Ever worry that you’re going to show up somewhere and just be completely and utterly judged? Most of us have been there and it’s not a great feeling. That’s exactly how I felt after I got dressed to run a local 5K at 28 weeks pregnant, but regardless I put on my pre-pregnancy running clothes over my growing belly and laced up my trusty running sneakers. Before Chris and I left the house I asked him if I should put on my bigger, looser UCF alumni black t-shirt, and he said, “Why? To hide your belly?”. At that moment when he said it out loud I realized how ridiculous I was being. I was going to embrace my baby bump because-hey I wanted to accomplish my bucket list goal of running a 5k while pregnant. I want to hopefully be an inspiration to my daughter one day.
As I was walking up to the race registration I realized something: No one was looking my way at all! Once I entered the field for (very) late registration and was surrounded by all the participants and tents, I stepped into my happy place. It reaffirmed my love for running and the community it attracts and made me realize how much a part of my life it is and probably always will be.
At the start of the race I realized that for me, it wasn’t a race at all. For the first time I didn’t have pre-race jitters or worry about where I was positioned at the start line. This particular run, The Ray Downey “Forever Running” Memorial 5k Run/Walk actually allowed participants to run with baby strollers (which I was super surprised by) so you KNOW I had to strike up conversation with a few mammas out there on the course. It felt so different to *GASP* walk at the water station instead of half gulping half choking water down or skipping it altogether.
I don’t think I’ll be doing anymore organized runs during the rest of my pregnancy, but this past one made me realize everything that running has given me. It’s given me fitness, mental clarity, a sense of community, a sense of peace, and strength to know that I can push through anything. I can’t wait to see what great things I’ll learn from being a runner after my little one is born.
I’d love to hear what running has given you! Also, any tips for continuing to run through my third trimester would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading, and run happy; run healthy!