“Where Are The Bananas?”

Childbirth is often seen as one of the most painful experiences anyone could endure. Well, after this past weekend, I would have to say the second is running a marathon. Now if that sounds wimpy to you that just proves to me you have not run one.

I guess when I signed up to undergo such an adventure I was focused more on the sentimental side of the decision. I figured if we were adopting and being pregnant was not in the immediate plan, I might as well do something heroic. I guess God thought he would bless me with an experience as close to pregnancy as possible.

Here is how, in my opinion, the two are a like: training, is much like the milestones in pregnancy that one overcomes, both emotionally and physically. Every Saturday morning, my partner and I, would meet up, to increase the mileage we achieved the week prior. Some long runs were better than others. Many people tried to convince me that I was “trained” and “well prepared”. Nothing can totally prepare you! We never trained the last six miles, what a surprise, the hardest ones to overcome. It is like in childbirth when all is said and done and you look around at hundreds of women who have labored through the birthing process, and you wondered why there was still 99% of the experience you were not aware of.

Labor, a.k.a. race day, is one that you never thought would come, but all of a sudden you are sitting at the breakfast table panicking that there is no way you are ready. The race begins and through the torrential down pouring of rain, wind, and cold temperatures, it felt like very few moments of relief through the stressful running conditions. It was contraction #16, I mean mile marker 16, and through all my training, nothing prepared me for this, severe leg cramps in both legs. The discomfort and pain that I felt was like no other, and mentally knowing the worst was yet to come as 10 miles remained.

It was time to push. By mile 18, all I could think about was “where are the bananas?!” Did you know one banana has approximately 800 mg of potassium; this is 23 percent of your daily requirement and 60 mg of magnesium, which is 15 percent of your daily requirements? Well I didn’t either, but my body did, and I couldn’t have craved them more. Mile 20 could not have been better, my ice chips arrived, I mean bananas. The relief was almost immediate. It kind of served as my epidural at this point. I was still uncomfortable, still felt the pressure, in my legs, but definitely relieved me enough to get through the worse part, the delivery.

The last six miles, I can hardly remember, as I just had to push, breath, and take one step at a time. Finally, mile marker twenty-five appeared. The head, I mean end, was in sight. With half a mile left to go, my partner and I picked up our pace and began passing people, as if we just started the race. Our heads held high, exhausted, but ready for the last push to the end. We joined hands, lifted our arms up for the final hurrah, and crossed the finish line. It was an amazing accomplishment. I could not have done it without my partner Allie. She held my hand through it all and talked me through my pain, regardless of my grumpy moments. The last resemblance of a marathon and childbirth is, before I know it, I will forget the pain I endured, and sign up to do another one. But until I can feel my legs again, I do not think so!

Sarah Dykema and Allie after finishing the Sacramento Marathon