It was at about mile 17 of London Marathon that it dawned on me that I was possibly pregnant. Everything was fine, my energy levels were good and my legs felt strong, but one thing felt off – my energy blocks just didn’t taste right. Every time I tried to swallow one, they smelled different to how they had in training and I balked at the taste. That was peculiar – I racked my brain trying to imagine what could possibly be causing my tastebuds to be off. Oh!
I had got this far through the marathon, and I definitely wasn’t sure I was pregnant, it was just a little inkling, so there was no reason to pull out of the race. I did however, run the last 9 miles a LOT slower than I had run the first, gently cautious of what may be unfolding as the miles clocked up. I had been worried about running my first ever marathon solo, without Mum, but it turned out I might not be crossing the finish line alone after all… Lots of you commented when I posted that I looked happier than most people do when running down The Mall – now you know what was going through my mind!
We had intended to start trying for a baby in the springtime, but then I was offered a place on the marathon. It’s not every day the opportunity to run London Marathon comes along and, as it can often take months or years to fall pregnant and I didn’t want to put my life on hold, I agreed to do the race. I did some research (some links here if you’re interested too – 1 : 2 : 3) on whether it was safe to begin trying for a baby while marathon training, and the consensus was – it’s safe to start trying, but don’t get your hopes up. While running itself shouldn’t affect fertility as long as you have regular periods, there is a lower chance of conception when one is very slim, or if the body is under lots of pressure, such as endurance training.
So, the plan was to come off contraception 6 weeks before the race to let myself get used to my natural cycle. Then I would maintain my weight through marathon training by going easy – picking a training plan that wasn’t too arduous (three runs a week), and lowering my expectations of my marathon finish time – and then start taking the baby making seriously once the marathon was done and dusted. I really, honestly thought there was not much chance of crossing the finishing line as a duo.
But it seems like the universe had a different, wonderful plan. Waiting until I was actually ‘late’, I took a test two days after the marathon, and it become official. Post-marathon always feels a bit of a bubble, but this time I was completely dazed. Add to that, my husband passed his viva for his PhD a further 3 days after that. For the next week, whenever someone said “congratulations” for my marathon result, or for Adam becoming a Doctor, I looked at them blankly thinking “How can you tell already?!”, then realising what I was being congratulated for.
And so I slipped seamlessly from marathon training, during which I couldn’t drink and was knackered all the time, into the first trimester of pregnancy, which was EXACTLY THE SAME, but with puking.
Would I have run the marathon if the race were the following weekend and I had known I was pregnant? From my N=1 study, (N=2 if you count Jess at Twins in Trainers, who managed to do the exact same thing as me, and find out she was pregnant right after running a marathon. Must be something in those long run weekends…) I’ve managed to do ok, but I’m not 100% sure I would have taken the risk had I known.
While it is perfectly safe to exercise in pregnancy, and I hope to continue to do so for months to come, the advice is often “Do it, but don’t push yourself too hard” – and what is a marathon besides pushing yourself hard? Even if you go at an ‘easy’ pace, 26.2 miles is still a lot to put your body through, as any marathon runner will attest. I had a bleed a couple of weeks later and had to go to hospital to get checked out, and I kept thinking “is this marathon related?”
But luckily, everything has gone ok so far and whenever I watch London Marathon coverage with my child (my goodness – still can’t quite believe I’ll be a mum soon!), I’ll be able to tell them that they’ve already run the course with me.
Bub is now almost halfway cooked and we’re all SO excited. Mum has been so supportive, though I was expecting her to ask intelligent questions when she came to one of my scans but she just bawled her eyes out all the way through. In a happy way, of course. I’m really excited for her to feel the baby kick soon – I’ve started having some little thumps,. I think we can safely guarantee they’re be tears again when she gets to feel our little runner testing its kick!
I’ve been waiting until my final, 20 week, scan to share the news, so I have a few pregnancy posts coming in the few weeks – if there is anything that you’d like to know about, either about how it has been going, or what my plans are, just let me know in the comments and I’ll try and write something for you.