Heather Baillie ran the Stornoway half in 2018 but she wasn’t running by herself, she was 26 weeks (6.5 months) pregnant! This is her inspiring half marathon story.
Fitness during pregnancy is a great way to look after our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. I think it’s really important that women learn to listen and to trust their bodies and that we teach more people about the benefits that exercise during pregnancy can have for ourselves, our birth and our babies.
During my training I listened to my body. Some days I would struggle with 3 miles and other days I could comfortably run more than 9. I just kept listening and only doing what my body had energy for. It meant that I needed to be flexible with my training goals and allow for some adjustments. I kept running, I kept lifting weights. I didn’t try out anything new, just kept doing what I had been and making sure that it felt good, which it did.
I was very sick during this pregnancy and exercise was the only time I could get relief from the sickness. If I could have done more exercise I would have, but I have a toddler to look after too!
I knew that if anything didn’t feel right during the race or even if I just wasn’t enjoying it that I could just stop but it was the best run I had in my whole pregnancy.
I had this wonderful woman running behind me who didn’t realise that I could hear her telling everybody that I was amazing running the half at six and a half months pregnant. She made my day!
There were also people who were competitive before the race whispering, ‘that pregnant lady better not beat me,’ which was really entertaining.
We are blessed to live on this island with such stunning scenery and such changeable weather to shake things up and keep things fresh when we are running. All my training for the half was done in the wind and rain and then the race arrived and suddenly we had a (short-lived) heat wave!
I ran 13.1 miles with a grateful heart. Each mile I would focus on what I was grateful for – from my children to each clap/cheer from the crowd – I really enjoyed breaking the mileage up in this way and it allowed me to focus towards the end. Coming round that corner in the grounds heading towards Cuddy Point and catching a glimpse of the finish line, hearing the buzz from town, it was just awesome. And to top it all off, when I finished, the lady at the end gave me an extra medal for my baby which was such a lovely gesture!
Still kicking myself for stopping at mile 8 for the toilet though… I could have done it in under 2 if I hadn’t! Maybe next year…
Ps. My son, River was born at home on the 2nd of September (at 40 weeks)!