Am I A Runner?... Maybe I’m A Runner… I’m A Runner!

*This is a blog I wrote the week before the tragedy in Boston. While I didn't want to post it last week, I still wanted to share. This is for all the running moms out there. Let me know if you agree.

Does anyone remember the show Mad About You? Helen Hunt? Paul Reiser? Newlyweds living in Manhattan? I know I’m dating myself, but it was one of my favorites.

Anyway, there was one episode that has always stuck with me…especially during my pregnancies…where Helen Hunt’s pregnant character finally has the revelation that she’s going to be a mother while arguing with her husband. “I’m the Mommy!” she keeps repeating to herself until it finally sinks in.

Well that is how I feel right now about being a runner.

You see, I’ve been training to run my first full marathon for almost four months now – and until recently I really haven’t spoken much about it outside of my running group. Subconsciously, I think I’d convinced myself if I talked about it – made it official – then there was no backing out. Where, if I kept it to myself – nobody would know if I ever actually ran a full marathon.

But the other night while I was lying in bed, unable to sleep due to the throbbing pain in my aching legs & the nervousness in my stomach about race day, it hit me – I’m a Runner!

This revelation finally sunk in when I made the obvious correlation between running and pregnancy. ‘Hey,’ I thought to myself. ‘I’ve felt this way before… unable to sleep due to aches, pains and apprehension…’ I just NEVER thought I’d feel that way again because I’d vowed to never have another baby!

 

The first trimester of pregnancy is a joyous time. You are sooooo incredibly excited you can hardly contain yourself, but – if you’re anything like me – you only want to tell close friends and family because there is always that chance that something could go wrong.

You might be feeling a little nauseous and – in my case – a lot tired…but overall your excitement makes up for it. You find yourself calling every girlfriend you know who’s had a baby and asking her a million-and-one questions to try to fill your brain with as much knowledge as possible. Little do you know, none of her advice will amount to a hill of beans as you blaze your own pregnancy trail…

            Well, this is EXACTLY how I felt when I joined my running group! I was nervous, yet excited. I was a little unsteady on my running feet, but the distances were short so I was fine. And like I said earlier, I was quiet with my news… Let’s face it, there’s a HUGE difference in running six miles & twenty-six miles!

And I asked as many questions as I could of the other women in my running group. What do you eat before the marathon? What do you do if you have to go to the bathroom during the marathon? (BTW - The unknown answer to this question – just like it was during pregnancy about what would happen during childbirth – remains my biggest fear about the marathon!)

 

Then comes the second trimester… my personal favorite! You’re over your morning sickness!!! Yippee! You have some of your energy back, and you can finally start telling people that you’re expecting. (Somehow, just like with my marathon training… this is the part of pregnancy that seems to fly by.)

            I felt great in the middle of training! We were up to about half-marathon distances & I was running negative splits. (I even knew what negative split meant!) I was making friends in my running group, figuring out what foods worked and what foods didn’t (PS - Don’t eat broccoli for dinner before you run! DUHH!), and actually enjoying this process! I felt like I just might make it to 26.2!!!!

 

Then… Tragically, the third trimester must come! Now, I know the importance of this time, I really do… But that doesn’t mean I have to like it! This is the time when your baby is growing strong enough to survive outside of the womb. The lungs are developing, weight is adding protection to the bones and organs, the brain is transforming…It is a true miracle from God how this all happens in such a short amount of time! But on the outside… Poor mom is swollen, her feet hurt, her BACK HURTS! If she’s anything like me, she can hardly eat due to heartburn and indigestion.

You’re so tired you can hardly move, but the second you lie down to rest your mind starts racing about the fact that, ‘You’re The MOM!’ One way or the other, this baby is coming out of YOUR body! There is no turning back! OMG!!!! And as absolutely, completely, one hundred percent terrified as you are about labor and delivery – you want nothing more in this world than to NOT be pregnant anymore!

            Well, my friends, I am at that place! I lie awake at night trying to imagine what is going to happen to me at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 5, 2013. What if it’s raining? What if it’s 90 degrees? What if I am so nervous the night before that I can’t sleep? At the same time all of these thoughts are racing through my head, my body is reaching its breaking point. (I truly thought it impossible that my lower back would EVER hurt as badly as it did while carrying around two six-pound babies in utero, but I was mistaken!)

            While I was pregnant and couldn’t sleep due to the leg cramps, I would carefully lower my heavy body into a warm soothing bath. Now, I’m carefully lowering my aching body into a tub of ice after twenty-mile runs.

The positive thing about having experienced childbirth is that I know – one way or the other… natural, c-section or epidural – the pain is short-lived compared to the joy it brings.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing a marathon medal to one of my children – but I’ve heard the feeling is pretty exhilarating. And I’m assuming it must be somewhat similar to birth…because – after all – why would people keep doing it if it wasn’t?