I am always amazed when I hear stories of how resilient women’s bodies are – Kara Goucher placing 2nd and running a 1:14:02 at the Arizona Half Marathon only 4 months after giving birth to her son…or the story below…
Anna Bretan won the Oakland Marathon in 2011 with a time of 2:53:19. She wanted to run it again this year and used it as a way to stay in shape during her pregnancy. She maintained high mileage weeks (40-miles up until delivery) and even ran 5 miles the DAY she gave birth.
The story only gets more amazing. Within a week after giving birth, she was back to running high mileage and ran the Oakland Marathon again this past weekend – it was only SIX WEEKS after she gave birth. And not only did she run the distance, she won – again! And her time – 2:57:33. (Source: SF Chronicle)
Crazy? Many would argue yes. But aren’t all marathon runners just a little bit crazy?
A much less known story is about a former Army CPT, Jessica Jacobs, now a professional triathlete, who raced the Kona Ironman, only TEN weeks after giving birth to her daughter. While successfully breastfeeding her daughter, she managed to train for Kona, and completed it in 11:51 – a time many hope to accomplish at some point in their career (Note: her current PR is 8:55:10 – she’s just one of 13 women ever to break 9 hours). (Source: Ironman.com)
So why am I sharing all of this with you? Even though I had promised my husband I would keep a certain goal private until I knew if it was feasible, I have decided to share it. I still am not sure if this is completely feasible (for me) but since the story of Anna’s feat occurred just two days after my conversation with my husband, I took it to be a sign that it’s something I can accomplish.
I enjoy running the most when I have something on the horizon – something I can daydream about and visualize. It allows my workouts/runs to have a purpose. One of the hardest things for me after my son was born was finding the motivation to be away from him and run – I didn’t want to leave his side for even a moment. I know that if I had a race I was planning to run, it would have been easier to take that block of time for myself.
My due date is September 27. While I am cautiously optimistic (stupidly hopeful?) that I will give birth early again, I know I have very little control or ability to predict when pumpkin makes his/her arrival. Assuming I give birth on or before my due date, my goal will be the NYC Marathon (Nov 4). If I give birth after my due date, NYC will be too soon (about 4 weeks) so I will turn to the Philadelphia Marathon (Nov 18).
There are three pretty big assumptions I am making in order for this all to fall into place:
1. Since I plan to breastfeed exclusively, pumpkin will HAVE TO BE taking a bottle from my husband at least a week before the marathon. If he/she doesn’t, then there is no way I can be away from him/her for that stretch of time. These are both very large marathons so my time away will likely be around 6 hours – far too long for a newborn to go without nursing.
2. I have an easy and comfortable pregnancy that allows me to run upwards of 25-30 miles in the last few weeks of pregnancy. I did this with my son, so I’m hopeful that I have a similar experience. If I’m not able to maintain that baseline mileage, I run the risk of injury by trying to do too many miles too soon.
3. I have no complications with delivery / do not require a C-section. I was back on the treadmill 5 days after my son was born. If something happens during L&D that precludes me from getting the miles in soon after the baby is born, the window gets too small to get the adequate number of miles and long runs in.
As is the case with all of my running and training, my children, and their health and well-being, come first. Nursing successfully is my priority, so if I notice that the increase in miles/intensity is affecting my milk supply or my time with pumpkin, the marathon will be cancelled and I will turn my attention to my spring marathon goal!
In case you didn’t know, the 2012 ING NYC Marathon theme is: Run to turn “I can’t” into “I did” – which I think is a fantastic theme – you can do anything you put your heart and mind to!!
Have you scheduled a race soon after giving birth or an injury to help motivate you and get you back on track?