Thursday, May 20, 2010

Half Marathon - Part I

A lot can change in a year. Twelve months ago I was 7 1/2 months pregnant and growing more enormous every day. My legs and feet were so swollen that I could hardly walk to the park and back with the kids, and I only had one pair of flip flops that could fit on my feet. To get me to run any distance would have required my childrens' lives to be in danger or someone dangling a gallon of Haagen Daaz peanut-butter and chocolate ice cream in front of me. I had gone to spinning classes off and on throughout the pregnancy but by early summer I was just too huge and uncomfortable.

Fortunately I was able to return to spinning when Alex was a few months old, and it wasn't long after that when I began daydreaming about finally training for a half marathon, which has been a goal of mine for some time now. I decided to follow a 14-week program and run the Fargo Half Marathon, which meant that my training started in February. I trained on the treadmill in the basement, on icy sidewalks and flooded Greenway trails, in snow and wind and rain (cue Rocky music). On Saturdays I would peel the baby off my hip and wave goodbye as I went out on long runs, then come home and jump right into the regular weekend routines - soccer games, yard work, errands.

I certainly couldn't have trained for this without the incredible support from my family. Rob is my #1 fan, cheerleader, coach, physical therapist, and shoulder to cry on. The kids have cheered me on too, bringing me water during my long runs and acting astounded when I told them I ran 8, 10 , 12 miles. I can't wait to see them all as I cross the finish line; I'm sure I'll be a teary mess.

A lot of people like to compare difficult accomplishments to childbirth but I've never quite agreed - childbirth happens to you, and besides managing your pain you can't just decide to quit in the middle of it. So I will say: Training for this race has been the hardest thing I've ever chosen to do. There were many times I wanted to stop in the middle of a run, and training did not always go smoothly. I was sick a few different times, have a sore hip flexor muscle from an old injury, and had to deal with knee and IT band pain once I got into the longer runs. I came to realize the amount of mental strength that is required for something like this and often surprised myself with how strong I really am. I'm a very different person than I was twelve months ago and I'm excited to see what else I can accomplish in the future. I can't imagine running a full marathon, but who knows?

The race is in 33 hours and I'm full of nervous energy. I'm getting over a cold and the forecast for race day is for wind and rain, so I'm sure my time will be slow, but I'm excited to get it done. Watch for pictures and results, and wish me luck!


I'm calling it: Alex's official first word is "Uh-Oh!" It's not really surprising, given the amount of mischief he's getting into lately. At 10 1/2 months he is a speed-crawler and a master mess-maker. Thank goodness for baby gates because he could practice climbing up and down the stairs all day long. I've been trying for months to get him to say "mama", but he just laughs and blows raspberries or shakes his head "no." What a little tease! So instead we have "uh-oh," which he says now whenever he drops his cracker, sippy cup, pacifier, toy, or washcloth (his favorite thing to carry around and gnaw on). I'm excited though - let the communication phase begin!