“It’s going to be super muddy tomorrow – you do have trail shoes, don’t you?” said Mum, the night before our Women’s Running 10K race, a trail race that we’ve have been ambassadors for for about six months. Hmm. Well, yes, I did HAVE them, in the sense that I own trail shoes. Several pairs in fact. But did I HAVE them with me, at Mum’s house in Leeds, where the race was to take place first thing in the morning, and not at my house 100 miles away? No, no I did not.
Baby brain IS a thing, at least in my experience. I am generally reasonably forgetful anyway, but it has definitely kicked up a notch in the last couple of months. Names, words, locations of anything that moves… all seem like they fall off the bottom shelf of my brain at the moment. I came home from work and asked my husband where our baby was the other day, to a blank look and a “Still inside you…?” As a result of my pea-brain, I had a full running kit, including safety pins, with me, but not the footwear needed to get me round the race. Thankfully, mum is only one shoe size smaller than me, and she had a pair of shoes that were half a size too big for her, so I nabbed an only-slightly-too-small pair for the race. Crisis averted.
Aside from that, we were ready to rock. The morning dawned slightly drizzly, with a temperature in the mid teens. Perfect running weather. We met the lovely Women’s Running team, who we’ve been emailing with for ages but had never met before. Absolutely gorgeous bunch, inside and out.
We followed our usual pre-race rituals of toast and jam; and loads of wees, with two small deviations – one, we gave an interview on stage for Women’s Running, and two, I had to take twice as long navigating safety pinning my (flat) race number to my (not flat) belly.
We were looking forward to the race itself, as a chance to actually run together and catch up. Our last race together had been the Tees Pride 10K, a few weeks ago, where I had still been full of second-trimester turbo speed, and had dashed off away from Mum, much to both of our surprise. Especially Mum’s, who hadn’t really been expecting to run by herself, and had found the race a bit dispiriting. Sorry, mama.
The 2 lap route round Temple Newsam was well-chosen – reasonably undulating, with a good mixture of softer trails and woodland. After the first half mile, it had a steady upwards slog for about a mile and a half, and all of a sudden my body decided to let me in on a secret that my brain has been ignoring – I am actually quite heavily pregnant. I just couldn’t keep pace at all – I struggled up the hill, feeling the little bowling ball I’m carrying in my tum, and had to take a couple of walk breaks to catch my breath, while Mum gave support behind me. Thank goodness she’s more considerate than I was during our previous race, and didn’t just leave me in the dust. After a brief stop at the top of the hill to re-adjust my/Mum’s trainers and my expectations, I felt good to continue and the home straight to the end of the first lap was a lovely down-hill stretch with a view of the house and grounds.
There were spectators at the 5K point, and they clapped politely as we ran up to them, then went “WOAH, well done” when we ran past – I guess I don’t really look pregnant from the front, but apparently really do from the side… At the first 5K loop, mum asked me if I was still ok to keep on with the second loop. By this point, thankfully, I had my second wind, and was very happy to continue, albeit not at lightening pace. This was the first time that I had really felt pregnant when running, so it took some re-alignment of my own estimate of my capabilities, and my plans for the race. We kept together, laughing with each other and enjoying jumping through muddy puddles, having little walk breaks when I needed them. I was glad to have Mum there, as I think I could have got into my own head a bit much if I’d been by myself.
We crossed the finish line in 1hr 12 – our slowest ever 10K. But it really didn’t matter – we’d had a brilliant time, and had the most ridiculously amazing goody bag waiting for us. (Follow that link to our Instagram to see it in all its glory.) I had to check if we’d got some kind of ‘bonus’ goody bag for being ambassadors, but no, that was just how good it was for everyone. Kudos, Women’s Running.
So all in all, a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning. A mother’s love is an incredibly powerful thing, and I am very lucky to have such a great one. Especially as she had to wash not just her own pair of muddy trail shoes after the race, but the ones I’d nicked from her as well. Mum, I owe you BIG time.
In your experience, is ‘baby brain’ a thing?
If you exercised during pregnancy, when did you feel yourself slowing down?
Is anybody else running the Abbey Dash in Leeds on 5th November? I’ll be 32 weeks pregnant by that point, and I am picturing I might beat this current “personal worst” time by a long shot.