By Tim Sullivan

Last month, Virginia Highland resident Allie Schellhammer took top honors in the women’s division at the annual Cabbagetown Romp and Stomp 5K.  Days later she gave birth to her third child, a daughter named Charlotte.  Here she does her best to convince me that this is not amazing stuff.  I am not fully convinced.

When I told my wife Kristen (and mother of our two) that the woman who won the race was nine months pregnant her response was something along the lines of “Wha’?  How?  With that belly?  How?”   So in practical terms, umm, how do you do it?

Spanx. No just kidding. I’m going to claim genetics – my mom only gained 17 pounds while pregnant with me and my twin. I’m lucky to carry my babies in a manner that is very conducive to running and for the most part, I don’t notice the belly at all.

What does your doctor advise with regards to competitive running during pregnancy?  Because let’s face it – pregnancy is about the best reason in the history of mankind to waddle around, eat ice cream and demand back rubs.

That’s what my husband Joel always tells me. And then, in the next breath, he tells me I should definitely try to defend my title and win a race.  As I’m sure a lot of people read when the Chicago runner completed the Chicago Marathon and then gave birth seven hours later, it’s completely fine to maintain the workout regimen you had prior to pregnancy. But please don’t take my answer as a medical license to do something crazy – talk to your doctor first!

There were 600 women registered for this race and maybe a few others were pregnant. Maybe.  But none of them, young, old or knocked up ran it in 20 minutes flat like you did!  Have you been able to perform at this level through all three pregnancies?

We actually had three miscarriages before we had our oldest daughter so I was pretty cautious while pregnant with her and only did a few races. Nine months later I was pregnant with our second daughter and had just joined the Atlanta Track Club’s competitive team. I raced at least once a month and actually had one of my fastest ever half-marathon times (1:24) while 27-weeks pregnant. With this pregnancy, though, I’ve trained a lot with my double jogging stroller. This baby has raced with me the most and I’ve probably been the fastest with her – the debate is always if she crossed the line first or if I did.

Joel keeps a great pace as well and is a consistent winner in our “Stroller Division” which means your daughters Catherine and Caroline have played a part in claiming victory too. How does the Schellhammer family find time to get exercise in?

Joel travels a lot so the girls are my best training partners. We try to combine longer training runs with naptime so they’re not bored. Add in a few fun landmark destination runs (Centennial Olympic Fountains, the Aquarium, Zoo and Children’s Museum) and it keeps them happy. I love that they get fresh air while we take our adventures through the city. My revised goal on hills is to run just fast enough so my oldest doesn’t ask, “Why are we walking?”

And just how long (or short) after giving birth do you expect to be back out getting your miles in?

Mentally, I’d be ready as soon as I leave the hospital, but physically I think it will be at least three weeks before I’m doing anything (and we’re talking slow three to four mile jaunts at a time). Doctors recommend you wait six weeks and I might take them up on it this time around. I hear the transition to three kids is crazy!

In mid-October, my friend Mike Benzie posted on his Facebook page “Took 3rd overall in the Monster Dash 5k in Grant Park.  2nd in the non-pregnant division.” Does your performance improve when you aren’t pregnant?

Ha! The crazy thing is my times aren’t that much faster when I’m not pregnant. I really think that my body reacts to pregnancy like “blood doping” – all the extra blood from the baby coursing through my veins actually helps. I hope that training with a triple jogger (yes, they make them and yes, we own one!) will help me reach some new PRs.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

3 replies on “Intown Runaround: Running With Baby”

  1. Great article on a very special young woman. Allie is gifted in many other ways, too. So proud of her. And her twin ran the Peachtree 7 or 8 months pregnant, too. Does it “run” in the family??

  2. Hi Allie, this is your Great-Aunt Lucy. I read this article and I am
    simply amazed. I didn’t know you were still running, let alone with
    your third pregnancy. Way to go girl! Love, Aunt Lucy

Comments are closed.