10 Reasons Why Running a Marathon Is Like Having a Baby
I feel like I should add a disclaimer right up front: No, I have not yet had the opportunity to push a child out through my lady parts.
However, before all you moms get your maternity pants in a bind, I'd like you to hear me out on this one. Because I've spent at least 12 minutes fully thinking this through, and I have become convinced that training for and running a marathon is eerily similar to having a baby for the following 10 reasons:
1) When you first sign up, you're slightly freaking out.
Whether it's discovering you're pregnant or getting that confirmation email about that 26.2 miles you just registered for, the initial feeling is part excitement, part sheer terror, part nausea.
And you wonder: What have I gotten myself into?
2) It takes months of training, and you have to do your homework.
You grow a baby over those nine months, and in like manner, you spend months training for a marathon. It's during this time of daily training that you do your homework. You will buy every book and read every article on the subject, and then you'll read them all again just in case you missed something.
You will also constantly be asking yourself the following questions:
- What are the right foods to eat?
- What's the best way to stay in shape without injuring myself?
- Oh no. I coughed three times in a row. Am I getting sick? Please no! *chugs water*
3) You will give weekly updates to all your friends about how it's going.
Instead of a "bump update," it's a training update. My baby is the size of a pineapple! I just did my 15-mile long run! Now my ankles are swollen, and I need to lie down.
4) Over the training period, you will see your body change.
Things get bigger and smaller and tighter and looser, and it mostly just depends on how you hold your weight and whether you're a boy or a girl. It's either a pregnancy belly or calves the size of a bison. Take your pick.
5) By the time the day finally arrives, you're ready for it to be over.
It's been months, and you're sick of it all. Can't we just DO THIS THING already? I'm tired and achy, and I just want it to be over. I'm tired of thinking about it. I'm tired of having weird nightmares about bowel movements. I'm tired of all these intense food cravings!!!
You also start over with reason #1: slightly freaking out. Only you're most like majorly freaking out because ARE YOU CRAZY?! Who thought this would be a good idea?
Is it too late to back out?
6) The night before the big day, you pack a bag with all the essentials.
It's important you have everything you need, ready for you to grab when the moment comes. A change of clothes, a bottle of water, and your camera.
And then... you're off!
7) You start slow, and hours later there's still little to show for it.
The sun has risen in the sky, and you're still doing this thing. Screaming and crying and bleeding (gross, sorry). You're sucking on ice and sweating profusely, and it hurts more than anything has ever hurt before. Your practiced breathing isn't helping, and you're wheezing like an old lady.
The sprint to the finish.
8) And almost instantly you forget about the pain you just went through, because this is the most wonderful feeling you've ever felt in your life.
You collapse, of course. Because you're tired. But you can't hold back the triumphant smile. They hand you your medal, and you can't believe you've really done it!
You continue to stare at your medal all day long. You don't want to let it out of your sight. It's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen! It has your eyes, which is really only not weird if it's a baby and not a piece of medal on a ribbon.
9) Now you have a new name.
You were a wife, a woman. Now you're a mom.
In similar fashion (although there's no card aisle in Target for this category), before you were a runner; now you're a marathoner. You post a thousand pictures on all social outlets so everyone can see what you've done and be happy for you too.
10) Then you waddle home and fall into bed.
It was wonderful, amazing, and truly spectacular. But all you really want to do right now is sleep.
That's, I think, where the similarities end.
Because according to my research (aka observing my friends), moms don't sleep. Like, ever.
I, however, after my marathon, slept like a baby.