[Follow—and cheer for—Pam, a #motherrunner of two in Decatur, Georgia, as she trains for her first 26.2. Previous entries.]
In the past, I’ve found myself itching to return to training before the injury window was safely closed.
Related: Previously, I hadn’t raced an entire half-marathon to the full extent of my ability.
I take a full week off running before a week of slowly easing back in. I spent so much time and energy NOT running, I’m not sure where the week went. I know I went to bed a little later than usual (think 9:XX rather than 8:XX) because my alarm wasn’t set to go off at 4:30.
I spent my lunch breaks actually eating lunch. My rear end made far more contact with the couch cushions than it had in months. The only time running even entered my mind was when my quads screamed at me for daring to stand up from a chair or walk down the stairs.
I also threw nutrition largely out the window. Sure, I tried to make sure I got enough protein, fruits, and vegetables so my muscles could fully recover, but I also devoured Kit-Kats and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (filched from my daughter’s Halloween stash, natch!) with wild abandon and zero remorse.
It turns out that when you’re not running 30+ miles a week, you have time to hang out with your husband, your children, your friends. Many of those hours on the couch were spent next to my husband as the Florida Gators battled it out on mute.
I brought my four-year-old daughter with me to a BAMR brunch hosted by my BRF Meridith, and then we went to the park, where Amelie demonstrated her newfound ability to pump her legs on the swings.
The next day I spent some one-on-one with my toddler, snuggling and reading books. Mostly potty books. (Sidebar: She loves reading potty books and sitting on the potty, but has seemingly made no connection between those and her actual bodily functions. Go figure.)
My favorite part of reconnecting (sorry, husband and kids) came the Sunday a week after my race. A number of our local #motherrunners were participating in the Alpharetta Women’s Half Marathon. My BRF, her eight-year old Carolyn, and I stationed ourselves with signs near the top of a beastly hill near mile 12. I joined some of my friends for a mile here or half a mile there, heading back toward our sign spot each time.
And then I came across a woman who was walking, maybe a mile from the finish, and clearly fighting back tears of frustration or defeat. I began walking next to her and asked what was wrong. She said her hip was cramping up, probably from lack of training. I engaged her in conversation about past races (including a 17-mile stretch of the Georgia Jewel, a trail ultra in the mountains), and after a few minutes of chatting, I asked if she could run a few slow steps. She could, and she did. As her confidence grew, she began to pick up speed, and before she knew it, we began picking off people left and right.
I jumped in with other miscellaneous women after that, many within the final tenth of a mile, making sure to leave before the finish line so I didn’t photo bomb. I told them about Alex Hutchison’s promise of the final kick and jollied (bullied?) them into running again.
One woman grabbed the hand of a walking stranger as we passed, and the two of them ran hand in hand across the finish.
Once I had completed the recovery and reconnect phases, I committed myself to focusing once more on training.
Because I’m training for my first marathon, I wanted to make sure I am well-acquainted with the plan’s ins and outs before taking those first steps. Because this plan has cross-training days built in each week, I set up my bike trainer (a basic metal stand that turns my road bike into a stationary bike) in front of the guest room TV. I entered all of my workouts into my Garmin. I plugged some numbers into a race calculator to figure out my race pace for training purposes (9:30—woohoo!). Finally, I did the math and established my various heart rate zones based on my max heart rate.
Full-gas marathon training, look out for BAMR PAMR!
I should also note I signed up at the last minute to race the Run for Justice 5K in my neighborhood on Saturday, November 10. Not my fastest 5K by a long shot, but I managed to snag second in my age group and win this shiny new—wait for it—gavel!