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"This is what it looks like to be a professional athlete as a woman"
June 27, 2014 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Very pregnant Alysia Montano runs at U.S. Championships Montano said she knew she wouldn’t advance out of the first round. Rather, she viewed her participation as a celebration. Video of the race and her finish.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (34 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Still faster than me. Good for her.
posted by dismas at 6:04 AM on June 27 [12 favorites]


This take you child to work thing is getting ridiculous.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:13 AM on June 27 [69 favorites]


Awesome. It's got to be hard for such an elite athlete to willingly perform at less than their best like that. Well done, Alysia.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:15 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Someone on the news this morning made the joke that this is the first but certainly not the last she will have to put her child ahead of herself when it gets to the line.
posted by hepta at 6:24 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


She can use her water breaking like an oil slick to trip up her opponents.
posted by ReeMonster at 6:55 AM on June 27


Having just finished reading Born to Run this makes me feel very happy and "right with the world".
posted by olya at 7:01 AM on June 27


That's awesome, and I'm glad to see she is being celebrated for it.
posted by mathowie at 7:04 AM on June 27 [4 favorites]


That's awesome, and I'm glad to see she is being celebrated for it.

Yeah... until....
posted by ReeMonster at 7:06 AM on June 27


That is amazing! I really wanted to run while pregnant, but at just 10 weeks my body said "NOPE!" Just a strange visceral reaction to my innards getting jostled around while running. :( But I kept up with yoga and included strength training.

I really cheer for ladies who can run while pregnant. That is just so awesome. And to be able to compete at such a level, too! What an athlete!
posted by jillithd at 7:25 AM on June 27


That's awesome, and I'm glad to see she is being celebrated for it.

I agree. Good for her.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:25 AM on June 27


Fantastic. I know several runners who ran until quite late in their pregnancies (mostly marathoners to scaled back to 5K runs) and did a 5K myself halfway through a pregnancy.

I do hope that her time here doesn't knock her out too badly going forward. At least if it does, she knows she can gain it back postpartum.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 7:26 AM on June 27


Just a strange visceral reaction to my innards getting jostled around while running.

I see what you did there.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:27 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


Really freaking awesome. A ultra friend of mine just had a little boy, and ran her last 5k at 41 weeks. (And a 24 hour race at 31 weeks.) As long as you run in consultation with your doctor and coach, there's no reason to stop running during your pregnancy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:34 AM on June 27


I love every single bit of this, especially the custom pregnancy competition running jersey.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:34 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


She's pretty damn fast for all that.
posted by Mister_A at 7:40 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I'm glad we've come a long way from the old timey days of 1967, when women trying to run a marathon were prevented because doctors thought it would make their uterus fall out.
posted by fight or flight at 7:43 AM on June 27 [11 favorites]


I get really excited to see pregnant women doing great physical things. I'm at about the same point in my pregnancy, and slowly losing my physical strength and endurance has been the most difficult thing for me to accept, by far. I still jog a teensy bit, but extremely slowly, and it's not as much fun with four pounds of fetus bouncing on your bladder.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:53 AM on June 27


I can't even run comfortably if I haven't "dropped my kids off at the pool"!
posted by srboisvert at 7:59 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


That's great. I love that her goal for the race was not to get lapped. That seems like an excellent metaphor for pregnancy in general.
posted by medusa at 8:23 AM on June 27 [8 favorites]


This is awesome.

I'm not a track athlete. Could someone explain to me exactly how impressive a 2:32 800m time is for someone who's not pregnant? I mean, to me, half a mile at a 5-minute-mile pace seems pretty fast regardless of how much baby you're lugging around. This is, of course, would be expected from someone with her previous accomplishments.
posted by daveliepmann at 8:50 AM on June 27


I planned to keep running through my pregnancy, but ended up hellishly sick throughout and only managed about half a dozen runs during a window where the drugs were working really well. Boo.

Loved seeing this, though. Once you start looking for it it's amazing how many of the images you see of heavily pregnant women in the news or online (which okay, are usually stock photography, but still) are either a) headless shot of bump or b) calm, placid pregnant woman beaming down maternally at bump. So great to see a pregnant women being powerful and active like this.
posted by Catseye at 8:54 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I'm not a track athlete. Could someone explain to me exactly how impressive a 2:32 800m time is for someone who's not pregnant?

Well, her next closest competitor finished about 24 seconds faster (at about 2:08). Montano previously ran it in 1:57:93 at the Olympics in London. The winner in London, Mariya Savinova, ran it in 1:56:19.

As the slowpoke on the track team in high school, I ran it in about 3:30. We would train by running 400m laps at a 1:30/pace. As far as distances in track go, being good at the 800m makes you a badass in my eyes. I felt like it was in between an all-out sprint and a longer distance run. That said, I remain a slowpoke.
posted by kat518 at 9:08 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I remember hearing a report from some studies at a conference that showed that when women do aerobic exercises when pregnant it strengthens the heart of the fetus. So, yep, good for her.
posted by antinomia at 9:18 AM on June 27


I planned to keep running through my pregnancy, but ended up hellishly sick throughout and only managed about half a dozen runs during a window where the drugs were working really well. Boo.

Oh yeah, I had grand dreams of running all throughout my pregnancy. Even signed months in advance for some races. One is scheduled for tomorrow. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I can barely walk comfortably! So much for that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:23 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I don't know what I thought "very pregnant" was going to be in this context before I clicked the link, but as others have said in this thread, it shows how we don't see images of heavily pregnant women that often.

I mean, I work with many women of pregnancy age who work up to their due dates, so for example. I'm currently seeing a woman due next month every single weekday we are both in the office, yet still that's still more pregnant what I imagined when I read the phrase "very pregnant", which is really interesting and probably pretty sad.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:28 AM on June 27


"Jesus, Mom - stay still, will ya! Ow! Hell! WHAT'S GOING ON?!"
posted by Paul Slade at 9:41 AM on June 27


When I heard the time on the radio I was gobsmacked. She was running a ~ five minute mile pace in her condition. Huge, huge, props. Imagine running your ass off with shifting center of gravity like that. I can't.

So, good on her. If you qualify, and your doctor says OK whatever the medical issue is, then going for it - with a reasonably adjusted goal too - is super admirable. I'm inspired.
posted by drowsy at 10:15 AM on June 27


this is so awesome.

This gives me hope that we have truly moved on from the days back in the mid 80s when an acquaintance of mine wanted to ride in the finals of the Miller Classic show jumping competition at ~6 months pregnant (she had qualified with her horse over the course of a year's hard work, showing and training) and was barred from competing by a MALE judge, despite providing written notice to the officials from her OB that it was perfectly safe for her to continue riding. Or that time a teammate of mine qualified for and raced (cycling) track Nationals at ~7 months along in the mid-90s and was in fact allowed to compete but was scathingly mocked and judged by many of her peers and in the cycling press for doing so.

If you qualify, and your doctor says OK whatever the medical issue is, then going for it - with a reasonably adjusted goal too - is super admirable. This. Not to mention the fact that I am in complete awe of her time. I could not, and have never in my life been able to run anywhere even close to a 5 minute pace, or hell, even a 10 minute pace, even at the peak of my condition and with fire or wild animals chasing me, let alone heavily pregnant.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:37 AM on June 27


This gives me hope that we have truly moved on from the days back in the mid 80s

For those like me who were completely ignorant (and skeptical) as to the safety of running while pregnant (I am neither female nor a parent, so it just hasn't come up), Google Scholar has a lot of articles on the subject. And in fact, this article from 1983 refutes the idea that running is bad on the fetus, stating:

"There was no correlation between the number of miles run during the pregnancy, or in the third trimester alone, and either infant birth weight or gestational age. The incidence of maternal and fetal complications was low. Although there are limitations with questionnnaire retrospective studies, these data suggest that jogging during pregnancy by healthy women accustomed to such activity is not harmful to the infant."

So I guess what I'm saying is I'm glad to shed my ignorance and to join the chorus in thinking this is something we should see more often than we do.
posted by tempestuoso at 11:13 AM on June 27


very cool. I think it's inspiring to both athletes and mothers.
posted by KillaSeal at 11:21 AM on June 27


Jesus, Mom - stay still, will ya!

...said no baby ever.
posted by Catseye at 12:14 PM on June 27 [5 favorites]


Pregnancy is a handicap for a competitive runner, but apparently not for this freestyle kayaker.
posted by droro at 2:47 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I'm not a track athlete. Could someone explain to me exactly how impressive a 2:32 800m time is for someone who's not pregnant?

Montano's time in London means she averaged 15.14mph round the track for almost 2 minutes. Her 2:32 is an average of 11.76mph.

I'm fairly healthy, but the wrong side of 40, with creaking knees and hamstrings that never really get loose. Not the fastest guy around, but not the slowest. Playing soccer I'll peak at around 13.8mph on a couple of sprints during a game. These are probably 30-40 meter sprints. So, my peak speed would get me out of the gate faster than an 8 month pregnant elite athlete, but she'd be way ahead of me by the end of the first lap.
posted by IanMorr at 3:17 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]


I'm not a track athlete. Could someone explain to me exactly how impressive a 2:32 800m time is for someone who's not pregnant?

It's 5-minute mile pace.

If she were a high-school athlete, 2:32 would win or place in lots of races, but it probably wouldn't win the state championship.
posted by the_blizz at 8:19 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


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