Tom’s running his first marathon in three days. He’s been running the last ten miles of the race to get amped. He gets so excited that he can’t rein in his speed as he imagines finishing the race.
I’m excited for him, too. The marathon’s been sort of a family ordeal.
You know what’s harder than training for a marathon? Training for a marathon when you have a newborn at home.
You know what’s harder than training for a marathon when you have a newborn at home? Taking care of said newborn while your husband is out training for a marathon.
So while I’m excited for it to be over, I’m also VERY proud of him. He’s been dedicated to his training, his job, and his baby. None of those are singularly easy.
A few weeks ago I had planned to run a 5K with some of the runners from Track Club.
It was raining hard the night before the race and the morning forecast wasn’t good. I told Tom that I was looking forward to the 5K since it was sort of a trial run for the 8k. The 5k was smaller, shorter and I’d have David with me in his stroller.
So when I woke up to a downpour and we decided to skip the 5k, a dark cloud settled over the 8k.
I was feeling anxious. It wasn’t the distance that scared me anymore, it was the timing that seemed hard. I’d have to get up early and wake David up to nurse him at least twice before I could even think about running comfortably. My mom and dad were going to stay with David while I rode my bike to the race, ran, and then ran back to my bike (the start and finish are in different locations) and pedaled back home.
Then, right after my race we’d get on the road to cheer for Tom out on the race course. On top of all that, there’s no guarantee I’d get any sleep the night before.
And when I thought about the actual race it didn’t really make sense. My husband was running a race, my parents would be home with the baby, and I’m not racing fast enough to recruit one of my friends to pace with me.
That means I’d be alone. I’d stand in the starting corral, pass those mile markers, cross the finish line of my “come back” race, get my coveted medal, and have no one to high five at the finish line. Running is so much about community to me, doing the whole thing alone and anxious seemed stupid at best.
I told Tom all this and he just looked at me and said, “Then don’t do it.”
Hm. I hadn’t thought of that.
So I decided to not do it.
This probably all seems a bit dramatic. Who cares about doing a race? It’s just a race. But I think it’s bigger than that. When I decided to nix it, I felt both relieved and sad. Running a race never required so much planning before (aaand neither did going to the grocery store). If I wanted to do a race, I did it. Simple as that. Now I have someone else to think about. Someone who is very small but also very important.
Plus, it’s all mixed up with my identity. You see, i fancy myself a runner. Now I want to merge my runner self with my new role as a mom and be one of those hardcore spandex-wearing-quadruple-stroller-pushing moms who isn’t slowed down by ANYTHING. The truth is that my identity isn’t determined by any of that, my identity is firmly secure in Christ. Becoming a mom is challenging me to believe that truth in a whole bunch of new ways.
So the 8k is out.
Instead, we’re going to run the Drumstick Dash in Roanoke as a family, and I can devote this coming Saturday to my marathon-running husband.
There won’t be a medal at the finish line, but my family will be there, and that makes for a much better come back.