Running was a big part of my life before I had Sophia. While I was pregnant, I ran (or some form of it) until I was about 7 months and it just hurt too much (For the uninitiated, relaxing is released in your body so all your joints and ligaments stretch to accommodate the birth of the baby. This makes for a very unhappy pubic bone and hips while you're trying to run. But it's great for yoga!)
I started running right around 8 weeks after Sophia was born. I felt ok, but didn't really comprehend how much fitness I had lost and how tired I really was until I ran my normal 3.5 mile loop and was completely sucking wind. As always, it humbled and motivated me simultaneously.
I knew that I needed a goal to get me running consistently again. I wanted to complete a distance race before Sophia turned one. During the springtime, my former roommate suggested we run The Applefest half marathon in the fall. She had run it twice before and the timing was perfect, end of September. That gave me all summer to work up my mileage and figure out training with a baby (sleep - naps for all were my savior. Milk production - yup, definitely affected by running - and boob chafe. Thank god for glide and cw-x bras). The added fun was that Dave was going to train and run it as well.
Sophia & I did lots of training runs together - many with our friend Alison & her son Will. Running with a stroller was a shift - I had someone else to worry about on my run, where in the past, runs were all about me. Was she warm? Happy? Sleepy? It also changed my stride - much more of a "treadmill stride" with a shorter, clipped pace. Running with Alison, though, made it great. We were able to motivate each other and also share our roles of running mommies, scooting forward to make faces at the other's baby.
On weekends, I was able to get out for my long runs alone. Dave would run Saturdays and I would run Sundays. Without fail, Sunday turned out to be the crappier day to run, whether Sophia decided to teeth or fuss on Saturday night or it was torrential rain out. Either way, it provided me with a great challenge and only made my training more motivating.
Finally, race day came. Everything was lined up for success. My neighbors and mother-in-law were taking care of Sophia. We had our bag packed and the route mapped. The only problem: it was hot. Really hot. At the end of September, in New Hampshire, you expect cool. Fall. 50s, maybe 60 degrees. Nope - 85 degrees at 10am and humid. Oh, and some freshly paved blacktop and a course with hills that had some percentage grades similar to Mt. Washington in parts. But I was ready.
My goal was to finish under 2 hours, and mentally was prepared to not meet it because of the weather. I don't enjoy the heat, and, having run a 1/2 in Virginia Beach in the past, had not had particular success. In the end, though, all the training through lack of sleep, rain and Newport heat did me well. I passed Dave around mile 11 and just kept trucking. I finished just under 2 hours and felt good. I finished a half marathon and Sophia was just shy of 11 months. Hooray!
While I'm not the speedy runner I used to be, I like to think I'm a new, hybrid runner. A little slower, but mentally tougher. And definitely enjoying the scenery.
My next race: Tufts 10k - an all-Women's 10k race in Boston, which happens Columbus Day - Monday, Oct 11th.
And Sophia's first race (well, second, because she did the Feaster Five last year at 2 weeks old) will be Paddy's Road Race, being pushed by dad, next Sunday.