There is some runner-centric excitement in my house right now: I’m a week away from my first trip away from Baby N to run the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon and I got a spot for the Nike Women’s Marathon in October! The flurry of conversations, updates, and activity that these events have caused have prompted the same question from many of my mama friends; namely, “Wow, how do you have time to train for all these runs!?”
I want to be able to energetically reply that I’m Supermom and I’ve figured out how to freeze time, and avoid tough days, and stay eternally inspired. But I’m not. And I don’t want you to think that I am because then you might unrealistically feel like you should be too. So it’s confession time…
As some of you may remember, I kicked off the year by announcing my major goal- running the Nike Women’s Marathon 2012 in San Francisco. At first, I approached that goal with gusto- in January I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, in February I ran the LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon despite some pesky knee pain… in March I decided to sit the Zuma Half Marathon out… and then the sitting out got a little too comfortable.
“Recovery days” gave way to “busy days” gave way to “teething days” gave way to “moving days” gave way to “the contractors still haven’t finished the kitchen days” gave way to “you’ve got to be kidding me days” until my “days” built up into one giant excuse… and one morning I sleepily glanced at my email inbox to read the subject line 15 Days Until the BMO Marathon.
And. I. Panicked.
I immediately defaulted to all of the excuses I’d been giving myself since my original time off for recovery. Surely, I could just pick one from the mix and make it stick. Who would challenge it? No one would think less of me if I said “Well, I was going to run Vancouver, but being a new mom just caught up with me…” because other moms would understand. And it would be true. The thing that bothered me about that statement was not the reality of it, but the fact that using motherhood as an excuse for not meeting my own needs is a slippery slope- that same statement could be inserted for any number of things that I need to do for my health, my soul, and my sanity.
Nope. No more.
15 days pre-half marathon became the day I once again committed to lacing up my running shoes every morning, even if life will only allow for a few miles. Back to the “How” question: for our family, it means that my husband runs a bit earlier so that he can feed and watch Baby N and telecommute for an hour while I get a run in. Once I shower, he heads off to work- a great luxury, I’m aware. Before it started heating up, training runs used to mean time on the trails with Baby N in the jogger. If I timed it during her naps, I could log some fabulous miles. I also have the benefit of a having a running coach, Leah. She is an awesome resource and understanding enough to endlessly replan my training for me when I inevitably fall off of the runners’ wagon on a regular basis (plus, I think she might love jogging strollers just as much as I do). There is no right or wrong way to do it. The key is simply to DO IT! Some days are awesome and some days are rough… but regardless of how far (or short) I run, I’ve never looked back at a workout and thought “Gee, I wish I hadn’t spent time doing that for myself!”
Right now I’m staring down Vancouver in seven days. I know I wont run it fast. I know I wont PR. I know I’ll be just another face in my pacing group in a city where I’m a stranger. But I also know that I’ll be proud to push myself when the thought of a glorious morning of sleeping in with no baby sounds so appealing. And I know that I’ll be stronger, healthier, and more self assured for my efforts. And I know that, regardless of whether I kick it up in the last few miles and finish with a flourish or drag behind my group, I’m on my way back to finding my happy pace.