With new babies from Tea, Barley and me and Turmeric about to join us, it seems like there’s a Salty baby boom going on! For those pregnant, it’s both an exciting and an unnerving time. All first time moms wonder how their lives are going to change with the arrival of a baby, but most don’t think too much about how their athletic lives will change. But it’s different for us runners. Now a seasoned mother of three, I’d like to share what I lost and gained in running after becoming a mom. Read more >>
When I was 34 weeks pregnant with my first child, I was visiting my tiny hometown. Every fall a church on a main road sticks 4,000 crosses in their front lawn to serve as a representation of aborted babies.
My run took me right by this church, and there was a man walking towards me. As I passed, he said, “I’d hate for you to add another cross there” while pointing at the church lawn. It took me a while to digest what he said, I just smiled and waved as I passed him.
Then it hit me in the gut. This guy just implied I was trying to kill my child because I was running!
A good friend of mine told me this story and I still can’t believe it. Pregnancy can be an anxiety-ridden time, especially for first-time mothers. Our heads are often swirling with questions: How does this work? When does this happen? Why is this happening? What should I do for this?
And everyone, from friends to strangers like the guy above, seems to have an opinion. And what’s worse, is that they are more than willing to share it, even when we don’t want their opinion or advice. That’s true for everything about pregnancy, including running.
I feel like I’m finally growing up. I’m 29 years old and, after my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage last year, I’m pregnant again, seven months along to be exact. I mean, I am almost 30, it’s about time I grow up, right? But for real, pregnancy has left me amazed by what the human body is capable of and it has also made me humble, count my blessings, and think a little more deeply about my life, including where running fits in it.
I haven’t always had a healthy, balanced relationship with running. Going into my first pregnancy, before my miscarriage, I told my husband all about how I wanted to be super-fit and not gain any unnecessary weight. I wanted to be like super-woman, pregnant style. But I think the realities of pregnancy have taught me that running is about much more than keeping me fit-looking or as fast as I can be. Read more >>
It’s an understatement to say pregnancy changes your body. The hormones, the baby, and the physical accommodations your body makes for the baby might affect your runner body in strange ways. Generally speaking, we expect to be more tired than usual and for our paces to slow down. But almost every part of your runner body from your head to your toes changes throughout your pregnancy!
Well, here I am, already halfway through this pregnancy. I remember when I first discovered I was pregnant, I frantically googled and researched “pregnancy” to learn all the things I should expect. I was trying to figure out how other women felt at different points in their pregnancies so I could compare that to how I felt. I wanted to know everything. Was my belly showing more than normal? When should I start wearing maternity pants? When would my boobs stop hurting?
Looking back, I was nervous and wanted some reassurance, and I devoured Salty’s What to Expect From Running series. But, knowing how much I enjoy reading about other expectant mom’s experiences, I thought I’d add a footnote to Salty’s more general posts about running and pregnancy, to add a little more context. Read more >>
One year ago, I was lining up for the Olympic freaking Trials.
Now I’m eight months pregnant, and I feel like that was another lifetime ago. Did I really do that? I am still running shuffling a few days a week, but, while I realize cutting back, slowing down, or stopping entirely is a normal part of pregnancy, I have this weird blur (pregnancy brain?) about my previous running self. I am so far removed from that version of myself I struggle to picture her. Read more >>
When it comes to running clothes during your pregnancy, whether it’s six weeks, three months or six, there will come a point where your pre-pregnancy running clothes no longer fit you. Maybe they’ll hurt your growing boobs or maybe you’ll notice a big slice of belly sticking out of the shirt you thought still fit in pictures.
At some point, you’re going to have to find some new running outfits to go with that growing bump. Before you balk at this idea, thinking you’ll skip any running gear purchases because you’ll only need these new items for a few months, the good (though slightly disheartening news) is that even after your baby is born, you won’t instantly return to racing weight. What fits you during the latter stages of pregnancy will likely also fit you for a while after pregnancy. Read more >>
I am of the age where many-many-many women in my life are having babies. I think I have had a friend, family member, or acquaintance give birth every month for the last two years. My little spit-fire, Alora is four already and I will say I am very, very-very-very-VERY, content she is past the infant stage.
Since her birth, I have trained consistently, avoided injury, and included my daughter in my running routine. I have also PR’ed at the 10k, half-marathon, and full marathon since her birth.
In four years, I’ve experienced a lot, made mistakes, did some things right, and learned a lot about running, motherhood, and myself. Read more >>
Even though I’m not running much these days, I’m a runner at heart. I still find a way to relate running to life. As I progress through this pregnancy, I find myself noticing more and more how similar pregnancy is to training for a race. I know Parsley covered the marathon versus birth debate and Caraway just made fun of comparing marathons to birth on Friday, but too bad. It’s so true! And it goes so much further than wanting to eat everything and being tired all of the time.
So while I’m taking a break from training myself, and as my friends ramp up their own, we still have so much we can commiserate and laugh about with each other. Here’s my list of twelve ways that pregnancy is just like training for a race.
Miscarriage sucks, in so many ways. It’s really one of those indescribable events in someone’s life that no one thinks they’ll ever have to experience until it happens, but when it does, it is absolutely gut-wrenching.
Last year ended up being one where we had to keep the faith, waiting and hoping for better news ahead of us. But that can be so, so hard, especially when everyone around you seems to be achieving all the things you want now. And for runners, this limbo of an extended period of trying to conceive is also, often, limbo for our running goals, which adds to the feelings of loss and frustration.
We’ve talked about changing running identities before. Life changes, we change, our running changes. Sometimes that means change of scenery, and I myself went through this as I transitioned from the track to the roads after college. Maybe it’s the transition from road racing to trails or back to the roads. There are so many ways we adapt our identity throughout our running lives.
Lately, I’ve found myself struggling with my running identity in a way that I never saw coming. Don’t get me wrong. I knew pregnancy would affect my running but failed to predict the degree. Most people would assume I’m talking about slowing down, the break from competition, or the loss of complete control over my body. In reality it’s a little bit of everything.
As I reflect on my running and what I want out of it during pregnancy I’ve come to realize that, throughout every transition I have made, throughout my entire running life thus far, my running identity has always been tied to one thing. Read more >>
Which is harder: going through labor or racing a marathon? Why is this an age-old question? Maybe people compare them because they seem like similar events. Both require dedication, as well as physical and mental stamina. They take months of preparation and are an accomplishment to finish. Now that I have run over a dozen marathons and given birth to three kids, I realize there’s no comparison!
Birth is a pretty common occurrence and apparently, we humans were born to run. Billions of women around the world have delivered throughout time, it can’t be that hard, can it? My sister, who is not an athlete, delivered three large babies without pain medication. My dad, who has obviously never had a baby, is running ultras in his 70s. Both advised me labor wouldn’t be an issue compared to my running experiences.
Not everyone can run a marathon, and certainly not everyone can run a fast marathon. So that must be the harder physical event, right? Oh, I was so wrong! Read more >>
This past spring, whenever I went to CVS for a pregnancy test or prenatal vitamins, my receipt included a coupon for tampons. (Other purchases warranted different coupons.) “Nope,” said CVS with a sneer. “No baby this month.” It was like a slap in the face. Because dammit, CVS, for months you were right.
I was originally optimistic about the ease of transitioning from serious runner to mother-to-be because of how many young mothers raced at the Trials. But once I was stressed enough to overanalyze it, I realized that in all the stories I’d heard or Googled the women got pregnant right away, within two months at most.
But then I started to wonder: What happened to all the women that took a while to conceive? Those that had to step away from the sport for longer, for all the months of trying, before they got pregnant? What about women who miscarried? Statistically, these women must exist. Do they not share their stories? Did I selectively forget them in an effort to be positive about quickly conceiving? (Very possibly yes.) Or does staying in the sport require getting pregnant right away to minimize time away? Read more >>
If I had known last Sunday was going to be my last run, for possibly a long time, I would have gone further. I would have savored the fresh air, enjoyed the scenery despite running down a sidewalk near a business park, and relished the heaviness of my breath and tiredness of my legs. Instead, I took it all for granted, assuming I would wake up the next morning and do the same thing again.
A late trip to the ER that evening changed everything, as I suddenly became a high risk pregnancy with complications arising early in my second trimester.
I have been lucky. My first two pregnancies and childbirths were free from complications. I won’t say easy, because those endless months of morning/afternoon/evening sickness left me never wanting to go through it again, and it wouldn’t be fair to say twenty hours of intense labor was a walk in the park. But being pregnant did not prevent me from running. I ran up until the day I delivered with both of my girls, and resumed running again two weeks after each birth. I naturally assumed the third would be the same. Read more >>
Like any major life decision, deciding when to become pregnant can be difficult. Besides the fact that timing it perfectly isn’t always possible, there never seems like an ideal time. This is true even if you know it’s something you really want and even if, on paper, it seems like the logical next step in your life. But unlike other life-altering events, such as moving, changing jobs, or getting married, pregnancy doesn’t just change your life, it literally physically changes you.
For a runner, even one who’s not a pro, this can be a scary prospect. A pregnancy doesn’t mean the end of your running career, but it certainly will disrupt it and likely leave you fearful you’ll never get it back. How will your body respond to trading in your abs for a basketball with a side of spare tire? Will you ever regain your speed? And will you be able to train and be an effective parent?
Obviously, there are many other factors that you will consider before trying to start a family. But if running is a big part of your life and being a runner is how you define yourself, considering pregnancy’s impact on all that is going to a big one.
Read more >>
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