This post is dedicated to my first real running buddy, Amanda. She's one of those friends who you meet once and you know you're going to be best pals forever! We've gone through college graduations, weddings, half marathons and now...babies together! She's due with her first sweet baby (a girl!) later this month.
We were talking the other day about how the anticipation for labor and delivery is a lot like a big running race. There is so much preparing and build up and nerves, and then it just happens. You just do it and it's awesome. It got me on this tangent all about how running races and having babies is TOTALLY THE SAME THING. It's probably why so many moms like to run. We're just super awesome at the whole process. It's in our genes.
So, whether you're a runner thinking about having a baby, or you've had a baby and you're thinking about running your first race, just know, YOU'VE SO GOT THIS.
So....you sign up for a race. The only real difference here is that sometimes you don't exactly choose to have a baby, and I don't know of anyone who has been secretly registered for a race without their knowledge. Regardless. You take that pregnancy test, you submit your race form and BOOM - all of a sudden there's a big date circled in your calendar several months away. The countdown (and the training!) begins.
Your body hurts. From sore hips and lower back to other achy muscles, your body goes through lots of changes when you start running more mileage AND growing babies...and it usually hurts!
You're hungry ALL THE TIME. Runners call it "Runger". Preggo mamas call it eating for 2. Whatever you call it. We eat all the time. Best to keep it to lots of healthy fats and protein, but let's face it, sometimes some icecream is necessary too.
You lose sleep at night. You're exhausted from growing babies OR running miles...but somehow when your head hits the pillow you can only think about a million worries about babies and pregnancy, or where your next run route will be, or what you'll eat for breakfast...
You've gotta get ALL THE GEAR. Once you start running more, you'll find yourself addicted to finding the best gear. You need some new shoes, oh and a running water bottle, Maybe you need a new Garmin. Of course you hit the fitness section in every clothing store. And babies...duh. You need everything. You're shopping for all their gear PLUS some new stretchy waisted clothes for yourself!!
Don't forget about your core! Keeping your core strength strong throughout pregnancy is so important! It will help with back pain, and strength to deliver and recover quickly! It's equally important for runners as your core is wear your power and stability come from!
It's helpful to have a buddy. Running buddies are the best thing ever. They keep you motivated, and are someone to make those long runs feel shorter. Plus, they probably won't mind you talking about all of your sleepless running thoughts. Same thing with a pregnancy buddy. It's awesome if you can find a fellow preggo mama with a nearby due date, so you can compare notes/worries and go through all of the stages together!
You drink water constantly. It's so important to stay hydrated when you're running all the miles, and growing all the babies!! Keep a water bottle with you all the time!
You become a Pinterest addict. We all get really research-y about our coming challenges. Mamas build boards full of dream nursery's, newborn photos and what to pack in their hospital bag. Runners have all the latest speed workouts, foam rolling tutorials, post-run smoothie recipes and motivational quotes!
Race day is near and you seriously consider your ability to finish. I'm pretty sure every future mother and every racer has had AT LEAST one freak out. "How in the WORLD will I EVER be able to DO THISSSSSS?????"
Labor / Race Day
You should eat a high quality pre race meal. Of course with labor, you often won't know the day you'll end up in the hospital. With a run, it's best to always fuel up the morning of a big race! My go-to race day breakfast is a gluten free waffle with peanut butter and banana. It's no big surprise that that is also what I ate the morning of my induction for baby #2!
Your husband better be there to cheer you on. It's always amazing to have the ones you love cheering you on at the finish line of a big race. You might want all of those loved ones in your delivery room cheering you on too! Or at the very least...that husband BETTER be there. That extra boost of motivation and support is just what every racer/mama needs to push to the finish line!
You should pick a mantra. Having a positive affirmation or mantra can be incredibly helpful in keeping your focus for a race or during labor. Things like "I am strong", "My body was made for this" "or Just Breathe" are all equally great for runners OR mamas!
"My Body Was Made For This"
All you can think about is food. Maybe it's just me, but with both of my girls, all I could think about while I was in labor was how hungry I was. Likewise, usually the second half of my long races consists purely of me deciding on my post-race meal. After I had baby #1, they brought me gluten free french toast and bacon. I have to say, it may have been the best post-race meal ever!
You're pretty sure the race will never end. There's a point in the day when you're pretty sure that baby might just stay inside forever. And that finish line looks SO FAR away. But guess what?! You'll get there. That baby will arrive, the finish line will come into sight...I promise!
Delivery / The Finish Line!
All of a sudden, the finish line is in sight! You can see it! Up ahead! The crowd is cheering and just like that, you have a boost of energy and start sprinting! Or...they say..."baby is crowning...it's time to PUSH!"
That final push to the finish is always the hardest! You're already exhausted. But those final pushes and that last big sprint are always the hardest!
Side note story. When I was delivering my first daughter, my nurse midwife was actually one of the participants in a bootcamp class I had taught. She of course was loving the fact that I was the one getting my butt kicked for once, but also knew just how to coach me through the final pushes. She kept saying, "it's just like a marathon Alyssa, you're ALMOST to the finish line! Finish strong!" So apparently this blog post has been like, 3 years in the making.
You did it! You get that shiny medal/adorable baby handed to you and the last 10 months of work just slips from your memory. You can't stop looking at it and it's best to just put it right up on your chest for a couple hours. Snuggle it and wear it proudly.
Bring on the post-race pictures! You've GOT to have lots of pictures to remember this day! So many pictures of the baby, the mama, the racers, the fans, the daddy...so many pictures all the way around.
Bring on the post-race drinks! Ok maybe not RIGHT away for the mamas. But I love having a little post-race margarita later in the day, and you can bet those mamas are excited to have a drink sometime soon too after a long 9 months!
Eat ALL THE FOOD! Have I mentioned that all of this is really just about the food. Oh yeah. I think you've got that. Refuel that body! You'll need it for muscle recovery and energy!
Everything hurts. You're gonna be sore the next day. It's just inevitable. Your body just did an amazing thing!
Taking a bath feels AMAZING. Epsom Salts and oils are where it's at y'all. My post-baby baths became a weekly thing for a while and it was the best half hour of my day. It helped with healing AND stress! Runners, the same baths will feel amazing on your tired muscles!
You might need some time off. Mamas - take those 4-6 weeks before jumping back on the workout train. Let your body really recover! Did I mention it just did an amazing thing? Runners, you may need to give your body a few weeks of recovery as well. Keep moving, but maybe keep the intensity a little lower.
And then you do it again. Most likely you'll get addicted to the swag, the runners high, the adorable babies... and sign yourself up to do it all over again!
Are you a mama? A runner? Both? What comparisons did I miss?
As a special Amanda's-baby-month treat - I'm opening up just 5 of my
Baby on the Way Essentials kits for sale this month!
They are super affordable and include all of my favorite oils for pregnancy, labor
and even new baby care PLUS a diffuser and fractionated coconut oil. Literally everything you need to get started using oils.
These are all really beneficial to runners too! Imagine that!
You'll also get special access to my Oily Mama's
group and 25% off future doTERRA purchases! These will go FAST, so click the image below to order, or message me with questions or to claim yours!
This post is sponsored by EverlyWell & SweatPink. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been blessed with two amazing breastfeeding journeys. Besides some killer bites lately (ouch!) I really have nothing to complain about. I realize that this isn’t always the case for everyone, so I applaud each and every one of you who has figured out the best way for YOU to feed your little love bugs. Personally, I love knowing that breastmilk is the near perfect mix of vitamins, fats, protein and nutrients - and it's ridiculously convenient for a stay-at-home mom like myself. I ended up breastfeeding Miss Mak longer than I had expected to (17 months!) and am well on my way to hit the 1 year mark with Little Hallie. Time will tell how long we continue with her!
In both of my pregnancies and while I'm nursing, I try to pay extra attention to what I’m putting in my body. A variety of healthy foods, lots of water and a high quality daily supplement. What goes into my body goes into my girls’ bodies, so that definitely makes me want to make good choices. Plus, it’s important for me to be fueling my body well so I can continue “mommin’” the best I can! But how do we REALLY know if we are providing them all of the nutrients they need? Not everything has glaring signs of deficiency.
When I had an opportunity from EverlyWell to do a DHA test on my breastmilk, I jumped at the chance! I had never heard of breastmilk testing so I was definitely intrigued. First, I had to remind myself of what DHA was. I know I learned about it in College Nutrition 101 but I was still a little shaky on it. So, according to the awesome resources I received from EverlyWell, “DHA is a vital Omega 3 Fatty Acid for a baby’s health as they grow during their first 2 years.DHA is crucial in a child’s early development, in particular for their visual acuity and cognitive development.”
Well cool! I was definitely hoping to hear some positive results. But here’s the thing – it’s estimated that about 75% of American’s are actually deficient in DHA, so I wasn't holding my breath!
So here’s how it all works.
I was worried that I’d have to go into a lab somewhere (which was SO not happening with my 2 little ones in tow), so I was PUMPED (haha see… what I did there?!) to see that I could collect my sample at home, and actually, without even using a pump! I only needed a few drops of my first morning milk (no food or supplements yet) onto a little card. They actually mailed me everything I needed ahead of time, with really easy to follow instructions.
I collected my sample, dropped it on the card, placed it in the the provided bag, put everything back in the box and shipped it off with the free shipping label. All of the shipping was free! Then I just had to wait a week or so to receive my results via email.
Dun da dun….my levels came in at Optimal! I was actually a little surprised considering the statistics, but really overjoyed! I’m so glad my girlie is getting lots of DHA for that little brain to grow!
One thing I LOVE about EverlyWell, is that they are great at empowering you to be even healthier, rather than making you feel bad about less than optimal results. They included ideas of how to increase DHA levels like eating fatty fish, liver, eggs and microalgae. I rarely eat these things except for eggs, so I’m chalking my good levels up to high quality eggs and great DHA supplements!
Another awesome thing about this test is that my results were reviewed by a physician IN MY STATE, and can be easily shared with my own physician. FSA accounts often cover the cost of this as well. There is literally no easier “lab work” I’ve EVER done.
For those of you who are dying to try this – I’d love to share a 15% discount on this test for you! Just enter HFF15 at checkout HERE!
"Comparison is the thief of joy"
We hear this a lot these days - in a world of perfect Instagram pics, and only the highlights posted on Facebook...we KNOW it's not worth it to compare ourselves to others.
What I think is EVEN WORSE - is when I start comparing me to ME.
Since "coming back" to running after having baby #2 I have really struggled, especially mentally. I knew I was being healthy, I was happy being active every day, I was teaching my fitness class, doing yoga and running occasionally. I would have days where I felt like all of these things were great. I felt good about myself. And then I would think back to where I was at that point post-pregnancy with my first baby and all those good feelings would go right down the drain.
"Last time I had lost all of the weight by now"
"When M was this age I was the fastest I had ever been"
"Last time I had already placed in a 10K"
"At this point last time I PR'd a half a marathon"
All of these thoughts would flash through my head as I struggled with my 100lb load in the BOB stroller through our cul-de-sacs in the heat and humidity and I would just feel like crap. Like I wasn't doing enough. Like I should be waking up earlier, like I should be working harder. But then I would go and make myself feel better again by saying things like:
"It's hotter here"
"You have twice the load"
"You don't have help with the kids like you did last time"
"Every post-partum journey is different"
And that would help for a little while until the whole vicious cycle would start again.
I even actually believed myself for a few weeks when I said "I really don't care how much I'm running these days".
I did want to run. I DO want to run. This horrible comparison game was taking away all of the joy I ever found in running.
When I decided to organize a 5K for my Moms in Motion class in April I was really excited to finally have a running goal in sight. I'm always much more motivated when I have a race ahead of me, so this was perfect. Until the comparisons started again.
"H is 8 months old. When M was 8 months old you were running a half marathon"
"You did a 5K 3 months post-partum last time. This shouldn't be that big of a deal"
"You shouldn't have to train for this as hard as you are"
"Can you SERIOUSLY still only run 2 miles?"
Instead of being excited about a really fun event with my friends, I was shaming myself for not being better. It wasn't until a few days before our 5K that I decided my mindset had to change.
I decided to GET EXCITED for the 5K.
I decided to own my own race.
I decided to bring the JOY back to running.
And guess what guys, it worked. The mind is a POWERFUL tool. I showed up to that race and I didn't think about my last race. I thought about the one ahead of me. I smiled with my friends and ran to the best of my ability. We had a blast! And here is the funny thing that happened. Not only did I have the most fun running than I have had in a long time - I was FIRED UP afterwards.
I came home that day with a whole new outlook. I felt strong. I was ready to run longer. I was ready to quit listening to the voices in my head. I actually felt like a runner again. I felt like ME again,
I'm excited to see where the rest of this year takes me. I have a 10K at the end of May and a half marathon in the fall. Who knows if I'll do anything else in between but here's what I do know - I'm not going to let myself tell me that I'm not good enough.
If you can relate to ANY of this, here is my message to you: Don't compare yourself. Not to me, not to your neighbor, not to that girl you follow on Instagram and definitely not to your old self. Be YOU now. And be a really awesome version of her. And...sign up for a race. Even if it's way shorter than you think should should be doing. Just do it. Get yourself in the game again. The endorphins will fly and hopefully a little piece of that JOY you once found in running will return.
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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