7.02.2014

My New Hero: Alysia Montaño

Weekly 'What Th–"


Now that my kids are off school for the summer, I've been burning the candle at seven ends trying to finish my second book and do freelance work in between swim dates and the incessant demands of home life, while attempting (laugh) to find time to exercise. All the early mornings, late hours and juggling have made me more than a little cranky.

Then one night while procrasti-writing, I come across a news story about her:

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Alysia Montaño is a four-time national champion runner who was on Team USA in the 2012 Olympics (You go girl!).  Well, if all that isn't impressive enough, Ms. Montaño just competed in the 800 meters race at the US Track and Field Championship last Thursday. Looking like this:


Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Yes, she is pregnant. Very very pregnant. As in 34 FREAKIN' WEEKS. And she's SMILING. It's been a while since I was there myself, but if my high school math skills serve me right, she's in, like, the third trimester.

Last time I was 34 weeks prego, I was so uncomfortable I couldn't even wear pants. And here is Alysia rocking little running shorts, doing her thing, kicking baby be-damned. Hot damn!

If you ask me, she's right up there with my writing partner Anna, who has a toddler and a newborn at home and still manages to churn out pages faster than me.

Montaño, who had a previous qualifying time that enabled her to compete, got the go-ahead from her doctor and midwife that it was safe for her to race six weeks before her due date. Afterwards, she told reporters she knew she wouldn't advance out of the first round, but saw her participation in the USA Nationals as a celebration:

"More than anything, I wanted to be here, and I’m feeling that fire and that desire to be on the track and to race...This is what it looks like to be a professional athlete as a woman."


What a woman indeed. Montaño clocked a time of 2 minutes, 32.13 seconds, nearly 35 seconds shy of her personal best but still way faster than most of us mere mortals. Upon finishing the race, she received a standing ovation from the crowd at Hornet Stadium, and I'm applauding her right now from my desk chair.

Alysia, you are my new hero and one hell of a woman. Bravo! Here! Here!

You give new meaning to the term 'Bring Your Kid To Work Day.' 

You also make the impossible look possible. 

If you can go out there and do your job with swollen ankles, heartburn, french fry cravings and a 34 week baby on board, Mama, I have absolutely NO EXCUSES. 

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Watching you cross the finish line looking like that, I don't dare complain about having to balance the demands of grade schoolers and summer with those of my career.  So what if I'm tired, stressed and overextended? Who cares if I feel like I'm being stretched in seventeen directions like a piece of pulled taffy? Waah! Waah! Poor me.

Thank you, Ms. Montaño, for the attitude adjustment. For reminding me that we women are stronger than that. We are better than that. We are born knowing how to get 'er done.

Now I'm off to edit the next chapter of my book, chauffeur the kids around, make lunch, do laundry, food shop and weed the garden. In between all that, I sure as hell better make some time to work out too, because, really. After what Alysia managed to do 34 weeks, pregnant, I have absolutely no excuses!

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