Updated: Oct 15, 2018
I have been fortunate enough to work with and coach the Alzheimer's Association Boston Marathon Charity Team for the last three years, which is where I met Nicole Brown. She was ready to run every Saturday morning through the Boston winter rain or shine, hot or (usually) freezing cold with a smile on her face. Not only is she a beautiful person inside and out, her positive attitude is contagious and a constant encouragement to her teammates. No matter what, she got her long run done every week, then headed home to be with her family. She's an amazing athlete, mom, occupational therapist, and teammate.
I'm very proud to introduce Nicole as our September MUM of the month!
I was a lucky that getting pregnant both times was quite easy. As soon as we started “trying” I got pregnant. Prior to getting pregnant the first time I was an avid exerciser. My go-to exercise was running as it was easy to get out the door and run after work instead of going off to the gym. The year before having my first child I ran my first Boston marathon.
I have to admit that I really despised being pregnant. I am normally a petite person and carrying that extra weight was really not fun for me. I did exercise throughout both pregnancies. I tried running for a few months but quickly stopped, as it was uncomfortable even with wearing the belly band support. Although the belly band didn’t help much with running, it helped tremendously at work; since I was on my feet at work all day as an occupational therapist. All-in-all my first pregnancy went smoothly and without any pains or
aches. My second pregnancy, however, was tougher with pelvic pain and varicose veins. Much of my second pregnancy I wore thigh-high compression socks for comfort and to prevent the varicose veins from popping out. Let me tell you that getting those bad boys on when you are 9 months pregnant is no joke!
I had a vaginal delivery with both of my children who are 2 years 3 months apart. The first birth was much longer, as to be expected. My water broke in the middle of the night around 11pm. No contractions occurred so I had to be induced. My son arrived at 11pm the following evening. I planned to have a natural birth, but after several hours of horrible, fast and furious contractions from being induced I decided to get an epidural. If I had known how long I would be in labor I probably would have been able to endure the pain of natural birth. Having a birth “plan” is good but being open to changes in that plan is important.
The second birth was much easier. My contractions began around 3am and she was born by 7pm that night. Much to my dismay my 1st child was throwing up the day I was in labor with my second; so cleaning the rugs in between contractions may have helped to speed things up! With my second childbirth I got to the hospital and immediately asked for the epidural. I was ready to “enjoy” the experience of childbirth this time around. My daughter was smaller (7lbs 3oz instead of 8lbs) so the birth process was much easier
Things were much tougher when the children were really young. Lucky for me I was able to work part time when the children which helped my mental sanity for sure. Without a doubt, the days I worked were easier than the days I was home. Being home and caring for my 2 kids was mentally and physically exhausting.
Motherhood is a hard job. It is not one that anyone can prepare you for, as it is a personal one.
Returning to running after my first-born went smoothly, at first. It was definitely after several months of recovery that I began to run since I had a stage 3 tear during childbirth. A few months into running again, I began to get some nerve pain in my left leg. Lucky for me I had never been prone to injury. It mumswas quite frustrating to take time off and see a chiropractor. I had never been a believer in chiropractic medicine until after a few months of chiropractic treatment and I was able to run pain-free. I wouldn’t have recovered on my own, as my hips had gone out of alignment- most likely due to carrying my heavy son on my left hip to keep my right dominant arm/hand free to do stuff around the house. Luckily, I returned to exercise more quickly after my second child was born; as she was smaller and I didn’t have the childbirth issues to complicate things.
Honestly, I bought a running stroller to use with my first born but I never used it to run. I then bought the double jogger when I had my second child, but again I never ran with it. Running was my me-time. It was time to get out of the house by myself and meditate. My go-to race after having my son, and also after having my daughter, was the half-marathon distance. For me it was a perfect distance because it meant sticking to a running schedule; which also meant no skipping a run and no excuses. This gave me the “guilt free” feeling I needed to get out and run.
It wasn’t until my kids were on the brink of 5 and 7 that I took on a marathon training schedule. I have now run the Boston Marathon the last two years (2017, 2018) as part of the Alzheimer’s Association team. I have to admit I was crazy and ran the Providence Marathon 3 weeks after Boston this year (redemption after the "monsoon"). I don’t recommend doing marathons three weeks apart. My schedule during the week required running on the treadmill when the kids and I got home from school/work and the kids wanted to just relax for a half hour. I didn’t have time to run in the morning due to an early start (long commute to work) and I was too tired at night to run.
Being part of a running team was never me. I liked the solidarity and the time to “think” until I met my Alzheimer’s Association teammates. This is what changed my perspective. I can’t say enough about being part of a team that is working towards a greater good through running. Finding the time to commit to running while working full time, taking care of my kids after school every day, and fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association has been a challenge. It IS DOABLE and I am proof!
I have to admit that Summer time is my lazy time. I don’t exercise well in the heat and I don’t like the gym. I do what I can to squeeze in a run early morning or at night. I have been fortunate working as a school occupational therapist these past few years to have the summers off with my kids. This also comes with the challenge of fitting in running with the kids (and my 2 dogs) around all the time with summer vacation. Let’s just say I haven’t booked any marathons lately!