:18 AM #

    That sucks!

    I lump her in with the People-Who-Shouldn’t-Give-Advice-Unless-Asked. I mean let’s be real – (1) you should never give running advice unless asked for it. Telling someone their stride is wrong or that they aren’t swinging their arms when they’re running is a no-no (unless they ask). And moreover, (2) no one should give childbearing advice UNLESS they’re asked. You wouldn’t want someone telling you how to walk when pregnant! (3) You should only give advice for running if you’re a runner OR advice about childbearing if you’re a doctor in it! Was she even running?

    This lady violated so many rules of humanity its laughable.

  2. Katie @ Legally Fit July 27, 2011 at 9:18 AM #

    Oh my gosh, how flippin’ rude! I really hate the pregnancy judgment. I’ll be 28 weeks tomorrow and my last run was around 26+ weeks- I never got any rude stares or comments, and I’ve pretty much been showing since week 13. What do people think, that you just blindly got up and starting running to the detriment of your baby? I don’t think most people realize that pregnant runners are runners that have been running for a long time and have consulted with their doctors to make sure it is okay.

    If I were in your situation, I think I would have been so shocked that I would have just continued running and then steamed about it. I think a great response would be “not according to my doctor” or something along those lines.

    Sorry for the novel 😉

  3. meanguyrunning July 27, 2011 at 9:18 AM #

    Obviously, I didn’t run while being pregnant, but my wife did. Her last run was about 8 1/2 months in on the treadmill. 2 miles!! Her doctor told her as long as she was a runner before, she SHOULD continue running. Otherwise, the kid would most likely be huge.

    Keep on running. Don’t worry about what other people say; they’re wrong.

  4. keyalus July 27, 2011 at 9:37 AM #

    My grandmother informed me (with a very serious face) that I would “shake the babies brains up” with my running. I gave her a pass since she’s nearly 80.

    I didn’t run much past 5 months (back started hurting) so I didn’t get issues with that. I did do the elliptical and CrossFit Moms workouts until the week before I was due. CrossFitters are a little crazy so no one disapproved at my gym LOL. I got lots of encouragement in fact.

    • katieRUNSthis July 27, 2011 at 9:39 AM #

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Your comment literally made me LAUGH OUT LOUD!! 😀 Shake a baby’s brains up! That’s so funny! Okay, maybe I shouldn’t laugh quite so hard at that, but I’m just imagining your grandmother shaking a finger at you, imparting that pearl of wisdom. 🙂 *giggles*

  5. Hydie July 27, 2011 at 9:50 AM #

    Run on, Katie! I started running (became a runner!) after the birth of my second child in 1994…My healthiest pregnancy (1999) was with my third child BECAUSE I continued to run. In addition to the physical benefits – I’ll never forget that the joy of a run combined with the miracle of holding on to ‘new life’ as I did so was quite special and spiritual~

  6. Corrina July 27, 2011 at 10:22 AM #

    You keep on truckin’ mama!! I ran until around 30wks with my 2nd baby (had to stop due to sciatica) and my last run with my 3rd baby was around 35 wks and I was put on limited activity at 36 wks and she was born at 37wks (not related in any way to running). And during that 3rd pregnancy, I was running–pushing my other two in a jogging stroller 🙂 Most people who commented were encouraging, most thought I was crazy and many were just incredulous. But even when my belly was way out there, once I got in my groove, I felt lighter and less cumbersome while running (well, more like slow jogging, but it felt as strenuous as running!) than I did while waddling along. The looks and comments will just prepare you for all the opinions out there on how to raise your kids! Everyone has 2cents 🙂

  7. Eunice @ Food4Fit July 27, 2011 at 10:30 AM #

    Geez! People seem to have many opinions when it comes to pregnant women. Everybody knows what’s best! I’m glad you didn’t stop to entertain that nonsense.

  8. Renee July 27, 2011 at 10:31 AM #

    People need to mind their own business. I have never been pregnant so have no run pregnant, but I have friends who have. If you were a runner pre-pregnancy there is not reason not to continue running. I used to train with an Ironman finisher who ran through most of her pregnancy. She eventually had to slow down and didn’t do the same mileage. You are doing what works for you and not hiding it from your doctor.

  9. Ryan @NoMoreBacon July 27, 2011 at 10:39 AM #

    A few snappy comebacks come to mind…

    “I’m not pregnant, I just stole a throw pillow from Bed Bath and Beyond!”
    “You think running is bad for the baby? You should see how much I drink!”
    “I hear old age isn’t all that good for your health either, grandma!”

    Hope they help 🙂

    • breakfasttobed July 27, 2011 at 9:11 PM #

      Annnnnd….this is why I love your blog/twitter/tweetups.

      • katieRUNSthis July 27, 2011 at 9:17 PM #

        THANK YOU! I’m just happy that I have awesome blog followers/Tweeps that help me keep things interesting! Woot!

  10. Adam @TeamPomeroy July 27, 2011 at 10:54 AM #

    My wife also ran almost right up until giving birth (and she was still going on miles long walks at the end). Her Dr. pretty much gave the same advice as mentioned above: keep up whatever level of activity you were doing before getting pregnant, as long as it feels good. Even though she didn’t get too many strange looks while out running, you should have seen the stares she was getting when she took the state bar exam 1 week before giving birth.

    Anyway, keep it up and don’t worry about other people! If they couldn’t hack it, well that’s their problem.

  11. Karen Janos July 27, 2011 at 11:44 AM #

    Just ignore the idiots! Once the baby is born you’ll still get comments from random strangers about how you’re doing something wrong with your child. Some people are just judgemental. I get asked how I can train for a marathon while working full time with 2 kids. People have actually said, “Isn’t training for a marathon selfish? Don’t your kids suffer?”

    I chalk all of it up to they’re either morons or jealous. Either way who cares what they think.

    Keep on running!!

  12. Jennifer Z July 27, 2011 at 1:45 PM #

    Oh good lord. I truly think it’s a generational “your uterus will fall out” thing. But if you think about it, THEY were allowed to drink and smoke while THEY were pregnant. I say sport that belly loud and proud! You are a rockstar girl. I’m starting to get uncomfortable, but still trying to run/shuffle/crawl. Our babies will thank us for it when they pop out super fit and healthy.

  13. Valerie Reed July 27, 2011 at 2:38 PM #

    Ok. That was rude. But for some reason folks think it’s ok to say whatever they want to and about pregnant people. Now would it have been a good idea for ME to run when I was pregnant with Courtney. Naw it wouldn’t because I wasn’t already doing it. But YOU have been an avid runner long before baby bump even came into existence and as your doctor told you, as long as your body allows it you’re good. If your doc isn’t sweatin it then noone else should. I would’ve had stop and ask her exactly what is the running going to do to the baby? That just doesn’t make sense. You know your body so when you’re tired, you slow down. When you’re winded, I’m sure you take whatever breaks you need to catch your breath. That just makes no sense. You’ll know when you’re not able to run anymore…that bump is only gonna get bigger and walking might become a challenge! LOL. But until that day comes (and who knows…it may not come until it’s almost time for him to make his appearance) then keep on hittin the pavement.

  14. Michelle July 27, 2011 at 3:06 PM #

    Sorry to hear that woman was so rude to you, unfortunately those people exist. I’ve been told to move faster before while running, people can be seriously cruel.
    A friend in my running club asked her doc if she could run and the doctor told her not to do more than three miles. She left that doctor and went to one that was more understanding. His advice, run as much as your body will let you. You ran quite a bit before so you are in great shape to keep going. Don’t let foolish people get to you, what do they know about your awesome running abilities.

  15. gigi kennedy July 27, 2011 at 3:18 PM #

    **high five** 😉

    keep on being fabulous!

  16. running on faith July 27, 2011 at 4:34 PM #

    this is crazy talk! why can’t people just mind their own business, especially when it involves negative feedback/comments. Ugh, I’m not a pregnant runner but it frustrates me to no end when people give me negative feedback about my decision to run/live an active lifestyle! I did not run as much during my first pregnancy but regret it so I think you are doing an awesome job!!

  17. Megan July 27, 2011 at 5:07 PM #

    Don’t you just hate unsolicited advice? I’d just say “My doctor says it’s okay.”

  18. Jamie July 27, 2011 at 6:38 PM #

    Just found your blog! I can’t believe how rude that woman was. I hope to join the ranks of the Bumpin’ Runners soon 🙂

    Keep on running! Your little one will thank you in the future!

    ~Jamie

    • katieRUNSthis July 27, 2011 at 9:20 PM #

      Yay! Are you trying to expand your family? It is a really fun time. Throughout our process, my biggest lesson was patience. I thought it would happen right away, but it took us a while. Its okay though because it just makes me appreciate my little man more and more everyday! Thanks for the kind words!

  19. Jen July 27, 2011 at 8:08 PM #

    Ughhhhh! I haven’t gotten a comment but twice I’ve gotten nasty looks at the gym. I’m ready for the comment though. I’ll just reply “I assure you that no one cares more about my baby’s wellbeing than I do, so mind your own business”. Not witty, but to the point. You keep being awesome 🙂

    • katieRUNSthis July 27, 2011 at 9:19 PM #

      Its crazy. I just want to be like, “Look, lady. Do you even KNOW how long it took me to get this baby in there? How much I went through to just get pregnant? Do you think there is ANYONE on this planet that wants better for this baby than ME!? NO, I ASSURE YOU, there is NOT.” But I was sort of hoping for something with more zing than that. 🙂

  20. breakfasttobed July 27, 2011 at 9:10 PM #

    I ran through both of my pregnancies-until I was put on bedrest with #2. I was criticized by more than one passerby. Here was my default. A: Thank you for your concern or B: I am a nurse, my bff is an OBGYN, and she told me my baby is going to come out running marathons around me. so back the eff off. (which response they got depended on my hormones at the time.)

  21. Stacy H July 27, 2011 at 9:15 PM #

    it’s not just running. People feel like if a woman is pregnant, it is a free invite to share their opinions on EVERYTHING–exercise, food, sex…for god’s sake people, stay out of our uterus!

  22. Tiffany July 27, 2011 at 9:22 PM #

    Well, that sure wasn’t my first impression. Mine was actually that, “I didn’t know you could still run when pregnant”, and that’s because I have a phobia of wrecking my fitness level when my husband and I do start to have kids. So, I actually am excited now lol. Someone mentioned this above, that maybe it IS a generational thing. Like I said, I didn’t get that first impression. It’s impressive!

  23. Lani Yearicks July 27, 2011 at 11:17 PM #

    My BFF and I ran a 5K on the 4th of July. I was a day shy of 29 weeks. It was hot & humid, so I opted for sports bra, running skirt, and naked baby bump. Before the race, an older lady came up to the two of us and asked me if I was doing the 5K. I said “Yes, ma’am.” And then she said “So, you’ll be walking most of it, right?” And I replied that actually I’d be running most of it. She started spewing negative at which point I tuned her out. My BFF jumped in and said “Her midwife seems to think it’s ok.” At that, the lady just walked off shaking her head. I finished the 5K well ahead of said lady. Run on Super Katie!!!

  24. Carrie B. July 28, 2011 at 6:47 AM #

    I didn’t start running until after my partial hysterectomy so I have no idea what this feels like. BUT you should use one of the two responses:
    1. Take a picture, it will last longer OR
    2. Mind your own business

    Good luck!!!!

  25. Samantha July 29, 2011 at 11:25 AM #

    I just told a friend of mine about your blog! She recently had a baby (so no pregnant running for her until the next one) but wants to get into shape. Hopefully your wisdom can help her out because I’m no help in that department. Thanks for clearing that up though. I will give the next pregnant runner I see a “thumbs up”…and maybe a cheer!

  26. Concrete Runner August 4, 2011 at 3:12 PM #

    Wow. I’m still so surprised at the way people respond to women who are pregnant. When we first told my husband’s grandma, who is in her 90s, she told me not to lift anything, not to work hard, basically to do nothing for the 9 months of my pregnancy. Little did she know, I was still running 20+ miles a week at that time and lifting weight 3-4 days/week. Recently, running hasn’t been as comfortable for me, as I am in the 3rd trimester and getting bigger with each passing day. I can run about 2 minutes at a time, and then have to stop to walk. However, when I was still running 5 days/week, about 3 miles each time, my mom of all people was trying to convince me to stop. I finally asked her why, because my husband was urging me to stop also and neither of them ever gave me a reason. Her reasoning: she was afraid I was shaking the baby to death! Oh good lord. Sure, my running would rock my baby to sleep for hours (it would seriously be a good 2 hours after I was done running before I would feel her move again), but I certainly wasn’t harming my baby in any way! If you don’t know, just don’t say anything… I hope you get your chance to use your factoids about pregnant running! We need to get the word out that we’re not harming our babies!

  27. tiffany August 4, 2011 at 8:56 PM #

    Keep on keeping on, mama! Way to go 🙂 Your baby loves going on runs with you, so who cares what others think? I’m 24 weeks pregnant with my 2nd and still running… didn’t keep it up with my first, but SO glad I did this time. Completed a half at 11 weeks, now following a quarter marathon training schedule. Loved your blog post and shared it on FB… that last paragraph is awesome!

  28. Freekflier July 3, 2012 at 11:06 PM #

    Katie thanks for this! Im just getting into. The second trimester of my first pregnancy… And being a runner for 20 yrs i really want to keep it up. My doctors agree with you, and its just nice to read other experiences when i eant affirmation as i progress in my pregnancy and more people share their skepticism. I DID run a marathon at 8 weeks because I’d been training… And hadn’t exactly planned on this little guy! Everything went fine! I felt great and two months later he’s still healthy by all measures! I just want to share that with any other doubting mothers-to-be and runners!
    I am NOT however… Running a tough mudder i had signed up for… A little restraint is wise! 🙂

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