Runner Sarah Brown – Who Gave Birth Four Months Ago – Competes at the Olympic Trials Today

Sarah Brown is taking the track Thursday after some last-minute doubts

Photo: Courtesy Sarah Brown Video Courtesy espnW The first few months after giving birth are busy for any new mom. But runner Sarah Brown had an added level of pressure on her shoulders after welcoming daughter Abigail in March: She had to get her body back into Olympic ready shape, too.

Brown, who trained for the Olympics throughout her pregnancy and is the focus of a new espnW docu-series Run Mama Run, will officially start her journey to Rio in the track and field Olympic trials Thursday in Eugene, Oregon.

The trials mark her first race back after she discovered she was pregnant last summer.

“If you’re going to do it, go big,” Sarah tells PEOPLE.

Having the trials as her first race back wasn’t Sarah’s original plan – although she always knew it was a possibility. Complications that arose (despite the careful planning and constant adjustments to Sarah’s training regimen at the hands of Darren Brown, her husband and coach) during the past four months forced training to take a bit of a backseat to other issues.

In the first few weeks after Abigail’s birth, Sarah’s training was going “really well,” she says. But that didn’t last throughout the past four months: After noticing some back pain, she had tests done and discovered that pregnancy and breastfeeding caused her to develop low bone density – which, though is completely reversible, was an undeniable roadblock to her already accelerated training. As Sarah was working to recover, there were moments were she and Darren weren’t sure if she’d being running in the trials at all.

“It’s something I’ve had to really put at the forefront of things right now,” she says of her bone density issues. “For a while I didn’t even know if I would still be going to the trials.”

But as she did throughout her pregnancy, Sarah kept going, she and Darren adjusted her training and eventually she was able overcome the hurdle, and is now set to run at Thursday’s first round of the trials.

“Just like in my pregnancy, when I couldn’t do something, we had to readjust the plan,” she tells PEOPLE.

RELATED VIDEO: Runner Sarah Brown Is Getting Ready for the Olympic Trials While She’s Pregnant

During that time, where her Olympic chances was in the air, Sarah says Abigail gave her a newfound peace and ability to stay grounded.

“She really keeps me in the moment, enjoying it and not always worrying about the future,” she says. “When things were so uncertain with my running and where I was going to end up, it was really good to have that aspect of my life where I can really be in the moment with her.”

“From that standpoint, it’s been life-changing.”

When it comes balancing the challenges of a newborn with the pressures of Olympic training, Sarah admits that Abigail cut them a break – especially at night.

“She likes her sleep as her mom likes her sleep,” Sarah joked.

Going into the trials, where Sarah will have to go through three qualifying rounds, she’ll be channeling the focus Abigail brings her, staying in the moment and doing her best to make it through each round. In the days before Thursday’s trials, Sarah had the chance to enjoy being back on the track her fellow runners.

“I’m super excited to start racing again and put myself back out there,” she says.

“This journey has has so many ups and downs, but ultimately I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” she says. “I love my life now, and I love my daughter.”

If she does go to Rio, she isn’t too concerned about about one of the biggest topics of discussion involving the Olympics and pregnant women: the Zika virus.

“Because you don’t know the longterm effects, there are a lot of questions,” she says. “I’ve had so many hurdles in my journey thus far, that if [Zika] becomes something I need to think about, that’s when I’ll focus on the details.”

And would Sarah ever think about repeating her story in 2020? Probably not.

“If I was planning out [a pregnancy], I definitely would plan it for a time more conducive to my running schedule,” she says. “But that being said, I wouldn’t trade my story and what we’ve gone through this last year for anything.”

For good reason: Sarah says that thought there’s been physical challenges to overcome, having Abigail in her life ultimately makes her stronger on the track.

“Being a mother makes me a better runner,” she says. “I really feel like I have something to accomplish, for myself and to show her that you can do these things, be a strong woman and go after your hopes and dreams.”

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