The Friday before last year’s Labor Day weekend, I had an ultrasound to check on the heartbeat of my slightly lagging behind baby. The heartbeat was still slow. I was told to come back on Tuesday, after the holiday.
Tuesday came and told me what I already knew, that the baby wasn’t going to make it, and we scheduled an in-office d&c for the next day, Wednesday. And Friday morning I got up and hopped in a van with 5 other friends and ran the Colorado RAGNAR relay, a 200 mile relay race from Breckenridge to Aspen.
At the time, I remember thinking “When I look back on the decision with the benefit of perspective, I’m going to realize it was really dumb.” But now, a year later I sit here, 28 weeks pregnant, dropping my husband off at the same van to run the same race, this time without me, I have zero regrets about how the week after Labor Day went down last year. My options, as I saw them, were to sit at home and drink my weight in red wine while listening to Counting Crows, or to go running through the mountains with friends on a fall weekend. And, you know, there is always time to drink red wine and listen to Counting Crows and feel sorry for oneself – in fact, in case you were worried, I managed to do that anyway, a few weekends later – but even with the slow running pace and the discomfort of running so soon after delicate lady surgery, I’d still do it again.
This is, I think, a runner thing, but also, a time in life thing; for runners, running is what makes things better. If we can run, we’re still ok. And at that time in life – the “trying and failing to start a family” time in life, which I do understand is a Very Specific Interval, one that feels like, if you’ll pardon the phrase, a pregnant pause; a waiting and hesitating and putting things on hold-ing – the idea of giving up one more thing that I wanted to do in the name of something I couldn’t have, well. No.
I thought about running the relay again this year, even though I’d be all pregnant and slow. What a great bookend to the story, right? But Mike rightfully pointing out some flaws with that plan, and I dropped him off this morning with zero regrets, except perhaps annoyance that my friends are in the mountains while I’m at work. After drop-off I ran through the neighborhood trails before work, a slow slog, a lumber, really, feeling all 15 of the extra pounds I’ve got, and thinking “This is exactly where I’m supposed to be.” I walked the uphills. I talked to my dog, I talked to my baby, we enjoyed the morning.
Last year at this time, I wanted to be running hard; I carried my sadness (and my percoset) over the mountains and I wanted it to hurt, to feel taxing. I was hurting, I was taxed. But today, I feel content. The gift of being ok not running, well. That’s a nice thing to have.