Running My First Marathon at
10 Weeks Pregnant
by Crystal Kupper
(Mountain Home, Idaho)
with my future marathoner, Jack
Staring at the pregnancy test in my hand, my brain lapsed into shock. It was my twenty-second birthday, and this positive result was the last present I expected. Numbly, one thought emerged: my marathon is in six weeks!
Running a marathon had long been a goal of mine. In my senior year of college, I decided it was time. Never mind that my Air Force husband and I were living in the high desert of Idaho, where 20-mile-an-hour winds and winter temperatures in the teens are normal. Add in the lack of oxygen and rolling tumbleweeds that can knock you flat, and even an easy three-miler turns into a serious adventure.
Now, I could add morning sickness to the list of reasons to stay inside. When I told my husband Nickolas the news, he beamed. “But what about your marathon?” he asked. “Do you think it will hurt the baby?”
The little internet research I had done on the subject didn’t reveal much. (At the time, I hadn’t discovered www.running-mom.com). My inner drive screamed to keep going, so I reassured Nick. “Don’t worry, I won’t do it if the doctor says no,” I lied.
“I wouldn’t recommend it,” an Air Force doctor told me. So I went to another one.
“How many miles per week are you running?” she asked me. You could tell she thought I was crazy for wanting to run that far, pregnant or not. “Sixty,” I answered. “I ran 18 miles
the day I got pregnant….afterward,” I added for good measure. “If the baby can survive that, it can survive anything!” I felt like a salesman.
Despite her green light, the next few weeks seriously challenged my enthusiasm. Waking up puking, I’d think, I get to run 20 miles today…for fun!
I didn’t change my training at all, other than to make extra-sure I stayed hydrated and didn’t push myself too hard. On mornings my stomach revolted, I’d visualize my baby pumping his or her little fists inside me, cheering me on. We were running this thing together!
So at ten weeks pregnant, I crossed the finish line at the inaugural Eugene Marathon in Oregon in four hours, 46 minutes. Hiking some hills with my parents that night, I finally told them I was pregnant. After looking blissful, my mother’s countenance quickly changed to disbelief.
“You ran a MARATHON while pregnant with my grandchild?!?!” she screamed. “Are you crazy?”
I smiled. I knew I wasn’t – I’d never felt more proud or more accomplished in my life.
Today, I’m so glad I didn’t let pregnancy deter me from my goal. Actually, carrying a little life enhanced the whole experience, and I’d do it all over again. I ran until I was eight months along, then switched to speed-walking. Jack was born completely healthy, and today’s there’s nothing he likes more than a long run in his jogging stroller. I’m convinced he’s going to be a marathoner one day!