“It always seems impossible until it’s done”
It’s April and, for the first time in years, I’m not in the midst of training for a marathon – which coincidentally means I’m not blogging about marathon training. Weird.
It just doesn’t feel right to not be blogging about marathon running this time of year. Since I like to blog about recent experiences and I recently experienced having a baby, combined with me having marathons on my mind, I started thinking about the similarities of running a marathon and going through labor.
Here are seven ways labor is like running a marathon.
1. Prep Work
Unless you’re that one random person who runs a marathon without training (which I don’t advise and do not support) runners put in several weeks of preparation, logging tons of miles, dealing with some level of aches and pains, and ideally eating well and getting more sleep. Labor is similar.
While the big event is the highlight, no one has a baby without the months of prep that is pregnancy. For some, this means some level of aches and pains but hopefully is more focused on eating well and getting more sleep.
2. You Must Buy Stuff
From specific shoes to moisture-wicking clothes to supplements, training for a marathon requires specific gear to help get in your best shape for race day. Labor is similar.
There’s a lot of stuff one needs to make it through the months leading up to labor and grow a healthy baby. For me, that included maternity pants, prenatal vitamins, and bigger workout leggings, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
3. All the Feels
When you line up at the start of the marathon, there’s a mix of excitement and nerves. This continues through the first few miles and brings additional feelings – some may feel overwhelmed by how much work there still is to go among other things. By the time you get into the later miles, exhaustion and pain may produce frustration and the typical, “Why did I decide to do this,” feeling. Finally, crossing the finish line – joy! Labor is similar.
When labor starts, there’s a mix of emotions, most of them happy. Once things progress and it gets more painful, that changes – I for one had the “Why did we decide to do this,” feeling during some particularly painful and close together contractions. But when our son arrived – joy!
4. Flying By
When you cross the start line and begin a marathon, it sets in that you have a long way to go and there’s hours of hard work ahead. But strangely enough, it goes by so fast and it’s over before you know it. Labor is similar.
Now I can’t speak to this as well. The actual labor portion of my experience was only about five hours. Many parents-to-be go through hard labor for 10, 20, even 40-plus hours – that’s right, two full days. But I have to imagine their feelings are similar in that, yes, it may seem like forever but before you know it, it’s over.
5. Never Again…Well…
The first time I ran a marathon, I swore I’d never do one again. Yes, this was around mile 22 or so when I wanted to die and the finish line still seemed so far away. To be honest, nearly every time I’ve run or trained for a marathon, I have proclaimed that this will be my last one. Spoiler alert: It never is. Labor is similar.
When my contractions started, it didn’t take long for them to start coming fast and furious. I can’t remember if I said it out loud or just to myself, but I decided right then and there this baby would be an only child. No way in hell I was going through this again. Fast forward to today, I of course would go through it again.
6. The Pain Continues
Even for the most badass runners, some pain and discomfort is likely during a marathon. And once you finish the race, the pain doesn’t end. It’s not uncommon to have soreness and pain for days after the marathon. Labor is similar.
There’s plenty of pain and discomfort during labor, and plenty more that comes for days, even weeks after. Let’s just leave it at that.
7. The Reward is Incredible
There’s no feeling like finishing a marathon. Whether your first or tenth, whether you hit your goal or not, it’s an accomplishment that goes beyond the actual race day; weeks, even months of discipline and work all for that incredible feeling. Labor is similar.
Making it to the baby finish line is an indescribable feeling. Not only is it a relief after all the work, you get the ultimate prize – not even the coolest finisher’s medal can compete with meeting your baby!
Speaking of marathons, Abel turns one month old on Monday April 16 – Boston Marathon day. We’ll be celebrating on Patriots Day by watching the marathon and BoSox game. I’m so excited for – and super jealous of – all the runners in this year’s Boston Marathon. Good luck and enjoy the run! It’s the absolute best.
If you have something to add to this post or any other thoughts on it, please leave a comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.