But in the End, it's so Worth ItThe fatigue, tradeoffs and juggling may be tough—but all three runners agree it's a tiny price to pay for the happiness and perspective children have brought to their lives. Radcliffe has repeatedly said that being a mom has made her a more well-rounded person. "In the past, I was very focused on the training. I'm still focused, but being able to come home and get smiles from the children rationalizes everything for me," she says.
For years, Goucher obsessed when she put in a poor performance, but having Colt has changed that. "So much of my happiness was based on how my workout or race went, and that just seems silly now," she says. "Colt doesn't care. He's just happy when I'm home, so I'm able to let go of things much more easily." She later adds, "I remember people saying 'Oh, when you have a baby, running won't be important anymore.' I never thought there'd be something I care about more, but I do."
Kastor explains that her daughter has given her many gifts—one is a new reason to reach for her dreams. "You want to be a good role model for your child," she says. "I'll rely on that time and time again to get the best out of myself."
The women remain deeply committed to their running goals, and if they make their respective country's teams, they'll line up together for the 2012 Olympic marathon in London. Whether they make it there matters to them, for sure, but life is full none-the-less. "I want to win a major marathon and an Olympic medal," says Goucher. But now that Colt's here, she finishes that thought with: "If that doesn't happen, it's not so devastating."
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Michelle Hamilton is a contributing editor at Runner's World, whose work has also appeared in Bicycling, Women's Health and San Francisco.