what I learned from my first half marathon as a mom

It's the longest I have gone without running a half marathon since I started running them five years ago. I ran two half marathons while pregnant with Raffa. Then from January 2013 until May 2014 not a one.

On May 4, John and I ran the Boulder Spring Half Marathon. It was my first since having Raffa. And, full disclosure, I was running six miles at the very most since having Raffa. There was one day where I ran 9 miles, but that was because I ran twice - once in the morning and once in the afternoon. But, since Raffa was born (a year ago), I have only been running 6 miles at most, but more often 4-5 miles.

When John and I set out to run 13.1 on May 4, I was a little skeptical. However, my 5-6 days a week of running, even if only 4-6 miles a pop, must have been enough. I didn't PR but my time was the same as my typical.

It was a very different experience, though. Surprisingly, I felt just as good if not better than when I was "well" trained.  My first 13.1 miles run as a momma to Raffa held a few revelations that gave me some oomph to get to the finish line:

  • I have done something {twice} that most people will never do {and something a man could NEVER do} = I run two half marathons pregnant.
  • If I could finish two half marathons pregnant (one at around 2 months and the other at around 5 months), then I could certainly finish with no long run training.
  • After surviving a year of ups and downs of navigating and adjusting to life as a mom I have found THAT is the hardest thing I have ever done. Ergo, this half marathon is nothing. 
These three things led me to the main revelation of those 13.1 miles: being a mom has given me a mental hardiness, a new stamina and endurance, and a refreshed enthusiasm that nothing else could. I realized, with gratitude, I was experiencing perhaps one of the most powerful rewards of being a mom - feeling a newfound respect for ME. I felt stronger and happier; I felt proud of myself for being a mom. With all the agonizing over whether I am doing the right thing, with all the mom guilt I feel for this or that, and for the mourning I have felt over my life before being a mom I was finally feeling proud of myself for how far I have come and my accomplishment of simply (or not so simply) being a mom.

It was a spectacular day. John and I got to the race {accidentally} over an hour too early. But we snoozed in the car and then ran the race. Afterwards, we went to brunch together {alone}, a first since Raffa. We headed home to our baby and I spent the afternoon with the inspiration of my pride in myself - my Raffa baby. I took him to the park and pushed him on the swings. It was all around a lovely day.

And, I caught that bug again. The bug to do more 13.1s. In 2011/2012 I did almost one half marathon a month. Although my life/schedule now won't quite accommodate that, I definitely know that I want to get my next half marathon on the calendar. Maybe I will shoot for doing one every quarter.

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