By JOEL COLEMAN
For the last 26 weeks, Samuel White has been nestled away in his mother, Kelly's, womb.
It'll be a few weeks yet before little Samuel enters the world as the second child of Kelly White and her husband Micah, but his mom is already giving him an introduction to her favorite activity.
Last Saturday, Kelly White was one of the nearly 400 runners to participate in the 26th annual Frostbite Half-Marathon presented by the Oktibbeha County Hospital HealthPlex, finishing second in the 30-34 age group for females with a time of 1:35:41.
For the 31-year-old clinical, sports and wellness dietician at OCH Regional Medical Center, it was her second 13.1-mile race in a two-week span after she also ran in the Mississippi Blues Half-Marathon in Jackson on Jan. 8.
While it may seem incredible that an expectant mother would be able to perform such feats, for White it's just part of an active lifestyle based around her running.
"(Running) keeps me sane," said White. "I love the silence of it. I love just getting outside. There's nobody out there and I can just think and it's my only time really by myself."
For White, finding the time for her runs requires planning. Aside from their unborn son, the Whites also have a 2-year-old daughter, Avery.
With Micah White also being an avid runner – he won the age 35-39 male division at the Frostbite with a time of 1:24:48 – Kelly and her husband have developed a system that ensures they each get in their runs every week.
"We used to be able to run together, but now that we have (Avery) and we're about to have another baby, we'll see how it goes with two kids," said Kelly White. "Right now, we rotate days. (Micah) gets up at 4:15 in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and I do Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
"We just alternate our times and we both get back before our daughter wakes up so we get it in without interfering with her schedule."
Saturday is the lone day of the week the Whites get the opportunity to run together.
Still, while they don't get the opportunity to join each other as much as in the past, Kelly White cites Micah as a big reason she keeps on running.
Outside of her own home, Kelly White also has plenty of support in the form of Starkville's Boardtown running group and her coworkers at OCH Regional.
The Boardtown runners, a club that originates at the home of Micah White's father Mike, completes distance runs each Saturday.
"It's a tight-knit group and, while it is our family, it's kind of like a lot of other people's second family," said Kelly White. "It's just great food and friendship afterwards. That keeps everyone there running because we keep it fun."
The motivational relationships don't end there.
First, there's Damien Kinard, a physical therapy assistant at OCH and friend of Kelly White who also makes running an instrumental part of his life.
Kinard also ran in the Mississippi Blues Marathon earlier this month and is currently taking his training to the next level as he prepares for an Ironman triathlon taking place in August.
Most recently, Kinard notched a time of 1:44:17 at Saturday's Frostbite.
Then there's Corey Martin, another friend of White who works as a trainer at OCH's Wellness Center.
Martin finished in second place in the 35-39 age division for females at the Frostbite, notching a time of 1:34:22.
White says both Kinard and Martin set good examples, but it's Martin that seems to currently have have the most in common with White, considering the circumstances.
Martin is a mother of three kids but at no point did having children wipe out her hobby.
"(Martin) runs during her pregnancies as well," said White. "She keeps training all the time, just decreases her intensity somewhat."
According to White, the strategy that Martin employs is perfectly fine during pregnancy.
"The first thing doctors tell you is that if you were active before (the pregnancy), then you can keep doing what you're doing," said White. "You just don't need your heart rate to get too high. You want to make sure you don't get overheated too, so it's a great time for me to be pregnant because it's cold.
"I love it. I can go outside and not worry about getting too hot. But your pace has to go down because the baby is using some of your blood supply and oxygen."
While White admits her pace has slowed during her pregnancy, she says she really doesn't feel any other effects.
"As long as I feel good, I keep going," said White. "If I had any pains or felt any problems, I definitely wouldn't continue doing it."
So for now, White uses the motivation of her husband, the Boardtown runners, Kinard, Martin and others to keep running, albeit a bit slower.
Once Samuel White arrives, it's beyond a safe bet that his mother's running ways will continue.
After all, Kelly and Micah White have to develop and maintain the energy to keep up with their expanding family.
"The more active you are, the more energy you have throughout the day," said Kelly White. "You'd think you'd be tired from getting up and running and working out, but it's just something that keeps you energized and it's addicting. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't do it."