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Marathons and Motherhood

In January of 2010, I made the decision to run a half marathon. I was probably out celebrating New Year’s Eve and I had to have been a little tipsy when I made this crazy resolution. See, I’m not exactly a distance runner. I’m active and I enjoy working out regularly, but I wasn’t running more than 2-3 miles on a regular basis. But nonetheless, in my drunken celebratory state, I concluded that it’d be really fun to train for a half marathon and I registered myself and my husband (your welcome, honey).

Prepping for the half marathon was pretty grueling, especially since I’d never run more than a 5k at one time in my life. I’m not a hardcore runner and I didn’t have a coach, but I trained the best that I could. I’m not going to lie, the actual race was tough. I felt great during the first six miles and I kept a steady pace, but I started losing steam during the second half of the race. I’m pretty sure I tried to quit several times throughout the last two miles, but luckily my husband dragged my ass across the finish line. At that time, completing the half marathon was probably the most physically challenging thing I had ever done in my life.

About eight miles after this photo, I was no longer smiling.

About eight miles after this photo, I was no longer smiling.

Eight months later, I started an entirely different physical challenge. Pregnancy. As a first time mother, I really had no idea what to expect about everything. Plus, most women love to tell you all about their nightmare experiences –like how they labored for 78 hours and ended up having emergency c-sections that took months and months to recover from. Why the hell do women say shit like that? Like, lie to me, ladies. Just tell me it’s not that bad and that I’ll survive like the other millions and millions of women who get pregnant and give birth. Luckily, just like that first six miles in my half marathon, the first few months of pregnancy were surprisingly enjoyable. I didn’t have crazy morning sickness and I felt pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, I was tired. Really tired. But I could manage that. As the pregnancy progressed though, I slowed down. Trying to survive the last month or two was strangely similar to that last mile in my marathon. Exhausting, intense, painful. If I had the opportunity to quit being pregnant sometime around 38 weeks, I probably would have. Luckily, my husband helped drag my ass across the finish line of labor and we finally welcomed our baby boy into the world.

Housing a 9 pound child inside my body.... much more physically insane than running 13 miles.

Housing a 9 pound child inside my body…. much more physically insane than running 13 miles.

Last week, my husband and I revisited the marathon. This time, we decided to run the relay in which a team of four completes the full marathon by each running a 6-7 mile segment. A lot more manageable than running the half marathon (or the full, for that matter). It took me a long time to recover from labor and delivery and to finally feel ready to run distances again. It had been nineteen months since my son was born and I felt prepared. Our team of four finished the relay in about four hours and fifteen minutes. I was pumped to be able to participate in the race again and while it wasn’t 31.1 miles, it still felt like a success.

The only good way to run a full marathon is with a team of three other people.

The only good way to run a full marathon is with a team of three other people.

New Year’s Eve is only three months away. Maybe I’ll get drunk again and decide to attempt the half marathon for a second time in 2014. And after that??? Maybe I’ll get really crazy and even consider enduring pregnancy again at some point, too. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here, right?