Recently a story was shared around about Sophie Power, a British runner who stopped to breastfeed her baby during UTMB. UTMB is an incredibly challenging 106 mile race through the Alps. I was so excited to read the story and see the photos. She talked with Runner’s World about her experience and it spotlighted the idea of women who nurse while they train and race. Heather Irvine wrote an excellent article for the publication in response to many comments that she saw about momming, nursing, pregnancy, and running. It reflected a lot of what I feel about the topics.
I am pregnant with our second son, 29 weeks, and still running and strength training. I ran and trained through my first pregnancy. My first race postpartum was a half marathon the day my son turned three months old. I stopped to nurse halfway through my first postpartum 50k, and navigated pumping to travel for a 100k. I ran my first 100M when he was a year and a half old. It’s become important to me to share what I’m doing throughout my pregnancies and postpartum nursing months, acknowledging that it’s different for every mom. I do this not because I want to show-off, but because I want to participate in the normalization of something that shouldn’t be stigmatized. It’s one area where I’m not worried about what other people think. I love running and being a mom. My son loves to be outside and on the trails with me, and I hope I can continue to encourage that.
Let me also say, if I stay in my bubble, ie away from Mr. and Mrs. Internets, I have received incredible support and cheerleading as a mom who runs ultras. Though the occasional trip through Facebook or a comment section quickly reminds me that my curated support group doesn’t reflect the gendered double standard that befalls parenting in my sport. People are quick to celebrate the father crossing a finish line with his children as inspirational and an excellent role model. Flip to a mom, and we start to hear how selfish she is for taking that time to train and race. I was incredibly disappointed then to see that Runner’s World, following this, posted a poll on their twitter account as a follow up to the Sophie Power story asking, “What do you think of runners breastfeeding or pumping mid run?”
The two response options:
“Gross, a little selfish”
“It’s her business”
Where’s the response for:
“What a badass mother runner!!”
I could go on and on about the disparities that women and moms face in this sport, or sports in general. Especially after such a prominent publication helped open the door wide to mom-shaming, it’s instinctive to start listing personal and national instances where moms are shamed for participating in their sport. I’d rather celebrate the women and moms out there who inspire. I’m so grateful to have people around me who are supportive, and friends who are navigating the same world. I love seeing more prominent moms like Katie Grossman, Rose Wetzel, and Anna Frost share their mothering journeys.
I’m incredibly grateful to be able to continue working with other runners as a coach, as well as RD through Team Sparkle Productions while I’m in what I’m calling an “off season.” I’m working to maintain a solid base level of running and fitness so that I can get back to racing in 2019. Yes, I have a race calendar tentatively planned out and am discussing strategies for training with two kiddos with my husband (who also needs to fit in his own.)
I’m hoping that by sharing some of what I do that I can add to the normalcy of running and mothering. I’m so proud to be able to wear Lululemon as one of their ambassadors as they continue to support me. My ambassador photo hanging in their Leawood, KS location pictures me out trail running, pregnant. It’s exciting to me that their company will showcase that part of my running.
Here’s to more miles pre and post bump.