raising little ones in the great outdoors

Mom A Running

I am a runner.  I’m not fast or talented, or even an accomplished runner.  In fact, by some definitions, I’m just a jogger.  But it’s how I see myself. As a runner…and a mom.

As a running mom I have done a number of ridiculous things. I’ve run with a jogger stroller or a double stroller, stopping mid-run to swing or slide at the playground. I’ve trained and raced while breastfeeding (not at the same time).  Often I wake in the early morning hours to squeeze in a workout.  My post-run routine usually includes packing lunches, and my breakfast is the carrots or apples required in each lunch bag. However, there is something I haven’t done, or rather stopped doing – I did not run during my pregnancies.

Recently, I saw it in a magazine again. “She ran through each pregnancy.”  “She ran until the day before she delivered.”   On and on and on; the magazines seem to overflow with women who didn’t skip a beat while expecting. But not me; I skipped a lot of beats while pregnant.

As a little background, I have had six babies in thirteen years which means I have had a lot of time to think about my decision.  I did have one glorious pregnancy when I ran until I was six months pregnant and power-walked my way into labor, but after that nothing was easy while expecting.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t blame the running for my subsequent gestational problems, most of the time.  Each pregnancy would start with a vow to stay active, but then the problems would start and I would be advised to “take it easy,” “limit your activity,” or “just do less.”  I’m not preaching that no woman should run while pregnant. I’m just saying that sometimes you don’t, and that’s okay.

I didn’t learn this lesson with grace or ease.  Once while describing a concern I had after a short bike ride, my perinatologist (not the run-of-the-mill OB, but a specialist for high risk pregnancies) disapprovingly glanced up from the ultrasound and said, “You probably shouldn’t do that anymore.”

Nevertheless, I have learned something about patience and investment.  So many times in my pregnancies, I had no control of our fate, mine and my little passenger.  I have read the different articles arguing whether limiting your activity helps a pregnancy succeed, but running was one facet of my life that I could control and sacrifice for each child.  As one doctor told me, it was better to err on the side of caution.  Slowly, I have learned that in the end, it’s only six or seven months of my life.  Running waits for you, the stroller is there and your shoes still fit.

Jennie after her race with Steve and the newest Bohrer

Jennie after her race with Steve and the newest Bohrer

Family is about investing time, energy, and love.  Pregnancy is the beginning of that investment and sometimes it requires a bigger commitment than we planned.  But after six kids, I know they are worth it.

As I came out of my six-week post-baby appointment, I saw a flyer on the receptionist’s desk for a Thanksgiving Day run my obstetrician was sponsoring.  Right then I told myself I was going to run that race- next year.  So this Thanksgiving, I slipped the turkey into the oven and lined up for the 10K.  Then, I came home, scooped the baby up in my arms, and started cooking. Did I mention I was hosting Thanksgiving?  Just another day in the life of a running mom.

Jennie Bohrer

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4 Responses to “Mom A Running”

  1. Jennie–

    3 hour long lunches. 2 (or more) nights a week when I had “one too many.” Workdays that extended into nightdays. Trips that had indefinite plans, and indefinite ends. Weekend sex. Weekday sex. The luxury of reading a book from beginning to end…even if the end occurred the following dawn. The even BIGGER luxury of waking up, showering, and then getting back into bed for a few more hours. Eating out in establishments where entrees cost more than 5 dollars.

    These are just a few of the dim memories I have of the era known forevermore as BC (Before Children). Yet running has never been, or will ever, find itself on that list.

    Sure, I ebb and flow sometimes (right now I am battling rhino-virus #2 of the winter season known as the Preschool Plague)–but you are right: the stroller is there, and the shoes DO fit.

    Thanks for your wise words–patience and investment, isn’t that what parenting is all about, anyway? Run on…

  2. ryan says:

    When choosing to have children there are some quality-of-life sacrifices but by adapting to the flow, with patience and balance I have continued to do the activities I love and in the process have taught my children an appreciation for the great outdoors.
    My wife is pregnant with our forth so life could get a little bit more complicated thanks running mom for the assurance

  3. Jenny says:

    Oh, thank you for your words. Patience. I just had my second kiddo via cesarean and all I want to do is exercise! But I have to take it slowly. Patience. Reading this came at the right time- and how awesome that you have 6 kids! I CAN do it with 2 kids…

  4. Tammi says:

    I ended up doing interval running, as some runners train, with spurts of running and periods of walking. It’s a little more bearable and I can go further. The periods of walking allows me to interact with the children more. So far it’s working.

    Jogging Stroller


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