My Marathon Mom Story:
A Work in Progress
Marathon mom, here's a little about my journey.
I always wanted to run marathons. However, I set out many times before I succeeded. I applied to the NYC marathon lottery two years in a row.
While I waited for the results, I would slowly begin building my mileage by running on the treadmill. I'd get to about six miles and go, "I must be kidding myself. This is way too boring" (and exhausting!).
I even hired a Bally's trainer who had run the NYC marathon. She'd stand next to the treadmill and continually increase my speed until I thought I was going to fall off.
My First Marathon
My dream became a reality when I started getting emails from a friend of mine who had just run the San Francisco marathon in order to fundraise for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2005. After reading her account of the event, I was psyched. I signed up for my first marathon in San Francisco for October of 2006.
The LLS (or TNT/Team in Training) made all the difference. Now I had a cause, I had coaches, I had teammates who were just like me, I had no excuses. But most importantly I learned the huge difference between running on a treadmill and running outdoors.
That season, I learned to love the hills which our coach Ramon made us run up and down over and over again, I learned to love running in the rain, the heat, the cold, like those New Balance commercials, this is when my love affair with running began.
I started out running a couple blocks in front of my apartment in the cold month of April. I came home after about a half a mile (10 blocks) wheezing and coughing. It took me 30 minutes just to get my breath back. Running outside was nothing like running on the treadmill.
Slowly but surely, I built my mileage, one block at a time, then one mile at a time, through the summer months, down the Westside Highway in Manhattan, around the loops of Central Park, over the George Washington Bridge, through the trails of New Jersey, mile after mile.
I'll never forget the day I knew I was really going to be able to do this. I was running a 10k (6.2 miles) race in Central Park on a hot Sunday morning, listening to a compilation CD of 70's rock music...the song that was playing was "I fooled around and fell in love."
Suddenly I realized I hadn't looked at mile markers one time to see how far to the finish line, I'd just trucked it one step at a time and I was loving it. I could have run like that all day. That's when I knew I was hooked.
By October I was running the 26.2 mile marathon in the hills of San Francisco. It wasn't all easy. Somewhere around mile 19, I was a mess. I was so moody and ready to burst out crying...I was such a baby. But somewhere around mile 22, I got a second wind and before I knew it I was sprinting like a Kenyan through the finish line.
It took me over six and a half hours to run the San Francisco marathon in October of 2006. While I was training for it, I also ran a half marathon in NYC in the scorching month of July. I have since become more of a half-marathon runner, but after taking a break to have a baby, I am now finally accomplishing my original goal. I will be running the ING NYC marathon November 2, 2008.
Update: This marathon mom completed the NYC marathon on November 2, 2008. Greatest experience ever, running the streets of NYC cheering, the best of New York coming out to cheer, running through familiar and yet some how so unfamiliar territory. I cried like a wuss, but this time tears of joy, as I ran through the finish line. I beat my San Francisco time by 1 minute, 44 seconds. To hear more about my experience running training for and running the ING NYC marathon, check out my blog.
Transitioning from Runner to Marathon Mom
After having my baby, I was ready to start running again, but realized I had a lot of support as a runner, but not as much as a marathon mom. I've seen several blogs in Runners World Magazine and I sat in front of my television in November of 2007 and watched in admiration as Paula Radcliffe, mother of a nine-month-old, won the ING NYC marathon. But I didn't have a lot of motivation or information accessible to me as an initially slow runner, now weighed down even more by the baby fat, the jogging stroller, the swollen boobs, etc.
So I decided to start my own support group for running moms, fitness moms and yes, the marathon mom. I began with a blog. You can check it out here.
After getting lots of encouraging results on my blog, I decided to take it a step further and build a website that would inspire, educate and motivate other moms, from the beginner runner or casual runner to the marathon mom to all fitness seekers out there.
I am not an athlete in the literal sense of the word. But every day that I make it out there after sleepless nights, baby crying, never ending piles of dirty clothes and piles of spit up, endless hours working many different freelancing jobs, and so much more, it's a true miracle, a feat to be celebrated.
I know I am not alone. I've seen more than one marathon mom running at least six months into the pregnancy. I see jogging strollers being pushed in the park with two or three kids. I see people running with only one leg. I see people who are tired, worn out, fighting health issues, get out there and run or walk or cycle there way to fitness...and two me these are the true heroes.
Plenty of acknowledgment is given to the elite runners, and rightly so, but in my book we are all winners every time we choose action and hope over inertia, lethargy and exhaustion. I want to encourage those of us that miraculously make it our there at all in spite of our, at best, cumbersome lives.
So here's to your health and happiness!