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.
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.