Runner’s Story: Rachel Harris
I ran my first ever race in May 2017.
I did this to force myself to get fit for my wedding and it invoked a love of running. I didn’t sign up to any more races as I had a wedding to plan, and following that we had a baby on the way.
I did, however, continue running and could easily hammer out a good six miles of intervals in the gym. I stopped when I was around 5 months pregnant as I was just too tired and my pelvis was feeling the effects of carrying another human around!
Our little girl was born in April 2019. Despite my best hopes and intentions, the delivery didn’t go to plan, and Beatrice was an assisted delivery. (Episiotomy, forceps, ventouse then finally forceps). She was also born with the cord around her neck, however, thanks to the wonderful staff at Royal Preston delivery suite she was perfectly healthy.
Beatrice wasn’t an easy baby, she lost a lot of weight in the first couple of weeks as she wasn’t getting enough milk. None of us were sleeping! We put her on formula and whilst this initially worked, over the weeks she got more and more ‘colicky’. It was exhausting and awful to see her suffering but not knowing how to stop it.
At nine weeks, after three days of non-stop crying every waking minute, we figured out she had a cows milk protein intolerance and so switched her milk straight away. She was a different baby overnight.
Those first nine weeks were really difficult, I struggled with the post-pregnancy hormones and was crying all the time. My wonderful friends, family and of course my fabulous husband rallied round and once we’d got Bea sorted everything sort of fell into place. We suddenly had this wonderful little girl who was absolutely amazing.
After 12 weeks I thought I’d be ready to start running again and get a bit of ‘me time’ back. However, I was struggling to walk even a medium pace without getting pain in my pelvis. I saw my GP and physiotherapist and was diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) as well as strained ligaments from birth.
During pregnancy, the body releases hormones that loosen the ligaments and muscles in various parts of your body, including the pelvis. It’s intended to help you give birth. This can lead to the pelvis being unbalanced, therefore causing pain and discomfort. My pelvis hasn’t returned to ‘normal’ and this is why the pain has continued post-pregnancy.
After a few weeks of physio and doing exercises at home he told me I could try a little bit of running. I was over the moon! That night I went for my first run in around eight months. 20 seconds running, 20 seconds walking. It hurt and I only did 0.8 miles but I could do it!
Over the next few weeks, I started running with a friend. On one run we managed just over four miles with very little walking. That’s when I decided to sign up for the Preston 10k. If I could do four miles I could manage 6.2 miles!
Running this 10k is me proving to myself that I can do it; that I’ve got that little bit of me back again. We’ve been through some very difficult times these last six months and this is now life getting back to normal.