I’ve been running for close to 5 years. I’m not good at it. I’m slow. Some of my race times are at paces one might briskly walk. Yet, I’ve been consistent about pounding the pavement and getting my miles in. Even when I was pregnant.
Before I had a baby I had completed a handful of half marathons, 10ks, and 5k’s. I always entertained the idea of running the full 26.2-mile marathon, but giving birth to a baby showed me that the female body can do miraculous things. If I can grow and deliver a human, why couldn’t I run a marathon?
I registered for the marathon around six weeks after giving birth. I had just walked a 5k and had an urge to put money down for an event that around one percent of the world population has completed. I knew finding the time to train would be a challenge. Life was only going to get more busy as the years rolled on, so why not run one now?
The long training runs turned out to be something I enjoyed, especially towards the end. As my baby transitioned into a rambunctious toddler, it was nice to have up to four hours of quiet peaceful meditation. The repetitive act of running felt soothing and it was therapeutic to get lost in the music on my headphones. This past winter was a rough one. Some of my runs were in cold and snowy conditions. Those runs were not the most pleasant, but they made me physically and mentally stronger.
Every other week my husband was on full baby duty while I ran and recovered the rest of the day. As the weather got a little warmer, my son would accompany me on stroller runs. I put in the miles myself, but I couldn’t have done it without them.
On the day of the race, my family came to support me. It tugged at my heartstrings to see my son at the finish (although I don’t think he had much of an idea of what was going on).
As I reflect on the entire experience I think of how my hobby of running and completing this race is a component of me as a mother. Running grounds me and, at the risk of sounding cliche, helps keep me sane. I plan to use my experience of the marathon as a tool to teach my son that if you have a goal and put in the work, you can achieve it. Also, my slow finish time can help teach him that you don’t have to be the best at something to keep doing it.