Trail running and racing doesn’t necessarily end if you’re running for two. When Hilary Spires-Cunard found out she was pregnant, she modified her racing calendar accordingly. Since her due date is the same day as the originally planned Cascade Crest 100-miler in August, she decided on the Sun Mountain 50-mile (80K) race in Winthrop, Washington six-months into her pregnancy instead. Although results were not the first thing on her mind Saturday May 11, Spires-Cunard finished 39th out of 101 women. With every excuse to DNF, the athlete persevered through the heat and the plethora of discomforts common in many ultras.
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Race week! I have no idea what to expect for this week. I keep googling, “how much slower do you run a 50mile at 6mo pregnant?” but not really getting a clear answer 🤷🏼♀️. Turns out 👆🏼 is what trail running looks like now… cautious downhills and VERY slow uphills. I knew paces would change but the biggest surprise to be is that I FEEL better than I thought I would, but I climb WAY slower than I was expecting. Like a 🐌🐢 hybrid. That lost a leg. Perhaps this is the key to pacing. We shall see. I am excited to cheer on all the runners in tip top shape and enjoy the day, completely expectation free. Well – I’ll have moments of annoyance that I can’t play at full capacity but I’m working on it. Short term right! RIGHT?!?!? . . . . . . .#runningmotivation #dirtbagadventures #mountain #dbrambassador #trailrunning #Trails #optoutside #pregnantrunner #inspiringwomenrunners #run #trailrunner #instarunners #trailchix #trailsisters #salomonWMN #instatrails #thismomruns #momsthatrun #outside
To minimize stress, the athlete’s ultrarunning training involved more volume and less speed work for Sun Mountain. After a 12K trail race in February and a 50K trail race in March to test the waters, Spires-Cunard felt like her and baby “Spegg” had a good base. Besides her growing belly and carrying extra weight, the biggest change in her training has been the increase in “pee breaks.” At Sun Mountain, Spires-Cunard stopped for over 45-minutes in total to go to the bathroom. Still, she is learning to understand the modifications necessary to continue doing what she loves as she grows another human.
The biggest challenge for many runners at Sun Mountain was the heat–reaching thirty degrees. “Luckily I’m good in heat, but overheating is the one major caution with pregnancy, so I stopped to walk if I was getting warm.” Spires-Cunard remained cautious throughout the race and focused on differentiating between regular physical fatigue and something dangerous. Highlights included meeting her “trail guardian,” a nurse and mother on course named Rhea who continually checked in with her. As well as fellow runners asking whether she was “Hilary from the podcast.” as she finished the 82K course.