When I trained for my first marathon, I did all of my speed workout with a group of guys.  I was the only girl, and determined to hold my own against them.  Every Wednesday without fail, we met at a local high school track and I ran pretty much in the middle of the pack on every repeat.

During the recovery portion of our intervals, we talked mostly about running, other sports, and occasionally work.  Our conversations were far different than the ones I have when running with my female friends.  Because this was the first time I’d really pushed myself while running since I’d become a mom, I’d occasionally equate some aspect of running or racing to childbirth, and the guys would crack up. Even the married ones couldn’t quite relate; however, my fellow mama runners certainly can.

After my MRTT friends did such a great job coming up with clever ideas for my Murphy’s Law for Runners post, I decided to crowd-source again.  I asked my friends to tell me why they think racing is like childbirth.  Together, we came up with some doozies!

With both running a marathon and having a baby, as soon as you forget the pain, you’re ready to sign up for it again! ~ Deb

The closer you get to the finish, the harder you have to breath. ~ Deb

When the race gets difficult, just like during labor, you look for someone to blame. ~ Deb

You work hard to prepare for that big day, yet when when it comes, you’re stunned at just what your body can do. ~ Deb

Both running a marathon and childbirth are endurance events. ~ Deb

With both, there’s a whole lot of sweating and cursing going on. ~ Keri

Technically you know your body was built for this, but you don’t quite believe that while it’s happening. ~ Keri

No two are the same. Even for the same mother (or runner) no birth (or marathon) is ever exactly like others you’ve experienced. ~ Amanda

Mentally visualizing your experience helps you to achieve it. ~ Jill

There are often factors outside your control that impact your experience, for better or worse. ~ Jill

Having great support in the moment AND along the journey increases your chances of a favorable outcome! ~ Jill

We all end up with the same prize… medal and baby ~ Jill

In both a race and in childbirth you just pray you can hold your poop in. ~ Lisa

You scramble to write down each experience before the details become fuzzy… because it’s something you want to remember forever. ~ Jill

Your body works better when hydrated! ~ Jill

Childbirth is like the marathon without a course map and of an unknown distance. You sign up for the marathon, but you have no idea what exactly lies ahead. Is this Chicago or Big Sur? And then, at about mile 25, when you are beyond exhausted, you discover that this marathon is actually a 50K and might even be a 50 Miler, but no one can tell you, because they don’t know either. And to top it all off, all of the aid stations have only ice chips to offer you. ~ Amanda

You are always trying to push…push to the finish line of the marathon or pushing the little munchkin out. ~ Angela

While most of us train for it, some people can just show up and do. ~ Britta

It’s the end goal that matters – healthy mom/baby or finishing! There is no shame in how you achieve the goal (walk breaks or c-section/pain medication). But the accomplishment lasts a lifetime – you have achieved a new title by achieving your goal (marathoner or mother). ~ Jackie

No matter how many people are cheering you on, you do each race / birth alone, and there’s strength in knowing you have that power. ~ Britta

Most of the pain is at the beginning – eventually you find your happy place to get through it. ~ Jessica

I breathed through labor as if I was climbing a hill at a race!!! ~ Jackie

Lots of people who’ve never done either use time limits or research-based models, yet each of us has our own ‘normal,’ and there’s no wrong way to do either as long as you finish healthy. ~ Britta


  • Questions:
  • Moms out there: what other comparisons can you add?
  • How many races have you run?
  • If you have children, how many do you have?