While I was pregnant I often though about how nice it would be to run again. I stopped running around 25 weeks as it was just too uncomfortable to me. I didn't have any specific time in mind for when I'd want to start training for my fourth marathon, but I knew I would eventually.
Running a marathon after having a baby is a huge undertaking. Not only do you have the usual stress and time commitment from regular marathon training, but you could also be dealing with physical postpartum issues, and figuring out how to train around little ones schedule.
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As an Army wife I can't rely on having my husband around during training. That means I've done most of my runs with my 11 month old son in our jogging stroller. Thankfully, he loves going on walks and runs so that hasn't been a problem, but running with the stroller can get tiresome. The longest he's been in it is two hours, so I've arranged my training schedule so that I can do longer runs when Travis is available to watch him.
I did my longest postpartum run yesterday. I ran 15 miles and split it up into two runs. I ran ten miles in the morning and another five miles after lunch.
As I was running I realized a few things:
- I was missing out on three hours of family time
- I was feeling some aches and pains in my hip area that I never had pre-baby
- I just wasn't feeling it
It was the first time in a very long time where I was truly forcing my body to do something it had zero desire or energy to do. Honestly, most of my runs have felt like that over the last few weeks. I love speed work, and I love running three to five miles, but anything six and over has just been a struggle.
At this moment in my life a marathon just doesn't seem worth it. I'm still going to run the Equniox (and Travis is joining me now!) but that will be my last marathon for a while.
We are hoping to have baby #2 later next year, so I won't be running long distances for a while anyway. With Winter quickly approaching here in Alaska I'll start doing more speed work and short runs on the treadmill.
With the marathon one month out my plan is to get in one more long run of 18 miles, and try to do 8-12 miles every other weekend. I'll aim for two shorter runs during the week. The Equinox is a strange marathon. Many sources online call it one of the most difficult in the US (there is 3000 feet of elevation gained in three miles), but locals will say it's 'pretty easy' and many people walk the entire thing.
Reading the history of the race made me feel better about my 'train to finish' approach. The race started in 1963
As noted in the September 23rd, 1963 Fairbanks Daily News Miner, “The girls, including 64 high-schoolers, traveled mostly in packs, and if one hadn’t the knowledge a race was talking place, he might have believed the girls to be off on a two-week camping trip. In each group at least one girl was equipped with a transistor radio. One 16-year old, with a radio as big as an overnight bag bouncing on a shoulder strap, puffed happily along the trail listening to Wee Willie Walley.” Other girls carried extra shoes, sneakers, warm clothes, lunches, first aid kits and other paraphernalia … one was seen stopped along the course as she carefully applied fresh makeup."
Most locals have told me it started as a walking race. The first woman to finish in 1963 finished in over six hours! While I don't have any specific goal in mind I would like to come in around 6.5 hours (mostly because it will be my parents last day in town and I don't want to spend the entire day running.)
One perk of yesterdays 15 miler? The post-run Mexican food.
How did running change for you after having kids?