In case you haven’t been lucky enough to hear me blathering on about it in real life, I am currently training for a marathon. I decided to run one because, well, it was time to saddle up and finally do it. I’ve been contemplating it for awhile, and basically now is the right time. Molly is not in school yet, everyone sleeps at night, I’m still young-ish, so it was pretty much now or never. In case you’re thinking to yourself, “I could never do that!” let me assure you: if you are a mom, you have pretty much already trained. Here’s how:
1. You’re a master of going on little to no sleep
Because I was a genius who decided to train for a marathon in South Texas in the summer, there is a very small window of time when it wasn’t 8 million degrees outside (give or take a few degrees). Basically that window was from 4-6 AM. So if I didn’t want to die of heat exhaustion, I needed to be on the road no later than 5:30 AM. Once my long runs got longer, I was hitting the road at 5:00 AM. Apparently, children have such ridiculous demands as being fed and paid attention to no matter how tired I am. Since the ship sailed on Molly’s nap a year ago, and since I actually enjoy spending a few kid-free hours with my husband after bedtime, I have not gotten a lot of sleep throughout my training. Fortunately, I’ve been in the no-sleep bootcamp known as motherhood for 4 years now. My kids are starting to look the other way when I start to doze off in the middle of Sesame Street.
2. You’re used to having an insatiable appetite
When I checked into the hospital to have Molly, I was the size of a small country. I spent most days of the third trimester eating entire loaves of Italian bread. Even that hunger didn’t compare to how hungry I was when I was nursing (and still buying the La Leche League myth that breastfeeding burns off all your baby weight!). So this eat-whatever’s-not-nailed-down hunger I’m feeling while training is nothing new. But here’s a fun fact I just learned: lots of people gain weight while training for marathons. Totally unfair, right? So that fact is burning into my brain and keeping me from putting away the bread like the good Italian girl I am. If I’m running 50 miles a week, I at least want the abs to prove it! Also, I have a very clear memory of sitting in my hospital bed attempting to breastfeed Molly and feeling like I was so thirsty I could literally die. My mouth felt like it was full of sand. That is pretty much how I feel all the time now.
3. You’re used to dealing with disgusting bodily functions
I honestly don’t even blink when I watch other runners blow snot rockets, hack up loogies, or vomit. My main thought is “wow, it’s nice to not have to clean that up!” And also, I’m just going to own this:
I ran a 10k this summer and peed my pants. Twice. Whatever.
One of the best things about running is no one cares what you look like. And hopefully no one is analyzing whether that’s sweat or urine on your leg.
4. Eating goo-like products are an everyday occurrence
One thing that I’m currently trying to figure out is how to handle nutrition needs on the run. One of the most popular products is called Gu. It apparently has the consistency of, well, goo. Since I’ve become a mother, my palate has become less and less refined. I literally just ate an animal cracker off the floor like it was no big deal. I fed 2 babies goo, and did my fair share of licking the spoon clean. No problem. The flavor of Gu I bought for this weekend is called “Espresso Love” and even has caffeine in it. I may start eating it even when I’m not training for a marathon.
5. You’re used to having weird pains in places you didn’t know existed
I rocked the Charlie horses pretty hard when I was pregnant. So it was no big deal when I started getting them after running. And remember when you were pregnant and you’d get random, shooting pains in your pelvis? I just started getting them in my hip, which is starting to hurt bad enough that I am getting the pregnant lady waddle. Aching back, puffy ankles, and throbbing calves are as normal for me during marathon training as they were when I was pregnant. But luckily, I am not sporting the baby belly, and can get a massage laying on my stomach!
6. You’ve experienced the perpetual state of disbelief before
Maybe this is just me, but I know when I first found out I was pregnant with both kids, I really couldn’t believe it. It was like I was in this weird place emotionally where people were telling me I was pregnant, I could see my body changing, I’d taken a million tests, but I kept expecting someone to yell “PSYCH!” any second. That is how I am feeling right now. When I tell people I’m training for a marathon, I say it like Ron Burgundy in Anchorman when they put a question mark on the Teleprompter (“I’m running a marathon???”). I just really can’t believe it. Me. Formally chubby, arthritic queen of getting cut from teams because I was too slow. Me. I expect it won’t feel real until I am at the finish line. Probably crying hysterically. Which leads me to…
7. You’re used to rapidly fluctuating emotions
I should preface this by saying that I tend to be a bit emotional anyway. I cried for pretty much the entire day I found out I was pregnant with Molly, her entire labor and delivery, and probably off and on for her first month of life. Last week I watched a movie called “Spirit of the Marathon” and cried through the whole thing. (Go watch it, it’s great. Also, sorry, because when you’re done you will go register for a marathon.) The thought of actually finishing makes me choke up. Even the thought of finishing another 20 miler in training makes me misty. Which is bad, because I am already so, so thirsty.
So you see, moms? You’re already pretty much trained up. Join me and we can be carbed up, crying, pants-wetting messes together.