It’s an effort that takes months of training. It will change your life, your outlook, and might leave you feeling exhausted – but in the end it’s oh so worth it. Read on for 7 ways running a marathon is like having a baby.
1. There are months of training before the big day.
My first marathon took me 9 months of training. That’s because when I started, I wasn’t even sure if I could walk a couple of miles, but steadily progressed to running and entering events, and gradually built mileage before finally being ready for the big day.
My first baby? Hey! Also nine months!
2. You cut back on risky behaviors.
Just like I wouldn’t climb a ladder 8 months pregnant, I also wouldn’t do an obstacle race before running a marathon. Are you crazy? I can’t risk getting hurt right now!
3. It makes you sooo hungry.
Yes, bring forth that big burger with the cheese AND the bacon, and nobody can say jack about it because I’m burning calories here. And don’t skimp on the garlic tots.
4. People cheer for you!
Strangers hold up signs at the marathon telling you that you’re awesome. Little kids want to high-five you along the way. Your family might come from out of town to see you cross that finish line.
When you have a baby, your family will definitely come from out of town to check it out. Strangers will rush up to you in the grocery store crooning, “Your bee-bee looks like the Gerber bee-bee!”* and little kids are drawn to you like moths to a flame. Germy, germy moths to your precious newborn flame.
5. It’s expensive.
For running a marathon you’ve got your race fee. The shoes with the anti-pronation-medial-post-zero-drop-stuff. The clothes with the anti-microbial-sweat-proof-wicking stuff. The training program to take your long run from 3 miles to 21 miles. And gear! The reflective gear, the GPS watch, the ID bracelet, the head lamp, the team shirt, the sun-rain-wind protection headwear. So much gear.
For the baby you’ve got your doctor visits. The shoes with the fit-your-new-foot-size and can’t-touch-my-toes-to-lace-’em-up stuff. The clothes with the gathered seams and stretchy-expanding-panel stuff. And don’t even get me started on the baby gear. Thank god there’s a registry for this.
6. You might lose sleep – right when people are telling you how important it is that you get enough sleep.
The night before a big race, I have a hard time winding down. Is everything ready? Did I remember every detail? Did I set my alarm right? Will there be time to find parking? How many hours of sleep will I get if I can fall asleep RIGHT NOW?
In pregnancy, you’ve got the extra challenges of not being able to sleep on your front, or on your back, or (for me) waking up ALL THE WAY every time I needed to roll over, because the effort was like heaving a watermelon across the room.
7. In the middle of it, you say “I will never do this again!” – and then you say, “Let’s do this again!”
There’s a thing I call route amnesia. When you’re finished with a long run, you can say “Oh, yeah, I did fourteen miles today. No big deal, my feet are a little tired and I’ll probably be sore tomorrow”. But when you’re in the middle of it? Different story! You’re willing yourself to continue. You’re fighting that voice in your head that says “Let’s just stop here” and “Whose idea was this?” Running is a battle – until it’s over. Then the details are a little hazy, and you just have the joy. (And the medal.)
Pregnancy is exhausting, and sometimes delivery is painful. But you can get a little hazy on the details. You can look at the tiny newborn clothes your baby has outgrown and decide, Let’s have another one!
Should someone hang a medal around your neck right after labor? Let us know in the comments!