Sunday, April 22, 2007

Tying My Shoes

Yesterday I enjoyed one of the most scenic marathons/half marathons in the country - the Charlottesville, VA half marathon. I hadn't really trained for it and almost didn't make it due to a sick child, but I got there and ran like the wind. This was my first race to run without my running buddies and buddy up with my ipod instead. The race was absolutely stunning, only about 1500 participants, and hilly as hell. Yes, there were some rolling hills. But there were also a couple of massive, lung-burning, calf-locking, thigh-screaming, vow-to-never-race-again HILLS. Runners were dropping like flies on these hills. Get the picture? I do tend to exaggerate a bit - but I swear these were difficult.

Back to the race...the race started at 6:30 a.m. I arrived too late the night before to pick up my packet early. So I needed to get there by 6am (cut off for packets). After arriving late to the hotel, staying up with a fussy baby, nursing several times through the night, I dragged my butt out of bed at red-eye 5am. Did I mention I also had a sick toddler with me? And guess what, I actually ran a good race! Yep - my pace was pretty spectacular in the scheme of things. Now...I hope you've all been able to experience that post-race glow when you know you ran well, overcame many challenges, and kicked some young girl butts! It is a great feeling that follows you for days! Even waking the next morning and realizing you can barely walk is a rush.

This morning as I limped out of bed I took a run down memory lane. Highlighs from some of the races I've donerun over the past 10 years were flashing through my mind. People I've met along the way, training partners, hills, bike rides, traveling for races, running with a hangover now and then.

And then I had a sad thought. I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO WAKE UP, TIE MY SHOES, AND HEAD OUT THE DOOR FOR A RACE WITHOUT A TON OF RESPONSIBILITIES HITTING ME IN THE FACE AGAIN. Do you remember pre-kids when you could run anytime, anywhere, no worries, no cares, no breakfast to make, no nursing before you head out the door, no rushing home to take care of the family? I know all of the obstacles of motherhood make us stronger. But wouldn't it be nice to have just one day, one more race, one more post-race beer, one more weekend without thoughts of motherhood responsibilities ringing in your head?

Yet another whirlwind of emotions took over. The joy I feel when I see my smart, strong, happy daughters running around chasing each other. The sense of accomplishment I will feel for years and years as my daughters reach goals of their own.

And one day - maybe when I'm 60 - and my girls are away at college or spending a summer abroad I will wake up, tie my shoes, and hit a PR (personal record) in a race once again.