Sixth in our interview series is Stacey Purpura from Wheeling, West Virginia, who was 15 weeks pregnant when interviewed. Stacey has run a total of 46 races including a full marathon and 19 half marathons.
Before becoming pregnant, what was your life as an athlete like? I had very little injuries, I never skipped a run or a race EVER. I always saw improvement just from being consistent with my mileage.
How is training going while pregnant? Training was perfect up until 12 weeks, when I developed groin pain. I also run with fibromyalgia, and I’m having major pain directly because of that (and the fact that I can’t be medicated for it while pregnant), so my training has come to a halt right now. I’m hoping to pick it back up soon or at least be able to walk 15 miles a week.
With your training coming to an unexpected halt, have you picked up an alternative cross-training activity in order to remain fit for pregnancy/labor? Not really–but I regularly cross trained before, so nothing new. I have a spin bike and I do weight training and yoga. I did start just walking, if that counts.
What has been the biggest change you’ve experienced running while pregnant? Probably just the pain. I really didn’t see a dip in speed, but I did see a HUGE difference in recovery. My recovery time after my half marathon at 12 weeks was 3 to 4 days. Normally I’m able to get back out in a day.
What has motivated you to continue running through pregnancy? I know how healthy it is for myself and the baby, and that’s why I’m hoping I can continue at least a very slow 15 miles per week. I ran 30 miles per week for years up until 12 weeks of pregnancy when I developed the groin pain. I’m now able to do 3 milers with only slight to moderate pain, so I can get in 12-15 miles now running if I combine with walking as well.
What are your current training/racing ambitions for 2014? I had planned on 5 half marathons before June, but I’ve had to pull out after my injury. I’m hoping to complete a number of 5ks to keep me motivated to move, even if that means I walk them.
Any advice you have for other pregnant runners trying to balance it all? Go into it with the best intentions–believe that you can run through the entire pregnancy, because some women do. But if you can’t for any reason at all, don’t beat yourself up or feel sorry for yourself (I have to tell myself the same). Do what you can instead, because any kind of exercise is good for you and the baby, and while I think all of us would want to run up until the day we deliver, it’s not in the cards for all of us. Just make do with what you can and enjoy every minute–you’ll be able to run again later.
Stacey’s Blog: runstaceyrun.tumblr.com