Saturday was race day.
I was up early — before 6 a.m. — and Miles and I made our way down the stairs, headed toward the kitchen.
There was a banana — just one — that was on the verge of turning. "Pumpkin banana pancakes," I thought.
I began to work on our breakfast at a pace that was neither leisurely nor frantic. Miles and I measured flour. Cracked eggs. Mashed banana. We let the batter rest as the skillet warmed on the blustery fall morning. Juice was poured and coffee made.
The morning seemed long and quick at the same time. The minutes seemed ample when I decided to make a meal but after eating and sipping my coffee, the clock was no longer in my favor. And so the rush began. It was time to get dressed, brush teeth, wash hands. Find shoes and get them on the right feet.
With few minutes to spare, we headed out the door. It was 7:45.
Runners were headed to the starting line. Friends and running club members were in the pack, ready to do a victory lap after hours and miles of training.
As for me, Miles and I were off to Kroger. Mark had an 8 o'clock appointment to take in his car. I, parked behind him, needed to moved the car. Going to the store seemed like a good idea.
Saturday, for the first time in a long while, I was not going to be joining my friends. I was not going to be racing. And, I cannot lie, it felt weird. I had worked hard last year, overcame injury, to participate in Veterans Marathon. I had one of the most challenging races in my life but came away proud because I never gave in.
I (somewhat) jokingly told Mark earlier that week that I should run the half at Veterans Marathon so I could get in a long run. He didn't think a $45 long run was all that funny, especially after I promised that the Haunted Hilly Half would be my last big race until Baby X is born and I am recovered.
As of right now, it could very well be my last race. I have not clicked "register" for a single race, not even a turkey trot, and I am not sure if I will.
I run with friends who chat about doing the 15K at the Galloping Gobbler and spring marathons. They talk about what month would be best and where would be a fun place to race. I accompany friends who rehash PR races and long workouts, celebrate milestones and another medal on the rack. I interject when I can, sharing what I've heard about a particular race and offering congratulations.
Otherwise, I am quiet. If you know me, you will now how hard it is for me to be silent.
Don't get me wrong — I am elated to be pregnant, and I am excited to see what life has in store. There's no race, no event, that will give me the joy that will be becoming a mother for a second time.
I also know that I've been extraordinarily lucky to have been able to participate in the events that I have this year. Five half marathons, a 20K, an overnight relay. I ran through vineyards and distilleries. I set PRs and I made comebacks. I had an amazingly challenging but successful training cycle.
But I do those things because I love them, and it's hard to let go. It's hard to sit on the sidelines, especially when I know it will be for most of next year.
I know I will learn to handle the change. To own the time. Meanwhile, excuse me if I sulk a bit as I pee in the woods.