By Natascia Armitage

Here in Boston, Marathon Monday is one of the most exciting days of the year. The energy that can be felt all day long is electrifying.

This Monday, 2 years after a successful frozen embryo transfer (FET), which resulted in my 18-month-old son Benson, I will be back running the Boston Marathon, and I couldn’t be more excited. Marathon Monday holds a special place in my heart. It’s just an amazing, unforgettable experience; once you’ve seen it, you’ll treasure it forever. The magnitude, as well as the spirit of the runners and the spectators, make this one of Boston’s most magical and inspiring events. There is truly nothing greater than being in a city where running is being celebrated by almost everyone. I am thankful for having been able to take part in this amazing race 6 times.

While training for long distance running you have a lot of time alone, time to think, long runs where your mind can go just about anywhere. During my training this year I couldn’t stop thinking of how in a lot of ways training for a marathon and preparing for IVF are similar. IVF is a marathon of a journey, and like in marathon training, you need to be disciplined, dedicated and determined.

When you’re training for a marathon, planning the physical and mental preparation are key elements to succeed. Before any big marathon I sit down and put together a plan that will help me get to reach a specific goal. Preparing for a marathon requires a lot of time, discipline and commitment, and can often feel overwhelming. Committing to a training plan and following through with the taxing, demanding workouts is extremely challenging.

IVF is no different. In order to prepare for your IVF procedure, you will need to plan and prepare your mind and body ahead of time. It is essential that you feel your best going into a treatment cycle by committing and disciplining yourself by eating clean, exercise, or using therapies like acupuncture and yoga to be ready for the road ahead.

Eating well all throughout your marathon training cycle is important for optimal performance. In the weeks before a big race, the food you consume is just as important as the miles you eat up. Your nutritional choices have an impact not only on your performance, but also on increasing your energy levels, preventing dehydration and optimizing your recovery time during these crucial weeks and months.

Nutrition is the foundation of healthy fertility and healthy pregnancy as well. Think of this time as “preparing of the soil”. When your IVF procedure is successful, you will be pregnant, so this is the best time to prepare your body and give your baby the best possible start. Nutrition can have a direct impact on the future development and health of your child. This is a big deal and such a great opportunity for you to prepare ahead of time.

Finally, one of the most important things during marathon training and IVF is your family support. I feel like one of the lucky ones as my husband is the most supportive partner I could only dream of. During marathon training on some of my longest runs he would follow me, either by bike or car, with water and fuel. He never complained once when the night before a long run I’d go to bed super early (and drag him with me because I refused to sleep alone). During our IVF journey my husband was the one to give me the shots, and he would always make it fun with music and dance party in the kitchen. His positivity kept me going even after a negative IVF cycle.

This year I am running in honor of one of my biggest fans there was, my father in-law, Thomas Armitage. Tom passed away before our son was born after fighting a long and courageous battle with cancer. I could not be more eager to toe the line at this year’s Boston Marathon.

Natascia and her husband Dustin are the joyful, grateful parents of their son Benson. On September 22, 2019, Natascia will be co-chairing the New England Walk of Hope. She is committed to growing this event to support the infertility community. Maybe she will run the one mile Walk?