Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mothering as a world-class runner

After taking second place at the 10,000-meter race at the USA Track and Field Championships on Thursday, Kara Goucher took her 9-month-old son, Colt, from her husband’s arms and ran a victory lap with him around the track. ...

In the past, most female athletes in track and field have waited until retirement to start a family. But Goucher and a small number of other competitive athletes have decided to simultaneously compete and be mothers. ...

For them, parenthood is more complicated than the usual work-life balance dilemma. Goucher purposefully gained weight and reduced her trainings to 30 miles a week from 100 to improve her chances of becoming pregnant. ...

Goucher ran throughout her pregnancy, and on the day she delivered, she lifted weights and went on a 50-minute run. Two and a half weeks after Colt was born, Goucher’s coach called wondering whether she was ready to return to practice. She could not imagine even leaving her house. ...

When Colt was 3 months old, Goucher decided to wean him. She wanted to breastfeed him longer, but she was running 100 miles a week again and had grown too tired to breastfeed and run. She had prepared for this by pumping after she breastfed. She bought a freezer to hold three months of breast milk.
--Isolde Raftery, NYT, on work-life tradeoffs