Labor & Delivery vs the Marathon

Labor & Delivery vs the Marathon

It is possible to almost experience the gynecological journey of women, even if you are a male or never bare a child in your life!  For instance, with my gluten allergy I know what it is like to have a period every day of my life. It’s true. Before eliminating gluten from my diet, my head was a foggy cloud, stomach cramped, bleeding, bloated, and that fleeting ever present feeling to wring the necks of those I love. Or to eat chocolate, lots of dark expensive chocolate. Gross. The relief for this yucky feeling: a hot water bottle, ibuprofen, and being jovial control freakish around the house.  My wife Marlena rolls  her eyes. And I sigh…

Still with me?

On February 2nd, Marlena crossed the finish line of the greatest race, Child Birth. Ari Hart made her entrance into the world at 5:26pm, all 8lb 0oz and 21 inches. She is slender, feisty and a fast runner. Hart has a Native American origin meaning “fast runner” and Ari “lioness of God”. The name fits her like a PureDrift.

This is Ari Hart at 5 minutes old.

Cord still attached.


I joke to Marlena that the closest I have gotten to understand what she goes through during child birth is to have run the Philly Marathon. I think she almost believed me after I collapsed several times while walking out of The Cheesecake Factory 3 hours after the marathon. I couldn’t walk the stairs well for a week after. But I still did the laundry. And worked.


Childbirth taught me so much about the Marathon, or is it the other way around?

  • Pace yourself. Let the race come to me. My body will only do what it will do. Training is over, today is the day of reckoning. It is what it is.
  • Trust a coach. Doctors and mid-wives have seen way more delivers then our previous three deliveries, they might have a leg up on us.
  • Don’t trust your coach, you know better. Your coach can only see what she can see. Only YOU know about the demons on the inside, the voices that are telling you to quit… Should I be induced? Pitocin? Epidural? It’s as important to buy into the plan as the plan itself.
  • Aid stations are for me. Drink. But not too much… Nothing more humiliating than barfing yellow gatorade on the trailside or soiling the sheets… Sorry – TMI.
  • Run THIS race THIS time. Seriously, I might have learned tons about how my body and mind pushes through or what not in the last couple of races, but I am a different person this race. This is a different baby. Don’t let the bonking on the last race, make me bonk this time. Success and failure are both temporary.
  • People love to see our “in race” progress. Our family at home was on pins and needles when we told them “it’s time to push” Don’t leave them hanging at the end. TELL THEM ASAP when you FINISH.
  • Most of the race is incredibly mundane, painful, and lonely. Break it up into small bits, like 2 miles max… There is clarity in loneliness — it sucks to be alone.
  • When someone passes me, keep in mind that they are only doing the half. They have no idea… It was soooo frustrating to hear other newborns in the labor and delivery ward wail their first “I’m hear I’m hear…” Oh wait, they probably started in the first “wave”, we started in the last wave. Speaking of waves, contractions close together suck.
  • There will be that gnawing consuming desire to give up  “Me and the Marathon: ‘We are never EVER getting back together…’ ” Proof the end is near.
  • When I cross the finish line, I will cry, uncontrollable sobbing immature hot mess kind of crocodile tears. Yeah that’s me. Both of us really. Shucks… I’m crying just writing this. Later when least expected tears will flow, like when an old friend “likes” the pic I just posted or when I change the first slimy green diaper. Or when I look back over the previous training plan.
  • I want coffee. Lots of dark hot coffee, no cream no sugar, just Whisky and whipped topping, with a splash of Disoronno.
  • When I hold the trophy in my arms. The pride that swells dissolves all the pain heartache and loneliness. And shhhh… I secretly begin to plan the next marathon as I drag my battered body to the car…
  • Reality sets in. I hurt.

I have to admit ChildBirth is WAAAAAY harder then running a marathon for his reason among many: A marathon is 26.2 miles EVERYtime… Childbirth is like starting a race and you have NO FREAKING idea if this is a 5K or an ultra-marathon. Try to wrap your head around that…

Please add YOUR experience to this list, in the comments!


Daddy Loves Ari

Daddy Loves Ari

Have I mentioned that I’m in Love with Ari!?



  1. Coming from someone who’s only run 2 half marathons, I compare running to childbirth ALL the time! And I’ve told my male runner-friends that racing has got to be the closest thing to childbirth that they will ever experience….
    The slow start… the continuing mental/physical demand… the final excruciating miles that feel like transition in labor… the kick at the end that makes the pain flame and disappear in “let’s get it done” agony, and the euphoria, weakness, collapse, and emotions that follow the “birth” or finish line.

  2. I have done one marathon and just had my third baby at home three weeks ago. I think the two were very comparable they even both took almost the same amount if time. Congratulations to your family!

  3. Awe, Corinne! So our babies are almost twins :) Speaking 0f time… Don’t they both take the same amount of Training/Gestation time for a healthy race/baby!?

  4. This was hilarious but, in an odd way, pretty spot-on!

    One of the things that crept into my mind in my last marathon, almost a year ago is that “childbirth” is easier than this! But then I changed my mind quickly. The thing is, we can somewhat control how the marathon feels and always have the option to DNF. Not so in childbirth. Just knowing you can quit when the pain gets too bad is enough to keep going sometimes, even slowly… With childbirth you have little control over the contractions, and have to make yourself hurt even more just to see it all come to an end. The reward is also a lot more valuable than the medal :)

    Once i realized I was actually in labor (almost to pushing), I birthed my babies faster than any of my marathons. Ha!