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900+ pregnant miles and postpartum running plans

900+ pregnant miles and postpartum running plans

We are  very much homestretchin’, everyone. This little (big!) fetus’s officially-unofficial gestational age is 37 weeks and change — soon to be 38 weeks, as of Friday — which means that most medical circles would consider me/us somewhere in the “term” department. At this point, theoretically speaking, the kiddo could come any day now (though, truth be told, they kinda arrive whenever they want to anyway), or I could be pregnant for up to two weeks postpartum, well into the beginning part of September. It’s a little odd to go to bed each night wondering if I’ll be pregnant for only hours more or nearly another month. A was six days post-due date, so I’m kinda banking on this one not coming “on time,” too.

At any rate, I figured it was high time to update my little running-while-pregnant mileage chart, now that I completed my final race of this pregnancy (TSFM’s 5k), and because this pregnancy could conclude any day now. Here’s how we stand:

Gestational Week Mileage Notes
0-1 75.35 peak of 50k training
1-2 53.1  
2-3 36.5  
3-4 44.87 50k race unknowingly pregnant, though I had a hunch…
4-5 27.51  
5-6 0 feeling like ass – hi, first trimester!
6-7 0 feeling like ass/family in town
7-8 0 feeling like ass/in the Caribbean with my family
8-9 16.8  
9-10 0 feeling like ass
10-11 5.1  
11-12 11.32  
12-13 20.61  
13-14 19.8  
14-15 20.8  
15-16 13.58 408k race
16-17 0 feeling like ass
17-18 25.41  
18-19 21.27 5k s.i.b. race win pushing A!
19-20 28.36 5k wildflower race running/pushing A
20-21 9.1  
21-22 31.51  
22-23 12.3 in Disneyland most of the week with family
23-24 33.15 San Luis Obispo half marathon with a bunch of super awesome people!
 24-25 22.91  
25-26 40.53 13+ mi Long Run with RA in Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale — first time running with the gang since the autumn!
26-27 11.1  forced down week for some recovery
27-28 25.86 in Disneyland for Memorial Day
28-29* 32.16  
29-30 22.51  
30-31 37.3 Ran 7 consecutive days (rare even for when I’m not pregnant), primarily because I was visiting family in Ohio and always had childcare available
31-32 38.52 ZOOMA Napa Valley 13.1 race
32-33 14.06 planned down week
33-34 28.53  
34-35 21.2 10+ mile LR with Saurabh, first one with him in a while!
35-36 30.67 Random 17+ mile LR with Mere; was hoping for 10-12 and felt great and just went with it
36-37 32.69 TSFM weekend, including TSFM 5k race
37-38 33.08 finished July as my highest volume month of this pregnancy (and being nearly as pregnant as I’m gonna get)
38-39 7.36 (as of 8/4)  
total: 904.92 (ish) miles!  

Like I’ve said before, this is all more or less accurate, but because of the way practitioners calculate gestational age versus how I organize my training weeks, there’s a little buffer zone (which is why the chart makes it look like I’m already between week 38-39 of the pregnancy, whereas I’ll be 38 weeks on Friday). No matter; it’s all details. This stuff is all for entertainment and edification purposes anyway.

I didn’t take weekly “bump” pictures for this pregnancy (or with my first), but here’s a visual of what the pregnancy has looked like for me, a la (most) of the races I’ve run during since I’ve been at +1 status:

50k'ing at about 4-5w preg
50k’ing at about 4-5w preg; can’t tell I’m pregnant. I remember thinking around mile 18 “I’m kinda tired, more than I should be by now… I bet I’m pregnant,” though I didn’t take any tests for a couple days thereafter


408k at about 12 weeks? 14 weeks? Obviously not remembering that smiling + running = grimace-looking
408k at about 16 weeks and obviously not remembering that smiling + running = grimace-looking


winning the 5k stroller division with A was a highlight of this pregnancy (sometime around 19 weeks?)
winning the 5k stroller division with A was a highlight of this pregnancy (sometime around 19 weeks?)


with Erica and also-pregnant pro runner Steph Bruce at the SLO Half in April at about 6 months (24 weeks) pregnant. I was blown away by how good I felt running 13.1 on a not-easy course this far along
with Erica and also-pregnant pro runner Steph Bruce at the SLO Half in April at about 6 months (24 weeks) pregnant. I was blown away by how good I felt running 13.1 on a not-easy course this far along. Noticeably pregnant by now, but the bib is kinda blocking it here.


queen-waving to Linh. PC: him/RA
blurrily queen-waving to my pacing friends during the ZOOMA Napa Valley half at almost 8 months/32 weeks pregnant. This race was rough in parts for me again this year (as it was in 2014), but it was only a tad slower than the SLO half… though I was almost 8 weeks more pregnant by the time I ran ZNV.


a little GGB and Karl the Fog action after the turn-around [PC: Keith]
36 weeks pregnant – 9 months – for The San Francisco Marathon’s 5k (shake-out run pictured here). Pretty sure it looks like there’s a basketball shoved under my shirt. The 5k was a blast though (again, something I thought I’d never say!).

Looking back at these pics and at the mileage log I’ve kept, I’m honestly so amused by it all simply because, as I’ve said before, going into this pregnancy, I had no expectations for how I envisioned my running to look. Pregnancy is such a weird, unpredictable, literally life-altering metamorphosis, and though I have been here before and ran through most of my first pregnancy, there were times during this pregnancy when I felt so shitty that even the mere *thought* of running would have me running to the bathroom; I couldn’t even think about running a mile, much less run one. Things changed though — pregnancy keeps us on our toes — and more often than not, I have felt/continue to feel great and more-than well enough to run, and so I do. The mileage is arbitrary, the pace is comfortable and conversational, and like I’ve written before, I damn near end each run with a silly shit-eating grin on my face because I’m just so stinkin’ happy to be out there doing what I love. I know many pregnant women who run who can’t do it during their pregnancy for one reason or another, and I get how lucky I am. To be able to run at all — regardless of pregnancy status — is a gift. I treasure this shit. A lot.

With this pregnancy coming to a close — whenever it does — I’ve got some postpartum ideas and big goals floating around in my noggin, but few things are hard-and-fast plans. I have some final races on the calendar to close out 2015: the 10k at the Let’s Go 510k in Berkeley in late October, the Mermaid Series’ Sirena 10 miler in SF in early November, and probably the Berkeley Half Marathon the weekend before Thanksgiving. In no way am I expecting PR performances or even strong performances at any of these races; I’m thinking they’ll more likely be (lack of) fitness indicators (or just GA runs). Plus, I would absolutely LOVE to get in strong-enough shape to be able to pace Saurabh for his last ~20ish miles of his 50 miler at TNFEC in December, but we’ll see.

Ultimately, I’ve written all this immediate postpartum running business in pencil, if not feather (if one can write in feather) simply because postpartum running is tough work. Even the smoothest, complication-less childbirth takes a toll on your body — speaking from experience — and I am absolutely *not* planning on running anytime before my 6-week postpartum period ends; the risks just far outweigh the benefits. More importantly, Kiddo Dos will only be that tiny once in his or her life, and I have every intention of relishing and revelling in those fleeting moments while I have the opportunity.  Running can wait. And, speaking from experience, I think my very-gingerly return-to-running postpartum with my first pregnancy really allowed me to lay the groundwork to get (relatively speaking) strong and fast again, which ultimately resulted in me basically blowing all of my PRs out of the water in the process. I didn’t plan for that to happen, but you can bank on my excitement when nearly every PR I had set pre-pregnancy fell — shattered — in the 18 or so months after I gave birth. Being intentional and methodical with this business is the name of the game.

So, that’s where I am these days. I’ll continue to run for the remainder of the pregnancy as long as my midwife blesses the idea and as long as I feel well doing it. Truth be told, I am more comfortable running than I am doing anything else, including sitting, lying down, or even walking around. I never thought I’d say that at 9+ months pregnant, but then again, I also never thought I’d still be happily and eagerly running along at 9+ months pregnant, either… but hey, I’ll take it (and thank my lucky stars for it).

The 2015 San Francisco Marathon 5k race report – at 36 weeks/9 months pregnant

The 2015 San Francisco Marathon 5k race report – at 36 weeks/9 months pregnant

The funny thing about The San Francisco Marathon’s weekend of events is that of the three years I’ve done it — in 2010 (marathon), 2014 (marathon), and 2015 (5k) — I’ve been pregnant (knowingly or otherwise) 2 of the 3 times. Weird how that happened. Both in 2014 and 2015, I was lucky enough to be a social media ambassador for the race, and this year, once I learned I’d be 36 weeks+ (that’s 9 months, for anyone counting) pregnant, I figured (read: hoped) that I’d be able to *at least* run the 5k. Fortunately, that was the case, and the weekend was a ton of fun, though I’m sure it would have been fun even if I wasn’t able to run. SF tends to put on a good show.

Saturday – shakeout, Dean Karnazes, expo, random interview, and lots of friends

At WTF o’clock I ventured up to Berkeley to fetch Meredith so the two of us could participate in TSFM’s shakeout run with Dean Karnazes and do all the prerequisite expo-ing. Another ambassador, Stephanie, and I were leading the shake-out run, so we had to get to Fort Mason shortly before 8 before our hundreds-strong new running BFFs arrived. I found cheap parking a couple miles away from FM, so Meredith and I just ran down there while carrying all our shit (looking amazing in the process, btw) and managed to make it in time. It was awesome to see so many other ambassadors, many whom I had met last year, as well as seeing other SF buddies like Travis, whom I had last seen at the SLO marathon weekend back in April.

ambassador friends! L-R Heather, May, Tricia, Jody, and Stephanie [PC: Jody]
ambassador friends! L-R Heather, May, Tricia, Jody, and Stephanie [PC: Jody]
more buddies! L-R Albert, Scott, Meredith, Jody, Keith, and Shokofeh [PC: Keith]
more buddies! L-R Travis (not realizing he’s in the pic!), Albert, Scott, Meredith, Jody, Keith, and Shokofeh [PC: Keith]

After some quick announcements from TSFM staff member and ambassador-corraller-extraordinaire Michael, our little parade of runners was off. People posted anywhere from 1-4ish miles along Crissy Field, and true to SF form, Karl the Fog even made an appearance. It was a lot of fun connecting with other ambassadors and meeting so many other runners, many who would be either running SF for the first time or running their first marathon the next day (talk about rockstars – TSFM has about 1,600′ of gain! That’s a killer first 26.2 in my book).

yay running! with TSFM staff Michael (yellow), Meredith, Stephanie, and more [PC: Keith]
yay running! with TSFM staff Michael (yellow), Meredith, Stephanie, and more [PC: Keith]
the beginning of the parade [PC: Keith]
the beginning of the parade. strangely, Meredith, Stephanie, and I all look like we’re wearing the same shoes [PC: Keith]
a little GGB and Karl the Fog action after the turn-around [PC: Keith]
a little GGB and Karl the Fog action after the turn-around [PC: Keith]

Following the shakeout, Meredith, Travis, and I met/chatted with Dean for a minute (who, by the way, was running 90+ miles that day… the shake-out run was merely the beginning for him) and got some pics before heading into the expo to pick up our goodies for the next day’s race. Travis was running 26.2, Meredith the second 13.1, and me the 5k, so it was cool to compare all the different swag items (particularly the shirts). Before long, Erin B from Chicago arrived at the expo, and Meredith and I got to catch up with her for about an hour before my shift at the expo began. Erin had also come into SF for the 2014 race and had run 26.2, so it was nice to see her here again. That’s the nice thing about living in California/the Bay Area — people generally don’t balk at the opportunity to come visit 🙂

with Travis, Dean, and Meredith after the shake-out run. Dean was super chill (as runners often are, right??).
with Travis, Dean, and Meredith after the shake-out run. Dean was super chill and cool (as runners often are, right??).


the Erins and Meredith [PC: Erin B]
the Erins and Meredith  🙂 [PC: Erin B]
expo fun with May, Heather, and Jody [PC: May]
expo fun with May, Heather, and Jody [PC: May]

While Erin, Meredith, and I were chatting, TSFM staff Michelle asked if I could be quickly interviewed for USL TV about the 5k race, so I agreed. I cringe when I watch this, but my four year-old thinks it’s the coolest thing ever, though she kept asking me afterward “who’s Erin?” 🙂 but hey, whatever. It was fun. I’m always game to talk running.

And then, before I knew it, I had to say my “see you tomorrows” to Erin and Meredith because it was my turn to go volunteer at the expo for a few hours. Some people find expos to be pretty draining, and if I’m racing, I think I’m one of those people; I want to get in, grab my stuff, and get out as quickly as possible. If the race isn’t an A-game thing for me, though, I find expos to be super energizing and dare I say, a lot of fun. Thus, even the tediousness that comes with talking to people about the race day runner tracking app (and showing people how to use their smartphones) became pretty fun. Fortunately, the tracking app actually worked really well on race day, so I was relieved that all the people I helped on Saturday wasn’t for naught. Once my shift concluded, I chatted with more ambassador buddies and eventually returned home to SJ.

Sunday – 5k race, lululemon party, and cowbelling at 12.0/25.0

Another WTF wake-up to head back into SF and before long, I was at the lovely SENS restaurant, site of the Lululemon pre- and post-race party. I dropped my stuff and headed out to the starting area for the 5k, more or less the same place where the 26.2/52.4/first 13.1 racers began hours prior, and got in a 2-mile-and-change warm-up along the Embarcadero, dodging the other ~2k 5k runners and the piles of discarded clothing from the earlier racers. I was impressed with how sweaty I was in a tank, shorts, hat, and a LS and began to consider just racing in a too-small-for-being-9-months-pregnant tank with my LS tied around my waist (winning tons of fashion points in the process, no doubt) because I was seriously dripping after slogging for not even 20 minutes. I found Erin and her husband, Tim, in the starting corrals, and we chatted for a bit before the race got underway after a slight delay due to some MUNI issue.

Like pretty much any other marathoner, I tend to despise, if not avoid, 5ks, because when I run them, I generally feel like death; I start out too quickly and just faaaaaaade. My pacing is nonexistent, I feel like I’m red-lining as soon as I’m out of the gate, and I so rarely tap my 5k speed that when I do, surely my body gets all what the hell are you doing to me, Erin?! and promptly tries to shut that shit down straightaway; it’s gotta be a defense mechanism or something. Running/”racing” a 5k at 9 months pregnant, however, is  an entirely different ball game because there’s absolutely no way that I can redline or finish feeling like I was knocking on death’s door; my body, my huge midsection, the extra pregnancy weight I’m carrying, common sense, my central governor–everything precludes it. I didn’t have any particular time goals for the day (and honestly, it wasn’t until at least 25% into my warm-up that I began to feel comfortable and that a fetal appendage wasn’t jabbing some internal organ or another), so I figured that, pretty much like 99.9% of my running during this pregnancy, it would be exclusively on feel and not determined by clock-watching. Knowing that this 5k wouldn’t kill me, then, I was actually kinda looking forward to the thing and to seeing what was “there” at 9 months pregnant. Probably at no other time in my life will I ever say that I look forward to a 5k.

Anyway, the race — good time. The course was mostly on the Embarcadero, although with a few turns thrown in for good measure, so it made for some great opportunities to see other runners on the out-and-backs. Like I said, any semblance of speed or pacing I could muster was exclusively on feel, and when my watch beeped with each mile marker, I tried to look at the time, but since my Garmin and the mile markers were just slightly off (thanks, no doubt, to some weaving I had to do in the first .2 of the race), I really didn’t pay my splits much mind. It was really cool to yell for the other runners on the OAB portions, and likewise, it was cool to get so much “go mama!” or “go baby!” support from the other runners who saw me running along.  I never felt like I was redlining — only that I was running faster than what I have been running lately — but even with a harder effort, I don’t recall feeling like the effort was impossible or unimaginable; I just had to be present. I’d later come home and tell C that running a 5k at 9 months pregnant gave me an unexpected opportunity to practice some serious focus, surprisingly a similar type of focus that comes with the territory of labor and delivery (or as much as I can recall, anyway). A 5k at 9 months pregnant isn’t impossible, but it’s also not a walk in the park, necessarily; like labor and delivery, you’ve just gotta be “present” for the thing.

focus. also, umbilical hernia. (ugh)
focus. also, umbilical hernia. (ugh) … but thanks for the free pics, Hoka and TSFM!

Ultimately, I fared 23:26 for 3.1 (23:28 by my watch for 3.17, because a) weaving, and b) I started it on the first mat I crossed), which was enough for 22/1,2237 women and 87/1,989 overall.  Sweet. This will probably be the only time in my life I negative-split a 5k, too.

Shortly after I finished, I went back to SENS, grabbed some food and a massage, and ran over to mile 25.0/25.5ish, near AT&T Park, to cowbell and cheer my little heart out for the many runners whom I had been tracking all morning. I managed to see nearly everyone I was following — including Travis, Kevin, Keith, Chris, Meredith, my pacer buddies Albert and Linh — which was a blast. I’m unfortunately not sufficiently coordinated to track runners on my phone, spot them in real-life, and take pictures of them as they approach, but suffice it to say that it was awesome to see everyone on their final homestretches of the race.

Once I saw all my runners, I ran back to the finishing area to meet up with Meredith before the two of us returned to the post-party, ate more food, and posted yet another granny-style cool-down (carrying all our stuff), putting her at 17+ for the day and me just shy of 10. It was an awesome morning that capped off an awesome weekend and another awesome year of reppin’ my love for TSFM.

This year’s TSFM weekend did not disappoint, and I’m so glad to have been able to participate in the capacities that I did. I’m already looking forward to the 2016 iteration and intend on running 26.2 — though of course, we’ll have to see where I’m at with postpartum running and such by then. Time will tell. If nothing else, I strongly urge you to consider running SF next year — at whatever distance you’d like — because the race is a well-oiled and more importantly, SUPER FUN!, machine. 🙂 Thanks for the opportunity, TSFM!