This month marks ten years since my last marathon. When my firstborn was eight months and eight days old, I toed the line at the London Marathon. I was thrilled to have gained a “Good for Age” qualification entry (based on a pre-pregnancy Boston Marathon finish) so I could participate in this great event.
Like someone with a lot to prove, I went out too fast. I’d trained well, but I hadn’t been able to juggle an infant who was exclusively breastfed and life in London with no family, friends, or hired help with anything more than the most basic of marathon preparation. While it was, indeed, a thrill to run through my favorite city in the world, I was hurting well before Mile 20 and its proverbial “wall”. It didn’t help that the day was rainy and crowds were a bit thin. I just kept telling myself to enjoy the experience and think about how grateful I was to even be able to participate in the London Marathon.
As I was running towards Buckingham Palace and the finish line, I was passed by a man wearing a horse costume, complete with plastic horse head. Ever the competitor, I dug deep, refusing to be beaten by a man-horse. I wound up running the last quarter mile with some kind of speed only ego can produce, and I finished in 3:44:45– 15 seconds under the “Good for Age” standard I’d used for qualification. I felt legitimate.
Now a mom, but still a runner.
My enjoyment of distance running hasn’t really gone away (though it did take an extended vacation after The Stowaway was born) in the last ten years. I ran two ultramarathons four years ago, but it’s really been a decade devoted to my kids and their needs. Now that my kids are getting older and less mom-dependent for their everyday needs, I’m ready to go again.
One of my goals for this year was to run the New York City Marathon. Unless you’re an elite runner (which I am not and never was), entry into NYC for non-locals is a pure lottery with about a 1:25 chance of race entry. I put my name into the lottery last fall, and I found out a few weeks ago I got in.
I now look forward to the training, the rigor of weekly miles rolling by very early in the morning. I’ve never run a fall marathon while living in Texas, and training to peak on November 2nd means long runs in August, September, and early October. For those of you who have never been to Austin during these months, it’s hot. Yes, even into October.
But I know that the training is where the growth is. I eagerly anticipate the race experience itself– from riding the Staten Island Ferry to the start to running through all five boroughs and their diversity to finishing in surprisingly hilly Central Park.
This time, I won’t be a new mom trying to keep in touch with myself and my interests. Instead, I’ll be a newly-40 gal showing herself and her kids just how much better life can get with each passing year.
Good health and great happiness to you.