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Local Teacher Runs a 5K During Every Month of Her Pregnancy

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Lake Mary High School teacher and avid runner Jessica Ackley, takes on the challenge of running a 5K (or two) during every month of her pregnancy!

Meet Jessica Ackley, a teacher at Lake Mary High School, an avid runner, and a member of the Seminole County Moms Run This Town group. Every month, Jessica is running a 5K or two and excelling...oh yeah, she’s also more than halfway through pregnancy number two!

We had to ask her what it’s like keeping up with her running while pregnant and what keeps her motivated!


How far along are you and when is your due date?

I am currently 23 1/2 weeks, due June 20th.

Is this your first child? What are you having?

No, I have a one-year-old daughter Adalyn. This one is also a girl named Hailey Paige Ackley.

How long have you been running and how did you get started running?

I've been running for almost 6 years. Although I ran track in high school, I never ran more than a mile. Former teaching colleagues, Jeri Weigandt and Punam Patel, encouraged me to join them after work on their runs. I went from never running more than a mile to running four miles and signing up for my first 5K. I became hooked on racing, getting faster, and eventually worked up to running half marathons.

What made you want to run a 5K every month of your pregnancy?

During my first pregnancy, I stopped running a month in. As the pregnancy progressed, I realized how much I missed running and was excited to get back into it postpartum. I signed up for the Rock-n-Roll Savannah half marathon during that pregnancy as motivation to get in shape after I had my daughter. My husband and I decided to try for baby #2 and found out we were pregnant in early October. Since I had already signed up for the Savannah half for November, I kept up with the training even though I was pregnant and never lost the motivation after that race. Running the half at 8 weeks pregnant showed me that I was strong enough to keep doing what I enjoy so much, and pregnancy wasn't a reason to quit.

What’s the difference between running pregnant and not pregnant?

During pregnancy, I have not pushed myself past a comfortable pace and always listen to my body. I run at a slower pace and run shorter distances as my pregnancy has progressed. My doctor informed me that if I ran before I was pregnant I could continue, just not to overdo it or push past the point where I can’t carry on a conversation.

How do you stay motivated?

After teaching during the day, taking care of my one year old at home, and preparing for baby #2, I rely on my exercise time to decompress, clear my mind, and stay healthy. Being a member of Seminole County Moms Run This Town has also been a great source of motivation! I love seeing all the amazing moms posting their runs and beating their goals.

Any advice to a woman that wants to stay fit while they are pregnant?

Although I didn't run during my first pregnancy, I did walk at least 2 miles daily and attend prenatal yoga twice a week (Alyssa at Guruv Yoga is the best!). I truly believe that staying active allowed me to recover from delivery and get back to my pre-pregnancy self much quicker than if I wouldn't have stayed active. This time around, keeping up with running has felt very empowering.

What races have you already participated in and which do you have coming up?


October - Half  marathon training on my own (found out I was pregnant)

November - Savannah, GA Half Marathon

December - Pink Feet 5K (8th place in age group, and Naughty or Nice 5K (9th place in age group)

January - Pet Rescue by Judy 5K (18th place overall)

February - Love Your Heart 5K (5th place in age group) and Rotary River Run 5K (1st place in age group)

Coming up:

March - SCMRTT Shamrock this town 5K

April 22 - Lake Mary Trailblazer 5K

May - undecided

June - undecided

Sign up for the Lake Mary Trailblazer 5K and run with Jessica!


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