I sat through a four-hour HR presentation yesterday about goal setting since we’re in the throes of the performance appraisal and review season at work. It was basically the same thing I had heard last time I sat through the presentation, about two years ago, but the session reminded me how worthwhile it is to set goals in one’s personal or professional life. Goals help us “reach” just beyond what we think we’re capable of; they provide focus to help make our day-to-day actions more worthwhile and meaningful; and sometimes, at least in my experience, they’re just fun to try to achieve, no matter how challenging (or impossible) we might think that they are.
Goals and running obviously go hand-in-hand, regardless if you’re a novice or a pro. For many people, simply learning how to run is a goal in and of itself, while others might go for a certain time or mileage goal. My big pregnancy/running goal was to do the March Madness half marathon on Sunday, but a couple weeks ago, when I decided that I no longer felt comfortable with the idea of doing a challenging half, one that’d put me a considerable distance away from my midwives and my hospital, I decided that my new goal would be to complete a neighborhood 8k that was just a mile (or so) away from my home. As my experience shows, sometimes goals necessitate flexibility. If you’re itching to run a 3:33 marathon but get a really nasty case of shin splints two weeks before the race, maybe that 3:33 goal will change to a 3:43 or hell, just to be able to finish the race. It happens. You just have to go with it.
All last week, I felt super confident in my ability to run this neighborhood 8k on Sunday. Without even meaning to, I had managed to run six consecutive days in a row–not at high mileage, mind you–and I felt great.
Even pre-pregnant, I wouldn’t run six consecutive days, so I’m not quite sure how it happened, but it did. Anyway, come Thursday of last week, I set out on a lunchtime run and about a mile in, had searing pain in my lower right back, right above the back of my pelvis, pretty close to my SI joint. After the pain damn near debilitated me, I decided to do what I rarely do–stop running–and instead walked 1.5 miles back to the office, hoping that walking would re-set or re-align whatever I had managed to screw up.
Earlier in the week, I started to wear a maternity belt, purely for preventive purposes, thinking that I’d try to make myself as comfortable as possible for these final 5-6 weeks. I wasn’t uncomfortable in the first place, but I envisioned that as the little one continued to grow, he/she would increasingly put more and more pressure on my bladder and lower back, and I thought I’d try to circumvent the issue before it even began. In retrospect, and from talking to my midwives and to a massage therapist and my previously-pregnant and nurse practitioner sister, I’m pretty sure that that stupid belt managed to redistribute my weight in such a way that it put a crazy amount of pressure (or weight?) on my lower right-hand side of my back, where it wasn’t previously, and that made everything go out-of-whack. Awesome.
Just as I had to be flexible and forgiving for not running my half marathon, over the course of the end of last week, I soon realized that my 8k aspirations might also be coming to a halt, since it hurt like hell to walk (or lie down, for the matter), and running was out of the question. A 60-minute massage (at my midwives’ recommendation) on Saturday evening seemed to alleviate some of the pain, but it was still present, so my Sunday morning race came and went without my participation.
What a drag.
The good news is that with every passing day, the pain lessens. The bad news is that it remains to be seen if I’ll have this pain for the remainder of the pregnancy–which wouldn’t be all that uncommon, since most prego ladies get some sort of back pain or another. I’m soooooo hoping for the former, for obvious reasons. Back pain is tough to deal with because we implicate our backs in every single thing that we do. Back muscles aren’t like, say, your anterior deltoid, a muscle that you could probably avoid using if you really tried. Just try not using your back. It’s pretty impossible.
I’ve decided that I’m “done” being negative about my pain and am hoping that my optimism will carry me through this little blip in my pregnancy 🙂 I am still signed-up for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k on 4/10, when I will be seriously pregnant (36 weeks!), and I really hope to run it, depending on how my back and the rest of my prego body feels.
I’m super happy to be able to say that I’ve been able to run through at least 35 weeks of my pregnancy, and I really want to be able to continue to run up until the day the little one comes. Whether that happens, however, is somewhat out of my control at this point.
I suppose I’ll just need to remember all that stuff about goal-setting and tell myself that I’ve got to be flexible 🙂