Five months and fives days ago, I looked like this:
Nine months, one week pregnant.
Pregnant with a 9 pound 4 oz baby.
Thirty-five (possibly 40) pounds heavier than normal.
Swollen to the point where my rings didn't fit. My watch didn't fit. I didn't have ankles. I only had one pair of shoes that fit. And that pair of shoes was a size bigger than I usually wear.
I was large.
Walking with K to the park was strenuous. And that walk was four blocks long.
After C's birth, I wasn't sure I'd ever get back into shape again. Unlike my postpartum experience with K, my experience with C sucked. Losing the baby weight has not been easy or fast. My incision has hurt and one of the internal stitches took an incredibly long time to dissolve. As excited as I was to get back to running, I was just as nervous. What if I couldn't get back into pre-pregnancy form? Would I be able to run half and full marathons again? Would I be able to keep a respectable pace? Would my cute running skirt from Lucy ever fit again?
My questions and doubts were too many to count.
I got back to running six weeks after C's birth. It was hard. It wasn't pretty. My cute running clothes didn't fit. I did more runs than I can count in loose fitting yoga pants from Target.
But I ran.
By Christmas I was running five miles at a time. After New Year's I started seriously training for a half marathon. At first, long runs were brutal. But slowly - step by step - it became easier. The runs got longer and my pace got faster. I was consistently able to run 10+ mile training runs at a 9:00/mile pace. The thought of completing a sub-2 hour half marathon five months after giving birth crossed my mind.
I knew I had enough endurance to finish the race.
I thought I could finish in less than two hours.
Secretly, I wanted a PR.
My fastest (and only) half marathon to date was the 2010 Pittsburgh half where I finished in 1:58.
I started the race with D.
About 1/2 a mile into the race, he sprinted off ahead of me. I put my headphones in and started to run. I tried not to look at my Garmin and run by feel.
At mile two, I took a peak at my wrist and saw an 8:30 pace. Oh.crap.
Could I sustain that pace for an entire 13 miles? When we were running up the killer hill on CT Ave, I thought I might quit. Obviously hills were not part of my training plan and I was not prepared for the uphills on the course. But I put my head down and kept running. I looked at my watch every now and then. And realized that sustaining a sub-9:00 per mile pace for the entire 13.1 miles was possible.
By mile 11 I was ready to be finished.
But I kept running.
With less than a mile to go, I realized I was going to PR.
I was relieved to see the finish line. I crossed it with a smile on my face and hit the stop button on my Garmin. And this is what I saw...
Holy WONDERFUL run!
Watch out world! This running mama is back and is running better than ever.
I'm already planning my training plan for a sub-1:50 half marathon.