Three kids and over 20 marathons later and I've begun to notice quite a few similarities between the two. That's running a marathon or an ultra and having a baby. Don't believe me? Let's take a look.
First, there's that nervous excitement and build up. For the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, there's that ‘am I or aren't I pregnant’ feeling. That worry and self-doubt, and the hope that when the scan comes all will be fine and it wasn't a false positive on the test. You question every niggle and twinge. Then you have the scan and relax (after you've finally emptied your bladder) as you see your baby and confirm you are pregnant.
The first time you sign up to a marathon you are filled with nerves and worry. Shall I? Shall I not? Can I do this? What will people say? You fill the form in and then delete your details, then fill it in again. Before you know it the confirmation email is there, you are about to run your first marathon.
When do I tell people? What will they think?
You start with close family and friends and then begin to branch out. It's real. You are doing this, you are having a baby or you are running a marathon.
The next few weeks are a bit of a blur. The sickness from pregnancy begins to ease and the sickness from entering your first marathon is beginning to wear off. After all, it's ages away.
20-week scan, ok it's getting real now, the baby is going to be here soon. 20 weeks to go for a marathon and it’s time to start training. The preparation for both starts.
You start to talk about both more. Pregnancy is becoming more noticeable and seems to be the main topic of conversation. Marathon training begins to take over, you fit it into your daily life and soon it becomes your main focus.
The final few weeks are here. You begin to question whether you can do this, you worry you aren't prepared enough but mostly you just want your baby in your arms and you really want to finish that marathon. It won't be long now and the nerves creep in.
The big day arrives. You start off feeling in control. Focused and determined. You send yourself positive messages of reassurance, after all, you are not the first to do this. You can do this. You will do this. Look at you doing it.
The pain slowly begins to intensify. Pain relief is needed or maybe just a boost of energy. Those niggling doubts are beginning to creep in. The determination is still there. You trained/prepared for this.
The final bit.
I can't do this. The self-doubt is in full force and it takes every ounce of your mental strength to continue.
The last push
As you reach the last push you begin to ignore the pain, no matter how great. You are nearly there now and you can sense the end is in sight. You utter the words 'Never again' and 'why did I want to do this’.
Your baby is placed in your arms. You did it! You’re filled with relief and pride. All the emotions happen at once.
You cross the finish line. You did it. Relief and pride take over and once that medal is around your neck you feel all the emotions.
For the next week, you walk like John Wayne, hate stairs, can't sleep and want to tell everyone about your achievement/baby. You flood your social media accounts with photos. People congratulate you and want to see your baby/medal. They ask when you will do it again, you laugh.
Then you think, well maybe one more.