I never ran during my pregnancies. Between the intense morning sickness of the early months and the stomach strains and imbalance of the latter ones, I couldn't. Not to mention, most obstetricians back then would have told you it was not safe for you or your baby. So I downshifted to walks and gave birth to very healthy baby girls.
This weekend the New York Times featured a piece on pregnant marathoners Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher. I remember reading an article in the early 1990s about a woman who ran a marathon well into her last trimester and was repeatedly jeered by spectators and some other runners. They shouted stuff like, "How could you be so selfish?!" Today, there seems to be growing support for running through pregnancies in general, but there also remains much debate about how much is too much.
I went for a long run this morning along a favorite route. It's how I've started my Mother's Days for decades now. I'm still fortunate to have my mother and on my way back down Black Mountain Road I remembered something she once did that meant a lot to me then, as it does now that she's falling victim to the diseases of aging.
I waited until I was in college to be confirmed in my church. And after the service at St. Joseph's in Richmond, Virginia, everyone opened gifts from their families. Most came in small square boxes - fancy rosaries or tiny bibles. My mom was always a little different. I opened up my box and found my first pair of real running shoes. They were blue and orange Brooks. I remember I wanted to cry, and I think maybe I did. I beamed, my parents beamed and even the priest seemed to approval.