When I started running just a few years ago I had no idea where it would take me. Quite frankly, I was just looking for a simple and efficient way to get in shape after having my son. I didn’t realize that I would end up loving it so much and loving a healthier lifestyle, in general. But that’s what happened, and I’m so incredibly thankful for it. Just as I was getting better at running and had lost more than all of my baby weight, I got pregnant with my daughter. Needless to say, that slowed down my running a lot. Well, it actually stopped it completely after my first trimester. So overall I probably went 9 months without running at all. Since I got back to it, I’ve run in a few 5K races, one of which I actually got first place in my age group. I may not be fast compared to some, but that was a first, and it was the encouragement I needed to sign up for my first 10K. I recently ran that 10K at the Flying Pig Marathon event weekend in Cincinnati. My husband (whom is running his first half-marathon soon) and our 2 kiddos were there with me, bright and early in downtown Cincy at 6:30am. I had literally never run 6.2 miles in one running session ever before. The longest run I’d had was about 5.25 miles, and that was before the pregnancy with my daughter. But more recently I had actually been on a 5-mile run. It was slow and difficult, but I did it. So among the 4,500 other participants in the 10K that morning, I stood in the crowded street next to the Great American Ballpark ready to embark on a brand spanking new adventure for the next hour (or hopefully 59 minutes and 59 seconds) of my life. Finishing in under an hour was my goal. I thought it was just aspirational enough, yet still completely within my reach. The run began as I hit play on my running playlist. Everybody Talks by Neon Trees is the first song on the list. I felt good, a little stiff and excited for what I was going to see on my journey. We crossed a total of 3 bridges, 2 of which were over the Ohio River with awesome views. I made sure that I looked all around me as much as possible to cherish the moment. It was a beautiful morning in a beautiful city. I was running 6.2 miles on the streets of Cincinnati, Ohio, which is wild in itself because I’m from Texas and never would have guessed I would live here for a short time. I had a beautiful husband and 2 babies waiting for me at the finish line. And less than 1 year ago, I had a c-section to deliver my daughter. I thought about my surroundings. I thought about the glorious weather. But mostly I thought about the amazing things our bodies can do if we just put our minds to it and work hard. In less than 12 months my body had gone from being pregnant with a 10-pound baby (yes, 10 pounds) to having a c-section to running my first ever 10K event. I spent much of the run smiling and truly appreciating what was happening at that moment in time. The inclines kicked my butt. I’m from the Houston area which is flat, flat, flat. I also do most of my running on a treadmill. And although I’ve had some hilly runs since living in this area, I haven’t had enough to be used to it yet. I was noticing on my Garmin watch that my mile markers were coming a little bit before the course mile markers, which was frustrating. But that’s not uncommon, so I just brushed it off. When I hit the final leg of the course and could see the finish line, even though I sped up a good bit trying to reach my goal of beating an hour, I was just short. My watch said I ran 6.29 miles in 1 hour and 14 seconds. Their official time said I ran 6.2 miles in 1 hour and 56 seconds. Either way, I was less than 1 minute from my goal. I tried so hard at the end to prevent that from happening and felt like I gave the entire race my best effort. So for that, I am satisfied. I saw my husband, Ryan, waving at me as I neared the finish line, so I happily waved back and smiled.
Many times a big running event like this will have some sort of festival or celebration afterward. So we headed to the family festival to check things out. We ate pancakes and snow cones and danced to the music played by a DJ on the park’s lawn. As I held my baby girl and danced along (like robots) with my son in the middle of that strange city with my husband looking on, I knew again that I had to soak it in. Try, Britney. Try to remember this. A dream of mine is to live to be a happy and very old woman remembering that moment. That moment where we were young and healthy and so incredibly happy, dancing with our babies and truly living life.