I hit 30 weeks yesterday, on July 4. A day when I can distinctly recall running in early morning shaded routes to get the run in before the big party. Last year I remember running in 100% humidity and high heat doing track work as part of marathon training. I remember Fourth of July runs just for fun, because its a holiday, and why not? This year, there was no run for me.
My last run, if I can really call it a run, was about three weeks ago. 2.2 miles at probably a 10:30 pace. And then an all new pregnancy pain kicked in. Because I’m stubborn I tried a few more times to run and found that a jog/walk is the best I could muster. But when I tried again this week, I found myself with the same discomfort other runs have caused.
Yes, I’m whining. Yes, I know this could be a thousand times worse. So what’s the deal?
Pressure on the Pelvis
My first pregnancy was a breeze. I was spoiled. The most uncomfortable thing that happened was maybe a couple days of heartburn. My son let me have it easy. This round, with a baby girl cooking inside, could not be more different. And when the pain in my pelvic area began I went through various stages of panic, tears, obsession with cause and effect, probably depression and back to being stubborn and hopeful to power through the pain and not lose my level of activity.
The feeling is as though I’ve split the balance beam. So if you’ve never done that, it’s also similar to having ridden a horse for the first time for HOURS. Or possibly sitting on a bike seat for hours for the first time though I feel none of the pain when I spin or ride. When I run, however, the pressure of the baby seems to increase and it feels just awful. Walking afterward is slow and awkward. And so I diagnosed myself with pubic symphisis. I read way too much on the Internet, called my doctor, started doing more kegels, stopped running and slowly the pain went away. By the time I went to my monthly doctor appointment and described everything, there was essentially no pain to connect to what I was describing. I couldn’t recreate it from the outside and when the doctor pressed on my pelvic bone and I still didn’t have the same sensation she said it wasn’t pubic symphisis but that due to the baby’s position I do have increased pressure on my pelvic floor and need to continue to strengthen it. Her overall advice was “if it hurts, don’t do it.” I can handle that. Sort of.
Staying Active Safely
I will have to do a whole separate post on the mental challenges of not being able to really run during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy but for now my focus is on staying as active as possible without causing myself more immediate pain or longer-term impacts.
I go to spin once a week, every Wednesday, at Rev Cycle Studio and that is hands down the best work-out of the week. I sweat, I get my heart rate up, and I feel just about “normal.” Tuesday mornings I’m going to continue to try for a 1 mile power walk. Weekends usually include a bike ride, walking and yoga. And I’d like to work back into the weekdays one or two mornings of yoga and/or other strength work, possibly swimming if I can motivate myself to the pool at the crack of dawn. If I can row without my enormous belly getting in the way I’d love to work some additional pelvic-friendly cardio into the mix.
I’m really not sure what else I can do. Grin and bear it. If it hurts, I won’t do it. And I will do whatever I can so that when I can get back to running, I will have some semblance of fitness and muscle memory to help me rebuild a base as fast as possible.