Why it took me 5 years to run another marathon

When I ran my first marathon I was 22.  I had just graduated from college, started my first real job and began my first semester of graduate school.  I was a different person than I am today.  In a lot of ways, I think I’m a not only a stronger runner today, but also a stronger person.

After the Marine Corps Marathon, I did not run again for 3 weeks.  When I look back through my training journal from then, I see that a week and half after the marathon, I wrote that I thought about going for a run but decided not to.  My first post-marathon run 3 weeks later was short – just 2.5 miles.  It ended with pain and feeling out of shape.  I was happy to run again, but the pain I experienced in my arches during my training was still there.  I went through the post-marathon blues.  After months of training, the race was over and I couldn’t keep running.  I was burnt out mentally and hurting physically.

In the Winter of 2006/2007, Team in Training asked me to be a mentor for a Spring race; I declined because I didn’t think I was ready for another marathon.  In the Spring of 2007, I made the decision to run the Marine Corps Marathon again in the Fall with TNT.

I was in a car accident in May 2007.  A car crossed the center line and came at me head on.  I swerved into the shoulder and it hit my car on the rear passenger door, totaling it.  Everyone one was fine, but I hurt my neck.  I went through 2 months of physical therapy, but I still had pain.  It turned out I had a bulging disc in my neck.  It caused pain that would radiate from my upper neck down to my shoulder and through my right arm.  Running caused me more pain so needless to say, the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon was not an option.

Hubby and I got engaged in Hawaii in the summer of 2007

In the Fall of 2007, hubby (who was my fiancé at the time) and I began to do a lot of running together while we lived in DC.  We ran the So Others May Eat Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day together.  It’s a race for a great cause and we will be doing it again this year with Zain.  I’m really looking forward to it.  It was our first race as a couple and it will be our first family race.

In 2008, hubby and I both ran, but not consistently enough that we signed up for any races.  It was a big year for us though because it’s when this happened:

Married!

Dancing the night away

In the Fall of 2008, while trying to get pregnant, I went through my first miscarriage.  I was not running before that pregnancy, but I ran again as soon as I had doctor clearance.  Running helped ease my pain and heartache.  My running was inconsistent though and I didn’t consider any races because I knew I wanted to get pregnant again and I did not plan to run through my pregnancy – I have nothing against running in pregnancy, but I wasn’t a strong enough runner at the time to do that.

In 2009, hubby and I considered running a half marathon in March, but since we were still trying to get pregnant, I was worried about building up my mileage.  I found out I was pregnant with Zain just over a month after we had been through our second miscarriage.  Running was not even a thought in my mind at that point.  I just wanted a healthy baby.

Zain was born via emergency c-section.  The cord was wrapped around his neck twice and he was in distress while I was in labor.  It was a very scary experience.  Thankfully, they got him out and I was so happy to finally meet my little boy – who I didn’t know was a boy because we didn’t find out the gender while I was pregnant.  He made us whole.

Meeting my sweet little man for the first time

Don't mind my puffy face and hands - 17 hours of labor + c-section + all the meds they gave me made me so swollen

The recovery from the c-section was far from pleasant and I didn’t start running again until Zain was 2.5 to 3 months old.  I didn’t even consider any races the first year of his life because a.) I was too tired, b.) I was nursing and he didn’t like bottles, and c.) I just wasn’t running nearly enough to feel ready to train for a race.

The reason hubby and I recommitted to running this year was because the MD Half Marathon came to our area.  It was so close to our house that we felt like we had to run it.  Training for that went so well that we decided to go ahead and sign up for the Baltimore Marathon.

So there you have it – a summary of the past 5 years of my running life.  I can promise you I will not wait another 5 years to run my next marathon!

Happy running!

Comments

  1. says

    All good reasons for not getting marathon number 2 in right away! It’s interesting to see where life takes us. I too have big gaps in my running career with marathons, for some of those same reasons. But running, in some form, will always be a constant in my life when I’m healthy enough to do it!
    misszippy recently posted…Good for my soulMy Profile

    • kristen says

      That’s exactly how I feel. Running will always be there. I’m sure there will be gaps again at some point in my life.

  2. Scarlett says

    If it makes you feel any better, I started running in late 1999, when I was 25. I went from zero to training for a marathon with TNT. I loved it, though, and ran my first marathon in 2000, my second in 2001, and my third in 2003 after my first son was born. And then I stopped. Until this past spring. I just finished my first 1/2 and I’m thinking about a marathon next fall. It will be a 9 year gap between marathons. I am not the same person. I don’t even feel like I EVER did a marathon, and I consider my “runiversary” to be May of 2011. I have three kids now. My body is not the same. All this running stuff feels brand new. But I love it, and I think you just have to start where you are. You can’t beat yourself up for this or that or the other thing. I hope you have a great marathon!

    • kristen says

      Thanks for your comment, Scarlett! When I trained for and ran the Baltimore Marathon this year, it felt like it was my first marathon all over again. It’s nice to hear from someone who can relate!

  3. says

    I just did my first marathon back in March, but I’m like you and didn’t really start running for real until 3 months after I had my baby. It wasn’t until I stopped nursing that I had any endurance! That’s the real hard work. :)
    Kara recently posted…Zebras and hoe cakesMy Profile

  4. says

    Just started reading your blog – new reader here!

    I’m just about to run my first marathon and I’m loving all of your insight on this – so thanks!

    It’s almost like running a 2nd marathon is like deciding to have another kid :) It takes a lot of thought and timing (well, if you’re planning it out – ha ha!). Congrats on your success!
    Michelle recently posted…Weekly Menu & WorkoutsMy Profile

    • kristen says

      I totally agree! It is a big decision because it is such a big time commitment to train. Good luck with your first marathon!

  5. says

    I enjoyed this post. I’ve only been running about 6-7 years and there has been a lot of ebb and flow there with 2 babies and 2 c-sections during that time as well as so much else in life. I look forward to lots more running though!!

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