Kristen Ghaffarian, a stroller-pushing, 27-year-old mom of a toddler son, has 26.2 miles on tap this weekend: She’s running Rock ‘N’ Roll USA in Washington, D.C., near her home in Fulton, Maryland. She’s keeping her momentum going by running the New York 13.1 Marathon the following weekend, and the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run the weekend after that. Phew: Catch up with her while she’s here in one place.
Best recent run: My best recent run was a 15-mile run pushing my son in the stroller with my husband by my side. We ran on the Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to Georgetown and back. It was a wonderful change of scenery from where we run at home, and it was a lot of fun for all of us. The beautiful scenery was enough for me to forgive the trail for being mostly uphill on the way back.
Walk-up half-marathon: I’m running a half marathon on May 6 that starts and ends right in my neighborhood. The race is the Maryland Half Marathon, and it benefits the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. The race means so much to me. First, both of my parents are cancer survivors so I want to do everything I can to get rid of this ugly disease--that’s why most of my races are with charity teams. Second, last year’s race was what made me get serious about running again after my son was born. When I saw the big sign in the neighborhood while out for a run, I knew I had to sign up. If I could walk to the starting line, it would have been wrong for me to not run it. Passing that sign during all of my post-partum training runs kept me motivated and determined.
Making strides with a stroller: My epic stroller running moment was finishing a 20-mile run with it. It was, without a doubt, the hardest run--mentally and physically--that I’ve ever done. My prior longest stroller run had been 13.1 miles. I didn’t know if I was capable of making it to 20, or if he’d even tolerate sitting that long. I’m incrediblylucky that he loves when I run with him in the stroller, and he was very patient for the run. My biggest tip for running with the stroller is to make sure you have a good jogging stroller. I know they are spendy, but they are worth every penny. I also have stroller-running tips on my blog.
Full slate: My first marathon was nearly six years ago, and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped it would. I had an injury, and I made all the rookie mistakes on race day. Not only was I in too much pain to get back to running after the race, but I also temporarily lost my love of running. My second marathon in October 2011 was a better experience. I ran again two days later and did a double-digit long run the following weekend. I wanted to maintain my endurance that time around since I wasn’t in the same boat that I was in after my first marathon. After my marathon this Saturday, I want to keep up the same momentum, and I’ll be doing so with a lot of races. The half-marathon and 10-mile race I’m running the following weekends will be done at a very comfortable pace because I’ll be running with my husband. I just want to enjoy the race experiences with him and not worry about a PR.
Running heals: At the time of my first miscarriage, I had not been consistently running. I had a D&C so I was not supposed to exercise for two weeks while I was healing. Once I got the go-ahead from my doctor to exercise again, I could not wait to hit the pavement. For two weeks, all I wanted to do was to go for a run so I could escape my heartache. I still remember that first run after the miscarriage and how therapeutic it was. I was able to shut off all my thoughts, breathe in the fresh air, and take a break from crying on the couch in my living room. When my husband and I were having a hard time getting pregnant again, running kept me (relatively) sane. After the second miscarriage, running was my escape again. I got pregnant with my son immediately after the second miscarriage and chose not to run during my pregnancy because I was terrified of something going wrong and it being my fault. Down the line when we decide to have another baby, I hope to attempt the whole running-and-pregnancy thing.
Lemon-lime-y: There is something in that lemon+lime nuun. Something highly addictive. I crave that refreshing citrusy flavor on all my long runs. I don’t know what they put in it to cause such cravings--I just know I have to have it!