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Elite Beach to Beacon runner is training for two

Michelle Lilienthal has been the top Maine female Beach to Beacon finisher three times before. This year, she'll be six months pregnant when the race begins.

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — Michelle Lilienthal was all smiles as she crossed the finish line at the 2018 Beach to Beacon as the fastest female Maine runner. It was her third time winning the title.

"I only win on even years apparently," says Lilienthal. "That's what they told me at the press conference last year."

That adage will hold up for a little longer. Michelle won't be alone in front during the 2019 race because she won't be alone. She's 30 weeks pregnant with her first child -- a baby boy-- and he's tagging along for training.

"I've been running every day since I was fifteen," says Lilienthal. "I didn't know if I would feel good enough to do the race, so I feel really lucky that I can have that normal part of my life still."

Michelle consulted with her doctor and says as long and she stays hydrated and doesn't overheat, she and her baby are cleared for healthy, happy runs together throughout her pregnancy.

And there's more than one mom-to-be preparing for the annual 10K. Michelle's training partner, Leah, is also expecting.

"She's only two weeks behind me so we have been on this journey together, getting slower together," says Lilienthal. "It's been really wild and fun."

Both women are gaining a new perspective on a familiar course. 

"I think I will be able to enjoy it more by just being able to relax and take it all in," says Lilienthal. "But then afterwards you're like, 'Aww man, I wish I could've crushed that one.'"

Lilienthal will be back to crushing it soon, but for now, she's happy to hang with the pack and bond with her son on the Beach to Beacon course before he's even born.

The next big competition for Lilienthal comes just five months after her due date: she will be running in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the Marathon.