PR: The pain of labor is more intense. But I found that it was just not comparable. When you run a marathon, your body is working with you and you've trained and prepared for it. With labor, for me, my body seemed to be working against me. But you handle it because you're in shape and because you have that mental outlook of getting through training or a marathon.
KG: My husband was tossing around the idea of a natural, at-home birth, so he rented this video, The Business of Being Born, and it had the exact opposite effect that he was hoping for. I'm open-minded. I definitely want to deliver in the hospital, and I want the option of the epidural. But I'm in denial about the whole birthing process still.
Paula, you had a pelvic stress fracture after Isla's birth. What did you learn from that?
PR: I had too much inflammation in the pelvic area, and labor probably caused some damage. I've learned that the elliptical machine stretches the sacral area and I didn't realize that. I thought I was being safe, so I was doing more than I should have done on the elliptical. I was maybe a little too eager to get back into things, and certainly I set goals for myself a little bit too soon. I shouldn't have set them then, because then I wouldn't have pushed through warning signs and little pain signals. This time, I won't set those goals, even in my own head. I'd rather get back to feeling good and to being in shape to run a race and then pick a race, rather than say, "Okay, I'm going to do that race," because that's dangerous for me.
What advice can you give Kara and other running moms?
PR: Motherhood is totally going to change your life in the best way. And yeah, there are times when you think, Oh God, will they just stop crying? Will they sleep through the night? There are those times that it's hard, but there are so many more big, rewarding times. I think that if you're happy, then you're going to run better. And any worry that you're going to come back and not be as strong or that competitive instinct isn't going to be there -- that's rubbish. That never goes away. The only time it goes away is when you have the priority of a baby inside you. But when the baby's born, you can see that they are fine, they are healthy, and you can leave them with someone while you run. Don't worry that you can't come back. You can enjoy your running and be a mom. It sounds corny, but it's important to be relaxed. You do have to get over that guilt trip. I never took Isla to the track. Because there, I need to be focused, and I didn't want to hear if she was crying. I knew she was being looked after and fine. Running is my time, and it's my job, so it needs to be done as well as possible. I don't train with a jogging stroller. My runs need to be quality training.
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KG: Yeah, when people ask me about using a baby jogger, I say, "Why would I take my son to work?"
Have you experienced any uncomfortable moments on runs? Bladder issues?
PR: I think we had one nightmare run, didn't we?
KG: I've had a few.