Running Diaries: Mommy (Half)Marathoner

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Not one but TWO of our fabulous SMB Contributors are running the upcoming Susan G. Komen Women’s Half Marathon. Today you’re hearing both their stories about training for the race. Read on for Tracy’s, and be sure to check out Angela’s from this morning if you missed it. Enjoy!

Jogging
image credit: Flickr user Denis Todorut

Two years ago this month our youngest son William was 4 months old and I was settling into the two-kid thing. We didn’t have it all figured out by any stretch of the imagination but the second time around was much easier for me in the infant department and I was feeling pretty good about life. I could decipher his cries, knew how to feed him, and was much more willing to trust my gut even if it went against the parenting books I had memorized prior to his birth. Yes, I was loving my two kiddos (under 22 months) and feeling good. Good about everything except how I felt about my body and my overall health. 

I hadn’t been exercising and while I had lost most of my pregnancy weight (don’t hate me, it’s just how my body works) I was feeling unmotivated and kind of crummy in the energy department. Even though things were moving along pretty well in the adjusting- to- life-with-two-kids department there was no doubt that the days were LONG. I was tired and lacked my usual hutzpah for life. I wasn’t depressed (remember, I am a therapist and was looking for all the signs) I just wasn’t motivated. During those months I remember thinking that aside from a good feeding session or sleeping through the night, I just didn’t have much to look forward to; I needed something to aim for; outside of helping my children reach their goals, I needed some of my own. 

Enter my Runner Extraordinaire sister-in-law who had the bright idea to challenge my husband (her brother) and me to run in a 15k on 4th of July weekend the next year. It wasn’t so much of a challenge as it was an opportunity to do something together and plan ahead.  We all knew she could do it sleeping, but Keith and I? That was going to be a different story. She was the flame to my fire of lethargy and I was up for the task. It was October and I had until the next July to run 9 miles. At the same time. 9 miles in 9 months, that seemed reasonable. It. Was. On. And that, my friend, is how I became a runner.

There was just one slight problem: I could barely run a mile. What I could do was set a goal, though, especially with some accountability. I am really (read: to a fault) competitive so I was not about to let my husband run 9.3 miles without me. And he didn’t! We trained together in the beginning when the runs are short (3-4 miles) and while sometimes my competitive nature got the best of me and I would scream out in agony at Mile 2 embarrassed that I couldn’t keep up, for the most part it was really fun. We had a double jogging stroller and it was doable with a toddler and an infant. We would switch off pushing and it was really motivating to see us mark off our weekly runs. Just like Angela, I bought a Nike+ iPod running meter and I like to dramatically say that it “changed my life!” It really did though; I still run with it today and couldn’t do a run without the strange robotic voice in my ear cheering me on at every mile.

When that July came around we ran the 15k and when Keith naturally was ahead of me in pace he stopped at mile 8 (totally jeopardizing his time) and waited for me to catch up so we could finish the race together. That is love, people. It was an awesome feeling…to set a goal, work on it over time, and reach such a major accomplishment. It felt great to have done something so un-natural for me and it was a bonus that Keith and I got to do it together. Crossing the finish line with him was probably a top-ten life moment for me.After I crossed that finish line 15 months ago I wasn’t convinced that I was going to run another race, especially one that was more miles than I had just completed! But life and mommy-hood have a funny way of giving you opportunities that are just slightly outside of your comfort zone and thus my training for the Women’s Half Marathon began.

I am excited and nervous to run this race. Even though I have the experience of racing before (I have about three 10k’s under my belt in addition to the 15k) this is still a HALF marathon, people! I have never done this before and I am hoping that adrenaline will give me at least one mile that I don’t fret over! I am also excited to run it with one of my very dearest friends here in Arizona. It has been a real treat to talk training with her, motivate each other, and know that we will be with each other on race day. It’s been great to be able to talk about something other than tantrums and toddlerhood when we get together; I love sharing this with her.

Finally, all of this running just wouldn’t be possible without my husband. Training for a half marathon is a huge time commitment and each Sunday night Keith and I pull out our calendars and schedule in my runs so he can plan to be at home a little later on those mornings to be with the boys. I am so grateful for his encouragement and motivation during this season. I know it will be a sweet moment for him too when I cross that finish line because he has trained with me in spirit. I am secretly hoping for my boys to be holding one of those “Go Mommy!” signs along the route because let’s face it, whether you run a half marathon or run after your kids everyday, it’s always nice to have someone cheering you along. 

What about you?  Do you have things that you can look forward to that are your own and not your children’s? Any big races or challenges coming up? Tell us about it!

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