Sunday, October 2, 2011

It Takes a Village....

I'm sure you know the expression, "It takes a village to raise a child."  Well, it doesn't take a village, but it does take someone with a big ol' selfless heart to watch marathoners' kids so they can run a marathon.  That "someone" in our case has been a family member--my sisters, my mom, Rick's sister, or Rick's parents.  In the last four years, we have done seven marathons where we needed a sitter to come with us, to meet us in a different state, or to watch our children at our house so we could run the marathon.  This is huge.  Without them, we simply could not achieve what we have done over the last four years.  They have fueled our dreams.  "Thank you" does not encompass my gratitude for what they have done for us.  I liken it to give someone with a broken leg crutches so that they can walk.  I am not kidding.  It enabled us to do something that would be simply impossible without their help.  

My younger sister, Laurie, has gifted us once already with her babysitting skills.  Laurie was a twenty-five year old PhD student in chemical engineering with little free time and no children of her own when we asked her to watch our kids (1 1/2 years and nine months old) so we could run the Madison, WI marathon in May of 2008.  It was to be our first marathon since they were born.  We didn't know if it could be done.  It couldn't, without Laurie's help.  We were thankful for Laurie. 

Laurie is going to help us again this week so that we can run the Chicago marathon.  So again, we are thankful for Laurie.  

Do I envy people who can do it all themselves, as I used to before I had my kids?  No, I don't.  Learning to rely on others-- to meet me on early morning runs, to encourage me in emails and blog comments, and to watch my children so I can run---has made me a person who is full of gratitude, a person who realizes that it is not all about me.  

What is it like marathoning with young children?  Can you picture traveling with two babies for twelve hours in the car, having a sleepless night before the race, dropping them at a sitter's house in the early morning, running the marathon, and rushing back to nurse your nine month old?  So what is that like?  It is wonderful.  I am thankful for the chance.  And I wouldn't change a thing.  

I finished the race in 3:56:02, but it is was one of the races where my finish time was really irrelevant.  The whole experience meant so much more to me than my finish time.  I ran that race with my husband by my side, and I knew my children were being well taken care of while we ran.  I couldn't ask for more than that.

Here are some pictures.

Two pack 'n' plays set up in our hotel room side-by-side.

Carbo loading with Aunt Laurie

Back at Laurie's apartment after the marathon

Post race ice cream shared by the whole family

A tired little one after the big marathon day

Laurie with her two small charges


  1. dude you are my hero! I can't believe you trained and ran a marathon while you were breastfeeding. I wanted to run a marathon way before now but could never keep my milk supply up. My third baby turned one today so she is off the boob. When I have another I will be hitting you up on advice on how to train and keep a good supply. I also wanted to ask you about your heart rate. Do you monitor it? When you run your races and you are faster than your training does it still stay relatively low. I ask because I've done a few 9 mile pace runs at 8:15 and have felt great but my heart rate was above 160 where really I should be around 150.

  2. Hi Little Lou,

    I can't help you with the heart rate. I don't monitor mine. The milk supply---that is a tricky one too. I luckily always kept frozen milk on hand so I could supplement and to know how much I was making for a feeding. Past 6 months, it got much easier since solids were introduced and it wasn't all from me! I trained with a quick 12-14-16-18-20 long run build up for this marathon, so I didn't start heavy training until she was past the 6 month mark. Glad my post could encourage you!

  3. Love this post! For all of us future marathoning moms, it let's us know there is a way and that it is GREAT! I love how you pointed out how relying on others fills you with gratitude. I never thought about it like that, but that is so true! I'm also going to have to say this once again - your kids are so precious!