NOTE: Check out Jamie’s previous guest post where she chats more about the logistics of how she managed all the training.
So, you’re thinking about running a marathon as a working mom, eh? Grab a cup of coffee, let’s chat.
This one time I ran a marathon. I was working full time, it was summer in the South, and I had a 2 and a half year old. It was… well…
It wasn’t awful. It was fun, in many ways! I got a lot of time to myself, way more than I typically do as a working mom. I got to make new friends and see myself go farther than I thought I could. I ran new places… when you run 20 miles, you can actually run SOMEWHERE. I got to eat pretty much whatever I wanted and was in, truly, the best shape of my life.
Running a marathon wasn’t something I would have ever even thought of 5 years ago. I went through the fairly typical runner progression: I started by running a 5K in 2007, and my distances slowly increased. I did a half marathon in 2008, and though at the time I scoffed at ever running one step more than 13.1, it was there in my brain. I didn’t really seriously consider running a full marathon until my daughter, Margo, was over a year old. And truth be told, I’ve been keeping up with local races and looking at calendars since then.
As I opened the books on 2012, looking at our work and family goals, it seemed the time was right. I had read about the Marine Corps Marathon as a great first marathon (which it totally is! Awesome crowd support, flat and awesome course – I do recommend it!) I registered. And, I did it. And frankly, it feels good to accomplish something and to impress myself.
Oh, I also felt like a great role model. My daughter picks up a lot at 2.5, and now she often starts running and says, “I’m running in a mara-fon.” It means something to me that the training and the event registered in her little brain as something important.
But here’s the thing, working mom who’s considering training for a marathon, your family will miss you. Your work will be harder. And, if you’re like me, you’ll feel really bad about it, a lot of times.
The first half was manageable, honestly. The weekend runs were 2 hours or less, and we still had at least one 3 miler (a half hour workout!) during the week, a lot like half marathon training. The second half was SO much harder. The time was a serious problem by the end. When every run is longer than an hour, meaning 3x a week I need at LEAST an hour to run (sometimes more like 2), plus time to shower since it was always hot during my training…. It makes it tough to, you know, work? Getting all my hours in at my desk, and further, focusing on my work and being productive was really hard because I was always tired.
You know how when you’re pregnant and in your first trimester and it’s like “OMG I’m so hungry I need to wake up in the middle of the night and eat?” or “OMG I am so tired, even though I go to bed at 8:00 every night?” That was me. Totally. In fact the taper and weeks after the race feel like that miraculous 2nd trimester. My family had to deal with hangry, tired Jamie instead of cool, normal Jamie, many times. Even more so on the weekends when I did REALLY long runs! That made me feel bad more often than not.
And, if you do the difficult feat of training for a marathon with kids and a job? Well, then you’ll probably want to do another one.
As we get further away from it I actually have that feeling they (with they being any runner who has ever run a marathon who gives you advice, including me now, I suppose) told me I’d feel: I sorta wanna do it again. There’s ways you know you can improve your time, there’s races you want to do in exciting places or people who are trying to get you to do it. I’ve made this promise to myself: Not til the kid(s) are in school. I’m pretty sure my husband will hold me to that promise.
And for the record, training for a half marathon while working is totally manageable (&, be warned husband, I will do that again!)
But, you do whatever you like. Running a marathon is badass, just like you, working momma!
Jamie is a writer at a software company. She’s a working mom (after having been a stay-at-home-mom for 21 months) to two and a half year old daughter, Margo. You can find her tweeting a lot at @jamiemcq15 and bloging sometimes at McBlog 2.0.