Two seemingly different events, but somehow feel eerily similar to me right now.
1. I think I want to have a baby/run a marathon. Feelings: excited, nervous, scared, and possibly unprepared. You receive “atta boys” from friends and comments like “Why in the world would you want to do something like that!?” You may question if you’ll be a good parent or could possibly run 26.2 miles.
2. The training/gestation can be a lengthy process. 9 months, 18 weeks … it’s all a long time. I think people even say during pregnancy, it’s a marathon; not a sprint.
3. Your body changes, aches, and you realize that certain body parts may never be the same again. I have accepted that my stomach will never look the same after having twins. I am also coming to realize that my toes may never feel or look the same again either.
4. You buy a lot of gear. My Mom always tells me that she didn’t have half of what we have when she had a baby. According to her, all you needed were a few blankets, bottles, and cloth diapers. There is a rumor that I slept in a drawer for a while. I used to think the same about running. All you really need are good shoes, but somehow find yourself in a garmincompressiongusweatybandrunningskirtfoamrollerspecialsocksheadlampinserts induced shopping event. I did the same thing at Babies R Us, but it was blanketsbibsstrollersbreastpumpslingcribsbouncyseatsbathtubboardbooks.
5. Both cause strange dreams, anxiety, planning, schedules, charts, lists, and reading of books. Dreams of leaving your baby on a school bus, dreams of never ending hills, or leaving your running shoes at home on race day. I knew how far along I was and I know how many weeks I’ve been training. There is a lot of talk of what it will be like, how I will feel, preparing for what could happen. I used to spend a lot of time on babycenter.com seeing what size fruit the baby was compared to this week. Ooh, look – an english cucumber! Now, I’m google searching for “how to run a 4:30 marathon” and over-analyzing race recaps.
6. You get a lot of unsolicited advice. It feels like every week I hear, “My Aunt’s cousin’s friend ran a marathon. You better buy a lot of Body Glide.” or “My brother’s co-workers Uncle has twins. You better start saving for college.”
7. It’s going to hurt before it’s all over. No matter how strong you are, how high of a pain threshold you have, it hurts. Natural birth, C-section, home birth. There are definitely times of discomfort. Running for 26.2 miles, I expect that it’s not going to feel like a stroll in the park. I will be proud of both scars ~ visible or not.
8. I eat like a man. While pregnant, it was nothing for me to “out-eat” my husband. Until closer to the end when I ran out of room. It was depressing to be able to eat what I wanted and not care and after a few bites, I felt full. So sad. Ice cream wants to be eaten. Training for a marathon = I’m hungry. All the time. Carb loading? Heck, yeah! Bring on the bread!
9. Pregnancy and marathon training may both cause strange sleep patterns. Night sweats, multiple bathroom visits, stacks of pillow, and middle of the night acrobatics all caused me to sleep in short bursts. This also caused my husband to move to the spare room/sofa by my third trimester. During marathon training, it has been super early alarm clocks for training runs, sore or restless legs, and the constant threat of “I have to get up early … don’t wake me up!” Spouses of pregnant women or those running marathons deserve medals too.
10. The rewards are plentiful. Ok, so no medal or race shirt is ever going to top my beautiful daughters. I do think that both experiences have given me more than I would have ever thought. Both have pushed me, made me stronger, more humble, and a better person. I love the challenge and seeing first hand that the human body is an amazing machine.