News - 12th December 2017

Running for two!

SJ preggers

Whilst parkrun is renowned for positivity and mutual encouragement, I seem to have attracted more attention than usual these last months as my tummy has grown.


Now at 37 weeks (approaching 8.5 months) pregnant, I’m as astonished (and delighted) as anyone to still be running. I know I’m really fortunate as pregnancies can vary so much.


Being an obsessive parkrunner since parkrun came to my hometown, Stockholm, late last summer, and a competitive racer, one of my more selfish concerns about pregnancy was being miserable due to having a long, enforced break. Despite stories about coming back stronger, it’s hard to convince yourself that you won’t lose a significant amount of hard-earned fitness.


I read up loads on running whilst pregnant and took things easy from the start; all the advice says be good to your lungs, which are working very hard and eventually get compressed into a small space! My parkrun times got marginally faster for the first couple of weeks, then steadily declined. BUT – enjoyment did not! If anything, Saturday mornings became even more fun – zero pressure, increased appetite for fika (that’s coffee and cake for you non-Swedes!) and then a very different feeling of pride and achievement for having run with a small human tumbling around inside me (my midwife tells me they usually drift off to sleep thanks to the rocking). Not to mention that morning sickness was actually lessened for a few hours during and after, bonus.


Each Saturday recently I’ve expected to have to start walking halfway as the baby will feel too heavy, but thanks to a combination of luck, dutifully doing my core exercises, my great back/tummy support belt and the security of knowing Haga really well, I’ve waddled round happily so far and had time to appreciate the view.


The surprises continue in odd little ways: calf muscles that by the 1km sign feel like I’ve done a hilly marathon and an odd aversion to that popular Swedish classic, cinnamon buns, being the ones that come to mind. A dizzy spell on the way to Kungsängen’s inaugural parkrun was scary but thanks to hugely supportive friends, I was well looked after and ended up having a stint as photographer that day, proving to myself that volunteering can be at least as fun as running, handy to bear in mind for 2018!


parkrun’s “run not a race” tagline has come into its own for me, previously a time-fixated, running stats geek. I used to spend a fair bit on expensive race entries, but now that buzz comes for free on Saturdays, and right now my money’s going on hot chocolate rather than PB courses. What’s also cool is that compared to the usual boring comments of “I assume you’ve stopped running” and “parenting is so hard, you will soon have no life”, neither of which do any favours for mental well-being, at parkrun I hear, “great to see you still coming” and “ your baby is destined to be a parkrunner”.


I will miss it when I have to take a pause in January, but will use the downtime to online shop for my running buggy….


Sarah-Jane Barrable
Haga parkrun

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