Interview Series / Pregnant Athletes

UMR’s Interview Series: Emily Bulat Portnoy

Fourth in our interview series is Emily Bulat Portnoy from Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to pregnancy Emily completed 5 marathons and qualified for the Boston Marathon. So far while pregnant she has run a 10k, a half marathon, and ran in the Boston Marathon at 5 months pregnant.


Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.

Before becoming pregnant, what was your life as an athlete like?  Before becoming pregnant, running was one of my biggest passions, so much so that planning the pregnancy was planned  around my marathon schedule. I always had, and still have, a goal that I am training for, which really has kept me going.  Running has become a top priority in my life.  It feels great to stay healthy while doing something I love!

How is training going while pregnant?  Training while pregnant has been really rough.  I did not expect how out of breath I’d get.  The getting out of breath part has made me so much slower!  I knew I’d get slower, but I couldn’t imagine how different my body would feel.  I have cut way back on my mileage, which really made training for the Boston Marathon hard.  I definitely won’t stop running while pregnant though, as long as I still keep getting the support of my doctors.

What has been the biggest change you’ve experienced running while pregnant?  The biggest change by far is how hard it is to run fast now.  Thinking about my pre-pregnancy pace is hard to comprehend.

With her husband after a half marathon at 16 weeks pregnant

With her husband after a half marathon at 16 weeks pregnant

What has motivated you to continue running through pregnancy?  Just because I’m pregnant, doesn’t mean I should give up one of my passions.  I have had 100% support from my doctors to continue running, and I feel like I am keeping my little baby healthy and fit along with me by staying active.

What are your current training/racing ambitions for 2014?  I just ran the Boston Marathon.  While I only ran 17 miles of it (called it quits when I got too hot), I am still so proud of myself for at least attempting it–the week before the marathon,  I started having terrible SI joint pain.  For the rest of my pregnancy in 2014, I plan on continuing to run for fun and I will also do some 5ks.  After the baby is born this year, I plan on trying to run our city’s annual Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon.  Then, it will be time to start training for the Boston Marathon 2015!

Any advice you have for other pregnant runners trying to balance it all?  The thing that helps me balance running with everything else, is knowing that there are SO many other pregnant runners out there.  Just knowing this, helps me to keep going and continuing to run.  You’re not alone!


Interested in sharing your experience for our Athlete-Mom Interview Series? Contact Lacy at



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