Finding out I was pregnant was a huge surprise, I wasn’t ready to give up the life I had made for myself to grow a baby yet. But sometimes life has other plans for you and I was determined not to let pregnancy stop me from staying focused and reaching my goals. I didn’t want to turn lazy and lose my fitness routine. My doctor assured me that it was fine to continue doing what I do as long as I was comfortable and not causing myself any pain so that’s what I planned to do.
I maintained my regular crossfit and running routine until my due date. Once people noticed I was pregnant they started treating me like I was sick and that I should basically sit on my couch doing nothing so as to not put myself and my growing baby in danger. No way!
In July I ran the Mud Hero, a 6km race with 16 obstacles. I was 7 months pregnant. People thought I was nuts for doing it, but I wasn’t going in blind. I ran an obstacle race last year and knew what to expect out of it. Leading up to the race I heard a lot of people doubt my ability to do it, that I would be too uncomfortable. Or they would express their concern of me injuring myself or the peanut. Well, I hadn’t been too uncomfortable with my workouts so far, so I didn’t see this as being any different. I knew I wouldn’t push myself to get a good time or complete every obstacle if I was unable. All I wanted to do was cross the finish line to show people that it was possible. The more people told me I couldn’t do it, the more motivated I was to show them they were wrong.
Crossing the finish line was emotional. I was all smiles but fighting back tears at the same time. To most, this race would be a walk in a park, but to me it meant a lot more than the medal around my neck. It meant I had proven the naysayers wrong, that fitness is still ok while you’re pregnant, that no one should have an excuse to give up their fitness routine (unless the doctor advises otherwise.) I was proud of myself for achieving my goal.
For weeks after, all I heard was how amazing I was, how I’ve inspired people and how people hope they can be like me when they get pregnant. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to hear these things. Of course people still told me I was crazy, but I took it as a compliment, it’s a good kind of crazy. Everyone had expected me to slow down after the Mud Hero. What they didn’t know was that I was still registered for the Spartan Sprint, a similar obstacle race, in August. That put me at 8 months pregnant.
When Spartan Race day came I wasn’t out to prove anything like I was with the Mud Hero. I was just there to have fun and hopefully cross the finish line. People’s reactions when they saw me on course were pretty funny. All of the obstacle attendees were just in awe when they saw me waddle walk up. I heard some even used me as motivation for people in the heats following, saying “a pregnant girl just did this, so you can too!” When I reached the finish line I was awarded two medals, one for me and one for baby. And boy, was I happy to have reached the end!
I still got a lot of praise for completing something most people would never attempt under normal circumstances, but I did it while being 8 months pregnant. I still heard that I was an inspiration and that people really admire me for being so fit and active throughout my pregnancy. I am still proud that I completed the Spartan Race, no matter how tough it was, or how much of a wuss I felt for not being able to give it my all.
I hope my experiences will show others that pregnancy is a life giving experience and not some medical condition that requires women to be treated (or treat themselves) as delicate little wallflowers that can’t do anything. Certainly there are complications which can confine a woman to complete rest to protect the pregnancy, but for the majority of us, it’s life as usual unless we’re told otherwise. I also hope I’ve showed people that they can achieve their goals if they set their minds to them, pregnant or not, and no matter how many people try to say they can’t.