Albuquerque · motherhood · pregnancy · Running

Running Finds a Way

Do you have a race that always seems to line up with a major milestone? Kind of a “This Is Your Life” race?

For me, that’s the TyRUNnosaurus 5k, formerly the Dino Dash, held here in Albuquerque every September. The first time I ran this race, it was my last race before becoming a mom. The next year, it was my first postpartum 5k. This year it’s my last (planned) race before baby #2 arrives. Just thinking about it sends my hormones into a tizzy.

I wasn’t positive that I would make it to the starting line this time around, but things (i.e. the fact that I feel like a brachiosaurus when I run) seem to have leveled off for the moment, so I arrived at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History on race day ready to get it done. With a few butterflies, no less!

I had my loyal support crew with me, one working on a travel mug of coffee and the other on a breakfast pouch. After all, support crews need fuel, too. We met Charity, who was also running, and having warmed up sufficiently on the walk from the car to the race area, just hung out until they called us to the starting line. I highly recommend this strategy.

I haphazardly plunked myself in the middle of the pack, did my customary swaying/ponytail check/wardrobe adjustments, and gave my belly a pat. Baby Girl was fluttering; she was ready to get it done, too.

My first mile was over two minutes faster than my daily average pace — oh my LORD, the beauty of a flat race course — but I felt good. Conditions were cloudy with a touch of drizzle — it actually felt like autumn and I couldn’t have asked for better.

Somewhere in the second mile my ligaments started politely objecting to the effort, so I dialed back a little. Every once in a while I tried the tactic of smiling as I ran along, and hey, it didn’t hurt. Not to mention, at 30 weeks pregnant, on a gorgeous cloudy day, out for a run, surrounded by like-minded people, what’s not to smile about?

With maybe a half-mile to go, I started feeling good again, and lengthened my stride. I even passed a couple of people!

I saw my family in the homestretch, one of them cheering, the other staring wide-eyed (I’m sure she was cheering on the inside). I smiled at them, waved, and powered across the finish line in a time of 27:38. DONE!

There’s something really encouraging about running a race while pregnant. Throughout pregnancy, we can feel like we no longer have control over our own bodies. That we’re merely a vessel, and that we’re just along to witness. When we run a race, we get to choose our effort. We remind ourselves that we can carry life, but we can do other things, too. We grow inward even as we grow outward. It is awesomely empowering, humbling, and comforting all at once.

Big, big thanks to Run Fit for organizing the TyRUNnosaurus 5k, to my family for cheering in the rain, and to Dr. Moya for not only greenlighting but encouraging my running. And congratulations Charity for smashing your goal!!

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