I was 26 days into the virtual Badwater 267 when I realized that I wasn’t exhausted from all the running I was doing. I was completing 8 miles a day and had already gotten in a trail 10k before realizing I was pregnant.
The first few months were challenging as I wasn’t feeling great. But I continued to run and CrossFit as much as I could as I always felt better with movement.
I had some big races planned for the year, including Kettle 100, which I was hoping to go back and finish and Badger 100 where I wanted to hit my 3rd repeat. With this being my first pregnancy I wasn’t sure what to expect and had no idea what my body would let me do. My mental health struggled the 1st three months because I had dialed things back so much I didn’t feel like myself.
When I started to feel better around month four I returned to long distance running. When a 1/2 marathon felt good I signed up for Earth Day 15 miler and dropped down to the Ice Age 1/2 Marathon. I was cleared to do anything I did pre-pregnancy but wanted to take little increases in mileage to be safe. When I felt really good running 21 miles during Galena Trail Races I knew I was in a good place to complete an Ultra.
I signed up for Sugar Badger 50k because Scott’s races are so inclusive and have very generous cut offs. Aid stations and volunteers are amazing and I knew I was going to be taken care of. I had an amazing time like always at any TJM race! It’s like a reunion and party in one! My husband ran in a weight vest for support (which also helped him stay more my pace) and we had a great time on the beautiful Badger Trail eating really good aid station food. The walking tacos from Tin Can and brownies from Hollywood were our favorites.
Last weekend I completed Kettle 50k I had dropped distances down from the 100 miler but the 50k is still challenging in itself. Michelle with Ornery Mule also puts on amazing races with exceptional Aid Stations and volunteers. Mcmiller (TJM) is always one of my favorites on the course. Kettle was the 4th race I completed with OMR during pregnancy and having such generous cut offs and a ton of support on the course also made it possible for me to just focus on having fun.
Running ultras while pregnant has been a huge shift for me as far as mindset. I go into each race having to be okay with DNFing if things feel wrong. Your heart rate is a lot more elevated and your respiratory system isn’t as efficient pregnant so I’m constantly checking in making sure my heart rate isn’t super elevated. I’m much better at eating and hydration during these runs, I drank two REGAINs during Kettle which kept my electrolytes balanced.
I have come to appreciate running even more during this time because I’m not sure how many more weeks I’ll feel good running and I also recognize not everyone’s body will let them run pregnant.
If it wasn’t for the ultra community (Ten Junk Miles and Ornery Mule) I don’t think I’d still be running long distances especially Ultras. My husband ran my 1st Pregnancy 50k with me and Tiffany Anderson at Kettle which included night time running. I’ve had so much support making this journey possible! There is so much misinformation on what women can still do pregnant and I think it’s so important to still make space for doing what we love. *Do you have an amazing female athlete story to tell? Email us your athlete story to firstname.lastname@example.org