Six months ago, professional runner Stephanie Rothstein Bruce gave birth to a baby boy—her second in 15 months, Self reports. Now she’s rocking her stretch marks proudly as she trains with the goal of representing Team USA at the Olympics while simultaneously inspiring thousands of women on Instagram.
“It’s a journey not talked about very publicly as many women see elite runners as these superhuman women with super fit bodies and sometimes can’t relate,” the 32-year-old from Arizona says. On her Instagram, Bruce is chronicling what she calls “the not so glamorous part of getting strong post baby.” “When I look down I see stretch marks that are here to stay, ab muscles that need continued strengthening, legs that are powerful, and feet that are ready to fly,” she posts.
Self calls Bruce’s Instagram “honest and totally inspiring” (great examples of that here and here). “I felt that not many women … shared the real and raw part of” pregnancy and childbirth, Bruce tells the magazine. “I can run 5:20 pace for a half marathon, but I still pee my pants, have diatstisis recti (a separation of the abdominal muscles), stretch marks, and other postpartum issues.” According to People, Bruce wants to show women that even professional athletes don’t have perfect bodies after pregnancy.
Had to let the day set in before I got deep. Today was a day where I got 2nd in my first National Championship after having my kids. 51:13 15k on a muggy morning. (5:29 pace) I felt like I won my own race. Coming back from pregnancy has been extremely humbling, embarrassing at times, but extremely rewarding. Not many women I raced today were pumping breast milk pre race. But it can be done. I hope more pro runner ladies don't wait for their careers to end to have babies. I hope runner mamas everywhere find belief and stength and humor in their post baby comeback. I hope men runners aren't weirded or grossed out by the realities of a mom runner. Because the mom strength and power is real ya'll. #roadtorio #6monthspostpartum #journeywithsteph #timetofly #oiselleteam
“I hope more pro runner ladies don’t wait for their careers to end to have babies,” Bruce posted after placing second in a major race last week.
“I hope runner mamas everywhere find belief and strength and humor in their post baby comeback … Because the mom strength and power is real y’all.” (This mom’s photo of her post-baby body went viral, too.)
Last weekend was tough to be a spectator and not competing at the marathon trials. But it's never been more clear that it was the smartest decision to not rush back. The patience and work is beginning to show itself. 4 mile tempo: 5:42, 5:36, 5:35, 5:33. 4 x 400 with 1 min rest @ 74, 75, 73, 75. #timetofly #flystyle #journeywithsteph #7000ft. PC: @jenrosario13
6 weeks post partum, got my 6 pack abs back.. Right on schedule:) sorry to those who find this pic gross but this shit is #keepitreal. I have a very bad case of diastasis recti and stretch marks from 2 babies born 15 months apart. I am partly self conscious but you'll still see me rocking my stomach in my sports bra and race kit when my body is ready. Lots of work to do to get these abs back together and rebuild my core. Please feel confident to post your PP bodies and tag #journeywithsteph
This article originally appeared on Newser: Pro Runner Inspires With Post-Pregnancy Instagram
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