Two weeks ago, I ran SoCal Ragnar like I’ve never ran before…12 weeks pregnant. This pregnancy was the biggest surprise. It’s been almost a decade since my last pregnancy. After ten years of birth control, I found myself with a positive pregnancy test and half a dozen race bibs I’d already paid for, including two Ragnars and all three of the Disney Tinkerbell races. I had not planned on being pregnant for any of them.
Now, we all know how diligent I am about training (please note sarcasm). However, I really needed to be prepared for this race. I’m over 36 which makes me a “high risk” pregnancy. Also, I’m overweight and was actually in the middle of a transform session when I found out I was pregnant. I also knew I wasn’t going to be able to run much. I hadn’t really been running prior to the pregnancy but I had been strength training so I was pretty confident I could walk my little heart out. So yeah, I walked an entire Ragnar. It was surprisingly difficult to walk while everyone around me was running. I did end up running a tiny bit when I just couldn’t take it anymore, but overall, I felt pretty proud of my 16 minute pace!
I’ve ran SoCal Ragnar many times, but not since they changed the course. The course used to come inland through Temecula Wine Country, which made for a very warm race at the end of April. The race now stays close to the coast, starting in Huntington Beach and ending on the Silver Strand in Coronado, starting on sand and ending in sand. The course has a virtual exchange at Exchange 12 because of Camp Pendleton. Van 2 ran into Dana Point and Van 1 ran out of Oceanside during this exchange. Usually the hand-off between vans is a big exchange with a lot of celebration. The virtual exchange kind of squashes that but luckily we had five more hand-offs to celebrate.
For the first time ever, I got to start the race early Friday morning! I was really nervous to race while pregnant, mostly because I hadn’t been training as well as I should. I ran for a little while along the boardwalk of Huntington Beach, then slowed to a fast walk and finished my 2.3 miles. After this first leg, I felt confident I could finish the race.
My second leg ran along the San Luis Rey River Trail around sunset. The trail was easy and flat but the bugs were out in full force. I don’t know if they were attracted to my headlamp light or what, but by the end of my four miles, I was wiping them off my glasses. During this leg, I got to run with the famous Ernie, the 93 year old Ragnarian who just ran Del Sol in March and finished his 6th Ragnar at SoCal. Talk about inspiration! You can read more about Ernie on the Ragnar Blog.
I finished up with 3 miles through a beach town in Encinitas that I didn’t even know existed, and I’ve lived in Southern California all my life. Once again, Ragnar, you remind me while I love you so much. It’s always to best way to see this country: from the pavement. My legs were super sore, and not in ways that I was familiar with. Walking this much and at this quick pace pulled at muscles and tendons I don’t normally strain. This part of the course was on a main street that was covered in restaurants, shops, and bars that I wanted to explore, especially the donut shop! I finished up my leg with a little jog and sighed with relief. I had finished and thanked my body for putting up with my decision to spend 36 hours in a van, walk swiftly for 9 miles after sleeping less than 2 hours on zero caffeine, all while making a human.
Sorry body, but we’re going to do it again, in Pennsylvania this time and at 20 weeks pregnant. I’ll be walking my little heart out.