Suddenly we are at 33 weeks. It is hard to believe and also very exciting (and a tad scary). This pregnancy has been incredibly good to me and I have been fortunate enough to continue running thus far. Most weeks I average around 35-43 miles, albeit at a much slower pace than what I normally would run (approximately a minute per mile slower). To be honest I am very happy to just be able to stick with the mileage and that makes the slower pace not a big deal.
Just in the past week or so my hips have started to become rather achy. This happens a touch at the beginning of my run and then after, once I sit down and then try to move around again. But otherwise, I have had a lot of luck with my activity and this pregnancy.
This past weekend Rock and I took our Preparing for Childbirth class. We were both a bit apprehensive about this because we were not in town for a long enough stretch of time to take the month long class. That meant we had to go on Saturday from 9:00am-4:00pm and then again on Sunday at 9:00am-1:00pm. That is a lot of childbirth prepping all at once. The good news though, was that we ended up with a fantastic nurse teaching the class and we learned a lot!
As soon as the nurse found out I was a running coach her eyes lit up. She was thrilled to tell the group that labor and delivery are a lot like running a marathon.
First, she began by explaining that like a marathon, labor is a long process. It is important that expectant mothers and their partners do not get too excited at first and go out too hard. Just like any race, everything is one step and one mile at a time. If you start looking too far ahead into the horizon everything becomes very daunting and as the process gets harder and longer it is easy to become discouraged.
During labor and delivery, it is also very common for women to hit the wall near the finish. Just as they are getting to the very end, they often feel like they have nothing left in their tanks. Sound familiar? How many of us have reached mile 23 of a marathon and questioned if we can continue. These are the times when it is most important to remember that we must take everything in life one step at a time. The key is to try and stay in the moment and call upon what we learned during our training.
As with any race, or just about any run, they are also different every time. I have of course heard dozens of birth stories in the past few weeks and am sure that I will hear many, many more in the next few as we get closer to our due date. But no two deliveries are alike. My neighbor had her baby while her husband was parking the car and another friend spent 24+ hours laboring. I’ve watched people breeze through half marathons and others drag themselves across the finish line of 5k’s. I myself have had 20 mile training runs that felt amazing and at the same time experienced 3 mile runs where I cried for the last two! Just because one run sucks, we always have to keep in mind that every new day brings a new running experience.
Our nurse referred to the fathers and partners as coaches during our class. She explained that it was important for them to help coach and urge the mothers along. It is their job to say things like, “Good job,” or “You are almost there.” Mantras and positive attitudes, as you know, are what make long distance training successful and doable in the first place.
I am most certainly getting nervous as our due date approaches and of course know that labor and delivery will never be quite like a nice long run. But it is helpful knowing that we can look at the two experiences and draw from both of them. I find it truly amazing how many times this sport has helped me gain confidence and get through some of life’s more difficult moments.