|November 15, 2013||Posted by Lauren under Running|
I ran 2 miles today.
More accurately — I waddled around the neighborhood for 21-ish minutes (in shorts of course, because pregnancy is not reason enough to give up the Great Running Tight Boycott - 3 years strong!), and then called it a day. 20 minutes of physical activity feels harder, and more satisfying, than it used to.
At 35 weeks pregnant and looking like I’m ready to pop at any minute, running isn’t really the most natural thing.
Candid from this week’s appointment…this body looks more natural reclining on the couch than running through the neighborhood
My feet scuffle along the ground, my body rocks from side to side, and I feel anything but graceful. As I rounded the last corner on my run, I tried to pick up the pace for a final “sprint” to the end. Instead I just laughed as my head leaned forward, my shoulders strained ahead…and my belly and legs stayed firmly put. I couldn’t run any faster if my life depended on it.
This slow, steady movement is so different from my typical associations with running — feeling fast and free, light and strong. In the past, a successful run meant hitting my stride and dropping paces that felt effortless, coming home exhausted but exhilarated. Now I consider it a victory if I can simply keep myself moving for a full 2 miles. In some ways, running is harder than ever. My heart rate soars with just the slightest increase in effort, I have a human pushing against my diaphragm making breathing difficult, and my stride is just clunky. Not to mention all the extra weight (concentrated primarily in one place) that I’m toting around.
But in other ways, it’s easier. There’s no training plan to follow. No mileage or pace goals to hit. I don’t feel bad about skipping workouts or frustrated when an easy pace feels hard. I know that when I head out, my pace is going to resemble a slow jog, no more, no less. My belly is large enough that I no longer experience any round ligament pain. And I’m not out there long enough for my pelvis to start complaining. It’s just movement in one of its simplest forms.
I’m sure there are many more efficient workouts I could be doing. Cross training for longer periods of time would provide more benefit without all the pounding on my already strained lower body. It would help me strengthen muscle groups that get neglected during training cycle after training cycle. And would still provide all the mental and physical benefits of regular exercise, without all the emotion and baggage that running can sometimes bring.
But yet, despite all that, I prefer to run. It may be hard to understand why. I haven’t been able to run very far in a long time, running less in a week than I used to be able to cover in a day. Running hasn’t helped slow my pregnancy weight gain. At 35 weeks and up 28 pounds, I’m at the high end of the normal curve.
The green dot is me…brushing the top of the “normal” curve
And it hasn’t helped me grow a smaller baby either — a recent (unplanned) scan revealed that Cheese Baby is already quite chunky, measuring almost 2 full weeks ahead(!!) with an estimated due date of 12/10.**
Instead, it’s caused ups and downs as I’ve adjusted to my new limitations and wondered if/when I should give it up for good…or at least until next year. So having said all that, it may be hard to understand why I do it.
The author of the WSJ article would say I’m still running so that everyone will look at me and see how hardcore I am. That I do it for the accolades. For all the attention I’m sure to get for running even as I approach the end of my pregnancy. For the Instagram pictures and the #pregnantrunner hashtag (sidenote: why is #motherrunner a thing but #pregnantrunner is not? Not that I’d use either…) But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I run because there’s something inside me…something in the way I’m built…that drives me to keep moving forward. I can’t explain it, but I know that other runners feel it. The drive to get up early to fit in a training run, to finish that last repeat despite the fact that your legs are toast, to push that extra mile when you feel like you have nothing left to give, to run through cold, wind, rain, heat…and to keep running mile after mile, year after year with relatively nothing to show for it. That drive is what motivates a runner. Not the medals. Not the t-shirts. Not the fancy clothes or flashy shoes (although they help).
And even though I’m not running faster or stronger today than I was yesterday, even though my “training” seems to be moving backward, that drive is why I still continue to run. Why I get all laced up and hit the pavement for a measly 2 miles. Because running is part of my identity. Running has been with me through every single phase of my life. And somehow, no matter how slow I go, running makes me feel like myself. It’s something that I’ve been able to share with my daughter. This little person that I’ve never even met has already run hundreds of miles with me. Has already been rocked to sleep by the motion of my own two feet. I can’t think of many things I find more amazing than that.
Throughout this whole journey, I’ve always maintained that I’d hang up my running shoes the second it no longer seemed safe — for me or the baby. I’ve cut back on my mileage, let go of running goals, and learned to approach this whole process one day at a time. As much as I love identifying as a runner, I wouldn’t be destroyed if today was my last run. I don’t feel the need to hit a certain mileage goal or push my body on days when I think I need more rest. And if I had to give it all up and face 9 – 11 weeks without any running whatsoever, I could do it.
But for now, I’m thankful. Thankful that I have a way to clear my head when the pregnancy brain or the stress of it all takes over. Thankful that I’m still moving, breathing in fresh air, and sharing this time with my daughter. And thankful that I have some other way to measure the passage of weeks, besides the countdown to her eventual birth.
**I actually believe my original due date (12/21) was miscalculated, due to how irregular my cycles were when we got pregnant. But as far as I know, my OB is not actually changing it. So at this point, we’re just hoping for an early arrival (or a huge measurement error!).
|November 5, 2013||Posted by Lauren under Running|
aka Evan’s First Half Marathon!
When Evan originally decided to train for and run a half marathon this fall, it was because the two of us were going to do it together. I had grand plans to run one in September, and it seems there’s nothing like a pregnant wife wanting to run a long distance race to convince a guy to do something he otherwise wouldn’t. Plus, after years of Evan watching me run races, his first half marathon just seemed like such a cool experience to share together.
But somewhere around 22 weeks into this pregnancy, I came to terms with the fact that distance running (a definition that changes by the week) while pregnant just isn’t for me. A hard thing to admit for someone who prefers training for marathons to running 5Ks. But you know, there are worse things in the world than having to hang up your distance-running-shoes for a few months because your body is growing a baby.
Fortunately, Evan was still committed to the idea of running a half this fall…with or without me. And once I got over my selfish desires to want to run his first with him, I accepted the fact that it was probably better for me to be on the sidelines anyway. Not only would I have held him back if we were running together, but I also know how nice it is to run a race when you have someone waiting for you every couple of miles. In the 5 years that we’ve been together, Evan has patiently traveled to many races, standing outside in all sorts of weather to support me. I figured it was about time I returned the favor.
So on one of the biggest racing days of the year, I woke up just after 4:00 am not to run, but to support my husband through his first attempt at 13.1. We drove ~2 hours north for the RaceVermont Shelburne Half Marathon. The morning was freezing (just about 30 degrees at the start), but fortunately the snow that was originally in the forecast held off…instead it was a beautiful, sunny fall day.
The race was small, but very well organized. Packet pick-up was inside the (wonderfully warm) field house, and runners hung out inside until 2 minutes before the start. Just before 8:00 am, the race organizers lead everyone to the starting line and with very little delay, they were off!
Thoughts from the sidelines:
1. Running in 30-something degrees may be cold, but standing around cheering in it is colder.
My main reason for envying the runners on Sunday was because I knew how much warmer they must have been. Meanwhile, I looked like a lopsided snowman all bundled up in my husband’s fleece and my winter coat that doesn’t really zip anymore. So sorry I didn’t take any #spectatingselfies to share with you.
2. From an outsider’s perspective, the course (although beautiful) didn’t look very interesting.
The first 10 miles were basically on the same road, with a couple little out-and-backs on side roads to add on mileage. The final miles were on a gravel path that wound down along the water, before runners met up with the main road and headed back to the Field House for the finish. But Evan loved it…and it actually made it pretty easy to spectate. We had a good friend who was running the half as well, and her husband and I got to see our runners just after mile 2, the halfway point, mile 10 and the finish. Not too bad for a 2 hour race!
3. It felt a little weird getting Evan ready for (and through) a race that I also wasn’t running.
This was the first time we’ve traveled together for a race just for him. I thought I might be sad about the fact that I wasn’t also running, but I actually loved it. It was fun to focus 100% on his race. Plus, the excitement/pride I felt every time I saw him on the course almost rivaled the pride that builds when I race myself (…almost).
4. I’m a little rusty on my race spectating-logistics-planning.
While my husband has become a pro at it over the years, I found myself struggling with estimated times and paces. First, I completely forgot to start my timer (or even look at a clock) when the race started, so I was just going off an 8:00 am-sharp estimated start. Second, every time I saw him I struggled with the mental math to calculate his pace. Maybe we can just blame the pregnancy for that one. I finally got into the groove, timing the distance between Evan and our friend and our arrivals at different spectating spots almost perfectly.
5. I may be slightly biased, but Evan was such a fun runner to watch.
Granted, he says he was loving life for the first 10 miles (i.e. during all the times I saw him until the finish) and then hated it for the last 5K, but it was awesome to see him running so happy and so well. He admittedly didn’t fall in love with distance running during training, but that all seemed to change on Sunday. Despite the fact that there weren’t large crowds or tons of runners (the race was pretty small) just the experience of being in a race environment was enough to pump him up. His goal (besides finishing) was to maintain a sub-8 minute/mile pace the entire way. And for the first 10 miles, he blew that out of the water. Every time I saw him, I’d do some mental math in my head to figure out his projected finish time. I was so excited to see him flying through the course…hills and all!
6. The last 5K of a half (just like the last 10K of a full) is make it or break it time.
Unfortunately the way the course worked out, I wasn’t able to see Evan at all during the last 3.1. And that’s when he needed support the most. I know that 3 miles can never seem so long as when they’re at the end of a distance race. And that’s especially true when the course has you running on a lonely path with no spectators and barely any other runners around to help you push. But to his credit, he didn’t give up. He may have sworn off running altogether during those last few miles (but who of us hasn’t??), but he kept plugging along.
7. Seeing Evan round the corner toward the finish line was one of the coolest moments.
Evan and I have done relays together, so it’s not the first time I’ve been able to cheer him into the finish of a run. But during those races there was always a sense that we were in it together. On Sunday, for the first time, he was in a race situation where he had done the work completely on his own. And it was so cool to be on the other side of the race for once — getting to support him while he gutted it out and finished something he once thought he’d never be able to do.
I know it must sound so cheesy, but running has been my passion since we’ve been together. Evan has been happy to support me and run shorter races with me, but until now he hasn’t really felt that drive to do a race on his own. Which is fine — I love that he has his own hobbies and passions that I’ve been able to support him in over the years. However, there’s just something so incredibly moving to see a person you love accomplishing something in a sport that you also love. I may not have been actually running that day, but the runner’s high I felt when Evan crossed the finish line was most certainly real.
Official Time: 1:42:52 (7:53 pace)
50th male/12th in his age group
8. Getting to dissect and discuss every minute of another runner’s race is the 2nd best thing to actually running it yourself.
Yes, I may miss running more than a few miles at a time. And I may be counting down the days until I can toe the line and push my body to the limits in the pursuit of a PR. But in the meantime, I love being around other people who have raced. When you know that your time on the sidelines is only temporary, it’s fun to be able to live vicariously through other people who are doing the one thing you would love to do but can’t. I’m not sure if Evan appreciated my 5,000 questions about every single detail of the race (what do you mean, you don’t remember exactly how you felt at mile 3??), but I sure loved talking strategy with him afterward.
9. Moe’s food is tasty, but it’s an interesting choice for a post-race meal.
Tortilla chips and vegetarian chili. I guess beans are great for protein (and Evan appreciated the non-meat option!) but it was so spicy he couldn’t really get much down. Fortunately, we rectified that situation with post-race pizza and beer…i.e. the recovery fuel of champions.
10. I tried not to push TOO much, but Evan is already talking about “next time.” And I love it!
Despite swearing off running altogether at some point during the last 3 miles, a belly full of pizza and beer seemed to change his perspective. He already knows what he wants to do differently next time, and keeps saying that he could have done better “if…” You know, that classic running bug I’ve been hoping will bite him all along. We will see what happens. But I’m striking while the iron is hot! I’ve already made plans for us to enter the Vermont City half marathon relay lottery…AND have gotten him to confirm that he’d run this race again.
Now who wants to volunteer to watch Cheese Baby while we’re running??
|November 1, 2013||Posted by Lauren under Pregnancy, Running|
One year ago this weekend, Evan and I drove down to NYC, found out the marathon was canceled and then turned around for a long road trip back up north to run Manchester City Marathon with Ali and Emily. Most spontaneous marathon planning ever, yet one of my most fun to date.
It’s so hard to believe that an entire year has gone by since I ran my last marathon. My last real race, actually (racing while pregnant is just not the same thing). I’m trying not to freak out about what that’s going to mean when I finally do step on a starting line again sometime in 2014. Racing is just like riding a bike, right?
It helps that over the past few weeks, my mind has been overtaken by thoughts about babies and labor and breastfeeding and maternity leave. At this current moment, my own running has become a bit of an afterthought (I don’t even know who I am anymore).
But, that doesn’t mean I’m not feeling just a bit nostalgic for last fall – for those taper tantrums and pre-race nerves. Or suffering from just a teeny bit of race envy, knowing so many are gearing up for NYCM this weekend.
So just for kicks, I pulled out my marathon outfit from last year and gave it a spin. Because when you’re 8 months pregnant and unable to race, you’ve got to find other ways to entertain yourself. Oh…what’s that? You’ve always wanted to see a pregnant woman squeezed into running clothes that are clearly much too small?? Well it’s your lucky day then, because instead of keeping these to myself I’ve decided to share the photos with you!
Hey Saucony – do you need a cover model? I really think this pattern enhances my natural curves.
File this under: things you should never post on the Internets
And now for the comparison: 2012 LBC vs 2013 LBC. I don’t know about you, but I really think the belly completes the outfit.
So this weekend, instead of racing, I’m going to be sitting on the couch in my old running clothes, drowning my sorrows in a bucket of ice cream.
Just kidding. I actually plan to do the next best thing: cheer from the sidelines. Evan — my soccer and baseball playing husband that I’ve slowly tried to morph into a runner — will be running his very first half marathon! I’ve been helping him train all summer, trying to show him that distance running truly is the most amazing thing ever. I’m not entirely sure he’s convinced, but at least he survived the training. Even though I wasn’t able to actually run the miles with him, it’s been fun to live vicariously through him. To watch as he got faster and more confident at running longer distances while I got slower and slower. And I’m hoping that these past few months of training have ignited a fire in him — after all, he’s currently the fastest person in the house. I don’t plan on letting him hold onto that title easily (no, I’m not competitive at all…).
Sunday is finally the big day that he’s been working toward for months. I’m so excited about it, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.
Unfortunately for him, the weather forecast is looking a little less than ideal.
Maybe he’ll get lucky and have the wind at his back the entire time??
Crappy weather or not, I would love nothing more than to be out on the course with him on Sunday. Helping pace him through his first 13.1, getting him water every couple of miles, saying encouraging words when he needed a boost, and shutting up when he just needed time in his own head. But maybe it’s better that I won’t be. Maybe it’ll be good for me to stand on the sidelines (like he has for me, so many times before), waiting for him, encouraging him, and just letting him run his own race. Because there’s nothing like crossing the finish line of your first long distance race. Knowing all the time and commitment you put into training…focusing on all the hard work it took on race day to get there. I truly can’t wait for him to experience that.
No matter what happens on Sunday — however fast or slow he runs — I do know that Cheese Baby and I are going to be some of the proudest spectators out there. I may not be able to run, but I plan on shaking this baby bump like it’s my job.
Good luck to everyone racing this weekend, especially all you NYCM-ers!!
|October 24, 2013||Posted by Lauren under Running|
Otherwise known as the race where I made a friend who dropped me at the finish line.
It may seem strange that a very pregnant woman would sign up for a race hosted by a brewery (particularly when the entry fee includes drink tickets that she won’t actually benefit from), but there’s just something about the Harpoon Octoberfest Race. It’s not that the course is particularly fun — you basically run up a huge hill, through neighborhoods, and back down the hill into the brewery, or even PR-worthy — with a random distance of 3.66 miles, you can’t really compare your time to anything. There’s no cool t-shirt or even a finisher’s medal.
But there are cool beer mugs filled with water when you cross the finish line. A fun and festive atmosphere. Awesome food at the end (brats for the non-veg and delicious black bean burgers for those of us who prefer our veggies). And of course, lots of delicious beer to taste and (potentially) to win.
Plus, it just so happens that the Octoberfest is held the same weekend as the annual Conkey family camping trip, and we’ve somehow made this race into a family tradition.
Because this race happened over a week ago and because I don’t have any particularly inspiring tales to tell, here are the highlights in short, numbered form. Or in other words, The Joys of Running at a Beer Festival While Pregnant:
1. Although I publicly said that I didn’t have any goals for this particular race other than to finish, the real truth is that I wanted to keep a steady 9-minute mile pace…as long as everything was feeling good, that is. I figured that with the help of a few race day endorphins, this was a perfectly manageable goal.
2. Ever since the 5K we ran together in September, I’ve come to terms with the fact that Evan is now faster than me. I’m okay with this on account of two things: a) I’m carrying over 20 extra pounds in the form of our child; and b) I believe this to be a temporary state (we’ll see what Evan has to say about that). Even so, Evan and I had a last minute debate on the starting line about whether or not he should run with me. I pretended I didn’t want him around, but the truth was that I knew he was itching to go fast…and it really didn’t take that much convincing to send him up closer to the front. Once the race started he took off and I didn’t see him again until the finish (where he was waiting for me right at the line…what a guy).
3. Despite the fact that my pace continues to slow every week, those race day endorphins are still magical. When the race started, I found myself easily keeping a sub-9:00 pace without feeling like I was even pushing — something I haven’t been able to do on my own in weeks.
4. On a related note, this was the first race where I truly felt absolutely no desire to push. I don’t know if it’s that 3rd trimester, zen-preggo-running phase that I’m entering into, or if subconsciously my body has finally learned that it’s just not worth it, but all I wanted to do on that beautiful Sunday morning was to run. I kept the pace faster than my normal jog, but it felt effortless…and every time I felt my legs starting to surge forward, I held myself back. My pregnancy running “journey” (if you want to call it that) has been so full of ups and downs. All I wanted to do was take advantage of one of those good days…because who knows how many I had left.
Running up that first hill. Objects in picture are happier than they appear.
5. Somewhere after the 2nd mile mark, the course turns up this short but steep hill — the kind of hill that takes all the wind out of your sails, if you happen to be actually racing, of course. Right before I started to make the climb, a guy came up from behind me and says: “Let’s go! You and me. I’ve been waiting for this. No talking, let’s just push it up this hill!!” I had no idea what inspired him to use me as his hill running motivation (besides maybe taking pity on the pregnant lady running by herself), but I wasn’t about to turn down a good challenge. So up the hill I went, matching him stride for stride. We made it to the top together, congratulated each other on an outstanding effort, wished each other luck and went our separate ways. I was amused by the interaction but didn’t think too much of it, figuring that would be the last I’d see of my hill running friend.
6. Until…he caught back up to me just before the 3rd mile mark. With a quick, “Me again!” we resumed running together, stride for stride. I felt myself starting to pull away a little bit so I said (in the spirit of friendly competition): “You aren’t going to let a pregnant woman beat you in the last 0.5 mile, are you?!” (because, you know, he helped push me up that hill. I owed him. Plus let’s be honest, gentleman…what’s better motivation to get your butt in gear than that?) Well, turns out the guy didn’t even know I was pregnant! So we started chatting. I learned that he was a certified first responder (phew!) and we talked a little bit about running through pregnancy. At one point he asked me, “How much extra weight are you carrying??” which made me laugh. I don’t think another women would ever ask me that question, but I think he was genuinely interested in how I was running with all that extra weight…plus you all know I haven’t exactly been shy about my pregnancy weight gain.
7. As friendly and encouraging as my new buddy was, I don’t think he really wanted to be beaten by a pregnant woman. He started picking up the pace quite a bit coming into the final stretch…you know, that same downhill stretch where I “accidentally” ran away from Evan last year and never looked back. I couldn’t be mad though. Mostly because as we were coming around the corner, he kept pointing to me and yelling “Lady with a baby!! Lady with a baby!!” I’m not really one who normally likes a lot of extra attention, but I can’t say I hated the cheers…or wasn’t touched by this stranger’s pride. And even though he totally surged ahead of me right at the finish, I forgave him because he high-fived me and then immediately wanted to meet “the father” so he could congratulate Evan too.
8. Runners really are all sorts of awesome. That’s all.
9. Evan ended up running a course PR — almost 2 full minutes faster than last year. Which also means that he now holds the family record for fastest time on the Harpoon Brewery course. I’m pretty sure he has caught the racing bug and will do everything in his power to keep it. Bring it on, I say (in the meantime, Cheese Baby and I were incredibly proud!)!
He also got to drink my extra beer so…I’d say it was a pretty good day for him
10. Despite my zen I-don’t-want-to-push-it-this-year attitude, I will admit that I DID look at the winning times (AG and overall)…just to see. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve got some new goals for 2014. And they include winning a case of beer.
All in all, another fun race in the books for Cheese Baby and I! This was the last official race I signed up to run during pregnancy — that big goal I’ve held onto for the past 7 months. Although I still think it would be super fun to do a local Turkey Trot, I’m glad I made it through the 30 week mark still running. It’s been a fun and interesting adventure!
In case you’re wondering, here are the splits:
Splits: 8:53, 8:28, 8:45, 5:07 for last 0.67 (7:36 pace)
Official Time: 31:12 (8:32)
|September 13, 2013||Posted by Lauren under Marathon Training, Running|
So…Boston. Are we still talking about this??
Registration is open! My social media channels are saturated with pictures of entry confirmations or excited tweets about signing up. And up until basically the last minute (ie the day before), I was pretty convinced I’d be forking over $175 to add my name to the list. I had some hesitations about it, of course, and I carefully read and thought about each and every piece of criticism/advice about why running Boston 4 months postpartum may not be the smartest decision (honestly — the comments on the post are way more interesting than anything I ramble about. If you’re thinking about training for any race postpartum, I highly recommend reading through them!). But I still remained convinced.
Evan was supportive, as was my mom — a woman who had 4 children of her own and has been an athlete all her life. One of my biggest role models when it comes to working hard to achieve your dreams while also balancing a family told me that she thought it was great to have a goal for myself, and she was truly on board if I felt like I could handle it. Even my OB said that she was confident I could run Boston and that I’d have no problem finishing.
So then, if I was so passionate about wanting to run the race and convinced that I could physically and mentally handle it, why not sign up?
Because ultimately I realized I couldn’t just ask, “Can I do it?” and let that answer guide my decision. I had to follow that question up with an even more important one, “At what cost?”
Now, this question is a lot more complicated. And it got me really thinking about postpartum exercise: How soon? How much? And how important is it? I realized that a lot of the comments on my last post really pertained to that larger discussion. It’s not just about Boston. It’s about how we push our bodies as runners and how that changes once we go through labor/delivery. It’s about the goals and values we have for ourselves, our families…our lives outside of raising children. And I find it all really fascinating. Because it goes well beyond what we can (or should be able to) handle physically.
I don’t want to get into that whole discussion in this post. Partially because I’m not on that other side yet. As a pregnant woman who is still only dreaming about getting back into shape post-baby, my opinions come with a strong measure of naiveté. I can tell you what I hope/want to be able to do, but we all know that my life is going to change forever in a little over 3 months.
Framing it in terms of Boston, however, most of the concerns with postpartum exercise that I heard/read fell into 3 categories:
1.) Time away from the baby
2.) Toll that training takes on your body
3.) Logistics of the marathon
Taking time away from a newborn baby to train
To be perfectly honest with you, #1 was my lowest concern. Maybe that makes me sound like an awful mother…maybe that just convinces you that I’m even more naive about motherhood than I thought. Yes, I’m planning on working and yes, the baby will be in daycare during the day. So obviously I am going to want to see her as much as I can on the weekends, evenings, etc. But, I’m really not nervous about training taking away from that time. First, because our daycare is literally right down the hall from my office. I may not be with her all day, but I can stop in and see/feed her at least a couple of times during work, and she’ll never feel too far away. Second, I have a husband who is really really excited about this baby. When I asked him if it was selfish that I wanted to spend time away from the baby to train his response was: “What about MY time with the baby? What if I want time alone with her?” Yes, I know my relationship with Cheese Baby will be different from my husband’s. I know she’s going to be a lot more dependent on me than him in those first months of life. But I also really value his relationship with our future child, and I’m excited that he wants to take such an active role in her life.
And finally — I don’t want to get completely caught up in that post-baby haze. Okay, so maybe I do a little. I know the newborn stage goes by quickly and you never get those first few months back. So I’m sure that I’ll be 100% content to have my life revolve completely around her at the start . But it’s going to be winter in Vermont. Cold, dark, lonely. I need something that motivates me to get out of the house now and then. I need something that makes me feel like myself — something beyond just being a mother. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with just embracing being a mom for a while and putting other goals to the side. I know many women who do it and are completely happy. But I also know that’s not for me.
The toll that training takes on your body
This gave me a bit more pause…not just because I have no idea what my labor/delivery/recovery will be like. I hope to breastfeed. I want to use cloth diapers. I’m going to be sleep deprived. Balancing a newborn and work. My life is going to be turned upside down (in the best possible way) and I will need to figure out how to manage it all. I want to train for something, but a marathon within 4 months might be a little too much to handle. I could face issues with my supply, or do further damage to my body down the line if I’m not careful.
That being said, I don’t really feel like this is insurmountable. I still believe that if I was really careful and put in the bare minimum number of miles to train, I could definitely finish the marathon. It wouldn’t be easy and I’d probably be exhausted, but I could do it.
Logistics of the Boston Marathon
Personally, this was the tipping point. Even if Cheese Baby arrives right on time and I have a perfect labor/delivery…even if training goes well and I feel strong…even if everything fell into place in those months leading up to Boston, there’s still the issue of race day. A huge race that requires lots of sitting around beforehand. And after last year’s tragedy, it will have even tighter security measures. BAA has already stated that runners need to expect stricter baggage claim policies, and has warned that that may not be able to check a bag at all. Running a marathon while breastfeeding would require me to pump right before the race. If I can’t check a bag, I definitely can’t pump. And if I can’t pump…I honestly have no idea how I’d make it through the day.
So could I do Boston 4 months postpartum? Yes. And I am so thankful for all the encouragement I got from many of you and other people in my life.
But at what cost? Between trying to fit in the training with a newborn while keeping myself (and her!) healthy and trying to figure out race day logistics, it became clear that the cost might be too much. I debated signing up anyway and just seeing what happens. That would spare me from the regret I feel right now about not registering, and the regret I’d feel on race day if everything was going well and I felt capable of running. But I ultimately decided I might regret it more later if things don’t work out. Not only because I could use that registration money for things that might actually benefit Cheese Baby (like nursery furniture and baby products!), but also because in the end, I’m not sure if I can handle another failed marathon attempt. In 2012, I wasn’t able to run either marathon I trained for (Boston due to injury; NYCM due to cancellation). 2013 started with another marathon DNS due to pregnancy. Do I really want to continue this trend for yet another year? Or do I want to pick a race, train my heart out for it, and cross the finish line breaking my 3:18 streak once and for all?
For now my plan is to come to Boston in 2014 as a spectator once again. I wish I could be one of the runners on the course, but at least I’ll be able to celebrate from the sidelines. Meanwhile, I’m going to find another race to train for. I won’t plan a marathon only 4 months out, but I need a goal to work toward. Whether that’s a few spring half marathons and a fall full or something else, I don’t really know.
All I know is that I am a runner. Running has been with me through all of life’s major changes. It’s more to me than just a form of exercise – it’s a constant in my life and an integral part of my identity. I don’t see how having a baby should change that.
Crazy to think this was almost a year ago now
So I may not be running Boston. But when 2014 comes around, I plan to be running.