This is just one small part of the overall “marathons are like labor” simile that I’ve been working on for about 3 months. I have to actually run the marathon before the comparison can be made in completion, but I definitely have some good material brewing.

It occurred to me the other day that if the marathon = labor, then the training = pregnancy. Here are just a few of the many parallels.

1. ACHES: When you’re pregnant and when you’re training, you talk about your aches and pains a lot with your friends. You also moan a lot, especially when you are first getting out of bed, because places that have never hurt before now hurt.

2. THE CALENDAR: When you’re pregnant and when you’re training, you are obsessed with calendars. You love to mark off the end of each week because it shows the progress you are making. You love the milestones you cross, like the first trimester, or the first run longer than a half marathon.

3. IT’S ALL MENTAL: The first night of my hypno-birthing class (which is supposed to train you to experience pain-free labor… ask me how well that worked! HA HA! HA HA! HA!), the teacher told our class that we had to stop telling people “I am going to try to have a natural birth” and begin to tell everyone “I am going to have a natural birth.” In my training, I have to work very hard on this one: “I am going to run a marathon.” “I am going to finish a marathon.” There. I said it.

4. BODY CHANGES: When you’re pregnant, your body gets bigger and bigger and also changes in alarming and disconcerting ways. When you’re training for a marathon, your body just looks better and more muscly. I guess this one doesn’t really work.

5. EVERYBODY-ELSE-CAN-DO-IT MENTALITY: When you’re pregnant and when you’re training, you feel reassured by looking around at all the other people who survived the thing you are getting ready for. You think: “Look at all these people! Every single one of them was born from a woman!” You spend hours on Youtube watching videos about marathons and see all those people crossing the finish line. You read strangers’ race reports online. Some of them scare you to death because some of the people have “marathon horror stories” but you read them anyway and add all of their mishaps to your list of things to worry about. But mostly, you are reassured by the thousands of people who finish marathons happily every year.

6. EATING: When you’re pregnant and when you’re training, you eat a lot more than usual. You eat whatever the hell you want, because it doesn’t matter at all. You eat all day. You eat big bowls of ice cream after dinner. You eat peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches on your way up to bed. You stop buying low-fat products. You eat half a pie in one sitting, out of the pan (I didn’t!).

Stay tuned for the complete explanation of the race and labor connections, followed by a post-race/ post pardum epilogue.

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