Pregnancy, Birth and Running 100 miles, A Ramble.
A most wonderful vignette featuring mountain running momma, Kasie Enman, was just released by Solomon as part of their TV series produced by the awesome African Attachment. I highly recommend you go check it out here. It brought me to tears several times.
The journey of being a mother and simultaneously an ultrarunner, is so very parallel that it feels very natural to compare the two. Certainly in no way are they the same, but certainly similar ,if that makes sense. This is just a vision of how I look at them. A ramble. I wanted to share my take on the trimesters of pregnancy in parallel with the stages of a 100 mile race.
First Trimester and First 30 miles of the race:
You on the start line, feeling hopeful, excited and amazed in wonderment of what’s ahead. Attachment immediately to the life inside you, you are connected to the little heartbeat that your blood feeds. The adrenaline then soon wears off and you feel overwhelmed. What have I done? I have a long way to go. Fatigue, exhaustion, hunger can set in. Adjustments must be made. Perhaps more care is needed. You hit the first aid station, you assess and move forward. You hear the heartbeat for the first time. You are in love. You don’t question anything anymore. It’s time to settle in. This will be an awesome race.
Second Trimester and miles 30-60:
You are taking good care of yourself now. You may have slowed down some in your pacing, but you feel steady. Food is key here. Not too much or too little. You feel the flutter in your abdomen below, reminding you often of the life you sustain inside. Not just your life, but a precious little life that you will soon meet. The race speeds up. You find your clip, your sweet spot. You have energy, renewed purpose and you breathe easy. You know there is a lot of running left to do. But you are over the halfway mark. You search for a headlamp. You search for your husband’s hand to let him feel the child moving. You are inspired to stay positive. You are loving the trail, loving the journey.
Third Trimster, Miles 60-90.
Proportionally, the last third of the journey feels longer. Fatigue sets in and sometimes darkness too. Your friends are racing, they are up ahead and you wish to join them. But you are tired. You know you must drink, eat and rest when you need to. The last 1o miles are magical. They are a place where you find out who you really are. You wish to get there, so you stay upbeat. Your friends and family check in with you. How are you feeling? When are you due? You think, not soon enough. But all the while, this little person grows and stretches and is sustained by all that you do. You keep moving and finding your footing as the sun sets.
The Finish, the Birth, the last few miles:
The pain begins. A rippling in your every being. You breathe, sometimes cry, but keep moving. Food tastes awful, you don’t want any more. You just want to get to the finish, but it seems to be taking forever. You are hurting, but anxious. Your pacer offers advice, encouragement, but you are deep in the place in your head where you can barely hear him. Something instinctual kicks in and your work to finish gets real. You push, despite how much it hurts. You want to remember everything now. You can’t wait to see the finish, to hold your baby. Only one more push, only one more mile.
Birth, Finish line:
And its sweeter than you could have imagined. To hear her cry for the first time, to hold this tiny person in your arms. You are smitten. Life is different now. You are relieved, tired and thankful your body let you run 100 miles. You are proud, You need to sit down and just savor this moment. You realize you love this feeling, hurt and all. You would do again, but just not tomorrow.