Overcoming Grief

So I fell off the ball blogging and hope the future of RunTeamWebb is not headed in this direction. The last month has been a life changing experience for myself as it has been the first time in my 11+ year running career in which I have not ran a step. I believe this is some kind of secret payback for how great my running was going for the first half of pregnancy. Or maybe its a way for me to teach me balance and embrace all of other life’s gifts.. either way it has been HARD!!

I believe I am finally getting to the end of the 7 step process of grief – from (1) denial, (2)  pain, (3) anger and bargaining (my Dr. and coaches had to deal with hearing a lot of that.. “Please can I run at US xc? I swear I’m fine”.) to a big sink hole of (4) depression – realizing I can’t do what I love anymore for at least 8-10 weeks (or maybe up to a full 20- which would be postpartum) unless I want to be healthy in the long run. And trust me when Alan and I sat down to have that conversation I refused to hear “You might just have to wait until July”. . my thoughts turned to that being just as bad as a prison sentence and I’m determined to be the pregnant lady running until birth.. this can’t happen to me so don’t even say it. After a “pregnancy  moment” night of crying I sadly came to realize he might be right.

Fast forward to the last 3 weeks, I’ve finally made the (5)  “Upward Turn” of adjusting my life without running, (6) working through problems (overcoming my obsession!!) and finally having (7) acceptance/hope. It is still painful for me to drive through the city watching the hobby joggers wondering how I got in the category of “injured/non-runner” and how this past month has given me no hope to move out of that category for quite some time.

So what is my injury? Not a clue. With my baby I’m not going to do x-ray or MRI. Not only because of risks but the costs- for what gain? Not knowing makes it hard as well. Initially most said it could be a stress fracture. My chiro and massage therapist both disagree and say I’m making progress when I come in to see them. My hip stabilizers are all locked up and out of whack along with low back spasms. But all agree I’m in no condition to run soon (as walking most of the time painful and hasn’t changed since my belly started to really grow). I understand this is “pregnancy-related” and part of the territory of carrying a kid. Adding the extra weight (142 today!) and crazy hormones with hips that are changing  = all risk factors for a running injury.

So boo hoo. I know injury is part of running in most people’s careers but it still doesn’t make it easier knowing people who have been there-done that. To cope I have stepped up my game and along with some crazy intense spinning sessions- I started swimming. Like furreal swimming. Until this past month, there were 2 occasions I attempted to lap swim since the age of 7. Yet somehow I still have the knowledge of “how to swim”. I must have passed the YMCA basic lessons at some point in my life. Although I must admit I am pretty terrible. But this adds to the fun, knowing I only have to be in the pool about 25 minutes and it feels as challenging as repeats at the track. Doing freestyle my PR distance is 1250 yd of intervals (usually go 800-1000) – and my max interval has been a lone 200 yd (3:40) I one day accomplished last week. Anytime I go over 50 yd I go into what sprinters call “booty lock” in the pool.. only in my lungs.

I am proud to say I went from saying “No way I’ll ever swim” to actually looking forward to getting in the water.  I also had the privilege of watching my husband swim for the first time and was utterly amazed. Obviously because he looks so good in a speedo (not kidding but the real reason…) even though I knew he was good at swimming I didn’t imagine him to be this good!  He made it look like he was a professional. That makes me think that some day (or if there were 2 of him) he could really do well at triathlon!! For me it will probably take years of injury to come up with a swim stroke successful enough to complete a sprint triathlon without the rescue boat waiting to scoop me up at the back.

So on with life… only about 100 days to go until I meet my little girl and hopefully soon after take her for a real run so she can see all that was going on when she was bouncing around in there. : ) Until then I have hope in looking up to my role model “Eric the Eel” Moussambani. (Note – his initial 100 m in 1:52 in the 2000 Olympics is not quite as fast as my 100 yd PR of 1:42. However, in recent years he has gone under a minute! There is hope for big improvements!!!)


  1. Kristen · · Reply

    Julia, I know you miss running now, but let’s make a running date for the weekend of my wedding! You, me, anyone else that wants to join, and some trails to ease back into it. I know you can come back so strong…

    1. A running date sounds awesome! I keep thinking about how much I miss Leif ! The rocky bumpy parts and all.

  2. Ryan McGrath · · Reply

    Actually, a 1:52 100m WOULD beat a 1:46 100yd! So you better get to work!

  3. OK I thought I edited but didn’t.. actually 1:42.. I swam 2 of them today-without a dive start, hand timed.. so how’s that for a conversion? 🙂

  4. Theresa Brannen · · Reply

    Hey Julia,

    You are actually really smart to stop running! I was just as determined as you to run through my entire pregnancy, and even though I made it until 9 weeks to go (actually 6 since Gianna came 3 weeks early), I should have stopped a lot sooner. I had pain in my pelvis/groin starting at 5 months, but it actually subsided around 7 months and I kept pushing b/c it wasn’t that bad.

    And take it from me, after you have your girl, don’t do anything for at least 3-6 weeks. I started running at 3 weeks b/c I was anxious to lose the baby weight and I felt 100% fine. I did get up to 25-30 minutes of running, but now I can’t even run 2 minutes without pain in my psoas/hip flexor and my pelvis still feels bruised. I was too worried to try to lose the extra 10 lbs I still need to that I ended up hurting myself more. I know I’ll lose it eventually, it’s just going to take me a lot longer now b/c I wasn’t smart about it and now I have to resort to ellipticalling and spinning which as you know isn’t as good for losing weight as running!

    Just some advice from one stubborn pregnant runner to the next 😉 Tell Allan hi!! Hope you guys are doing well 🙂


  5. Jacob Rudd · · Reply

    Hey Jules good talking to you tonight. I watched the video of the eel. That is how I swim exactly! haha keep up the good work.

  6. runteamwebb · · Reply

    Theresa- thank you for your insight ! I really hope you can get your body healed.. Hang in there. Too bad we can’t be there to support each other thru this and x train !

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