Up until last weekend, I had been training for my first 5K as a mom for 8 weeks using the Couch to 5K app. This required getting up at the crack of dawn in sometimes freezing temperatures to run with my neighbor before work. Other times, when it snowed or rained, I ran on a treadmill and fought boredom. Either way, just finding the regular time to run meant good planning with my husband, and the willingness to run whenever I had the chance. **I have since added the exception of running an hour after Taco Tuesday dinner. That was not a good run. But I did it. Barely.
Whenever I get back from a run, I am mauled by my entourage (this photo includes a neighbor’s dog who was visiting this particular day).
I remember training back before kids over a decade ago. I had such nice, relaxing evenings of stretching under the ceiling fan while watching Sex in the City and enjoying a cold adult beverage.
My strength training didn’t include an infant lying on my stomach as I did pelvic lifts, or a preschooler crawling repeatedly through the “bridge” of downward-facing dog pose as I tried to inhale and release my stressed muscles. Ah, those were the days.
The Night Before:
Despite going to bed before 10:00 p.m., my mind was nervous about the race. Could I do it? How hilly would the course be? Would my weakened bladder (thanks kids) make it? Would I forget to nurse the baby before going to the race so I wouldn’t have that kind of leaking? Hey-I keep it real here. These are legitimate concerns. Count yourself lucky if you don’t have to worry about these things before a race!
Just as I drifted off, the crying began. My one-year old is teething again (we assume). He cried off and on until about 3:00 a.m., when he decided to just stay awake and thrash himself around in our bed until 5:00 a.m. We had to get up at 5:45. That was a short night.
Race Day- Before the Race:
Our eldest son woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He melted down because he couldn’t find his little American flag that he wanted to wave at the soldiers and veterans competing in the Memorial Day Run and March. It was nowhere to be found. Once our team of diplomats resolved this issue, we were out of pears and also didn’t have the right kind of cereal. Realizing that negotiations were futile, the diplomats gave up and went to a more reasonable preschooler’s home.
Meanwhile, I was trying to fuel up and also feed the baby who was throwing his food on the floor in his first physics experiment and crying because his breakfast didn’t bounce.
We made it to the car, most of us crying, and all of us apologizing. We were solidly in a festive mood by the end of the 15 minutes it took to get there.
Ten seconds after leaving the registration area, a kind woman asked my son if he wanted a little flag. Where the heck was SHE an hour earlier?
During the Race:
I went out too fast at the start because I was all excited to be running in a pack-a rookie mistake that I should have avoided. This meant that I ended up taking four walk breaks near the end because I pushed too hard at the start.
At one point in my first walk break, I let that mean girl voice take over and tell me I can’t do this. What am I thinking? I am starting over 12 years after a marathon. I should give up after this race. If I can’t do 3.1 without walking, how will I EVER do 13.1?
Then I thought of my boys, and how they were waiting to see their mom cross the line, and by golly, they were going to see me finish strong. So I ran when I could and walked when I needed to, and I rounded the corner with a smile on my bright red face.
After the Race:
I finished in a time that was great for me-I really only wanted to cross the line on my own feet and not by stretcher.
The best part was that my boys were all lined up, waving that tiny flag, when I crossed the line. My eldest son, who had sacrificed and eaten second-choice cereal before the race, beamed at me and told me he was proud of me for “winning the race.”
I don’t know what other people went through in the 8 weeks leading up to their race, but I definitely think I am winning.