Prior to getting pregnant and the birth of my almost-10 month old son, I was self-sufficient. I had a training plan that I followed pretty closely. I got up each morning, drank my coffee, got dressed, and went on my run. Race days were like any other day except I would eat some breakfast before I headed out the door. I would use the baggage claim during colder months and stash away my cell phone, some cash, and warm clothes for after the race. When a family member would show interest in coming to the race, of course I would be ecstatic and gladly welcome their company. But, I didn’t “need” or rely on anyone or anything.
I am no longer self-sufficient. As I count down the days until the NYC Marathon on Sunday, I am humbled knowing that I would not be as prepared as I am (we’ll find out how prepared I am come Sunday!!) let alone even able to participate in the marathon if I did not have an amazingly strong support system backing me up.
At the base of my support is my husband. He watches our son each morning when I run and spends the better part of Saturday mornings with him when I have my long runs – often in lieu of playing golf or going to the driving range. He has come to accept that dinner is whatever I need it to be based on my training. If I’m carbo-loading for a 30 mile run, then he’s okay with pasta, baked potatoes, or brown rice for dinner 3x nights in a row. Running at 530am requires me to get up around 430am most mornings – therefore I am in bed by 930 (sometimes I’m passed out soon after our son goes to bed at 8). This significantly cuts into our time alone at night – time we like to spend on the couch chatting about our days or watching our favorite TV show. I often take these things – which may appear to be trivial or easily accomplished – for granted. But, I’m extremely thankful that he not only accepts the sacrifices he often has to make, but is happy to do them b/c he sees how much joy running and competing brings to me.
Although only temporary, I am blessed to be living next door to my mom and sister and to have my dad and older sister only a 5-10 min drive away. My husband travels frequently for work and is sometimes gone for 3-4 days at a time. When he is away for work, I rely completely on my family to babysit my son to allow me the freedom to get my runs in. I enjoy running with my son in the jogging stroller, but when I want to get a specific run in, want to have an easy run (not pushing 40+ lbs), or if the weather is not cooperating, I know I can turn to my family for free – and loving – babysitting!
My younger sister who lives in the city (2 blocks from Central Park) has graciously opened her apartment to me and my family countless times – even at the crack of dawn on the weekends. I enjoy doing my long training runs in Central Park and we often make a day-trip out of the drive into the city. My sister’s apartment is the “home base” for my husband and son while I am off running. It gives him a place to feed, change, and nap our son – and allows me to be within a couple of miles of them at all times!
You often hear the stories and sacrifices of runners on race day – but what is left out are the sacrifices that their family and friends make to allow them to train and run the race of their dreams.
Today, I just want to thank my wonderful family for giving me the opportunity to follow my dream on Sunday!