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A Letter to My Pre-Pregnant Self

Dear Makenna,

I’m reaching back in time to speak to you.

I know you’re doing well, and I know you’ve got big dreams.

I also know you’re terrified to set those dreams aside and listen to the voice on your other shoulder telling you to start a family.

Just one more race. Just one more chance to qualify for the Olympic Trials. Just one more 3-month training block that ends in a big PR, and I’ll be satisfied enough to pause for a second. I’ve got time. I’m young, and I’m in such good shape from this last training block it’d be a waste, stupid, irresponsible to get pregnant now.

Good points. I get it. This is your identity. These are the fruits you’ve worked years to harvest. But let me crystal ball with you for a second.

The moment you find out you’re pregnant, something will happen.

Even as your pee is still being absorbed by the flash-drive sponge thing and the second blue line is appearing, you’ll change. Your core will change.

The one thing you’ve considered the absolute most important thing in your life to this point will move - in an instant - to second place.

And this is no photo-finish second place, either. This is just-got-lapped-by-a-world-record-holder-with-600-meters-to-go second place.

Your anxieties, hesitations, fears, worries and all other powerful emotions that keep you holding on for dear life to the outcome of the next race will become invisible. Instantly.

Oh, they’ll come back. At 8 weeks you’ll worry whether you’ve just untied your running shoes for the last time ever.

At 6 months you’ll worry whether you’ll ever get your body back.

At 8 months you’ll lie awake with your big uterus slowly crushing your lungs, and wonder how in the world you’ll ever be a competitive runner again - much less in the next few months.

But in that moment, just as you’re finding out you’re having a baby, you will be given perfect perspective.

I know this because I did it. I was there when your pee dried.

I was there when you called Mike to pick you up crying on the side of the road only 3 miles into a 10-mile run.

I was there for every one of hundreds of miles during those 9 months, and the last run, two days before giving birth to a beautiful… Well I know you don’t want to know the sex.

Here’s the thing: I was also there for the first run two weeks after delivery. And I’ll tell you what, you felt good. The stitches were slightly uncomfortable, but you felt good. You were light as a feather without those 35 extra pounds.

Look at me talking in the past tense like this isn’t your future.

I won’t tell you what happened after that because good surprises are better than prophecies. Just know you have a lot of big running stuff to look forward to.

I’ll end this letter here, but if you’re okay with it, I’ll be sending a few more, periodically, with advice about how to do what I know you can in the months following your pregnancy.

I love you a lot,


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