How Running a Marathon is Like Having a Baby

One can make the comparison of having a baby with many different things, but none can quite compare to running a marathon. If you haven’t given birth, you are about to find out what it is like. And if you haven’t run a marathon….well, you are going to get a taste of that too.

6 months pre-birth/pre-race

Oh my gosh! I am having a baby/signing up for a marathon. Am I ready for this? What can I expect over the new 6 months? I am so excited to be embarking on this adventure and I can’t stop talking about it. I post on Facebook to share my good news. The congratulations are rolling in. I feel so special and this is an experience that will be truly unique. My husband and I are in this together—what could be a better shared experience?

3 months pre-birth/pre-race

Wow, on one hand these months have flown by with planning and preparation and on the other hand, there have been some challenges. After my initial excitement, reality set in. I was riding high and then realized that my life was about to change—big time. I have been caring for myself in a way that I never had before. I have been paying close attention to what I eat. Some things make me sick while others make me feel great and I feel FAMISHED all of the time! I am trying to balance proper nutrition while watching my weight—which is really hard to do. I am staying active so that I can prepare for the big day. I am sleeping all of the time but feeling more tired than usual. I have increased my water consumption and am spending a LOT of time in the bathroom. This is more planning than I thought I would need to do, but I am finally starting to get it. Emotionally, I am still very excited, but am also getting a little nervous. Will the day go as expected? Have I thought of everything that I needed to think of? Is my “team” ready to cheer me on? Oh—better work on my breathing exercises!

1 month pre-birth/pre-race

The big day is all I can talk about and I think my friends are getting sick of hearing about it. The day will be here before I know it—I have butterflies just thinking of it. As time has gone on, the physical demands have become greater. There are days that I feel on top of the world—beautiful, healthy and happy and there are others when I feel like total crap. What was I thinking? I…just…need…to…power...through. But from a physical perspective, I feel like my body is ready for this amazing thing to happen. I have been caring for myself in the way that I should. I just need to get to the big day.

1 week pre-birth/pre-race

I have my bag packed and I am ready to go. It’s almost show time! I have thought through every scenario. What if it takes longer than I expected? I am okay with that because I have worked hard to get to this place and the goal is to finish. What if I get sick or injured? I am sending positive energy out into the universe so that I will feel amazing when the day comes. Will I get through this without pain killers? Of course I will! I will celebrate with the ultimate pain killer at the end—champagne!

The big day

I am so incredibly nervous even though I know that I have done my best to prepare for this. The time is now and there is no turning back. I am more ready for this than anything in my whole life. My hubby will cheer me on from the sidelines—my biggest supporter in this adventure of a lifetime!

At the start of labor/race

Oh, I have butterflies. I feel like I am going to vomit I am so nervous. My team is here to cheer me on but I know that the only person who can do this is me. So many emotions are flooding through me—happiness, excitement, fear. I am tense because I just don’t know what to expect. My team is rubbing my shoulders, breathing with me to calm me down and pumping me up for the miracle—yes miracle—that is about to happen.

One hour/five miles in

Man, I feel GOOD! This is not going to be hard at all. Sure, there are small waves of physical discomfort but nothing that I can’t handle. Everyone around me is in good spirits and the energy is positive. I am focusing on my breath and making small adjustments with my body to make myself more comfortable. Time to sip some water and settle in for this amazing experience.

Two hours/ten miles in

All of those horror stories that you hear are so not true. People say this is painful? I feel GREAT! My body feels strong and I will easily make it to the finish line. This is smooth sailing baby! Wait...did my water just break or is that my (hydration vest) bladder leaking???

Three hours/fifteen miles in

Getting hungry….very hungry. And my body is starting to feel some moderate discomfort. Everyone around me seems to have the best intentions. They are cheering for me but I don’t think they know exactly how I am feeling. They are all smiles and laughter and I am trying my best to put on a happy face. Do they think this is easy? I am starting to wonder what I signed up for. I know that I am over half way there, but there is still a long way to go. How can I distract myself? Okay, I know…I will try to remember the words to the songs from the Sound of Music. “The hills are alive….” Oh no… comes another wave of discomfort. Breathe, breathe, breathe….okay where was I? “….with the sound of music….”

Four hours/twenty miles in

Oh good Lord. What have I gotten myself into? I look at my husband and say “How could you make me do this? I hate you!” Those breathing exercises that I learned? Well, they don’t seem to be working right now. The discomfort is increasing every moment and I can’t seem to take my mind off of it. I think that my team is getting a little impatient with me…I guess I shouldn’t have snapped at them. But they keep saying things like “almost there” and “you can do this”. What the heck do they know??? Am I almost there and can I do this? I feel like crying but know that if I do that I just might not be able to finish. I keep repeating my mantra “Mind over matter”.

Five hours/twenty five miles in

I can’t feel my body—which is actually a good thing--the body is an amazing machine that protects you from feeling extreme pain. More people are around—with smiling faces and encouraging words. I can hear my blood pumping in my ears. I am sweaty and gross and have removed most of my clothing and you know what? I don’t even care! Strangers all around are seeing me at my worst but I have one mission and that is to finish this thing. Here comes my second wind. Breathe….push through…I am truly almost there.

Finish line

Oh glory days! The end is truly near—I can see it. I can’t hear a thing and only see the smiling faces and lights all around, cheering me on. No more pain or discomfort. Everything that I have worked so hard for is coming to fruition in this final moment. I cross the finish line and am handed my baby/medal and I am overcome by the most amazing feeling of accomplishment and love that I have ever felt. I take a breath now that it is all over and collapse, a sweaty mess, in tears of euphoria. Just wow!

The aftermath

Hmmmm…a little sore and fatigued but that really wasn’t that bad and my feelings of happiness have replaced anything negative that was going on inside my head. This healthy body of mine got me through a physical experience like no other—I survived and thrived! I celebrate with a huge meal, some champagne and a bath. Then my hubby says “When do you want to do the next one?” Doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all…….

***Disclaimer: In doing my research for this, most women say that having a baby is MUCH more difficult than running a marathon. So, what are you afraid of? Just do it! (The marathon, that is.)