Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why running a Marathon is like having a baby...Well kind of.

OK...before anyone pulls out the knives and start with the "how would you know?", let me acknowledge that I am not saying that a marathon is as hard as having a baby and I am in no way suggesting that I know how painful birthing is (my wife reminds me she did all the "heavy lifting" while I "coached" from the sidelines. Given this is a PG-13 blog, we won't mention what she said about my coaching at the time).

With disclaimers behind us, one might ask..."OK, what does running a marathon and having a baby have in common"? I'm glad you asked. After watching my wife go through labor with our first baby I figured Heather would be an only child. In an attempt to describe the pain Bill Cosby suggested it was like someone grabbing your lower lip and pulling it up over the top of your head. Judging from my first delivery room experience, he grossly underestimated the pain level. To my surprise, within months Pam was already talking about having our next child andwe didn't stop till we had four and realized we would be retiring to cardboard boxes after paying for their college costs.

I got an email from a friend the other day reminding me of how crazy running a marathon is at my age and how painful it was last year. His exact words were... “are you nuts?” I suppose the excruciating pain subsides and some part of your brain tells you, “C’mon…it wasn’t THAT bad!” . Thus the analogy with having a baby.

The more I thought about it, the more similarities I saw. Like how good you feel when it's over (the marathon and the labor...however, you could say the same thing about banging your head against a wall). The months of preparation and discomfort that go into preparing for that one key day, the hours of effort that go into getting to the finish line (although it is usually shorter for a marathon and we can even eat along the way. Pam got pitocin so you could say she cheated and took a short cut. I would never say that.). There are also some differences. We don't have our own personal doctor with us during the marathon, although we do have thousands of spectators cheering us on (not something I think Pam would have appreciated in the delivery room). And the start of training for a marathon is not nearly as exciting or as much fun as the start of having a baby.

There is one more difference...marathon's require a significant amount of commitment to get ready for the race (especially on those cold New England mornings). But when it is over, so is the commitment. Having a child is a lifetime commitment, it never ends. It doesn't matter that they grow up, color their hair purple, become teenagers who ignore you, go away to college ( but still call for money), get married, and have children of their own (God's payback). They are still our children, they have an unalterable impact on our lives and we are still committed to them. Commitment is such a harsh word...let's just call it Love.

I see the same kind of commitment from the people at Lazarus House in trying to assist those that need a bit of a helping hand. It's why I've chosen to support them and along with my commitment to Nick, why I'm running again this year. As always...if you care to help just click on this link and scroll down to the donate button.

So how are the knees and how is the training coming along? Let's just say I'm getting the miles in but at times moving slower than a woman 8 months pregnant with triplets. Heather and Marshall are doing well and occasionally bragging about the nice training weather in LA.

Oh...and in case you haven't heard, Marshall's new movie "Blue State" was just released on DVD and you can find it in your local Blockbuster and on Netflix. He runs marathons and is a movie mogul.
One more Oh...Speaking of nephew Doug just had his first baby (boy...Aidan). Congrats Doug and Melissa.

Stay tuned...the last 2 months are the best.