the iron girl: why glory trumped pain

The night before the Iron Girl, I didn’t sleep well. Not that I usually sleep well, but this time, my lack of sleep could be blamed on my own problems, my nerves, rather than the teething toddler in my bed. It was silly to lose sleep over something as inconsequential as a 10k, but emotion often knows no reason. Before Sunday, the furthest I’d ever run was just over 4 miles. Would I make it the full 6.2 miles or would I fall over somewhere between mile 4 and 5? Would the pain be worth the glory?

My nerves reached their peak at the starting line and lasted until I found my stride, until I focused on running and on my breath. At mile marker 5, for a brief 30 seconds or so, nausea attacked in full force. But I kept my pace (thanks to my fellow runners) and the sensation passed like a rolling wave. In the end, the lasting glory was well worth the temporary pain. Post-race, I felt fitter than ever, like a strong, healthy, glowing mother with powerful legs and real endurance. I was feeling so good that I did something I rarely do: I snapped a picture of myself. For posterity.

While the miles did not pass quickly, neither were they tedious, in part thanks to my supercool new bluetooth headphones, a timely gift from Jabra, as well as my newest Pandora station, Nurai Lita radio. I ran without the interference of wires and without the headphones falling out of my ears, no small feat for someone with small ears.

The presence of other runners made the biggest difference of all. I was not alone in my suffering, I was just one finger in the race, one women among thousands pledging my Sunday morning to 6.2 miles.

I finished in 54:45 for an average pace of 8:50 per mile. Neither speedy nor slow, somewhere in the middle. Since my training regime consisted of a total of three runs, less than 12 miles, I was satisfied by this pace, proud to have finished under an hour. Here I am, shortly after crossing the finish line, red-faced and all. (Can you spot my inconspicuous Jabra Sport headphones?)

More than my own sense of accomplishment, there was someone else’s pride who took my runner’s high beyond the clouds. Giovanna spent the remainder of Sunday happily sporting mama’s medal.

And finally, I will share a picture of the group who made it possible for me, because God knows I never would have signed up for the race without their support and encouragement. The moms of Stroller Strides.

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8 thoughts on “the iron girl: why glory trumped pain

    1. They are seriously amazing! And I forgot to mention they make taking calls really easy. In fact, I answered a phone call from James during the race.

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  1. Congratulations! My sister has been encouraging me to enter a marathon, but I haven’t out of fear that I’m not really ready. Your pictures, however, are inspiring me to take the steps needed to make it happen after baby #2 gets here. You did great!

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    1. Do it! In addition to the post-race high, you will likely be more motivated to RUN in the weeks leading up to the race. And I don’t know anyone who ever regretted going for a run. If I were you, I’d invest in a good double jogging stroller and find a smooth running path so you don’t have to worry about the little one being jostled around. Or you could go on your own and leave the kids with someone else – that works too and is more relaxing 🙂

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