Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lucky, Lucky Girl...2010 Rock N Roll Marathon Race Report

I didn't know it prior to the race but I would have 4:01 to come up with a title for this blog entry.  However, I came up with it at mile 1.  Lucky to be healthy, uninjured, to have figured out creative ways to train while having a little one, lucky to discover that I still have the self confidence that I had prior to having Soren--the same confidence that makes me love racing. 

Lucky?  To run a marathon? can one be "lucky," to torture themselves for 26.2 miles?  Allow me to elaborate--- I had a very full life prior to Soren, we traveled, we ate out when we wanted, I raced as often as I could and only had Dave and I to factor into the equation.  When I think of my life after having Soren, it is just as full, only more richer and sweeter and i'm reminded of how precious life really is.  My priorities these days don't involve extensive recovery periods and stretching and swim/bike/run whenever I want, carefully planning out long rides and where I will ride and coming up with fun new run routes.  My priorities these days are finding new solid foods for Soren to eat and coming up with creative little things for him to pull himself up on, encouraging him to crawl for an object or clapping with him when he does something for himself.  My days are spent holding his little hands so he can plod his little feet down one at a time learning to figure out this "whole walking thing."   These are moments that I can't "re-do."  There is a typical pride that a parent feels when their child does something for themselves and discovers it----it sounds cliche but it's so true---and I wouldn't trade the time I spend with him for anything.  My days are richer because i'm helping Soren discover his own meaning in the richness of life.

So--why does this make me lucky--how does having a little one and being able to run a marathon make me lucky?  I guess it's because I feel fortunate enough that I met my goal and I felt GOOD about it---I was able to train and find creative ways to train without feeling like I was a total parent-failure.  The balance of having a family and finding time for oneself seems to be the hugest debacle in parenthood.  Even if you're not a competitive parent---maybe you work full time/part time, maybe you have other hobbies that take you away from your child.....but, maybe work and/or hobbies is what makes YOU....YOU!  And it's an ongoing challenge for parents to try to achieve a balance in doing all of these things.

I'm lucky because there were times during training that I felt guilty.  I spend my WHOLE day with Soren and I STILL FELT GUILTY.  How is this possible?? It just is.

However, when the race began I realized--I did it.  This race particularly wasn't about finishing, qualifying for Boston--it was a test to see if I could find myself and discover my love for racing again, all while being a mom.....and I did it!!  So--for me, the race was already successful before I even began because I managed to train for it without feeling "too" guilty about taking time for myself.  I may not always feel this way in the future, but on race day, I did.  I truly felt like I had succeeded.

So forgive me if this isn't the type of race report you're used to reading....but my discovery to me, was more important than the "play by play" of how the race went.

Here is the play by play for those who are interested---
-4:20-wake up, get myself ready, get Soren's stuff together.....stress about whether to feed him at home before we leave or at the start.
-5:10-Dave drives my sister Trinette and I to the start.  I now have to go to the bathroom but that will have to come second to feeding Soren.
-5:45-in the starting corral.....looking for Trinette and realizing i'm not going to find her.  The National Anthem is sung and I realize now that I really really have to go to the bathroom and I'd rather miss starting with my corral than having to stop later.  Proved to be THE BEST IDEA EVER since ALL of the porto potties I saw after starting had huge lines as well.
-The goal was to go super conservative for the first 15 miles and then see. 
-Miles 1-15.....awesome, had to hold myself back, force myself to run 9:00-9:30.....wanted to run 8:45 and was aching too, but promised I would hold back since it's been so long since i've done a distance race, I didn't want to blow up.
-Mile 17-"do I go faster or keep with it?".....was having zero issues and really wanting to push, but nervous I would blow up.
-Mile 20-finally decided to haul ass and thighs were killing me, but I was able to run pretty hard--8:30-8:45 pace and maintain it for some time.
-Mile 24-I knew I was going to barely break four hours, or just miss it....tried really hard to run last mile was an 8:33!

I just missed breaking four hours, but that is ok!! Because I slapped hands, smiled, waved and had zero stomach issues, never stopped to go to the bathroom, and I felt lucky.......really lucky to be racing and I felt happy. 

I set a personal record of 4:01.....and next time I know I can break 4:00....but to me, it was about the journey of balancing the joy of having a family and the joy of competition that makes me who I am.

I need to give a big thank you to Dave---someone who really doesn't get any time to himself---gave up many a run so that I could run and constantly encouraged me to get out there and get my training in....many days where he'd come home after working twelve hours, walk in the door and take Soren right away so I could go knock out whatever mileage I had that day.....he's the best and he's my biggest supporter in helping me get out, find my balance and race!!

My Coach--Amanda, you know me better than I know myself apparently and your sound advice during all of my training, you always amaze me with your ability to understand parenting and the support you give me.....thanks for finding a balance between understanding my priorities but still kicking my ass!

My friend Marit.....who always has an encouraging word for me and helping me early in the season to find my confidence again and who *always* offered to watch Soren and did watch Soren for my longest run-----truly a gift and I couldn't have done it without you!!

ALL of my sponsors......just amazing to have you on my side....I literally couldn't have made it through this marathon without my Trakkers teammates who have been amazing and fun group, Saucony for the super cute race outfit and COMFY shoes, and First Endurance--hands down the MOST effective race-day nutrition I have *ever* used----my first race EVER with ZERO stomach issues--how awesome is that!??

A more detailed race report to follow with pictures and details about nutrition!!!


Michelle Simmons said...

Awesome, Mer!!! I totally understand the balancing act you describe... but it's really all worth it and we get to experience the best of both worlds, don't we? Congrats on figuring out how to DO IT ALL. :)))

Anonymous said...

Mer, what a great post! Congratulations on your excellent run! I know how hard it is to juggle babies and a life. Thanks for being a great example of how to make thinks work. :)


Kelly said...

This is the best race report I have read in a long time, because you speak for so many mommies out there that are trying to balance family with other things. You hit the nail on the head, and I am so proud of your accomplishment!! Bravo, my friend!!

L2 said...

Awesome job, Mer!! You are a great example to all of us moms! You have proved that you can be dedicated to both Soren AND your passion for racing.

Wait a have sponsors?!?!

Marit C-L said...

Well - you know what I think. :) YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! Dave and Soren are fantastic, Amanda works SO WELL with you! And... YOU DID IT! I think what's so cool, is that you not only ran a super marathon, but you grew a lot along the way through the process. I am SO proud of you - not just for the marathon, but for being so well balanced. I know it wasn't always easy - but through and through, you stuck with what was important to YOU. I couldn't be prouder... I had a SUPER time today with you guys! Can't wait to give my buddy a hug!

ADC said...

Gosh, Mer, you have this ability to make my cry every now and then when I read your blog. But don't worry, it's all good. It is such a beautiful post, especially for us who are not parents yet and are terrified of it changing our lives.
You did awesome out there. I remember reading your blog when you so wanted to see 8:xx as your mile split and look at you now - WOW!!!
Huuuuge congrats.

Kiersten said...

I totally know the Mommy training guilt. Even with a supportive husband who doesn't make you feel guilty in the least, I think we still feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. I think taking that time makes us better Moms, and sets a great example for our kids when they get older. Congrats on an awesome job and a wonderful race report!

TriGirl Kate O said...

Congrats! Oh how I'd love to run a 4:30 marathon...

girlintube said...

Mer, you need to consider a gig that involves writing. A lot of it. You are *amazing*.

Thanks for the great read.


Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Congrats Mer! You accomplished so much.What an amazing balance you have.

jessithompson said...

Great post... in the end, the balance is everything. Stoked for you in your quest and discovery.