As I get farther into this pregnancy and running starts to get difficult, looking to the future helps me feel better and takes my mind off my slower pace and lower mileage. Since my first half marathon back in 2007, I have lived and breathed my race schedules and training plans. I love having races to look forward to and goals to work towards. For the first time ever, I don’t have any upcoming races on my schedule except for two more 5Ks before baby comes. As far as after the baby comes this September, I haven’t made any plans yet. I can’t help but daydream about the races I will do in 2013 and maybe even later this year. However, I am hesitant to sign up for any for a few reasons. Here is what I am keeping in mind as I try to pick out some races that I might be able to run after baby.
- I obviously can’t predict when I’m going to give birth, how my recovery will be afterwards, and how soon I’ll be able to run again physically.
- Once I begin running again, I don’t know how long it will take to build up the decent base that I need before beginning half-marathon and marathon training.
- Time will be limited with a newborn to take care of and going back to work at only 6 weeks post-partum. The baby will be my first priority, not running (obviously!) which will make following a training plan more challenging – especially when sleep deprived!
- Money will be tight with a new baby and a new house (more about that later!) so we don’t want to do any super expensive races that involve a ton of traveling. Plus, traveling to a far-away race with an infant would be really difficult. So I want to stick to close races near to where we live or close to family.
- BUT, if I’m going to do a marathon obviously I need to do it in a state that I haven’t done yet! My ultimate goal is to do a marathon in all 50 states. I don’t want to train hard for one and not have it count towards that! So I need marathons that are close by and not repeats.
- Kevin’s really wants to do the NYC Marathon in November 2013. He’s going to enter the lottery and if he doesn’t get in, he will do whatever fall marathon I do instead. The NYC Marathon was the most amazing race ever and I can’t wait for Kevin to experience it. However, it is also a very expensive experience, so that will be our one big traveling race next year and I am going to work around it because it’s important to him (and me!). I think they pick the lucky lottery winners in April, so we’ll know well ahead of time if he’s in or not.
To make sure I would be giving myself enough time to train for a race, I figured out what the worst case scenario would be if it came down to it. Kind of depressing to think about, but I’m trying to figure out what will be realistic! So at the very latest if I don’t go into labor on my own, I will be induced on October 7th because my doctor won’t let me go past 41 weeks 4 days. Then another worst case- if I have to have a C-Section, that is an automatic 6-8 weeks of no running. To be on the safe side, 8 weeks from October 7th means it would be December 2nd before I am in the clear to start running again. (Can you tell I have been thinking about this a lot?!)
SO, with all this in mind I’ve been thinking about my post-baby goals and what races could fit with them. I really want to do 2 marathons next year. I haven’t done one since #7 last September and then I couldn’t run the 3 that I had planned when I got pregnant. First, I want to do a marathon this spring that would be low-pressure, and a “just finish” race. I also want to do one in late fall that would be more about getting my speed back and going for a PR. By that point the baby would be a year old, I would start training in the summer when I’m not working, and it will be a little easier than training with a newborn baby who can’t go in the jogging stroller yet.
Here are the races I am considering doing after baby!
VA Runner Blue & Gray 5K (Fredericksburg, VA) – December 9, 2012. This is one that will be a last minute race if I do it at all. It’s close to where we live and it’s put on by our favorite running store. If I have the baby naturally like I hope to around my due date (September 26th) and only need 3-4 weeks to recover, this race is definitely doable! And I am not opposed to walking it either. It will just be nice to get back to the racing scene one more time before 2012 is over.
Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (Myrtle Beach, SC) – February 16, 2013. This one is a huge maybe, mostly because it is far. However, Kevin’s parents live in Myrtle Beach and really want us to come do it. It is on Presidents Day weekend, which is a long weekend for me, so we possibly make it work. I’m not sure I’ll be ready for a half that soon though.
Rock & Roll USA Half Marathon (Washington, DC) – March 16, 2013. This race is pretty much a definite for us. It’s super close, we did it earlier this year (when I was 12 weeks pregnant!) and loved it. I also feel confident that I’ll be ready for a half by March, almost 6 months after baby.
Delaware Marathon (Wilmington, DE) – May 12, 2013. I was supposed to run the full marathon this past year but dropped to the half because I was 20 weeks pregnant. I want this race to be my spring marathon because it’s close to my dad’s house, I haven’t done a full in Delaware yet, and it’s a fun and good ‘take it easy’ marathon for my first one back. I will be about 8 months post-partum at this point. I think I could do that but again, I just don’t know yet.
Let Freedom Run 5K (Fairfax, VA) – July 4, 2012. Kevin and I just did this race about a month ago, and we loved that there were so many people running with strollers. We said that we would definitely come back and do it next year with our baby in the BOB 🙂
Rock & Roll Philly Half Marathon (Philadelphia, PA) – September 2013. I always like to do a half marathon to test out my fitness before a full. I am from the Philadelphia area and I really love Philly races. They are really fun and they have soft pretzels for all the finishers!!! I’ve done this one twice before and it’s really close to my dad’s house. It’s a no brainer!
Marshall University Marathon (Huntington, WV) – November 2013. This would be a great fall marathon for a lot of reasons. Number 1- it’s a late fall race, which means that the majority of my training would be in the fall or late summer. That’s a huge plus, because training all summer for the Air Force Marathon in September was brutal. Also, Kevin has family that lives right in this area, and it’s not too far for us. The course is super flat which is great because I really want to PR in my fall marathon (my current PR is 4:00:04). This race was actually rated in the top 10 for percentage of people that qualify for Boston in the race. I will be over a year post-partum by the time I run this so I should be good to go. Finally, I haven’t done a race in West Virginia yet. The only issue with this race is that the date isn’t up yet. It could possibly conflict with Kevin’s NYC Marathon, but if it does, we have a backup plan…
The Outer Banks Marathon (Kitty Hawk, NC) – November 10, 2013. This is another really flat race, and although it is not exactly local it is definitely driveable – only about 4 hours from where we live. I haven’t done a marathon in North Carolina yet and this one looks great and very scenic!
These are very loose plans right now. I am basically just exploring my options. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself after the baby gets here, not knowing at all what it will be like and how I will feel. So I’m not signing up for any of these races quite yet. Luckily, they are all races that will most likely not sell out, so I have time to think about it and see how everything goes. First and foremost I want to get back to training safely and not compromise too much time with my new little family. However, at the same time running and races are something that keeps me healthy and happy, I have a SUPER supportive husband who has already told me he’ll help me accomplish my goals, and I know keeping up with my favorite hobby will make me a better mom.
Experienced mommas, what do you think? Are these races too ambitious or are they doable? This is a lot less than I have done in the years before getting pregnant, but I know pregnancy and having a baby changes everything. I’m just so ready to get back to training and running hard again. I miss that feeling!