On the evening of February 28, after all the kids had gone to sleep, I scrolled through my Facebook feed. I saw posts from friends, with pictures of their running clothes, including shoes, socks, compression socks and arm sleeves — even packets of GU and other energy supplements — laid out on their dressers.
The pictures were of course zeroed in on the bib numbers that were fastened securely on the front of their singlets, with the hashtag, #PhoenixMarathon below the description of each picture.
As I continued to scroll through, I read many messages of good luck to runners for the upcoming race, with motivational quotes in each message.
Just then, I got an email from the Phoenix Marathon race director, giving final instructions on the next day’s events, including bus loading, spectator information, and weather forecast.
As I closed my computer, my stomach felt nervous, and butterflies began to flutter — something that almost always happens each time I think about running races.
Before I got into bed, I opened my drawer, and got out my own running clothes. I grabbed my NUUN Hydration tablets, packed my PROBAR Fuel bars, and of course, my watermelon flavored Bubbiilicious bubble gum, to help stay hydrated, fueled and entertained over the many miles I would be completing the next morning.
I laid everything out nicely, and set it all down in a place I knew I could grab quickly and quietly, as to not wake anyone up. After all, I would be waking up hours before anyone else would, and I didn’t want to run the risk of disrupting anyone’s sleep.
The night went as it usually does — waking up every few hours. But, when it turned to 4:30 a.m., I knew it was time to get out of bed. I got dressed, packed my fuel, grabbed a small bite to eat, and headed out the door, but it wasn’t the door you may be expecting.
No, I wasn’t at a hotel in Phoenix, and no, I wasn’t at my sister’s house in Tuscan. I was at my own house in small-town Utah, in my own room, with a very tired and teething 17-month-old. I was not running the Phoenix Marathon, but a 26 mile training run, in the new-fallen snow.
Months before, I had signed up for the marathon, after earning an elite entry for my time clocked at the St. George Marathon. But, as the marathon approached, it looked less and less likely that I would be able to run it.
My oldest son had a soccer camp in Mesquite, and three of my other kids had games that day, too — one of which, my husband was coaching.
And as much as I wanted my piece of the time puzzle to fit, it just wasn’t happening, and that was OK.
Running those 26 miles, solo —in the early morning hours before the kids were awake —was every bit as awesome as it would have been had I run them in Phoenix. And while I may not have had the cheering section I was looking forward to at the race, I was able to be part of a more important cheering squad at my own kids’ soccer games.
My time will come to run a race, but for now, my time is best spent being mom, and that is never wasted time.
Originally published by The Spectrum on March 15, 2015
Arianne Brown is a mother of 6, and Southern Utah native. For more writings by her, search “A Mother’s Write” on Facebook. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter @arimom6.