Finishing a Marathon at 4 Months Pregnant

'Running gave me a connection to my old life when everything else was changing so rapidly'

Patty Scott had never set foot inside a gym before she was 22. Now the 31-year-old personal trainer has two marathons and countless 5ks under her belt. Even her pregnancy could not get in the way of her workout routine. She recently ran a full marathon while she was four months pregnant, and five days before giving birth to a healthy baby boy, she ran a 5K. This is her story.

I was skinny in high school, even though I ate junk food daily.  But I got seriously out of shape when I was at university, so I started going to the gym. I hated it at first, but stuck with it. And in 2007, I began working as a trainer.

The head trainer decided we should work out together, including little training runs.  Though I worked out at the gym regularly, I didn't run. At first, I would skip the runs and make excuses.  But one day, I ran out of excuses and had to go along.  I took many walk breaks, and that embarrassed me.  After that, I said, “Okay, even if it kills me, I’m going to learn how to run a 5K.” 

Once I started doing races, I was absolutely hooked.  I’ve been running for three years: I’ve run two marathons and I’m training for my third. I’ve run four half marathons, two 30Ks and way too many 5 and 10K races to count.  I can’t remember the last time I missed a workout.

When I became pregnant, my doctor told me not to do more than 30 minutes of exercise a day. But I did my own research, reading books written by doctors who’ve studied actual pregnant women. There’s pressure to stop running, to take it easy during pregnancy.  But there’s no reason to stop if that’s what you enjoy, and you aren’t at high risk.  I took precautions, though. [The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says running in moderation is safe during pregnancy for those who were runners before becoming pregnant.] I would go running at the crack of dawn, wear light-colored clothing, and stay hydrated. I ran through sprinklers and outdoor showers to keep my body heat down.

I had a lot of people telling me I was selfish, that I shouldn’t put my own goals ahead of the baby’s.  But I had my reasons for running a full marathon at 16 weeks: I didn’t want to gain weight in unnecessary places and I wanted to keep up my pre-pregnancy routine for as long as possible.  I never wanted to be one of those people who said, “Oh I’ll just rest now and I’ll get back into shape later,” and later never comes.  “Because I’m pregnant,” is not an excuse. 

Other runners totally understand it, especially if they are pregnant or mothers.  I ran a 5K race five days before giving birth, and people along the route yelled, “Yeah! Go Mama!”  I never let the negative stuff get me down.  The women on The Running Woman message board are the running moms.  I don’t get the support I need from playgroups or stuff like that.  If I meet up with non-running moms that don’t work out, I don’t have much to say.  I want to socialize with runners because it’s such a big part of my life. 

Running is the one thing I’ve ever done in my whole life that makes me feel completely accomplished.  I set really specific goals and reached them.  It felt great that I never let the pregnancy get in the way of my routine.  Running gave me a connection to my old life when everything else was changing so rapidly.  My son Bryden, now 11 weeks, was born healthy at 6 pounds, 4 oz, 19 inches, and with absolutely no complications. 

For more inspiring stories like hers, check out our featured board of the month: The Running Woman.

What do you think of Patty's story? Would you, or have you, worked out when you were pregnant? Chime in below.

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