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So What If I Pee When I Run?

Photograph by Twenty20

I am not a runner. I have never been a runner. I don't plan on ever being a runner. So when a friend ask me to run a half marathon with her in the spring, my first thought was, "Heck no!"

My second thought? "Sure." Which I guess means I'll do it.

I've been battling with the last of the baby bulge since my youngest appeared more than three years ago. I haven't managed to get back into a workout routine. Last year, when I did the "I Quit Sugar" detox for eight weeks, I had a goal. There was a beginning and an end. Since, apparently, goals are key to my success—and a marathon seemed like a good goal, no matter how much they hurt—I began to train.

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The readers of my site, Walking On Travels, had a ton of advice for me, when I told them I was going to overcome the monumental task of getting my butt out the door and train for a half marathon. "Get good running shoes," "Stick to a training plan" and, above all else, read "Run Like a Mother."

I took all of their advice and got moving.

I hit the pavement right away, knowing I needed to catch up with my friend who had already been a runner for several years. I'd never run a mile— let alone 13.1 miles—without stopping. I started off with the 5K Runner app, which I love. I'd started this program before but never finished. I knew if I could just get to the 3-mile mark by the end of January, I could jump into my half-marathon training program.

What better way to stay motivated than to have other people hold you accountable?

Hal Higdon seems to be the go-to guru in the running world, when you need an easy-to-follow marathon training program. Higdon provides printable training schedules that bring you through each day and week leading up to your race. He also has an app for each type of race and distance you are training for. I printed out the schedule, stuck it to my wall and circled the end date (my race date) with gusto.

By Christmas, I'd recruited other moms from my son's preschool to run with me. What better way to stay motivated than to have other people hold you accountable? We would run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My best friend from college, who is a triathlete, could do the long weekend runs with me. We are even trying to convince a friend in Seattle to fly out to race with us.

With my core support team in place. I knew I could do this.

I started reading "Run Like a Mother" by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea a few weeks into my training. These two professional writers are also multi-marathon runners. They know their stuff, understand that motherhood can get in the way of even the best intentions and that we have to take care of ourselves. I soon saw the authors as friends cheering me on in my training.

I have to tell you, hearing that I wasn't alone in those early pee-while-running days was a huge load off.

McDowell and Bowen write all about the good and bad sides of running, the injuries you could incur and, yes, that you could pee a little (or leak I should say) while running. I have to tell you, hearing that I wasn't alone in those early pee-while-running days was a huge load off. (And thank goodness for black running pants that hide it all!) A few weeks of dedicated kegels cleared that up, but for mothers, especially those in the first year post-partum, the pelvic floor needs time to recuperate. So talk to your OB if you continue to have problems and kegels don't improve the situation—you might need physical therapy. In the meantime, wear a panty liner while you wait for your muscles down there to tighten up.

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So, with the early stages well underway, I guess the big question now is, do I consider myself a runner? Not really, but I'm getting there. Either way, you will find me at the starting (and finish!) line come May, when I conquer my first half-marathon. I'm not focusing on my pace or end time. Even if I have to walk the last eight miles, I will make it there.

I've got a goal and I'm sticking to it.

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