We are continually inspired by the community of moms we are honored to meet and serve. Here’s an amazing story from a very dedicated mom.
About me: My name is Shelby and I am a 28 year old mama of a 2 year old little boy, with another little boy on the way. I live in the beautiful state of Colorado and love to do just about anything outside. In just a few short weeks I will be graduating with my master’s degree as a Physician Assistant with hopes to eventually go into Pediatrics. To complicate things a little, I also happen to be an Army wife. My husband has unfortunately had to live across the country from us for the last 16 months while I finish up school and he completed training. And if life weren’t crazy enough, I also love running marathons!
As an avid marathon runner, a big goal of mine has always been to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This desire was only strengthened by the events that took place at last year’s Boston Marathon. I knew I wanted to be there for the 2014 race. In May of 2013 I finally achieved that goal at the Colfax Marathon in Denver, CO. I came in right under the qualifying time so I decided to try one more time at the Ventura Marathon in September. I got to spend a wonderful weekend with a fellow mother runner and improved my PR by another 7 minutes! A few weeks later, registration opened up for the 2014 Boston Marathon and I decided that I would go for it. My husband and I knew we wanted to start trying for baby #2 in the fall, but I also didn’t want to skip signing up for the race and then end up not being pregnant by the time race day rolled around. As it turns out, we got pregnant the next month! I decided I would continue to train and see how my body felt, taking it day by day to determine if I would be able to run the marathon. I had run a half marathon while pregnant with my son but definitely never the full 26.2. My OB didn’t love the idea but he felt comfortable with me listening to my body and doing what I could handle.
Training for this marathon was especially difficult, not only because I was pregnant, but because I was acting as a single mom and working full time doing my clinicals for school. The long and sometimes odd hours left me with little time for training during the week. Since I was a single mom, I also had to find babysitters so that I could do my long runs on the weekends. While I didn’t put in as many hours running as I would have liked, my body continued to feel strong. My main struggles consisted of some foot pain, requiring new extra cushioned shoes, and the need to pee frequently, requiring many bathrooms breaks along my routes. But before I knew it, April had arrived, I was 28 weeks pregnant, and I was still feeling like I could try and run the marathon.
Race day was a gorgeous sunny day and the late start meant the temperature was pretty toasty by the time we started. Having trained during winter time in Colorado, I was definitely not prepared for this weather. Becoming dehydrated was one of my biggest concerns with being pregnant, so I carried a handheld water bottle with me. Not only did I stop at just about every aid station to drink both Gatorade or water, I also drank from my handheld bottle throughout the race. This meant more bathroom breaks than I have even taken in a race – 6 to be exact! I continued to sweat (a lot) throughout the race but I knew baby and I were well hydrated. I also took frequent walk breaks as my husband requested that I do. I chose to run a little faster and walk less during the first half while it was cooler and there were less hills, and then walk more later on in the race. This is usually the opposite of what I would try to do in a marathon but I also am not usually 7 months pregnant. The crowds and energy along the course were absolutely amazing! By the end, I didn’t really feel like running (or stopping to pee) anymore but the energy of all of the people along the route kept me going. I can now say it was one of the best experiences I have ever had and crossing the finish line that day is something I will never forget. It felt amazing to honor those that had lost their lives or been injured the year before. It felt amazing to be part of a running community that was so much bigger than myself. It felt amazing to have run marathon #7 almost 7 months pregnant.
Recovery was actually much easier than I expected. My finish time was 4:53 which was by far my slowest marathon, but also meant that I was barely sore the next day. My husband and I actually spent the next day touring the whole city of Boston. While I will never forget this experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything, I am not sure another pregnant marathon is in my future. But I look forward to telling my son about the day he ran the Boston Marathon!
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