Best Wishes to Paula and Kara

I’ve been thinking about running while pregnant lately. This is probably because Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher, two of America’s superstar runners, are pregnant and due the same day next month, and they have been training together throughout their pregnancies. The news, oddly, makes me kind of excited about the prospect about running while pregnant again — even though that is still quite a ways in the future.

Paula and Kara at the New York Marathon. photo from The New York Times

Running pregnant is something that is important to me on so many levels. Some people talk about eating for two while pregnant. I feel like I’m running for two. I run so that I can keep myself strong and have the energy and endurance I need to take care of the baby when he gets here. I run to keep my mind clear and my emotions in check so that the hormones don’t get the best of me. And I run to share something I love with someone I have not yet met. It sounds bizarre. I realize that. But when I run with a fetus in tow, I find myself talking to him in my head, thinking about all my dreams for him and hoping that by keeping myself strong, he will also be strong. It is a bonding experience for me.

Some of my favorite running memories are from my last pre-delivery runs. Micah and I went running on a Monday night in April 2007. I had a goal to log 200 miles while pregnant and had 2 weeks left before the due date and less than 20 miles to run. We ran around Laie as the sun was setting and passed some friends of ours and another girl I knew who was due the same time I was and said our hellos. It was a beautiful evening and a good run — I hardly had to stop to walk at all. I felt energized and excited about getting closer to meeting my goal. Then early the next morning I was awakened by the contractions that would push the Manchild out by late that night. Running felt like a great thing to do on my last night before becoming a mom.

The Saturday before Manchild 2 was born I went for my last run with him in utero. My mom had just arrived from Utah and Micah and I left M1 with her while we went out. I ran some and walked some. The distance totaled about 5 miles, which was pretty standard for me. As we were heading home another runner came up next to us. She noticed my feet first and asked about my shoes. And then she noticed my belly. I was due the next day, I told her, and more than ready to have this baby on the other side of my abdominal wall. She ran and talked with us for about a mile, then turned off a side street to go home — but not before she wished me well and gave me a hug. It was a little odd to get a hug from a stranger like that, but also fairly normal for a pregnant woman. Again, it was a great run, and one that lifted my mood as I was so near my due date but still pregnant.

Paula and Kara have my best wishes for the rest of their pregnancies. I hope they look back on their training during this time with special fondness.

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  1. Those bodies. Oh my. That alone was motivation for me to get my butt on a run tonight! So thank you. I really am shallow like that. I want to have a runners body, therefore I run. I also happen to love it (but that’s secondary. Yikes). Ok, this is also amazing to me since I NEVER run while pregnant because I am terrified something bad will happen even though the sensible side of me knows I am silly. Pointless comment made. Keep being awesome.


    lizzie Reply:

    I’m with you Stephanie. If I didn’t feel, on one level or another, that I was turning into a sea-slug after a few days of not running, I don’t know how successful I would be at it. There is definite motivation to be found in pictures of other people’s bodies.
    It is also true that good things can happen to fetuses if their mother’s workout while pregnant with them. I know there is always that fear that something will go wrong, but I think the good things that happen counteract the fearful things. It’s just a matter of overcoming that fear of the unknown that is so difficult, especially since we’ve had it drilled into our heads that a pregnant woman is a fragile thing.
    I am pretty impressed that they were doing 13 sub-7 minute miles at 7+ months — that would definitely be too much for me — but then, I’m not a professional runner.


  2. funny, steph, because i was just about to say that i drastically cut down my running as soon as i found out i was pregnant this time and it’s the only pregnancy that survived. clearly it’s good for lots of women, but i have more than a suspicion that slowing down really let this baby grow.

    i started back up in months 6 and 7, but i’ve stopped again now because my body told me to. i’m not too sad about it, even though i envisioned being like you lizzie, and running until the day of delivery. i think that’s awesome that you actually DID. woo!

    but back to your comment steph, (do you feel like i’m a crazy newscaster?) i don’t have a runner’s body, ever, not even when i’m at my runningest. and i don’t even care anymore! it’s really not what keeps me going.


  3. yikes, i feel like i need to amend my comment to say that my appearance certainly does factor into my desire to run, but that i do not expect to look lean like them (or you, steph!) as a result. if i expected that, i’d ultimately fail and be constantly discouraged. so it’s not my reason to run.


    lizzie Reply:

    I’m glad you clarified, Melissa, because it made me realize that I should probably clarify as well — I don’t really expect to have a runner’s body either. I’m far too scrawny and I don’t put the effort in to strength training that I would need to look like that. But I do think that running helps my body look the best that my body can look . . . at least without lifting weights as well. 😉


  4. Wow! You ladies are amazing. I have learned to love running- it wasn’t always a love, but I’m grateful that it is now. My goal is to run through my pregnancies, though I have my fears. More importantly though, I feel it’s the right thing to do.

    By the way I tried to subscribe to themotherrunner and was not able to do so. Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong?


    lizzie Reply:

    Becca, I hope you are able to run through your pregnancies as well . . . although I am realizing more and more that my ability to do so is much rarer of a gift than I originally thought (and I am very grateful to have been given that gift).

    What kind of problem are you running into when you try to subscribe? Micah is more than willing to help trouble-shoot the issue.


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