I am writing this blog post on a commuter train to New York City from Westchester. This is the trek I make every day, 1 hour door to door in each direction to get to my job as an attorney at a large NYC law firm. I am also a mom to a one year old daughter, and I just recently qualified for the Boston marathon for the first time at the Run for the Red Marathon in Stroudsburg, PA by running a 3:28:36.
My life is nothing short of hectic at times, but I prefer to describe it as efficient. In order to qualify for Boston 2017, I had to run under a 3:35, at least 2:30 under the standard to be safe. With a half marathon PR of 1:45 (NYC half 2013) and marathon PR of 3:47 (NYC marathon 2013), qualifying for Boston was a tall order. I knew at the time this training cycle started that I had gotten faster since 2013, but I had also had a baby, by c-section, in May of 2015, and my most recent times were 1:48 (Wineglass half 2015) and 3:52 (Chicago 2015).
I've had people tell me to cut myself slack, be lazy, stop worrying about times, my career, etc., and just be a mom. I can't do that because it isn't who I am. I always push forward, and the more people tell me I can't do something, the more relentless I become in pursuit of that goal. I started working with Addie Bracy in December 2015, because I wanted ultimately to BQ for 2018. I cut out a lot of extras in my life. There are a lot of things I don't do: social committees at work, mom groups, read blogs, cook gourmet meals or put on pinterest-ready parties. I also didn't have much time to train with friends this cycle- I had to train when I could and on my own schedule. I confess to having help: a supportive husband who handles my daughter in the morning, a mom and mother in law who nanny my little one during the day and who come on the early side while I am out for the tail end of daybreak runs. I am also lucky enough that despite having long hours in "biglaw," I have some flexibility in my schedule and don't have to clock in or out of my workplace.
In March of 2016 on the heels of my daughter having the flu, working 80 hour weeks, and not sleeping, I ran a 1:41 PR at the hilly Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon. I was ecstatic. Two weeks later, I ran a surprise 1:35 PR at the Greenwich Half Marathon in CT. I was shocked. I did not predict that 1:35, and it came out of nowhere. I knew at that point that as long as I didn't do anything stupid, I could BQ at Pocono. I followed Addie's strategy to hold back at the start of the race and to fuel more than I previously had, even drinking the nasty Gatorade that I dislike so much. I found it hard to hold back significantly, and I wasn't comfortable with the stop/start pace that the 3:35 pacer had going on as we got out of the starting gate, so I just did my own thing. I trained on my own, so I ran on my own, always with people in sight who were running around me. I actually ended up on the road alone at some point, which was peaceful, especially when it started to rain. I used to love crazy, chaotic road races the most, but now, I'm really starting to appreciate the serenity of just relaxing out there. I came through the half in 1:44 and just started focusing on one mile at a time, keeping the pace and then picking it up. I knew the hills came after mile 19, and I let them hold me back just a little, which led to a perfect even split of 1:44 in the second half.
When I punched my ticket to Boston, it felt amazing - it felt right and good. I worked really hard this cycle. I am not one of the folks who BQs on the first try. Although I don't have a good story like losing 100 lbs and becoming an ultra marathoner, I definitely remember those first 2 miles back in 2010 sucking the life out of me. Finding a balance is hard, but it isn't impossible, and I am thankful for my family that is supportive of my running. I hope that I can continue to be one, of what I am sure are many, biglaw marathoner moms or aspiring ones. We don't have times for inspiring blogs or hashtags, but we run fast and kick ass.