I’m pretty much a broken record these days (always?), but like I think I wrote in one of my recent posts about running while pregnant, and particularly in the third trimester, if you would have asked me in my first tri — particularly in the second part of my first tri — what my running would look like late in pregnancy, my two-word response would have been: what running? As I’ve said time and again, pregnancy is such an unpredictable experience, potentially a new adventure every day, and I have no idea how I’ll feel from hour to hour, much less from day to day or month to month.
You can imagine my elation, then, at how healthy and strong I’ve felt, both in my running capacities and in my normal, everyday life capacities, as my pregnancy has progressed. I just very comfortably capped off my second-highest training volume week of my pregnancy — just shy of 40 miles — and while that is inconsequential compared to my usual volume, that’s huge for me for pregnancy. I am so floored, so grateful, and so happy to be running so comfortably and fairly effortlessly that my words fail to express my gratitude. It is unreal. Realistically, had you asked me in late December or January if I’d be up for running a half marathon in Napa in late June, I would have told you that there was no.fucking.way., that pigs would surely fly first. I felt like ass, and when the world wasn’t spinning wildly out of control, my head felt like it was going to explode, making spending any amount of time upright — much less any time running or being physically active — just dreadful. To my hormones: thanks for what you do in my body, because you all are super important and do a lot of essential and critical stuff, but you guys sure can be assholes sometimes.
Barring whatever life and/or pregnancy might throw at me between now and race day — because let’s be honest, anything can happen — I’ll be toeing the line to run, not race (this is operative), on Saturday at the second annual ZOOMA Napa Valley half marathon as a social media ambassador. I had the pleasure of being an ambassador last year, for the inaugural, and this year, and both years, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other women and promoting the 13.1/6.2 footraces. I’m approaching the ZNV half much as I approached the SLO half I ran at the 24 week mark — not so much for a particular time goal (though if I’m being honest, I’d really be thrilled to run 13.1 at a sub-1:55ish at 31 weeks+ pregnant) but more just for the fun and experience of it all. I mean, c’mon, the hell does it matter how fast or slow I run at this point? I’m really just thrilled to be out there, to be able to be out there. Fuck, I could argue that I should spend as much time as possible running just to prolong the enjoyment factor! haha
Anyway, ZNV put on a good race last year, and I’m confident that there will be a repeat performance this year, too. My RA pacing buddies will be there again this year as well, so between seeing the other ZNV ladies and my pacing friends and running a good race in a pretty location, it should make for a fun morning. Plus, Meredith, a Chicago-friend-turned-Berkeley-transplant, is also running 13.1, and these things are *always* funner with another.
I think the women’s running community and in particular, the women’s-centric racing scene, can be kind of a tricky thing to navigate. I’m personally all for women taking up running — I mean, why the hell not, right? if you want to run, then run — yet at the same time, I cringe at a) how many women’s-centric races self-promote and b) at the messages inherent to their advertising. It’s difficult for me to adequately pinpoint what it is that I see that often makes my skin crawl, but suffice it to say that there’s a lot I’ve seen that I do not like. I’ve read some interesting articles about the topic, and I often find myself agreeing with some of the authors’ points yet hesitate to fully subscribe to all their ideas. It’s complicated.
Ultimately — and what matters most — at the end of the day, women’s-centered races have one purpose: to inspire and motivate women to take up/continue a healthy lifestyle by training for and completing a running/walking event in a safe and supportive environment, for a distance ranging from 1 mile all the way up to ultramarathons … and this, this central purpose, is something I can get behind (and absolutely support). I’ve run women’s races before and have always enjoyed the ones I’ve done, yet it’s still hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I enjoy about ZNV that sets it apart. I’ll have to think about it and get back to you.
Anyway, yay race week! Yay, Napa! See you on the other side!