A couple weeks ago, I was determined to do a half marathon. I missed racing. I needed something to motivate me more to run. I needed that feeling again. So I signed up for a half in November. Then some friends mentioned they were doing the Jersey Shore Half. I couldn’t beat the price, and it was a race I’ve never done before. So why not?
I gave myself about four weeks to prepare. But with a baby, following a plan is almost impossible. I tried to run everyday, but sometimes it just wasn’t in my cards. Other times, I tried to run longerish weekly runs, and nope, not happening. Three miles seemed to be it for me. And the only long run I really got to accomplish was one 10 miler. So going into this race was a little scary. I had no doubt I would finish, I just wasn’t sure what kind of pain//pace to expect. HENCE the JUST FINISH mind set I repeated over and over again.
Saturday night I laid out my outfit && carbloaded on some butternut squash ravioli, fed the babe, and hit the sheets early.
Mom duty called and I had to feed the little around 3am and probably should’ve just stayed up afterwards. The two hours I got going “back to sleep” only made me feel super tired. BUT whatever. I’ve become accustom to lack of sleep. Got my coffee and oatmeal on. Dressed. && made the 1 hour and 30 minute drive down the shore.
Met up with these cool cats for a prerace picture && discussed goals for the race. Definitely wasn’t even going to attempt to keep up with Lauren, but had the same goal in mind as Anne Marie ((break 2 hours)). It seemed like an almost reasonable goal for my first half back after having my handsome little man, ALMOST! So we set off && were making good timing. We were averaging 9:15 miles for the first 5/6, but around 4 miles was when I felt the urge to use the bathroom. It’s been an annoying occurrence for me postpartum. I mean i used to get like this early on in my marathon training, but it never affected me during a race. Anne Marie and I continued to chat along, which made the miles go by pretty quickly. BUT by mile 7, where we passed the portajohns, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. So I stopped and took poo number one. Let me tell you, trying to pull your sweaty shorts back up is a task in itself. And from there on out, I couldn’t get my mojo back.
I was beginning to get defeated && then annoyed with myself for getting defeated. I was getting annoyed that I thought this was going to be easier ((it’s flat after all)). I only had one goal, to finish, right? Then why was I getting so angry with myself? I felt so good in the beginning and really thought that my goal was going to be achieved. As more and more people passed me, the feelings only got worse. But every time I saw a running buddy along the way (( at the turn around points)) I would get a little more hope back. Eventually, it just came to finishing. My legs felt great, my heart ((breathing)) was struggling. Having a baby takes a serious toll on your body && endurance. When I crossed the finish line, I felt like my goals were accomplished. Maybe not the way I had pictured, missing out on goals A and B (by a minute), but that I finished. I finished 13.1 miles with a 10:00 minute pace, 3 months after having my little man. After three months of not running at all. With only completing about 100 miles of running before race day, most of which were on the treadmill.
I might not be where I was a year ago, but the work and drive to get to where I was is going to make me even stronger than before. If I could do it then, I can do it again, just in between being a mom. I may admit that I struggle, because we all do, but I will ALWAYS finish a race smiling. Because it’s all about the finish. What happened during, is just a story, but how you finish is the memory, the cover of your story. ❤
Thanks to these lovely ladies ((and LAUREN too)), for the smiles, the cheers, the pictures, and the friendship. I say this all the time, but runners truly make the best of friends. I can’t say I will do this race again, (because you get what you pay for) and its a little far for me to travel being a mommy. BUT I really have no complaints. Thank you to the military staff and volunteers who organized, cheered, clapped, sang, and put on a good race.