Monday, June 16, 2014

36 Weeks: Looking Ahead

I made it to 36 weeks, still running! (Nothing spectacular, I ran a pretty slow two miles this morning).  Getting this far was my (sort-of secret) goal all along. I wasn't going to be devastated if I had to stop earlier, but I really hoped to still be able to run at this point.

These days I run entirely by feel, beginning each run with the mentality that even one mile will be enough, and there is absolutely no shame in stopping if I need to. This was a hard place for me to get to mentally, and I'll be honest: some days it's still really discouraging to have to call it quits after a mile. But most days I'm okay with where I'm at and so grateful to still be running. Because I look like this:

Admittedly not the largest 36-weeks-pregnant lady ever, but large enough that complete strangers are no longer afraid to comment on my condition. Yesterday at church and lunch afterward, several strangers (and the entire waitstaff of Red Lobster) wished my husband happy Father's Day in advance. It was really sweet.

And it's starting to feel so real: in a few weeks, I'm actually going to have this baby. I'm not going to be pregnant forever!

With that in mind, it has started to feel more acceptable to do the sort of looking ahead I've been doing all along. At the beginning, finding races was solely a way to motivate myself to keep running, even when it was hard, even when the short distances didn't feel worth the effort. Now, these race possibilities are starting to feel like they will actually happen.

We are moving to Georgia in the fall, so my search area has been the Georgia-Alabama-Tennessee area rather than the West Texas-New Mexico area. A change of location is always exciting, but I'll be sad to leave El Paso, especially the wonderful friends we've made. And the dry climate.

The list of races sits on my desk for daily motivation.

These six events are possibilities and options, not anything I'm absolutely determined to run. I hope to manage at least one, maybe two of them. After all, I have yet to see what returning to ultra-training as a first-time (hopefully nursing) mom will be like. But right now, its amazing what kind of motivation I find in hoping and dreaming about running them.

They range from 50ks in late November/early December (Tranquility Lake, Duncan Ridge, Bell Ringer), to races with longer options in late December through March (Lookout Mountain, Pistol Ultra, The Running Dead 100). I have no idea which races will be feasible because I don't know yet what my recovery and return to training and racing timeline will look like, other than that I plan to be cautious to avoid injury, but I can't wait to get started!

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