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First Post Baby 26.2.

On Saturday, four months after having a baby, I ran my 10th marathon.

The extent of my training for this race was really making sure to get in a 15, 17 and 20 miler. All the runs in between were what I had time for between balancing Marshall, not sleeping, going back to work and life in general. I did manage to squeeze in a handful decent tempo runs with some speed and that felt good. I was running around 35 miles a week on a good week and there were days my confidence was high and I thought, just maybe I’ll PR.

I had all kinds of good Back on My Feet stuff going on race week– lot’s of great news piece from NBC and Fox 59, not to mention that many of our Members would be running the farthest distance of their lives on Saturday. (check out the NBC piece on James, who I ran this race with last year.) My point is- I was pleasantly distracted with the hustle and bustle of race week preparations for work.

Here’s the Back on My Feet Indy crew leading all 10,000 runners in the Serenity Prayer pre-race. This is what it’s all about. I’m in the blue and black hat shoving the microphone in Residential Member Michael’s face. Last year we had issues with the runners hearing us and I wanted to make sure they heard us loud and clear. Thanks Michael.
Right after the Serenity Prayer, we were off to the corrals. I said bye to Glenn, wished him luck and thankfully found BoMFer’s in one of the first corrals.

My plan of going out at 8 minute miles, quickly vanished when I started out casually running with Brian and Joe who were running the half and Dave who was running the full – at 7:40 pace. I was super chatty (if you know me, that is not a surprise) Soon after the first mile, Dave and Joe backed off and Brian said he’d stay with me.

Around mile 3 I ran into Jen, someone I know from college, who also happens to have 4 month old and is a super focused, solid runner. (Of course I then started talking with her and Brian lost interest and went back to run with Joe.) She has run a lot of marathons and done two ironmans, with a marathon PR of 3:18. I started running with her and had a great time chatting about running and our little ones until around mile 12.5. I knew her PR was quicker than mine and I knew she is into working hard and getting it done.
She had a smart plan – 10, 10, 6. She was going out at 7:30’s for 10 miles, would speed up for the second 10 and race the last 6 in. Sounded like a good plan to me, but let’s be honest I wasn’t trained to run that hard, especially go out that hard…. but it felt good at the time and honestly I really enjoyed the company. So I sped up with her at mile 10 and ran till close to mile 13 with her and told her goodbye.

I knew I needed to back it off if I wanted to finish the race without going to the Chicago 2010 shuffle

For the next 7 miles, my focus was getting to mile 20 where Glenn was planning to meet me to run me in. It was a long 7 miles.

Mile 15 was my first mile that went over 8 minutes and it kind of all crumbled from there. Unexpectedly I saw my sister Shelby and niece Giovanna around mile 16… they apparently made it out to the 52nd & Meridian literally 15 seconds before I passed. Good timing and it was a nice surprise.

I held on to an 8:11-8:15 pace for a few miles, but ran into an insane wall at mile 19. I had started to pick it back up again, thinking I had regained some energy after my last gel, and could start rolling on faster, but turns out it as a false alarm. My legs were heavy and I had a bad cramp in my lower side (not the kind of cramps I’ve had in the past) and it was creeping into my back. This was getting fun. 

I wasn’t sure if Glenn would actually appear at mile 20 or 21. He ran the half and had to get to his car and drive up to find me. I was hoping I’d see him sooner than later.
Shortly after I passed mile 20, he appeared and on we went. I had 6 miles to go, I knew I could do it, I’ve done it 9 times before and I’d done it in a lot more pain then I was in at that time. I knew finishing would happen, I just wanted it to happen sooner than later and I knew it wasn’t going to be too speedy.

Of course the first thing I said to Glenn when I saw him “what was your time?” I was extremely excited as I knew he was trying to break 1:20 and possibly 1:19 to automatically qualify him for the NYC Marathon. (They have recently tightened their standards… if you think qualifying for Boston is challenging… this is next level stuff) Something about Glenn, when he tells me what his goal is, if I know he’s put the training in- between that, his mental attitude and his extreme CONFIDENCE, I know he’ll get there. (can he PLEASE serve me up some of that when I go out for my next PR?!)

He told me he ran a 1:18:34. Holy smokes, I’m married to a bad ass. So I asked him to tell me all about the race hoping it would distract me from my pain. It did…. for about 2 minutes.

We talked a little bit (mostly him), but once we got to mile 22, on Fall Creek, he was chatting my ear off to try to distract me and I wasn’t responding… he said “your really not in the mood for conversation at all are you.” head shake was all he got and on we went in silence.

Just past mile 23, on Meridian was the Back on My Feet water stop, I got to see my parents who were volunteering, some of our Residential Members, Volunteers and supporters. It was a bit of a boost, but honestly I was beat and a measly smile to my parents was about all I could give.

With the last 2 miles to go I told him I knew I wasn’t going to do anything too impressive but would be happy to at least BQ just for the heck of it. We have no plans to go to Boston anytime soon, but why not throw in something to shoot for when I’m in pain with 2 miles to go. (I haven’t even mentioned the weather, which was fine until about mile 20 when it got a little rainy- and then there was sleet that started happening as I was finishing.)

 He was somehow convinced I had fallen too far off for that, but I knew better. I think he secretly just said that to make me pick it up. Turns out I did a bit. I think my slowest miles were miles 21-23. The slowest dipping down to a scary 9:21. Ouch.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 3:33:24. I ran the first 13.1 in 1:38, the second in 1:54, with an average pace of 8:08. You do the math though, there was nothing EVEN about those splits. I lost over a minute a mile in the second half…ouch, ouch ouch. Here I am crossing the finish line– (The clock says 3:33:58 when I cross, wearing a white shirt and black tights. I just look kind of… hmmm.. pissed) 

After the race, I felt like crap. My body was in a bit of shock and I felt like I might pass out or throw up. I remember seeing a friend (Kathleen) after the race and it was almost like I was in a drunken state when we said hello. We headed to the Back on My Feet tent and the weather continually started to get worse. I was freezing, my lips were blue. I needed a warm space and something warm to drink.

I really wanted to stick around for Ed and James (BoMF) to finish but I was in no state to make that happen.

All I could think about on the way home was how there were still so many people out running in the cold and sleet and worse than running in the cold and sleet- standing at a water stop volunteering. THANK YOU times a million to every volunteer on the course. And, CONGRATULATIONS to all who finished the 5K, Half or Full Marathon. We are all on a different path and whether you were finishing your first half marathon or your 50th full marathon, you accomplished something big on Saturday.

I’ll wrap this up by saying:

As I was finishing that last 6 miles, I thought, why am I putting myself through this, this is miserably difficult. Why don’t I just focus on being a mom and balancing life without trying to run fast marathons?

I thought about Marshall at home with babysitters because I’m out running a marathon. (amazing friends Emily & Andy watched him first half the morning, Sister and Brother in-law second half of the morning… he was in good hands, but I still felt some guilt)

As it was apparent to me that I had not put the training miles on my legs to be strong for 26.2 miles. I told myself, it doesn’t always feel this bad, and while I understand what my reasoning was when I was contemplating not enduring 26.2 again anytime soon. I just can’t picture my life WITHOUT it. 

It’s part of who I am. No matter how much I might get anxious about a race or a 20 mile run that I THINK I would rather not do. Every single time I finish, I’m glad I did it. 

I am energized and motivated by pushing myself. Sometimes I let the thought creep in that I could be a better mom if I dedicated the time I spend on long runs and races to Marshall. BUT, I know in my heart, I’m a better mom because I GIVE myself that time and gift.

I am a more exciting, happy, thriving person because I run distance. And although I am a naturally anxious person (long runs and races do give me anxiety… it’s a work in progress, I hope it won’t always be that way), it also makes me happy, and proud and just better altogether.

I’m in the midst of picking a spring marathon to train for- and am going to try my best to be confident in my abilities and really I know I can destroy my PR, I just have to be willing to do work.

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