I hired a coach in 2008 with one specific goal in mind - break 3:30 hours in the marathon. That fall I went 3:30 and change in the Columbus Marathon, and then finally busted through the 3:30 barrier at Boston 2009. I had accomplished my goal. But, I kept working with a coach and decided to give triathlon yet another try. In the process, I also got sponsored and everything went from fun to serious. I felt like expectations were high and it was easier to just not race or drop out of races than to not have to hit any goals. I usually don't like "the easy way out" but it's all I could do. Finally with my second failed ironman, I knew it was time for a break.
In 2012, I just wanted to run - no more sponsors, no more team, no more coach, no heart rate monitor, and in a lot of cases, no more watch. It just became about me and the road. For the first part of the year, the simplicity of running helped get my head screwed back on straight. Once I got my shit together, I was able to tackle some goals, successfully I might add. Then I found out I was pregnant and everything changed yet again.
I have run 5 or more races since finding out I was pregnant. Instead of lining up in the front, sizing up my competition, I line up with those wearing tutus, matching outfits, crazy hats, and non-running shoes. It's a whole different world back there. One I had kinda forgotten about. I don't get to run for competition right now, but instead because it's so great to still be out there doing it and staying healthy. For the first time in a long run, it's nice to look around to where I am and where I've been and just smile. Running has become almost refreshing. At 21 weeks pregnant it's a victory just to get out there and still be able to lace up my sneakers and even attempt to run. I am seriously loving running right now - maybe more than I have in years.
Of course, I can't help but think about next year. What will happen after baby comes? How soon will I get to really race again? How quickly will my body bounce back? Do I want to race short or long? Right now, I know that still being able to run and keep in shape will pay dividends after the baby comes (and hopefully for labor too). And right now, I just want to keep smiling and running at my snail's pace. I'm still having fun.