2015: Year of the Scenic Detour

As 2014 was drawing to a close, I was in a frantic routine of working to finish my PhD, applying for the grueling academic job market, and putting in long miles in the dark winter mornings of New Mexico. On those quiet, solo headlamp-lit morning runs, I found myself eagerly looking forward to 2015 as a year of positive change and forward movement both athletically and professionally: after nearly 4 years of grad school and with the 2016 Olympic year on the horizon, I was feeling ready to tackle some big challenges in my life.

As Christmas and New Years’ holidays ended and 2015 began, I worked on refining my 2015 racing goals: I had my eye on a half marathon PR and running a summer/early fall marathon to  better my current PR to the A-standard prior to the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2016. I fell into the hustle of pre- and early semester teaching and research, while my husband and I spent hours discussing job options as I applied and interviewed for positions across the nation. This was both incredibly stressful, and incredibly liberating: it was fun to dream about this next step in our lives together!

Plagued with headaches and mental and physical exhaustion, the early semester was tough for me. The slump in energy and motivation was disheartening, especially as I was feeling the need for a strong push toward finishing my PhD. Following a particularly disastrous week of failed workouts and stressed-out tears, I did a quick inventory of possible sources of these feelings. A handful of possibilities emerged, and a quick test confirmed what was suspected.

In one swoop, plans for 2015 took shape: what to do before, and what to do after Baby Donahue arrives in September. Finding out I pregnant was a huge surprise for us: after nearly four years of trying for pregnancy with our daughter (now 2 ½), this baby arrived with shocking swiftness after we made the decision to try to grow our family. I’m thrilled, giddy, over-the-moon happy and amazed to be pregnant, and feel so lucky that John & I will be parents to yet another little kiddo!

Practicing her stroller-driving skills.
Soon-to-be big sister practicing her stroller-driving skills.

What about the rest? I’ve re-paced my dissertation completion/defense with the goal of defending “before the baby arrives.” I’ve allowed myself the luxury of taking a slower pace on day-to-day activities, so I am able to make it to the end of the day standing with a smile on my face. My running plans have taken a new form as well. I hope to make it to the starting line at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, but I may end up focusing more on the 2016 outdoor track season instead. After nearly 3 months of not running in early pregnancy, I’ve regained the energy to start running again (with walk breaks when needed!), and I plan to participate in the vibrant local racing scene this summer. I’ve also been able to spend more time coaching, which I find hugely rewarding as I see people I support grow in fitness, ability and confidence.

I can’t imagine a better way to take the next big step in our lives – this welcom ‘detour’ from plans is probably  just we we needed to keep our lives exciting. Thanks for reading – more about how running and pregnancy mix as Baby Donahue 2.0 grows over the coming months!

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