Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Too Pregnant To Run a Marathon?


I want to start out this post by saying that, even though the meanies in elementary school thought otherwise, I do not have a uterus.  I have never, nor do I ever want to (because I would die), give birth.  In fact, I feel so strongly about this, I even took a picture in the bathroom proving that there was no uterus present:

Not the picture you were expecting?


First, I would be remiss in mentioning a KILLER run that I had today.  I had 11 miles on the schedule with 6x1200 at 5K pace.  I NAILED them with overall pace of the fast sections being 5:58/mile.  If I could replicate runs like that I might never stop running, Forrest Gump style.  But, on the flip side, to show that I’m not trying to be boastful. . . . Monday, I ran 6 miles in the morning and about pooped my pants (had to "walk it off") and then 4 again at night which, while a fun family run, was at 45 seconds slower than goal pace.

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Me at the 2008 Chicago marathon the only race that I have taken off my shirt and my personal worst marathon
Those nipple band-aids left tan lines that stayed there ALL winter.
The Chicago marathon was this past weekend.  Unlike so many other large marathons, I was able to watch the FREE live stream on my computer.  It was a hot day, but honestly how many years out of 10 can it be in the 80s and not be considered “normal” (They are working on 5 or 6 non consecutive years)?  There was a new course record on the Men’s side (2:05:37) and the second fastest women to run a marathon EVER (2:18:20).  Regrettably one man lost his life while running, oh and a woman ran while she was 39 weeks pregnant (for the guys – that is out of FOURTY weeks total!)

The story of the pregnant woman running has picked up not only social media steam, but also mainstream media steam – appearing on the Today show as well as many other news outlets.  Once she finished in 6 hr 25 min, having contractions from the start, she gave birth to a healthy baby seven hours later at 10pm the same night.  As you can imagine, the fact that she ran the race has been a bit polarizing.



Many have said that she is reckless at best and negligent at worst for stressing her body at such a late stage of gestation.  This seems to be the position of mainstream media.  Most article’s I’ve read and reports I’ve seen (because I am a news whore) have suggested that she is a crazy person, addicted to running.  Others have said that, since she had her doctors permission and took it twice as slow as normal, people are getting up in arms about something that was a slight risk at worst. Here is one of the many articles about the race, but here are the cliff notes facts:

  • Amber Miller is 27 years old
  • 8 marathons previously ran
  • 3:25 marathoner (7:45ish pace)
  • Had spoke with her doctor about the race, agreeing to a run 2, walk 2 strategy
  • Had ran 2 marathons previous to Sunday while pregnant


Like I said in the opening, I’m a guy and therefore have to defer to her doctor who gave her the thumbs up.  So, I guess it would seem fine to me.  That said, I think that I would be highly suspect if my wife tried to do it while THAT pregnant.  However, playing devil’s advocate, like many people said on twitter Michael Jackson’s doctor said some pretty bad things were okay – and I don’t think I even have to mention Octo-mom.  I think the real thing that bothers me is the negative vibe most of the news reports have.

What do you think?  Just because she COULD do it, SHOULD she have?  If 39 weeks is too pregnant, is 30 weeks ok?  What about 20?   

40 comments:

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

Of course it was stupid. I mean, she and the baby both DIED.

Oh, no, wait, they're both healthy and fine.

So, what's the problem?

I mean, do people think this is going to make other 39 week pregnant ladies try to run marathons? HA HA HA HAHA HAHAHAHAHAAHAH.

Heather said...

It just shows how ignorant people can be. It's not like she'd never run before in her life and decide to run 26.2. If anything, I can't imagine how uncomfortable it would be, since I was huge at 39 weeks. More power to her.

WannabeRunner said...

First off, awesome job on your kick ass run!! Dang!

Second, i believe that every woman knows their own body more or less. Who are we to judge!

I still think she's crazy, though. ;)

Nicki said...

Honestly? Women in third world countries give birth in fields while working and continue to work. Women - sometimes actually teenagers - in this country give birth in bathrooms and abandon the babies.

This woman consulted with her health care provider. She was neither a new marathoner nor a new mother so she knew what to expect out of both the race and the delivery.

It is truly a non-issue except that the mainstream media wants to make it one.

Laura said...

Tan lines from NipGards...An image that may not leave me for awhile.
I get where the fuss is coming from..but I say good for her. She didn't do it on a whim, is healthy, had a docs ok.....

Nelly said...

I've seen a lot of stories about this from people, given that she was 9 months pregnant personally it didn't seem like the best decision to me to do the race. If she had done that many marathons before, then it seems like she could wait until after the baby was born before trying to do another one. It sounds like everything worked out, but it didn't seem to be worth the risk of doing the race. Though the mainstream media loved blowing this story out of proportion.

XLMIC said...

I nee to come BACK AND COMMENT WHEN MY 2 yr old ISN'T PRESSING THE CAPS LOCK KEY (she LIKES THE GREEN LIGHT SHE Just TOLD ME). WHAT HAPPENS IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES IS A B.S. ARGUMENT. They also have a way higher infant and maternal mortality rate. But she was going 15 min miles which is like a brisk walk and I know that when I was hugely pregnant, I wanted to walk these babies right on out. So... and she didn't drop and birth right there on the line on the pavement... she labored for another several hours. It's all media hype. But still... kind of obsessive compulsive needing to do a marathon come Hell or high water. But that's just my opinion :) Maybe I'll come back w/ more later... not sure.

Jess said...

On the one hand, kudos to her! Pregnant women are capable of a lot more than what people give them credit for.

On the other hand, I think this incident has set pregnant running back about 20 years because now everyone is going to look at a pregnant woman running and think of this woman (who is an extreme example) and judge that preggo runner for being "crazy."

J said...

I think people are just too judgmental. If I could I probably would do the same thing- its not like that was her first marathon or anything, she is an experienced runner! I just hate how everyone is getting on her! Its her life she can do what she wants! Shes fine, the baby is fine so move on! Its a great story just no need to make it out like runners are crazy! OK so I get a little upset about this issue.

Clyde S Dale said...

I think it was pretty stupid. Is the risk worth the reward? No. I mean it's not like she going to PR the race. And even if she did would it mean anything? Thank goodness everyone turned out okay. But I hope it doesn't inspire a bunch of other women to take the chance. I mean how would you feel if something went bad?

Phoebe said...

I am pregnant with my third. I am due on April 10. I am running 4 or 5 times a week and have done 4 marathons. I have decided that this fetus is going to be born on Monday, April 16th (Boston Marathon day) instead of the 10th so I can deliver at the starting line. I figure I'll drop the placenta about mile 2. I've always wanted to be on the Today show...

For real (I AM actually pregnant and running regularly and due 4/10) I just think she was totally selfish and plain old nuts for this stunt, which I think it was. She wasn't running for am amazing cause. It wasn't her beloved sister's dying wish. It was RI-FREAKING-DONK-ULOUS. I know I know, judge not lest I be judged. But bring it on. You'll NEVER discover my most alarming privately made decision! (Because I didn't do it in freakin' public and on freakin' TV!!)

Randy said...

I am happy that this lady can be an example to others who are pregnant, just like Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe...both ran right up until they had children. You don't have to stop exercising for 40 weeks...you can stay active.

You don't have to run a marathon, but you can be healthy...and the baby will be healthier too.

Let's be honest, she completed a 6:25 marathon. That's a brisk walk through the mall when there's a sale at Penney's. Most small marathons have a 6 hour cutoff. It took nearly twice as long as her previous marathons. I think we need to cut her some slack, and look at it this way...

Run/Walking a marathon at 40 weeks isn't for everybody, but if a woman can do it, with the consent of her doctor, let's not crucify her for doing so.

She's a runner...a marathoner...one of US.

Char said...

Maybe she was trying to get the labour really happening. Exercise can do that. I only opted for a walk around the block but each to their own.

Beth (i run like a girl) said...

Nice job on your 11-miler!

I am not a fan of how negative all the media (and blog) attention has been. At. All.

The only people who really know whether or not it was a "good" decision are marathon mom, her husband, her doctor, and her (apparently healthy) baby.

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Well I wrote about this for today and I didn't really have a problem with it. She was physically fit, her husband was with her, there are cops in spitting distance on the course, medics near by and hospitals along the course path. I can name about 3 in boys town alone and one that I nearly walked into the ER last year when I wanted to give up further south on the course. I hear both sides. I actually looked up her splits and she was really just plodding along. When she did the Wisconsin marathon in May (when I did the half) her time was 4:23 and she wasn't even showing a little (i looked up her race pics) so to me she is the type who probably doesn't even look pregnant she's so physically fit. kwim?
I just don't want all the media hype to start to poo poo women into thinking they once again can't be physically active during their pregnancies. I just think it will set women back imo.

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Plus I also think she just wanted that kid OUT. If a women ended up walking 26.2 miles after spending all day at the mall walking to try to start labor would she be chastised as much as this woman? My guess is not really.

Brian said...

Nice job on your run. I on the other hand, had one of the "had to walk it off" runs that you referred to.

But wow, it was miserable enough just running w/that gross feeling. More power to her for getting through the marathon being THAT pregant! (And I hope they at least gave the baby a finisher's medal.)

undeterrable said...

I wouldn't have done it, but I can't judge her for doing it. She knows her body and she had her docs blessing. Really glad I wasn't behind her though. Being beat in a marathon by a woman about to give birth would do irreparable damage to my ego.

undeterrable said...

I wouldn't have done it, but I can't judge her for doing it. She knows her body and she had her docs blessing. Really glad I wasn't behind her though. Being beat in a marathon by a woman about to give birth would do irreparable damage to my ego.

MotherRunner said...

It's not something I would have done, but I don't think it was extraordinarily risky.

Let's be honest here. More dangerous for a seasoned marathoner to run/walk a marathon at term, or for a morbidly obese woman with many health problems to carry a baby?

Kristin said...

The fact that she is a fairly good Marathoner and has done 8 in the past, I think she was fine. She kept her heartrate low and the baby was not at risk. I think peoples stigma about pregnant women is just ridiculous. I have had plenty of people I know still run up until the day they gave birth. Good for her!!!

Kate said...

What Randy said.

Nobel4Lit said...

A little scary due to the weather and such. Everyone is different. While I probably(?) wouldn't do that, I can't discount it entirely.... kehehe

Amanda@runninghood said...

I say she's fine! What's the problem! She was obviously prepared for it, didn't run it fast and her baby was safe. Movement is good for labor. Obviously, unprepared and unable, this would be stupid!

Kayla said...

I see both sides for her running it. She did have the doctors approval, everyone's bodies are different...I see the reasons why she did it. I personally think that especially with the warm conditions, it was kind of dumb to do it though. But more power to her. Unfortunately for me, I barely beat her (which is kinda embarrassing).


AS for the weather being warm every year, the RD said that the average is still favorable conditions, which I can believe because just a week ago on our last long run in Chicago it was 40 degrees.

Caroline said...

I say this was stupid, selfish, iresposible. Why take that risk with the life of your own kid? Is it really worth it? There will always be other marathons. It is great it turned out well but she should not get all this attention.

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

I don't understand why this is a big deal in the negative sense to begin with. Were there no ambulances nearby? Do people not give birth at home, driveways, elevators etc.? I'm confused as to how this is anyone's problem and why our opinions even matter! Fact is she got her Doctor's "OK" AND let's not forget 37 weeks is considered full term -- aka get that child out of there!

Jill said...

I think if the doctor ok'd the thing, then people need to shut up!

Jamoosh said...

Thank you for ruining my day. Octomom? Seriously? I had finally forgotten she existed and then you use a Pregnant Marathon Runner as a flimsy excuse to extend her 15 minutes of fame. I hope they find out wine tannins lower your sperm count and cause 5% drop off in overall running pace.

Lisa said...

I dont' think it's a problem that she was running at week 39.

I do think it was a bit reckless to run after her contractions had started. Things can progress quickly and not sure she had a good plan on how to bail and get to the hospital quickly if needed.

fancy nancy said...

First off....great job rocking your 11 miler!

I go back and forth on this. I would say initially that she and her doctor approved it so go ahead. However given the temps and the fact that she was having contractions at the start....well common sense would have kicked in for me! Yes she finished and was obviously prepared for it, however would some of these comments have been different if the outcome was different. Would we be more saying it wasn't a wise move say if she gave birth on the course....or something happened to one or both of them? Thankfully they were both ok and I agree with pregnant running....I also agree with common sense. Contractions and high temps at the start....I would have thought twice. Obviously everything worked out for the best of everyone. Blessings to her!

Sara said...

I have never been pregnant - so I have not run while pregnant, but there have been several ladies in my running group who have. All of them have been in constant contact with their doctor and followed his/her recommendations. If the doctor said okay, then I would have to say it is okay. She most likely knew when/if to stop and as others said, it was not like she just decided to "take up" running and race on that day.

I personally may not do this (and my husband probably would not want me to), but you have to figure that her body was/is accustomed to running and the stress it creates on her. I think people are critical because they don't understand running and if they think THEY would not do it because it might be/could be dangerous, then NO ONE should.

If she had run without a doctor's input or put herself at further risk by pushing her pace, then I may think differently, but in this case, I don't think it was the WORST thing she could have done to herself or her child.

Runners Fuel said...

I think it's awesome that she ran. She had a healthy baby. Herslf and baby are ok and she had hjer dr.'s permission. When it comes that time, I will be running when I'm pregnant.

Katie said...

I'm with you - her decision was between her and her doctor, not her and 23758 snarky assholes who don't know the full story.

Mary said...

When I was 38 weeks pregnant I wanted to run a 5k. I had been running/woggling/wobbling my entire pregnancy. My doctor gave me the ok. It was just 3 miles. My husband did not. So I did not do the race (I did do 3 miles that day but close to home, slowly and without giving birth)
As long as all parties involved are OK with the plan then good for her.
The media and the couch potatoes who say otherwise need to get hobbies

Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen said...

I hate how pregnant runners get such bad publicity and labeled as mommyrexia or thought to not care about the health of their child. If you have your doctor's thumbs up, go for it! Just because she started did not mean she had to finish and was within arm's reach of help for the whole race. Good for her!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i wish i lived near you, i think I would start running faster just to keep up with you and hear what might come flying out of your mouth at any given moment

Whitney @9 Kid Fitness said...

And I thought I was cool for running 5 miles on the same day I gave birth....
I'm not surprised there has been a lot said about this. Once when I was about seven months pregnant my husband and I went out for a run. He was pushing a double jogger with two of our kids on board. For a brief few minutes I ended up pushing it while he was adjusting water bottles or something...an older woman pulled up in her car right next to us and looked at my husband and said "you ought to be ashamed of yourself"! He never let me push it again!

Missy said...

I have had four kids. I worked out with the last three, with each pregnancy doing a little more. I don't see a problem with her doing a marathon. Would someone be angry at her for walking around the mall shopping for 6hrs? What's the diff? The day my 4th was born I was up early, laundry, sweeping floors, grocery shopping for over an hour with 3 kids in tow, and then came home to make and freeze some meals, I was busy the whole day. I was probably on my feet walking for well over 7hrs, I didn't make the news and either should she. Good for her!

Joanna said...

Everyone I know sent me the link to that article because I am pregnant and running myself. I've gone back and forth about it, but ultimately I have to side with the mom. She talked it through with her doctor, she had a 2-2 plan and was otherwise an elite runner, she was ready to step off the course at a moment's notice and not finish. She did not just wake up and decide to enter the race--it was planned and done so considerately. Now, would I do it? No. But I will enter some 5 and 10k's before this baby comes!