On September 30th of last year, I watched thousands of runners speed by my fifth floor labor window in black spandex with flashes of neon, as I cursed my way through each contraction kicking the floor and wishing I could join them on the pavement five levels down. I stared at the exact spot on which I vomited everywhere the previous year for hours and hours of “labor- is- the- worst.” It’s at the height of the 4-5 mile hill, right over the road barrier, and it was a most embarrassing display of too eager too early, and the pre-run coffee/apple breakfast of idiots was most certainly a bad choice. The desire to avenge my public display of spewing stomach acid grew with each successive labor pain. And if there is anything a still pregnant girl hates most, its watching a bunch of skinny, light on their feet, athletic types gazelling effortlessly one after the other right in front of her.
The great news is that I birthed the cutest baby ever that day, and this morning, I had the opportunity to beat that hill that plagued my labor. What’s more is my sister signed up too, and my brother took my mom’s walker bib to join us. For the record, “Mary DiCarlo” finished first in the senior division at a whopping 62 year old woman pace of consistent 7 minute miles. (Don’t worry, the mistake is being rectified, and the poor woman robbed of her tireless effort will be given her rightful prize).
I had two goals this morning. First: to wear the same outfit as my sister to get her back for all the times she refused to dress in matching Laura Ashley drape patterned jumpers as a child. I succeeded. Second: to hold my chunks.
For lots of runners, the 9:30 race time is an invitation to sleep in and arrive well rested and stretched. For a mom, however, it’s a double duty call to wrangle a full mornings work- load AND road race. The two oldest did, however, put their “fast” shoes on all by themselves so they could “beat Mommy.”
I almost threw up 4 times before I left the house because, apparently, I’m a head-case. Additionally, I drink way too much coffee.
I maybe a little bit hopped a fence and got a really good starting position for my siblings and myself, as Maria continually downplayed her talent and speed. Two miles in, the girl was smoking me, and the dream of a picture- perfect- hand –holding- sister’s- in matching- running- outfits- photo- finish to flaunt around social media was left in the dust along with me. And as much as I would like to blame it on leg length like I did here, pssshhh. Or maybe she just didn’t want to hold my hand? (I WOULD NEVER!)
3 miles in, I made lots of fellow runners uncomfortable with my mile marker cheering. 4 miles in, I faced the hill that claimed my breakfast two years ago. I stared up at that window and wondered whose labor I was currently frustrating. I said some extra Hail Mary’s for her and held each and every sip of my coffee, sport bean “meal.” Could someone please help me learn how to eat before these things? 5 miles in I began to get very bored and no one wanted to talk, especially not about the women and labor at the hospital. 6 miles in: hurting, hurting, hurting! 6.2: all done! And my big brother and sister greeted me with a sweaty hug.
It was indeed, a Great Race. Even if James told me I’m just not as good as Maria and maybe I should borrow his red Pumas to help me run faster.
P.S: Tonight I put Rita down for her 364th night of sleep. The big 1 is tomorrow!!!!