Last May 2012, I registered for my first race since 2004. Through a parent at Adara’s preschool, I heard of the Valley Crest 1/2 Marathon and knew that I had to do it. The course was literally in our backyard. Voted “LA’s Friendliest Race,” the course traversed 13.1 miles of Santa Monica Mountain trails that I ran on every single day. I had ridden the course on my commute to/from UCLA back in 2008 pre-Adara. I was also quite possibly in the best running shape of my life thanks to pushing the girls in our double Chariot an average of 7 miles/day for their afternoon naps. It was too perfect. Training was going awesome, I was feeling great and excited to run a fast 1/2 marathon and place for women or at least in my age-group.
I had just finished a typical afternoon run when I started feeling ever-so-slight stretching in my lower abdomen. It was most likely from the ab workout I did the night prior, but hmm, maybe it was something else. To calm any doubts, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Lo and behold, my suspicions were confirmed as I saw two blue lines slowly appear. It would be a lie to say I was excited. Shock overcame me. A third child was not in the plans. We had done much to avoid it, for now at least. I was supposed to run a fast 1/2 marathon in just 2 weeks and now I was pregnant.. for the third time.
I called my midwife the next day, visited her office and felt my heart lurch with anticipation as I heard the most magical little heart beat. For the third time in as many years, I would be a mother. It was not in the plans, but I could do this. I was ready. However, I could not help but notice the irony of discovering I was pregnant just days before my first race in 8 years. With my midwife’s approval, I ran the 1/2 marathon along with my friend, Tom, who happened to strain his hamstring during a track work session two days prior. We had a blast, chatting the entire time and running a comfortable pace so as not to risk this growing baby’s development. Still, it was not exactly the race I had been hoping for as I couldn’t even race it.
Fast forward to last Wednesday. I caught the racing bug again. After putting the kids to sleep at 6:30pm (they had all been up since 5am with no naps for the girls), I collapsed onto the couch for a dinner of leftover quinoa salad and began to browse through the internet for some local races. If I was going to race, it had to be something very easy logistically – Isaac was still nursing every couple hours and I still nurse him to sleep for naps, which he also takes every couple hours. Thought it’s mostly a control issue, I hate to be away from him. That is probably the reason I take him on nearly every run with me, too. I love this little guy and like to spend every waking minute as close to him as possible. Also, he’s my last little baby and I know it goes by too quickly. I am not willing to put my running hobby before his happiness or sleep/eating schedule. Then I saw that the Calabasas Classic was just 12 weeks away – the exact length of nearly every training plan. Instantly I clicked open a new tab and began exploring various training plans. An hour later, I had the next three months of running mapped out. As I wrote previously, being a mother before a runner requires a lot of flexibility so I won’t stress about “the plan.” At the same time, I love agendas, schedules, to-do lists and the satisfaction of drawing that little check mark that signifies “completed.”
Thus, September begins with my first training plan in many years. I am excited. The notion of dedicating myself to something other than the kids feels good. This is for me, though I may even race with 1 or 2 kids (the race allows strollers!). I may not run a PR, I may not even run a fast race, but the sheer idea of racing thrills me and after 9 years, I am ready.
– Bill Bowerman