First things first: I am not a runner. Until about a year ago, my only experience with running was being forced to run “The Mile” in gym class. And let me tell you, that was a traumatic experience. Every year. Even now, as a very fit and active person, running is hard for me. Mere minutes into a run my heart rate skyrockets, my breathing goes into overdrive and I’m sweating like a man pig. Over the last year I have made a more concerted effort to run longer, and more often, to see if I could ever be one of those people who nonchalantly say, “I’m going to go for a run”. As it turned out, it got easier the more I did it. I began to like the challenge. So when someone at my office decided to put a team together for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure back in January, I signed up immediately. I was ready to run my first 5K.
And then my plans changed.
As you all have seen, I’ve struggled with exercising (over-exercising, specifically) as we’ve run into challenges trying to make a baby. Was that the problem? Was it too much stress to put on my body? What if I’m pregnant and my heart rate gets too high? For awhile I put my running on hold, concentrating more on low-impact cardio and strength training. And then my doctor confirmed that it was the PCOS, and not the exercise, that was causing the anovulation, so I was given a clean bill of health to continue exercising. But I had realized during that time that I really liked my more holistic and balanced view of exercise (spending my time in yoga classes or on long walks with my dog instead of sweating it out day after day on the machines at the gym to reach a certain calorie burn). So I stuck with my new, more relaxed workout schedule, but kept doing one 4-mile run a week, mostly so that I could still run the 5K.
Yesterday was the 5K. And now that we’re officially in our first “two week wait”, I just didn’t feel comfortable putting my body into that type of stress. For these two weeks, I want to be calm, respect my body and not do anything to jeopardize what could be going on in there. And that definitely means no 5K. Now, I know the rule of thumb is that if you had an established exercise routine (including running) before you were pregnant, you are generally ok to continue that level of exercise once you get pregnant until it’s no longer comfortable. However, I also know that exercise causes excess cortisol, a stress hormone, to be released. And I don’t want my body dealing with hormone changes when it should be dealing with implantation!
So I showed up at the race, got my t-shirt, and happily walked the 3.1 miles. As I saw runners breathlessly crossing the finish line, I felt a twinge of jealousy. But the fact is, my plans have changed. I’ve got more important things for my body to be doing. Let’s hope it’s doing them!