The Heart of a Runner. The Body of…a Walker?

21 Sep

I have the heart of a runner.

I have the body of a runner…who happens to be pregnant.

My heart and my body are no longer BFFs.

My run last night was awful. I mean, like AWFUL awful. Yesterday was slightly warmer and I decided to beat the heat and head over to Bally’s for a quick jog on the treadmill. My quick jog ended up being very quick…as in 1 whole mile. About 3/4 mile into my slow-and-steady-wins-the-race pace I got the most searing pain in my right lower calf. I pushed through another 1/4 mile, hoping it would go away and, not surprisingly, it did not. I stopped, stretched, and rolled my ankle around every which way I could to try and work the cramp out. I started up the treadmill again and immediately the pain was back. I had to stop.

I all but threw a temper tantrum right there in the fitness center.  I should have been embarrassed.  I could have kicked the treadmill and I think I was only one baby hair away from literally smacking my hands on the display board and screaming, “WHYYYYYY?”

I reminded myself of the Hulk Hands I bought my husband for Christmas a couple of years ago. (Yes, I did buy my 30-something husband a pair of Hulk Hands for Christmas. I also bought a pair for my then 5-year-old nephew. Nothing weird about that. Nothing at all.)

"Hulk SMASH! Hulk ANGRY! You won't like me when I'm ANGRY!"


I went home and cried (though I bet The Hulk never went home and bawled his eyes out). I am now 100% without a doubt POSITIVE that my body is done with running until after Baby Key arrives…even on the treadmill. I have been dreading this day with a searing and reviling passion. Running has just become too hard. My last few weeks of running have been run/walks but even those have become too much for me.

My in-real-life and online running communities have been nothing short of support ROCK STARS for me, encouraging me all along the way. You have all reminded me that this situation is temporary and suggested I try new things. All of your kind words have meant so much.

When I get up in the morning I get ready for work and then I get in the car…where I SIT for my 1-hour commute. When I get to work, I then SIT behind a desk for my 9-hour or 10-hour work day. I then get back in the car and SIT for my 1-hour commute all the way back home. Having a day gig that does not offer me much personal satisfaction, combined with my ALL DAY SITTING, leaves me literally anxious and antsy to get home and move my body. But when I move, it hurts. So again, I SIT.

I am restless.

But how do “move on” from running…even if only temporarily? (This sounds like a bad break up, does it not?)

I could swim. I could do yoga. I could do the elliptical. I could walk.

But I am not a swimmer. I am not a yogi. I feel like a hamster on a wheel on the elliptical. I am not a power walker. I have the heart of a runner. A RUNNER is what I worked so hard for years to become. A RUNNER is what I want to be.

However, a power walker and wannabe yogi I will have to learn to be. Maybe I can be pretty good at those too. My friend, Jeremy, once told me that if running marathons ever got too hard on me that I would make a fine race-walker. Maybe I will look into that.

Blue-haired old lady mall walkers, be warned. I am coming for you. I’m not kidding, you hear me? Don’t make me throw elbows for aisle space. If I am going to be walking, I am going to be the best darned walker EVER. Oh, and do not for a second count me out of the racing circuit. Over the next couple of months, I will be the most dedicated race volunteer this city has ever seen.

When you have been sidelined from running due to pregnancy or other injury, how did you cope? How do you not look at others without runners envy? How do you not let yourself get down?

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11 Responses to “The Heart of a Runner. The Body of…a Walker?”

  1. cameron September 21, 2011 at 8:57 AM #

    Katie – I have been reading your blog for awhile and had to comment because I feel your pain! At 31 weeks, I just stopped running because of a fall that could’ve caused damage to me and to our baby. Let’s pass those power walkers, stick our bellies out further! I hope your leg cramps get better – good news is – this is all a sign that your beautiful baby is growing,getting bigger and getting closer to making an appearance, and getting you back to non-pregnant running again…

  2. Adrienne Osuna September 21, 2011 at 9:02 AM #

    I feel you! I am sidelined now because baby sits on sciatic nerve. (ouch). It’s hard, buy I’ve enjoyed doing other things, & I’m REALLY pumped to start training as soon as six week post partum check is a okay! Hang in there. Your so close! 🙂

  3. Lindsey d. September 21, 2011 at 9:13 AM #

    I ended up with an injured toe last night (no idea what happened – I was just sitting on the couch) that is definitely going to sideline me from running for a few days. Too bad, since I was actually starting to enjoy some of my longer runs (for me, that means 45+ minutes). Luckily, I love the pool and bike, so pool today and bike tomorrow.

    (And I’ve actually just had a bad break up, so any kind of workout is making me feel better, not to mention undoing the comfort food).

  4. emily September 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM #

    This is sort of (hopefully) off-topic, but if your calf pain continues, you should get checked for blood clots. I just had some a couple months ago and one of my best friends had got them while she was pregnant (due to the hormones, etc). They start in your legs and then can move into your lungs if they get really bad. They feel like crazy charlie horses in your calves. Also, the fact that you’re sitting a lot for your commute and while you’re at work are added risk factors for clots as well. Not to scare you, but they happen to all sorts of people, even if you’re active and in good health. I love reading your blog and hope that you’re feeling better!

  5. Sean September 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM #

    I’m not Pregnant, but I’ve been dealing with lower right calf pains also. I’m just out of shape, but at basketball last night, I ran with pain the whole time. Sucked, so I feel your pain.

  6. Lorri Randle September 21, 2011 at 11:24 AM #

    There is NOTHING wrong with walking. I kept at it and I ‘participated’ in a 5K 18 days before I gave birth to my #2. It felt so good to be out and amongst runners even if I wasn’t running their pace.

    You are MOVING and you are doing the best to stay healthy for YOU and the baby and that is ONE of the most important things you can do. The other important thing you can do is listen to your body. Don’t over push. You have your whole life-and believe me, once you have that baby, running will be a WELCOMED activity-to get back to racing.

    This could be a blessing, to find another activity you might not have tried but find out you enjoy… AND no better time to focus on eating habits, when you can’t run off calories…

    It is hard-but don’t think of it as sidelined, think of it as a way to slow down and rest because you will be plenty crazy busy in just a few more weeks…

  7. Jennifer Macha (@jmacha) September 21, 2011 at 1:00 PM #

    Katie,
    I wouldn’t stress so much over not running for a bit. Being pregnant is the perfect time to relax, breath deeper, and listen to what your body tells you to do. The long break, though frustrating, makes it that much better when you’re back on your A-game after baby Key is born. Trust me. With my first baby I stopped running at 28 weeks and didn’t start back till 8 weeks after my son was born. That was a very long break for me but my first post-partum run of 4 miles was excellent and they just kept getting better. In no time I was back to my old self, running at my old pace.

  8. Melissa September 21, 2011 at 3:14 PM #

    Hang in there, doll. I can’t imagine how frustrated you must be, but maybe it will be a chance to fall in love with something new? I’m sure yoga with a pregnant belly wouldn’t be the easiest, but maybe walking will be the answer. And honestly, if you can get yourself going on the elliptical, that’s probably the closest thing to running (I do it sometimes on XT days). It does feel a little hamster-like, but it’s better than nothing!

    If nothing else, you know it’s temporary. I’m sure you’ll be that cute new mommy with the jogging stroller in no time! 🙂

  9. runharrietrun September 23, 2011 at 1:27 PM #

    Oh, I feel your pain 😦 How many weeks are you now? I stopped running after a horrible, painful “run” in the 33rd week of pregnancy (I’m in the 38th week now). Everything hurt – the ligaments, bladder, intestines, and I kept getting these weird muscle cramps in my adductors (I know, wtf, right?). I just said ok, no more of this for the next 3 months. It was very sad. But I just try to do an hour of *something* on most days and look at exercise as serving a slightly different purpose now than it does when I’m not pregnant. I’m still a runner and I will go back to it as soon as I can. Right now I’m not training for a race, I’m training for the birth, so my job is to keep my body as strong as I can under these circumstances.

    After nixing running from my schedule, I started out with elliptical, pool, and a fair amount of weight training, but at this point I’m so big and slow that for the last 2 weeks I’ve just been going for lots of walks, with a little weight training.

    Not sure if that helps you. Don’t despair, you will run again! And lots of women runners who’ve given birth say you come back stronger and tougher afterwards…

  10. Dawn September 25, 2011 at 9:49 AM #

    Katie, I really admire your dedication and it is awesome that you’ve been able to keep on running as long as you have! I had to stop around week 18. I kept up with my other workouts but I missed running a lot. I am 36 weeks now and, oddly, last week I felt like running again so I ran a little in my workout class. A couple of other people in the class had to do push ups because they didn’t keep up with me. 🙂

    I hope you are able to get a few more runs in before your baby is born, if you feel up to it! You never know …

  11. mamaurbana September 27, 2011 at 12:53 PM #

    This was me one year ago!!! I had to leave running aside very early on in pregnancy because of sciatica and also the heat of summer. I took up yoga, which I ended up loving because I found a class that was actually pretty challenging. I felt strongly about having a natural birth, so I looked at the yoga classes as preparing for the “marathon” of that birth. Getting my muscles and mind ready for that task became a big focus, and while I remained active by biking and walking often, it was the yoga that really got me to the end. Give it a try!

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