The only thing I'll ever do by half.
People can’t believe that I ran my first half marathon 6 months after having a baby, let alone the fact I was even running. A half marathon had always been on my bucket list.
It didn’t happen overnight, I had to build my fitness levels back from scratch. I took a long break from running and strenuous exercise while I was pregnant. I think that due to the fact I had trouble conceiving I was petrified I would hurt the baby. I know that wouldn’t have been the case but it would have caused me stress that I didn’t need or want. I would like to think my next pregnancy will be different, in terms of both conceiving and the exercise but we will have to wait and see.
When we arrived home from hospital I started with walking each day, as this was recommended for recovery after a c-section. The thought of running hadn’t even crossed my mind. 4 weeks later though I started to feel the urge to run with the pram...those of you who are runners will know the feeling I’m talking about. I was craving that runners high I used to get. After my 6-week check up I was given the all clear. I ran that day. 300 metres. I nearly passed out. ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it’, definitely applied to my fitness level. Over a year of no running and it was completely gone. I felt defeated, but I was determined to feel that runners high again.
Many people have asked me how I did it. How could I possibly train for a half marathon after just having had a baby? Simple. I ran each day. I ran consistently. I started small and increased when I could. My 300m run stayed around for a while but soon that become 500m then a whole kilometre. A kilometre became 2kms...you get the point, but there was no magic to it. I just took Hunter and the pram for a run each day and within a month I was happily running 3kms. I set myself a goal - to run 30 minutes without stopping by Christmas. That was 5 months away. Apparently though, if you run consistently a goal like that becomes obsolete and within 2 months I was running 6km like a piece of cake. My runner’s high was back but I wanted more. New goal - a half marathon. I researched and found the Run For The Young half marathon. 8 weeks away.
Most of my runs were done without the pram at this point because I wanted to replicate the run on the day. So as my family slept I would run. 6am for 30minutes to an hour, 5 days a week. There were only a handful days I didn’t want to run but I pushed through. Most of the time I thoroughly enjoyed this time on my own, running with the sunrise and birds. I increased my overall kilometres that I would run each week in the lead up to the race.
Finally the race came. The first half was a breeze, I thought a full marathon would be easy. At about 13-17km that all changed. My mind turned negative and it nearly all fell apart. It was another uphill stint. My knee was sore. It was raining. There was nothing good about this run anymore. My family would understand if I just walked the rest.
I couldn't stop now though, all the training would be for nothing, all the runs, all the early mornings. I turned my thoughts around. I pushed through and silenced the negativity with thoughts of Hunter's face greeting me at the end. What message would I be sending him if I gave up? It was the push I needed to keep going. Finally the uphill battle ended. The last 4km was relatively easy in comparison, a welcomed decline in gradient. Before I knew it, I was done. Finished. I had completed my goal. In a time of 1.57.27 and with a very red face, I had achieved my first half marathon. I was absolutely stoked with my time and I had one very happy baby and supportive family waiting for me at the end.
A full marathon is not for me but this half marathon won’t be my last. I already have plans to complete the Run Melbourne in July. Hopefully this has inspired you to run. Not necessarily run a half marathon, but any distance. Just see what you can do, you never know what you’ll achieve!