it’s always funny/cool when i find myself doing the thing that i once imagined myself doing in the future. in spring last year i bumped into emily and i was pregnant and she was still nursing her not-even-1-year-old boy graham. She told me that she was training for (and about to run) the rock n roll half marathon and i remember thinking ‘woah, that’s amazing.’ and i remember thinking that in a years time my baby would be about the same age as graham and i wondered if i could possibly have it in me to train for and run a half marathon before my next baby was 1. with mika there would have been no way. I didn’t run my first post-mika half marathon until she was 18 months or so and even that felt HARD to train for with all the sleep deprivation. (but i wasn’t even nursing her at that stage).
and so when teo was 4 months old and i decided that i was ready to start running again, i was trying to be reeeeeally easy on myself. my goal was to stay HEALTHY and run frequently instead of far and do absolutely no speed training. i wrote myself a 12 week schedule, which generally had me running between 2 and 5 miles on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, rest on Friday, long run (increasing by 1 mile each week) on Saturday and rest on Sunday then cross-train on Monday.
and it worked! i managed to do EVERY single day of my training schedule. during the week i would run with the stroller and push both kids (or sometimes 3 kids!) or i would wake up before 7 and run alone or wait until after 6pm. On saturdays for my long run, ivan would be wherever i needed him to be to pick me up. I love mapping long new runs that end up somewhere new or random or fun and it is even better when i have a supportive family waiting there to meet me and bring me home.
I planned to run the Brooks 10km trailhead race 3 weeks out from the half marathon and it felt great. I finished 3rd in my age group and 5th overall female. The only problem was that it ended up feeling like such a big event that i almost lost momentum to run the half 3 weeks later.
But i set my alarm for super early on june 18th and ran/bussed to the start line at seattle centre. i had no idea how huge the race was, but i DID know how emotional i would get the moment i saw all the people/heard the national anthem/gathered at the start line. i have no idea why i get so teary and emotional during races, but i love it.
i took my phone and jacket to gear check and then went to find the 1:45 pacing group near the start line. the pacer told me that the course measured a bit long and that the second half was much hillier than the first. so she said they’d go out slightly faster to make up for it.
i headed out pretty fast and figured they would probably catch me up somewhere before half way but i never saw them again. the miles sped by and i choked back tears as i ran past supporters. i even get emotional when i approach the drink stations…i just think people who support and volunteer at races are SO great. the spirit and energy at a race is so wonderful and addictive.
ivan had said they’d try to meet me around mile 7 or 8, but i didn’t see them and then the course went into a long motorway tunnel and i realised i wouldn’t be seeing them for a while yet. i felt sort of bummed out/worried/all the emotions and then at mile 10 i saw them! it was over MUCH too fast but seeing them brightened me up and gave me exactly what i needed to finish the final 3 miles.
the final incline to the finish line was the same one from the seattle half marathon and it is THE WORST THING. it is such a small incline but still, it’s UPHILL and after 12.9 miles or whatever it is almost enough to make me walk in protest. but somehow i ran all the way and crossed the finish line in 1:43:31 which i was happy about. It put my average pace at about 7:50 per mile (or 4:53 per km) and i was 106th woman out of about 7,000. I know it’s much more about my personal time, but i think i would really like to place in the top 10 one day. i’m thinking of training for the seattle half at the end of november and incorporating some speed work. Maybe.
but after the race i bumped into emily (of all the thousands of people there!) and it totally brought me back to that time at the lake when she planted that little seed of an idea in my head that i could train for a race whilst nursing. it’s easy to beat myself up about my time or wish i could have done better or tell myself i should train harder and get faster, but seeing her there after the race reminded me that when i had seen her a year ago i thought she was radiant, strong, determined and inspiring. and so in a weird way by finishing this race it made me feel all those things too. (and wanting to high five all the mom runners i saw holding their wee babies after the race)
I have feet that make people do a sort of cringe thing when they look at them. if i was to write a list of things people will never say to me ‘oh your feet are beautiful’ would probably top the list. i lost 2 toe nails after my last race and the bunion on my left foot is only getting worse. once i had 2 stress fractures in one foot at the same time and my x-rays were used as freak examples for med students to study. what i’m trying to say is that i am quite positive there will come a time when running is no longer enjoyable for me and i’ll be forced to stop. BUT and SO.. until that time comes i’m going to continue to make the most out of how amazing running makes me feel. mika has mentioned a few times lately that she really wants to do a race with me and so i told her maybe next summer she could do one of the kid’s races. and then when (if, i know) she ends up running races later on in her life, i can be one of those awesome amazing supporters on the sideline that get me so teary and emotional. CAN’T WAIT.