Saturday, April 23, 2011

Boston Marathon Recap Prelude- How I Trained for a Marathon after Giving Birth

As I sat down to write my recap of the Boston Marathon, I realized that I wanted to capture the months that led up to the date. Knock on wood- Jack hopefully will not be my only child. I want to be able to look back on these months if I am pregnant and struggling with exercise what I was able to accomplish the first time.

I found out I was pregnant with Jack within a month after the 2010 Boston Marathon. TTC was a struggle for me, so needless to say I was nervous as running was pointed to as one of the possible culprits. Initially, I thought I would stop running when I was pregnant again. However, each spring, I teach a Learn to Run class in our town that prepares participants for our annual Fourth of July Road Race. It starts the week after Boston. So, not only did I need to instruct the class, but I needed to keep my running up so that I stayed faster than the students.

So, run I did- up until the month of my due date. I did not put in serious miles or break any speed records.

I ran with Cisco.

I ran with Bill.

I ran even when I was pushing it at ten minute miles.

(Even though I am huge here, I think it may be my favorite picture of myself. I feel so hardcore!)

I stopped running in the few weeks before the marathon, but I still was walking, going to hot yoga and on the elliptical. When Boston training started in the beginning of January, I devoted every Sunday to spending as much time walking/ellipticalling for the time that I should have been running. Even though it was not running, I know this cardio helped me immensely in the next few months.

Then, Jack was born. Big, big, ouch. I remember walking to the restroom the day I had him and thinking that I could barely make it there, so how could I possibly run Boston. I tried running for the first time 10 days after I had him and did 5 painful miles on the treadmill. EVERYTHING hurt. Everything! I chalked it up to the fact that I needed to start somewhere. Then, I went to the gym about two weeks after I gave birth to Jack and only completed 8 miles on the treadmill (with walking breaks) on a day where I should have been running miles in the high teens to be adequately prepped for Boston. It was a huge struggle. I cried to my husband. I was so upset. And I emailed Mary and asked her to coach me.

And, coach me she did. It was the best money I have ever spent. Much better than any lululemon outfit. Really! I did not technically need a coach; I had run 6 marathons before then after all. But, I needed major confidence that I could pull it off. And, Mary and her program rebuilt both my physical and mental strength. And, despite having a month of from running and starting some mileage, I did not get injured.

I cannot say that I am super happy with my time at this year's Boston. It was 20 minutes slower than last year after all. But, I am so proud of myself that I had the courage to even consider trying this crazy experiment. It was awesome crossing onto Boylston that day- it really took a village to get me there. My parents watched Jack so much so I could run. Mary coached me. My blogging buddies gave me support. My running club friends pushed me to get back with my normal group. And, my husband, well, he never doubted for one second that I could do it. He was my confidence when I did not have any.

I am not anyone special for trying this. There are lots of running moms out there who come back faster after having birth. But, I never considered myself an athlete. Yet, Jack will never know me as anything but a runner. How awesome is that!


  1. Isn't that the're setting an example for him! You are hardcore!!! Great job!

  2. Love it! I ran up until the birth of my son Jack - and even did 4 miles the day before I went into labor. Two weeks later, I'm itching to get back into my running shoes but my midwife would like me to wait another 2 weeks. You're an inspiration!

  3. That is so awesome! What a great story you'll be able to tell you son one day! I'm so impressed, and that picture really is hard core! :) thanks for the inspiration!