Brazen or brass, I’m just going to say it. I’m going to run a marathon when my baby is 9 months old, and that’s every bit as amazing as it sounds.
I’m not always this forthcoming. As a mother to a baby, I often find myself around other mothers with babies. Not surprisingly the conversation among all these mothers with babies often turns to THE BABY WEIGHT.
“Have you lost the baby weight?”
“I just can’t seem to lose the baby weight.”
“I can’t fit all this baby weight into any of my cute clothes!”
“I want to lose the baby weight, but I’m always so busy and tired. I barely have time to shower! How can I be expected to exercise?!”
I generally answer that question by shutting up. I zip my lips, and check myself out of the conversation (even though I know the answer is quite simple – stop showering). I mean, let’s be realistic. No new mother struggling to find 10 minutes to play Wii Fit wants to hear about how I’m training for a marathon.
Only I take it too far sometimes. I keep quiet for one too many conversations, and all of a sudden someone’s telling me how to train for a 10K. I smile and nod because what else am I supposed to do? Interrupt with a humble, “That sounds like a great plan! Not too different than what I was taught when I got my running coach’s certification. I might even try something similar if I wasn’t training for this marathon right now.” No, I don’t say that. Because that’s actually not humble sounding at all. Instead, I smile and nod and send the marathon into hiding.
But that feels awkward. So I decided to tell the truth today when someone asked directly, “How long is your long run?”
“Well…” I paused, “I’m actually training for a marathon. So it’s ramping up. This week I have 16 miles on the docket.” And just so I wouldn’t sound too egotistical, I added, “And that will be hard.”
I was prepared to swat away the inevitable, “WOW! OH MY GOD! How DO you do it?! That’s amazing! I wish I had your motivation! Will you bear MY children?!” I have a whole arsenal of comebacks for that sort of thing.
“Oh, I have to run to maintain my sanity!”
“I’m lucky to have a great support system. Jason is always willing to watch Ruby while I run.”
“Well, I go REALLY slow. That’s the only way I can make it!”
“As flattered as I am that you would think of me, I just don’t think I could handle pregnancy hormones right now.”
I was not prepared for what actually followed, ”Do you think you’re over-doing it?”
The hamster wheel that is my brain immediately started spinning. What was that supposed to mean? Did she think training for a marathon was some hyper, unhealthy coping mechanism for my postpartum depression?
Just in case, I replied with, “No. I did this before Ruby was born.”
Did she think this was part of the eating disorder I don’t have? Did she think I was a negligent mother for spending so much time running?
“Well, just be careful with your joints.”
Or is she just opposed to long distance running in general?
“Oh I will,” I said… as soon as I figure out how the hell I’m supposed to do that without quitting.
As you may have gathered, I walked away from that conversation rather irate. All day I’ve been asking myself why it bothered me so much. And I think I’ve finally figured it out. She didn’t give me the credit I deserve.
That’s right. I said it. This isn’t a hyper, unhealthy coping mechanism. I don’t have an eating disorder. I’m not a negligent mother. And it’s HARD. No matter how slow I go or how supportive my husband is, training for a marathon is hard. Training for a marathon with a 6 month old baby is – oh yeah, I’m saying it – WAY harder. I’m working my ass off, and I deserve some credit.
I may not be the best mother, or wife, or keep the house clean, or even shower. But I’m going to run a marathon when my baby is 9 months old. And that makes me ridiculously awesome.