Before I got pregnant (surprise!) with Nathan last year, I signed up to run two marathons, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., and the Walt Disney World Marathon. I was doing speed workouts and had a fairly aggressive training schedule in order to attain the time goal I had set for myself. My longer-range plan was to actually run four marathons in honor of my 40th birthday. Needless to say, I didn’t complete those four marathons, but I did finish the Marine Corps Marathon at 16 weeks pregnant and the Walt Disney World Half Marathon at 27 weeks pregnant. I had worked very hard to get myself into the physical shape I was in before I got pregnant, so it was a little disheartening to me to have to get fat and deal with the c-section recovery.
Of course, my Mr. Smiley Man was worth it all, but I wondered, at age 40, how long it would take to get back into shape. I started to run again as soon as I felt like it (and my doctor approved), and it went very slowly at first. However, in recent weeks since I’ve been running double-digit distances on the weekends, I feel like my body has suddenly “remembered” what it’s capable of and just does it. It’s been especially encouraging to see my pace start to drop since the temperatures have cooled a little. I’m so happy to finally feel like I’m back in my groove with running.
Running is the one thing that I do that is solely for me (although it benefits my family for me to do it, because it keeps me sane!) The other thing I love about running (and one of the main reasons I run marathons) is that it makes me feel like I can take on the world. I also feel like a marathon is easier than some of the PT that Sarah Kate has had to go through at times – I mean, really, what’s a five-hour race when she’s done four hours per day of PT for three weeks? – so those thoughts keep me pushing forward even when it hurts.
Running a marathon, despite conventional wisdom, really isn’t all that hard. I know that most anyone who can run 26 yards could run 26 miles – it all comes down to the desire. There are actually a lot of parallels to be drawn between marathoning and being a mom to my two kids with special needs. Other people are amazed that I can do it, but I know that anyone could do it if they wanted to bad enough. As a marathoner, I belong to an elite club with it’s own language; the same holds true in the special needs world. The marathon brings about a broad spectrum of emotions – joy, despair, and everything in between, and the same can be said for my life as a mom.
I love my kids. I love to run.