“When I first got pregnant, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s just like a big injury. You slowly lose fitness, and then you eventually have to stop altogether. And then you take some time off, then you get back to it once you’re healed and recovered.’ And I was pretty far off. I feel like it definitely was a different process, because you are physically changing and emotionally changing and mentally changing on top of not being able to run. On the other side of it, I feel like I came out a different person.”
About a year after Neely Spence Gracey’s first son was born, she found herself in a difficult spot. What she’d envisioned as a swift, strong return to running wasn’t going as planned. She was injured, anxious, and while she loved Athens with all her heart, struggling to balance the demands of being a pro athlete, coach, and new mom.
Now, she has two sons—Rome was born in June 2021—and a whole new perspective. While she’s still rebuilding from her second pregnancy, she now knows the process may take longer than she’d planned. But she’s OK with that; her competitive fire still burns, and she’s committed to taking care of herself and her family even as she keeps her sights set on big goals.
Neely is the co-author—with Cindy—of a new book called Breakthrough Women’s Running: Dream Big and Train Smart. In the book, and in this week’s episode, she talks about what a breakthrough means, and why standout performance might look different in different phases; how injury and pregnancy both alter an athlete’s identity; and how to keep making progress toward your goals no matter what life throws at you.
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- Neely’s website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
- Neely’s book, for which Cindy is co-author: Breakthrough Women’s Running: Dream Big and Train Smart
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