5 Ways That Running a Half Marathon is Like Childbirth

Three weeks ago, on an unseasonably warm spring morning, I successfully completed my first half marathon in 2:22. The course was very hilly and with the 80 degree temperatures, the race was way harder than I expected it to be. Despite my months of preparation, things didn’t go exactly as I’d planned and with having to run alongside over 30,000 other runners I found myself doubting my ability to finish around mile 11. I’m so glad I persevered, though and finished! 

There was a lot of time to think while running and it kept occurring to me how alike childbirth and racing are-right down to things not going exactly as I’d so carefully planned.

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    Remember before your first child was born and there was gear that you just HAD to have? It was the exact same way with preparing for the half marathon. Like finding the perfect crib, 100% organic cotton swaddling blankets, and the perfect going home from the hospital outfit, there were things I simply HAD to have before running the race! Simply having shorts, shoes, socks, and t-shirt would probably have been just fine for the race, yet I spent hours shopping for the perfect compression pants, water belt, and many other "must have" running gear.

    (Photo credit: Flickr)
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    Before having a baby, you have a lot of time to think about the impending arrival. I carefully wrote out a birth plan based on my hours of reading and Internet research, determined to have the best childbirth experience I could have. I visualized myself giving birth and holding my baby in my arms (finally!) and thought about all the strategies I'd use to get through each contraction.

    Before running a my half marathon, you have several months to think about it's impending arrival. I visualized myself completing the race and holding my medal in my hands (finally!) and thought about all the strategies I'd use to get through each mile.
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    I was shocked to learn while preparing for childbirth that there was a possibility that I could poop while giving birth! Poop! In front of other people! The horror! THE HORROR!

    I was JUST as shocked to learn that there are hardcore runners that poop while running in an effort to set a personal record. Poop! In front of other people! I was just worried that I would have to poop while running and not be able to make it to the next bathroom stop. The horror! THE HORROR! (For the record, I did not poop myself during the race...or during childbirth!)

    (Photo credit: Flickr)
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    For both my first labor and my first half marathon, I did a lot of clock watching. For hours during labor I used a stopwatch to the time contractions. Six, five, four minutes apart and I knew I was nearing the end. For what seemed like hours during the race, I used my Garmin to monitor my pace. Eleven minutes mile, ten minute mile, nine and half minute mile, thirteen minute mile and I knew that the end had better get there SOON.

    (Photo credit: Flickr)
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    I was so sore and tired, both after giving birth and running a half marathon. Amazingly, I was able to function on the sheer elation over my accomplishment for days despite the exhaustion that set in afterwards. And just like the pain of childbirth, I forgot all about it and have already signed up for my next half marathon.

    (Photo credit: Flickr)

(top photo credit: Flickr)


(photo credit: Flickr)


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