I'm Deni, and I'm a runner. I'm not the fastest runner and I never plan on trying to qualify for Boston. I haven't been running my whole life. I started running so I could eat more and not gain more weight. That's just plain honest! It never occurred to me really to run more than a 5K, actually for quite a long time. So, how did I get to training for a marathon?!!?
Well, let me start by saying that I remember NYE of (I think) '06 (maybe '05?) two of my friends came to a party we were having and had run 16 miles that morning training for the Chicago Marathon. I remember saying, "That is freaking nuts! I would never do that! Why would anyone put themselves through that? How miserable!", or something along those lines! Seriously, I know better than to say NEVER!!!! Fast forward to 2008 and I'm trying to lose some unwanted lbs that have packed on because my husband and I love to eat good food and drink nice wine and Louisiana beer. So, I start weight watchers, and start walking to earn more "points" so I can eat more--that's how I roll! One day I went out for a long walk, like an hour and come home and tell my husband..."I just ran like 3 blocks!". He was seriously in absolute shock!!! I was a self-professed couch potato and my schedule pretty much revolved around my naps and work. He was kinda stunned and said "Why?". "I don't know, I just thought I'd try it!". So, my sister and I started doing the 5Ks around town. We would walk some, run some, you know, just to see what we could do. In July of 2008 I found out I was pregnant after over a year of trying. I was beyond ecstatic and was relishing in my newfound excuse for staying close to the couch again, while my sister and best friend were training for their first 10K, which honestly I was slightly jealous of at that time because I didn't want them doing this without me! But, I wanted to be a mommy more than anything on earth, so this was the best excuse if I was going to be missing the fun. Something had seriously changed! A few weeks later my entire world crashed in around me when I miscarried my baby. Gut-wrenching cannot begin to describe the feelings that I battled after that. Meanwhile my sister and friend ran their 10K and I was just feeling broken and helpless. So, they announced that they were training for a half marathon and I jumped on the bandwagon, they were NOT doing something cool without me again. Running was a release and a way of punishing/pushing my body that had just failed me so miserably!
We began training and I was painfully slow, seriously, you could barely count what I was doing as actual running, but I was running and I became a RUNNER! John Bingham aka "The Penguin" says it well when he says it doesn't matter how fast you are, how far you run, it only matters that you run. You are a runner. I had become a runner. I became one of those people who joined my friends (the ones I made fun of a couple of years earlier) and scheduled my days, weekends, plans, etc. around running. I got up on Saturdays at hours that I had only known previously from having stayed up that late and ran miles, not a mile, but multiple MILES! I bought gear. I learned lingo. I read books. As I ran I processed those millions of emotions that come with miscarriage and struggling to get pregnant. I pounded the pavement and pounded my broken heart and pounded the body that had failed me. When I left for a run I would be so full of anger, frustration, sadness, and things I couldn't even put into words and when I was done, things weren't solved, but they were lighter! In February of 2009 I ran my first half marathon and it went like this...
We had dinner the night before with the blue haired crowd (meaning 5:00pm) and one shot of tequila (to calm the nerves according to Tom--it worked!) and went to bed at 8:30pm after laying out every single article of clothing and each thing our breakfast entailed. Sleep was fitful and we got up so early I'm not even sure it counted as the next day (some day you'll hear about how much I hate mornings!!!). We got dressed and I'm serious when I tell you I thought I was going to jiggle out of my skin with anticipation. I had never run 13.1 miles, that is the beauty of training, you never hit that distance until the actual race, which perpetuates the thrill in my mind! We had Julie's parents drive us to the start, take pictures of us in our matching t-shirts (That said "The first but hopefully not the last" on our backs), used the bathroom, looked around, saw the sun rise, and made our way to the start line. I got my ipod ready and it would not turn on. AT ALL, no music, nothing! Cue PANIC!!! We started running and I was painfully reminded of how disgustingly slow I was because I had to just let everyone leave me so that I wouldn't be quite so miserable. Later I found two other friends, but eventually had to let them go ahead of me too. By mile 10 I was completely alone running (except for the bazillion other runners) with no music, my ankle was hurting, and my spirit was broken. I cried. I'm pretty sure I've always glossed over all this in telling the story, but I did, I cried. I felt terrible and like I couldn't make it (though quitting never crossed my mind), and I walked/ran the rest of it in complete disarray. I crossed the finish line in stride and actually once I spotted it, my spirit changed, I knew I would finish and I could see the end. I crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 37 minutes and 9 seconds. That my friends, was my PR. I have done 5 half marathons since then, and it remains my PR. I crossed the finish line, and BURST INTO TEARS! I did something that I had never thought possible. Part of the reason I had made fun of my friends before was because I didn't believe that I could do something like that. And I had just finished a half marathon.
I am a runner. In April of 2009 we ran with Team in Training raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I found out 2 days before we left that I was pregnant again. After all of my hard work to raise money and the training I had done with a stress fracture in my ankle (oh yeah, that was why my ankle hurt during my first half marathon) I was not missing this experience. So, I told only the coaches there and I did it, in 3 hours and 6 minutes. I carried a camera and took pictures. I walked a lot, and I enjoyed the scenery in beautiful Nashville, TN. About 4 weeks later I miscarried again. No, no one close to me or involved in my care thinks that my doing the half marathon contributed to my loss. Actually now, I know my issue and running certainly didn't contribute to my losses, but that's another story! Running then continued to be my outlet. It was where I could go when the emotions were so overwhelming that I felt I couldn't breathe. I felt like I couldn't breathe a lot and so I ran a lot. I didn't get faster (mostly because like Lacey I didn't listen to the experts tell me how), but I got stronger in body, mind, and soul.
I am a runner and now I am a mommy! Those are probably two of my favorite things to say! I didn't run while I was pregnant because honestly, I was terrified the whole time, but I did read about running, and plan when and how I would get back to it. One of the hostess gifts for one of my showers was a BOB stroller (Lacey and I swear by them) so that I could take Sugar (my daughter, well her nickname) running with me. I took her out in the stroller when she was six weeks old. Nothing amazing, not really more than a walk/jog, but we started with the Couch to 5K app and have built from there. **I hadn't used this app before but had suggested it to lots of people, and can now say with confidence that it's a great way to start running or get back to it.** I also had a c-section, and wanted to know how soon I could get back to running. I'm not as hardcore as Lacey and she was certainly more fit than I was to begin with, but I was back to running within six weeks of having Sugar, I started the C25K program then and two weeks ago ran 9 miles pushing Sugar in the stoller. Sugar will be 7 months old Sunday. I'm running my 7th half marathon on March 4th, in the same place that I started 3 years ago. I'm actually smiling ear to ear right now thinking about it!
We're here to write about being mommies and running, how you can do both. How both have changed our lives. We hope you find inspiration here and that we can make you laugh!!