I ran the 10k after a pandemic and a pregnancy

I ran the 10k after a pandemic and a pregnancy

I recently partook in a 10k running event in Berlin. This was not the first time I did, as I have already participated in six similar events. What was different this time? Nothing more than a pandemic and a pregnancy.

I am not a professional runner. Far from it. I only started running in my early twenties during my university years when I was looking for an exercise that would not involve gym subscriptions or personal trainers. A then course mate introduced me to it. She gave me some tips and the motivation I needed to start running. First, I was visiting the nearby stadium for training, but running literally in circles became repetitive and tiresome after a few months. That was when I discovered the magic of running outdoors, by the sea or on the hill. And I loved it.

Since then and before moving to Berlin, I had been regularly running outdoors without consistency or schedule. You see, despite aspiring to improve my endurance, body shape and training routine, I had never managed to level up due to a lack of essential goal-setting and motivation.

In Berlin, I met Nicole, my friend-soulmate, who encouraged me to participate in a running event despite my resistance. It was hard moving beyond my comfort zone and daring a challenge. But she helped me overcome my insecurity and challenge myself to become more serious about my running. Little did I know that I would wholeheartedly enjoy the event in May of 2017.

Having tasted the joy of running with thousands of other run enthusiasts, the importance of goal-setting and the pleasures awaiting beyond my safe zone, I continued partaking twice per year and became more serious about my training. I even enrolled in a gym so that I could use their treadmills during the brutal Berlin winters. When I got bored of the gym, I bought my own treadmill, a purchase that simplified my training process. 

After a pandemic and two lockdowns, when big events were allowed again, I couldn’t participate due to my pregnancy. The will to run was there, but my body couldn’t rise up to it. A baby pushing your bladder is not a comfortable feeling, let alone when running!

After birth, in the first month postpartum, I picked up postnatal pilates as my body was far from getting back into its running routine. I slowly started running in my third month postpartum but had no intention of participating again soon in a 10k event.

However, Nicole planted the seed one day in my sixth month postpartum when she told me that she had just enrolled for the October event; I immediately blurted out, “We will run together!”. So I began the training. 

How exciting it was to have a goal again for something I relish doing. A plan and motivation since I would run alongside my best friend. I had two months to train and overcome the usual 4k I run on a typical day. Winston, our dog, became my running body. 

Nevertheless, having a baby comes with plenty of restrictions, one of them being time. I could not be spontaneous with my training anymore; I had to schedule not just the date but also the time. Not to count in baby illness, challenging days that left me with zero energy, my catching a strong cold and acute back pain. They say that the body remembers quickly, but my postnatal body needed much more time. All these made my goal seem distant and unachievable due to insufficient training. Against the odds, and despite considering dropping out, I went for it.

When the day came, Nicole and I started the run alongside, and I believe that if it wasn’t for her continuous motivational words throughout the run and the emotional support she so profusely offered me, I would not have made it. 

Midway, I felt weak. I was nauseous and dizzy, my feet and lower abdominal were aching, and I was running out of breath. I was cursing myself for my decision to participate as I was clearly not in shape to run the 10k. But I didn’t want to give up. I just needed to readjust. So, after the fifth kilometre, I waved Nicole goodbye and walked on the side for one minute to catch my breath and restart at a slower pace. Frankly, I wasn’t enjoying it and had thoughts of bowing out.

On the eighth kilometre, I saw the one-hour pacemaker right next to me. Somehow and despite my fatigue, the view of the pacemaker gave me the courage to speed up to keep up with him and finish in sixty minutes, which I eventually did.

At the finish line, Christoph and the baby were waiting for me. I was looking at our baby and could not believe that I had just run this distance only eight months after giving birth to this human being. It felt nice doing this for myself.

Running the 10k was hard work and didn’t come easily to me that day. Nevertheless, it was a good personal comeback and very promising. Stepping out of my comfort zone and testing the waters was rewarding. I felt proud to commit to my goal and stay true to my initial decision, as my participation reminded me of my love for running and gave purpose to my running routine. 

4 thoughts on “I ran the 10k after a pandemic and a pregnancy”

  1. Hi Sophie,
    Indeed, I encountered some obstacles doing what I relish. But I reminded myself the psychological reward at the end of the race, and this is what kept me going. Thank you for your kind message!

  2. Hi Katharina,
    Thank you for your kind words and for your support. It means a lot to me to hear such motivational words!

  3. Yay for sticking with it! You’re an incredibly strong, determined and inspirational woman. You absolutely should be proud of yourself for this accomplishment! Congratulations to you đŸ„°

  4. Wow, ich wusste nicht, dass diese 10km diesmal so hart fĂŒr dich gewesen sind. FĂ©licitations! Das ist stark!

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