A few days ago baby girl demanded to be held while she napped. Of course I didn’t mind too much. As the end of the year approaches and people start setting their goals for 2017 it had me thinking about mine. Her napping in my arms and thinking about goals at the same time was the perfect combination to do some race researching and planning.
I learned the hard way about setting goals that were too lofty for me post-baby the first time around. I both underestimated the attachment I would have for that boy and overestimated the amount of training I would be able to handle while sleep deprived and exclusively breastfeeding. While I wanted and even craved to run, I experienced a high level of separation anxiety when it came to leaving him. This made long runs a challenge. On top of that he didn’t sleep through the night until he was 9 months old and breastfeeding and pumping was like a part time job on top of working full time. I’m not saying you can’t make it work and manage it all, but I couldn’t and stay sane and not feel immense mom guilt.
I had planned to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon last fall as my come back from baby #1 marathon (I even documented my training in several blog posts), but as I mentioned above it didn’t happen. This time around I didn’t make any definite goals while pregnant, but now that she is here I’m ready to do so. Instead of planning to run a marathon at six months postpartum like last time I’m looking more at around a year. This gives me much more time to get in shape and get strong, increases the chance for sleep and nears the end of my breastfeeding goal of one year for each child.
When deciding what race would be my first marathon since having kids I assumed I would pick the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon as originally planned. It turns out it won’t be “the one.” My husband has his masters class that weekend and it is almost a seven hour drive. That’s also a lot of travel for our season of life right now, which means the kids would need to be at a grandparents for longer.
So what’s my plan? My first marathon after baby is going to be not too far of a drive and on the way to a grandparents where the kids can be watched for one overnight. The kids will be almost 1 and 2 and a half so I’m sure that’s all we will all be ready to leave them for. A race happened to meet this criteria perfectly and, according to marathonguide.com (I love to use this site for learning about specific races), has really good reviews for 50 state seekers like me. For these reasons the Sioux Falls Marathon in South Dakota will be “the one.”
The race is September 10 which is a bit earlier than the late fall target time I had planned to race, but a doable adjustment to my training. Training for this marathon will begin in May hopefully right after a local half marathon. This gives me 4.5 months before I begin marathon training.
Looking ahead to other races I know my plans must follow a similar criteria. During this season of life I must find a way to balance my goals and the needs and demands of my family. Two kids under two and a husband working on his masters means I will not be able to just race whenever, wherever.
I’ve outlined my “Conquering the Midwest” game plan below. I’ve already completed at least one marathon in the following states: Wisconsin (Madison Marathon and Wisconsin Marathon), Minnesota (Grandma’s Marathon and Twin Cities Marathon) , Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Kansas. I have race reports linked to each state for those interested in reading or new to the blog. Some are more detailed than others as I didn’t really blog in the beginning of this goal.
2017-South Dakota (Fall-Sioux Falls Marathon)
2018-North Dakota (Fargo Marathon-Spring). I ran the half a few years ago, but want to run a full in every state. My Fargo Half Marathon race experience was a good one.
Indiana or Nebraska (Fall-Depends on the husbands master classes, but lots of options for races.
2019-Missouri or Nebraska (Spring-It’s a little far out to say for sure on this one. St. Louis Go Marathon would mean taking the whole family. If it’s the Lincoln Marathon in Nebraska probably just the husband and I will go.
While my kids are young, the nights interrupted, the budget tight and the demands of me great, this is my plan. I love this phase of life and know how quickly it will pass, so I want my priority to be family. As my kids get a bit older and more independent I will feel better about leaving for a bit longer and my wallet will be able to afford flights and weekends away. My training will also be able to target some back to back races. Until then, I will be conquering the Midwest.