That title is actually a misnomer. Mary Virginia isn’t participating in the race this weekend. (Though people do ask if I’m pushing the stroller in the race. Um, no thank you. Strollers aren’t allowed in the race, but even if they were, no thank you.)
This year Mary Virginia will be hanging with (and hopefully napping, young lady) Tom’s parents while we’re both running. But still, she’s been a big part of my training.
I was still pregnant when I decided to run the half marathon, and she was just two months old when we started training. When I decided to run, I knew it would be a unique challenge because of postpartum recovery and the physical drain of caring for a newborn.
Tom is also running the half marathon. He’s had to sacrifice a lot of his training to be home to help me with the kids, and we’ve had to schedule our Saturday runs around each other. After this experience we both think that, at this stage for our family, we shouldn’t run the same race. It’s just better when one of us can support the other.
We’re at the end of our taper, and it’s interesting to compare how I felt last year during taper week. Last year I was tired and ready for a break. But I was felt fit and ready for the race. This year I feel like I’m still getting into shape, and I think the race (no matter how fast I run) will be a test.
I don’t want this to sound complain-y, because I’d never complain about the great blessing it is to be tired from caring for my happy, healthy family, and the blessing of being able to run. It’s just, you know, excuse time.
Several of my friends who are running the race are also limping and unsure; there are IT band issues, a twice-sprained ankle, under-training, uncertain shoes. Runners, we’re the fastest, fittest hypochondriacs around. (I also have a friend who is undergoing chemo and running the race, so anytime I’m tempted to bemoan my circumstances…)
The thing I’m actually most nervous about isn’t the exhaustion or running despite the chronic toddler colds I keep catching. The thing I’m most nervous about is figuring out how to be away from Mary Virginia for several hours.
Mary Virginia is still nursing exclusively, which means she has to eat about every three hours. My Saturday runs take about three hours, and when I finish, instead of stretching, having a glass of water, eating, or taking a shower, I change my shirt, and nurse my baby while still sweating and breathing hard from the run.
This could all be solved with a bottle, right? Probably. But I’ve never given either of my babies a bottle. (Bottles are just sooo much work, right? Why wash another dish if you don’t have to?) David had one bottle, and Mary Virginia has never taken one.
I planned to introduce the bottle just for the race, so we tried it a few weeks ago. She hated it. I’ve never seen her cry so hard.We’ve tried a few more times since, and haven’t had any luck.
On race day I’ll be gone for about four hours — the longest I’ve ever been away from her ever. I’m pushing it out of my mind because there are 100 logical reasons to not worry: she’ll be with her grandparents who love her and will do anything to make sure she’s happy and cared for…I’ll leave her with a bottle and enough milk for a week, and if she’s really hungry, she’ll probably take the bottle. Plus, four hours is actually not that long. Babies her age go four hours between feedings all the time. She’s even done it. She did it today.
If anything, it’s a reason to run hard and get home, right? I’ve actually never had better motivation to run a PR.
Not that we even need to utter those letters, PR. I’m a new mom, I don’t need that kind of pressure.
Richmond runners: have a great race! See you at the finish line. I’ll be the one pushing everyone out of my way, frantically trying to get home to my baby, who will probably be sleeping happily in her crib. Babies like to mess with you that way.
And on a completely unrelated note…
Last Saturday when I was running, I saw a car slam on its brakes and skid to a stop to avoid hitting three runners crossing a busy road. They were all wearing earbuds. I don’t know if the ear buds were to blame, but it was a great reminder to be extra careful and aware of your surroundings…especially if you’re listening to music.