I’m glad I’ve sat on this post concept for a few days. If I’d written it right when I started thinking about it, I think it would be very different. Then again, it could be very different if I think about this in a few months!
So… last Saturday I ran a half marathon. Am I happy I did it?
Yes and no. Mostly yes, but if I had written this that evening it would have been mostly no.
YES – It’s 13.1!
I’m happy that I proved to myself that I could still run a half marathon after having a baby. Despite how much I hate the way so many bloggers throw around their “my natural birth” comments, I’m going to include the circumstances around my own delivery here… I had a rough labor/delivery. 30 hours of labor culminating in a c-section. And to come back from that is something to be pleased with.
NO – Time management sucked
I hated how hard it felt to get in the training for that distance. I have no idea how other women manage to train for full marathons so quickly after giving birth, but there is no way I could do that. It was really hard to fit in long runs with a full-time job, nursing, pumping, baby-care & play. I suppose if my husband had been available to spend time with the baby that would have freed up some time for long runs. I LOATHED taking time off work to do long runs. Mainly because of the emotional conflict and guilty feelings it induced in me, even if I did make up every single moment I spent running during work hours.
YES – Confidence!
Even if my performance wasn’t what I would have preferred, I’m still always impressed with myself after running a race of any distance.
NO – Feeling selfish
This is a hard one. Logically I know that I need to take care of myself in order to be a good mom. I’ve even received reinforcement of that concept from countless people. Yet I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being unfair to my child in some of these situations. Especially when driving for over an hour with the baby screaming in the backseat so I could get back home.
YES – Running in a beautiful environment!
While the race didn’t get to take place inside the actual boundaries of the national park, running leading up to Zion National Park is still amazing. If you’ve never visited any national parks out here in the west, I highly recommend you do so!
NO – Holy cold
Why did it have to get so cold that day? It was in the upper 20’s at race start. (Although, our shuttle bus driver swore it was 42… he was wrong.) It physically hurt my legs since I wore shorts! I was only aware of that pain for the first couple miles. But then when I finished and my mom wrapped her jacket around my waist and I started to realize how cold my legs were, ouch. Then when I got in the shower it felt like pins and needles were poking all over my legs! My race photos are kind of funny because of how red my legs are, you can tell they’re very cold!
YES – Giving my mom ‘Grandma Time’!
Even though I feel guilty handing my kid off to someone else, my mom absolutely loves spending the time with her grandbabies. Especially babies that cuddle up with her. Alex is a squirmy girl now, but she still cuddles at times and we both love that. So despite me feeling bad that my mom got woke up in the middle of the night by my child, she loved taking the chance to snuggle with the baby. (Plus she can go home and have quiet nights after that, so grandmas have recovery from nights of less sleep!)
YES – Running makes me feel like “me”
I lost myself for many years. Discovering running helped me find a part of myself that I lost and unearth a side of me I never knew existed. I like that girl.
Well, I think I’m going to take a break from half marathons until I wean the baby. There were a couple of half marathons that I wanted to do, one in July and one in September. I guess I’ll just have to do them in future years, they’re races I’ve done in the past anyway. I’m going to plan on doing a few halfs in the fall, but for the next few months I’ll just stick to 10K or shorter. I’ve never trained specifically for a 5K or 10K. Maybe I should do that?
Great job on doing a half marathon so soon after the baby! Those few hours you take for your runs will pay off in the long run–not just for you, but for HER. She will be proud of her mom who has such a healthy thing outside of her. One day, you’ll come home from a race and she’ll say, “did you win, Mommy?” You are a positive role model for her!
Prior to getting pregnant, I wanted to train for and run this race. I thought of you that morning because it was so cold here, I imagined it would be even cooler there! As for the guilt, I think that can happen with just about anything you do as a parent. I’m impressed you were able to do it at all with a little one. Well done, mama!
Great job, Jill! I had a few friends run that race. Now, I kind of wish I’d done it so we could finally meet up. 🙂 I’m glad to hear that you’re feeling most happy about finishing this half. Enjoy your summer of shorter distances.
Jill: What a thoughtful post. I recently completely my first half marathon, too. (I had done several marathons before having three kids and have recently rediscovered running.) I love this distance: challenging, but not too time-consuming. You think life is busy now? Wait till your kids get older. 😉 I am the content curator a FitFramed.com. I’d be honored if you’d submit this post (and others!) to our site. We’re a blogger-submitted, curated photo gallery with a focus on fitness. Fit Framed offers a unique platform to reach new readers and a broad audience with whom to share your content. Check it out.