Labor-Intensive

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Lately, I’ve been feeling much like I did when I was first pregnant, nearly 13 years ago. Both events are looked to with joy, anticipation, and a vague feeling of dread. You can’t wait to see that beautiful little person, but you know intense pain will be involved.

Pregnancy and marathons have different gestational weeks: 40 for a human being, and 16-20 for a race-ready body. But in each case, your body changes. At first you’re the only person who notices; but the changes ARE there. Some days you feel full of energy. And other days, you feel too tired to open your front door.

 I was not ready to get up Friday morning when my “Woodland Birds” alarm clock chirped at 5:15. I knew I was in trouble when, after my second cup of coffee, I was too tired to sneak back to bed. But there was a car to drop off for an oil change. There were children to feed and educate. There was the never-ending list of chores, which define my daily life.

Later, after the critical tasks were accomplished, I had time to contemplate training. The layer of clouds, which had been blocking all possible UV rays for most of the day, had stretched out thin enough to give the countryside a honeyed glow. The gentle flakes of snow seemed, not foreboding, but inviting. It was a perfect day for a run.

I knew exactly what I would do when I saw a swath of glorious sunlight falling across my bed:

I napped like a cat.

With my face in the sun, and my comforter pulled up to my chin, I curled up and slept hard for one hour.

I don’t know what to expect from my body during something as labor-intensive as a marathon. I have survived childbirth four times: 12 hours, 9 hours, 6 hours, and 3 hours, respectively.  If my labors were marathon times, I could’ve qualified for Boston with my youngest! And if I could endure hours of such pain, then I think somewhere within me, is mental toughness I need to complete a marathon.

Because this is my first marathon, I wonder about a lot of things. I wonder how I will handle the pain. I think about what the marathon will look like before, during, and after. I wonder who will cheer for me along the way. I wonder how long it will take me. Because, as when you go into labor for the first time, you don’t really know how long it will take until it happens. And until the pain from the first one fades into a vague memory, you don’t really know if you’ll try it a second, third, or fourth time.

I look forward to this first marathon, with excitement and trepidation. I have so many questions; but I’ll have to wait nineteen weeks for the answers.

Stats: Terrain: soft & warm—a perfect napping day, with the sun streaming in through my bedroom window.

Workout: I did some core strength with my 6 and 7 year-olds. We used “My Fitness Coach” on the Wii, which is a hoot when done with little kids.

Overall feeling: well-rested. I also discovered obliques hiding under my spare tire (though no one notices but me).

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2 responses »

  1. Keri… lovely thoughts. I can definitely see the parallel. When we were cycling last year I thought a lot about the similarities to labour and long distance cycling… which isn’t as intense as a one day marathon, but certainly requires a commitment to the long haul and causes a lot of pain at times. I think it’s a good comparison and one that actually HELPS with the mental toughness required. I’m so excited that you are doing this and I TOTALLY relate to the joy in finding your abs!! Me too!! Happy morning from Guatemala!

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