On New Year’s Eve I was registered to run a 10K, Elemental Running’s Resolution Run, my first race postpartum. The race was slated to start at 4 PM, but by about noon I was feeling really apprehensive about the race. I felt mommy guilt for leaving my baby, I felt unprepared because I hadn’t run much the previous two weeks due to mommy/baby colds, I felt tired due to Alex’s new choice to wake up in the middle of the night more often, and I felt nervous that I was going to disappoint myself.
Before the race I spent about an hour pacing with Alex, she wouldn’t go down for a nap. I got her to fall asleep a few times in my arms and then she would wake up if I tried to lay her down. Finally I just put her in a vibrating chair in the bathroom with me while I got dressed and pumped. Of course, I couldn’t pump out a full feeding, which concerned me. I don’t know if it was just stress that caused that, but I had to defrost some milk from the freezer so she had enough milk for a feeding while I was gone.
Finally it was time to go so I passed her off to her dad, kissed her good bye, laced up my Altra Intuition and got in my car. I was still feeling intense guilt while driving there, but when I arrived and started to see so many people I know, my energy started to improve.
I picked up my packet, pinned on my number and chatted with several of my former Team Challenge runners. My friend Charlene (of FAB Running aka Running With Charlene) volunteered to run with me, so it was nice to know that I would have a friend talking with me the whole time. If my brain wanted to go to a negative place, I would have distraction and camaraderie to get me through!
We gathered at the start line, the countdown was on… and then we were off. Neither of us wore our Garmins, I wasn’t shooting for a certain time goal. I just wanted to get back out and do a race. We took it easy and Charlene followed the pace I set. The race starts off downhill and then hits a gradual incline for most of the middle miles before we get to come back down. I knew I didn’t want to burn out on the hill. For some reason in my head, it was just “make it through the hill” and I knew I would be fine.
When we turned at the end and approached the finish line, I felt my face break into a smile. I had done my first race since having a baby, I felt so good and happy! Seriously, it just felt nice to have part of ME back and not just be MOM.
Finishers get a champagne glass to commemorate the event and they had sparkling cider available for the racers.
Charlene and I got a (blurry) photo of us toasting the finish!
Fortunately, my friends are the RD’s, so I could bug them to find out my time. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had come in at 58:13! A sub 1-hour made me VERY happy. Great return to racing and I was even happier to do it at a friend’s race and with so many friends around me.
And it was even better to get back to my house and find my baby was happy, cuddling with my mom (who had arrived while I was gone) and all was well on the home front.
Is it easy to get out the door to race when I have a baby? No…
Is it worth it? Yes… for my mental/emotional health absolutely!