In 2009, I ran my first half-marathon in Houston. I joined a running group. I trained for it— just not nearly enough. On race day, after mile 4, the adrenaline wore off. Around mile 7, I really slowed down. By mile 11, there were power walkers passing me and I was wondering if I’d finish or have to ride the sag wagon. But somehow, one foot in front of the other, I made it to the finish line.
When I got my participants’ medal, I felt so proud of myself and my achievement. Despite my misgivings in the midst of the race, my body made it triumphantly to the end after all! But before my limbs could register how sore they really were, I immediately signed up for another race.
My journey of breastfeeding has been a lot like running back-to-back half-marathons. I was sort of prepared, but when it came time to actually do it, it was so much tougher than I’d expected. After about 72 hours, I was ready to call it quits with Sonya, but my mother-in-law told me to stick with it. After six months of toughing it out, I thought I’d done a pretty darn good job keeping it up for that long, and didn’t know if it was worth aiming for a year. But before I knew it, Sonya turned one, still nursing.
Then I found out I was pregnant again, but Sonya still nursed mornings and nights. She weaned herself during my second trimester, so I got a little bit of a break before Leena was born and I started nursing again.
Every half-marathon I’ve run has been a challenge. All four of them have had different trials— the one in my hometown Clear Lake was on a rainy morning, the one in Austin had brutal hills, the one in Galveston had the most monotonous landscape, it felt like I was on a treadmill. But each one was less of a shock to the system than the first one I ran.
I think that nursing Leena might have even been— enjoyable for the most part. I’d found my stride. Just one or two minor cramps, but I ran right through them.
And now, we’re reaching the finish line, down to just one or two nursing times a day, more for my comfort than for Leena’s need. She can go an entire day and fall asleep without nursing, and that makes me feel…
(And maybe just a teensy bit nostalgic).
But I’m ready to put on my running shoes and train for another half-marathon this summer! For the first time in FOUR YEARS, I won’t be pregnant or breastfeeding!
By the way, I think it should be renamed a 20K, because it’s a race in its own right. It doesn’t feel like “half” of anything. Marathons aren’t called “half-ultras.” There should be 5Ks, 10Ks, 20Ks, and longer races for the truly insane.
Meanwhile, I’m proud of my 20K runs and nursing each of my girls for more than a full year.
La Leche League really needs to issue medals.