One section Tales From Another Mother Runner is called In Her Shoes, which is first-person accounts of different running situations and tales. We love running stories as much as—or maybe more than?—running itself, but we had a surplus of In Her Shoes stories...if we put them all in the book, it would've been bigger than a dictionary. So we're going to run these every other Friday for a while.
Melanie took on motherhood and a marathon (and a trans-Pacific flight) within days of each other.
My husband and I had just flown home from Vietnam to Oregon from picking up Benjamin, our first son. Not only was I a first-time mom, I was also terribly jet-lagged and was sick from some kind of food-borne something or other I picked up overseas. My son was on a Vietnam time schedule, so he was up at night and asleep during the day. I was just exhausted and nauseated. My legs were dead. Nothing felt right.
Still, I thought I could make it through the Portland Marathon. I really wanted to run it because it was the first marathon my sister and I planned to do together. I didn’t want to let her down. Like most new parents, I didn’t realize how exhausting those first few weeks can be. Fundamentally, I thought I was okay.
During the first 13 miles, my sister and I had a great time chatting and laughing, but we went out too fast. Then I started getting nauseous and tired. My sister went ahead. I walked quite a bit and tried not to throw up for the last 13 miles, which is a long time in a marathon.
I chastised myself the whole time. I kept thinking of my son, who was back home with my husband, and how stupid and selfish it was to leave them. When you’re a new mom, you’re kind of eager to be with your baby; I was really, really longing to be home with him.
I didn’t think many happy thoughts during the last part of the race, except that I soon would get to go be with my baby—and that we’d probably be up all night again. I also knew the next morning I’d have to get up and go teach classes at the university. All that stuff was weighing on me. But I didn’t want to quit.
I barely managed to hold it together until the finish line, when I started crying right away. The tears were partly the emotions of being a new mom and being totally messed up in terms of sleep, but they were were also a sign of just how miserable I felt.
—Melanie (Has since run thirty-six more marathons and three ultras—and adopted one more son.)