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
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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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