When I was pregnant with my first child, Jake, I ran a few 5Ks, including a very slippery and icy 5K walk the day before I had him. I like to kid that I walked him out. My homegirl, Tara, who was also pregnant at the time, accompanied me on that three mile trek through the hills of Litchfield. At each of those 5Ks, I scribbled, “+1” on my racing bib- I was running for two! It wasn’t until I ran my half marathons as a Mom, that I wrote, “Jake’s Mom” on my racing bib, and, this weekend, for the first time ever, “Jake and Olivia’s Mom.” I’ve talked about this before, but Mom Miles are different than regular miles. Mom Miles are like dog years- you just have to multiply them. For every mile run as a mother, I swear, it’s like running two. It’s harder to find the time to train for a race, your chances of getting sick along the way and derailing your training are quadrupled (thank you, tiny child germ carriers), and let’s be honest here- Motherhood invokes an entirely new level of exhaustion. Like WOAH exhaustion.
So this brings me to last Saturday’s Northeast Utilities Hartford Half Marathon. In the pouring rain. I pinned my race bib to my shirt, and couldn’t help but get a little overwhelmed as I looked down at the writing next to my number. The day before, I took Sharpie to bib, and wrote, “JAKE & OLIVIA’S MOM” right across the front. It’s pretty common for distance runners to write their names on the front of their race bibs. People cheering along the race route will look a the bibs, and call the runner out by name to cheer them on. For me, I like to think of it as my kids are coming along for the 13.1 mile ride. I think of them while I’m running- wondering what they are doing as I am pounding out the miles- probably eating goldfish crackers out of the bag while an unattended sippy cup of milk is forming a puddle on the floor, eyes glued to whatever happens to be live on Disney Junior. I think about how, while in the delivery room heaving out push after push, my doctor said to me, “If you’re running a half marathon, you’re probably about at mile 12 right now!!” And I think about the future. I see Jake and Olivia passing out both my husband and I in a 5K. Long, lanky legs just barreling past me in a wild fury of speed.
Yes. My kids run half marathons with me. And, damn, are they good.