Yesterday felt like my five minutes, or rather five hours, of fame. When I decided to have SR write "Loeb, Baby" on my big belly, I figured it would make a few people laugh.
I had NO idea what kind of reaction I would get. All along the course of the Copenhagen Marathon, you run through pockets of huge crowds of people. When I would approach one of these crowds, someone would announce the big pregnant woman and the crowd would erupt in cheering - for me. It was totally unreal. Throughout the race, people would hang out of windows to shout I had good style, follow me on bikes to take pictures, yell "viking baby!", offer me watermelon and give me hugs. What a response to a pregnant woman, which everyone is now telling me The Copenhagen Marathon has never seen before - at least not so far along. Well, I by no means started this phenomenon of pregnant marathoning, and of course personally regard it as a "normal" thing to do, so had NO clue it would get such a reaction and such a positive one.
And how did the race go? Well, as an experience, it could never be matched. It may be the most fun I have ever had at a race. As a race, well, I was slow and had stomach issues the entire way until the last 5km when I finally opened up and ran, baby. The one down side of everyone taking note of me was it was really hard to hide when I got sick to my stomach (five times, I think). I mentioned I had mastered the art of peeing without taking my shorts down - and that went great - but the other, well... you get the picture. :)
When you're running with the 5 hour marathoners the whole way, you experience an entirely different race. This is a very diverse group of people. And they don't stare you down wondering if who can run fastest. These people are there 1. just to complete it or 2. just to enjoy the experience. I was in the happy position to be there for both reasons. And I soaked in the street corners and parks and buildings with new, optimistic eyes. And I also suffered with those around me - 5 hours is a long time to be out there.
So was it hard to run a marathon 30 weeks pregnant? Well, after my stomach problems developed, I started getting contractions, and this was only at 18 km (not even to the half marathon) and I started wondering if finishing was realistic. But I walked a bit, drank a lot of sports drink and just took it easy. By 30 km the contractions were gone. Weird, but good. I was also lucky I had eaten and drunk a lot the two days before because I could not stomach food at all and drank only small sips at a time. But the actual running part was not hard. In fact, it was very fun. With 5km to go, I had plenty of reserve and ran a 9 min per mile pace to the end. That gave me an even split on the course and a time of 4:54. I was pleased.
Is running a marathon 30 weeks pregnant healthy? Absolutely. My body and soul tell me so. Is it healthy for YOU? Well, that depends. If you think it is healthy for you, it is. And if you are in the shape to run a mararthon, you have given your baby a very healthy environment to grow in, whether or not you actually complete one - at whatever stage of pregnancy.
Yesterday sure felt like it was all about me, but it was about 9000+ people having a magical day, sappy as that sounds. There were some truly amazing people out there, not least of all the people who get so much joy simply out of cheering others on. And then there were three women. One is my athletic club teammate and good friend, Mette, who I have mentioned numerous times. She finished in an incredible 4th place for the women in a time of 2:57. And this was on a windy day. This is a woman I should be and could be as fast as, but I'm not and never will be. What is her secret? She is focused, sticks to a plan and she eats bananas constantly. (trust me, I'm working on the banana thing: it's much easier than the other elements). Then there was Scout Bassett, who ran with a prosthetic leg. She unfortunately got such bad blisters that she had to drop, but what an inspiration. And finally, the only woman who has run every single Copenhagen Marathon, Ruth Hedegaard, turned 70 this year and decided NOT to run. Well, no one should feel they HAVE to run a marathon, but this still mad me sad. There is no reason 70 year olds should not be able to run a marathon if that is what they really want - and I don't know the whole story, but I sure hope she is back next year if that is what she wants.
What do I want? To run another marathon in 2 weeks - with my husband (who sadly had to work yesterday).