It just seemed normal to me.
I have been running since I was in Year 4 and started training seriously in high school. I won my first of four state championships my sophomore year. And then went on to compete at the national level at University and always planned to pursue a career in elite racing.
When I got pregnant with my son Ramsey, I never thought twice about continuing to train. It was by far the most challenging of the three pregnancies. You are experiencing hormones and your body feels so off. As an elite athlete, you are so in touch with your body, you know what’s OK, and what’s not. When you are so in tune and in control of your body, pregnancy is for sure a very foreign feeling.
My normal training regimen usually consists of 110 to 140 kilometres per week, with intense intervals as fast as 5 minute pace per kilometre. I have run two marathons , the first at the Olympic trials in 2012, eight months after my second child was born. And I ran the California International marathon last year. But I prefer local road races that are shorter. I don’t get on a starting line unless I’m going to run fast.
I was very tired in my first pregnancy. I had anemia and I could sleep till 1 p.m. every day. Of course you can’t do that when you have more than one child. But I had to really push myself to get out there and run.
There is no elite women runner out there who trains the same way when pregnant. During pregnancy, distance comes down, and the intensity comes down. I average 65 to 95 kilometres a week. If I do 400 metre intervals, I’ll do them at a slower than normal pace. I don’t like getting my heart rate up for more than 3 minutes at a time.
And like any run— whether you are an elite athlete or a recreational runner, pregnant or not — the first five minutes of warm up are always uncomfortable. But after that passes, you get in the rhythm. You feel great.
It’s definitely more uncomfortable to run while pregnant. The strangest part — especially as you get further along— is the sensation of having the uterus, which is filled with that 3 kilogram child, on top of your bladder, and trying to run with it. It’s not really pain — just discomfort, from the pounding.
But I’ve found that with each pregnancy, running becomes more of a routine because I know what’s happening. I know that I am feeling this way because I’m four months or seven months. My body is becoming better at running with each child. It’s almost like a marathoner gets better at every marathon. I get more efficient at running with every pregnancy.