My friend Charity asked what I thought about her running San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers 12k in May, and asked for training advice. My first response was something like “Yes yes DO IT!” and then I offered what I could in terms of advice. I perused the Internet for sensible, easy-to-understand 12k training plans, and found two (12k is a pretty obscure distance). I passed them on to her, and I’ll pass them on to you in case you’re looking for one: and

It was fun researching those training plans. One, it got me reminiscing about my own experience with Bay to Breakers. That was back in 2008, and I had a blast. I don’t think I’ve ever done so much people-watching during a race, but in Bay to Breakers, it’s hard NOT to. Hopefully one of these years I’ll be able to get back there and do it again – maybe even in costume this time!

Two, it got me excited about Races. With a capital R. The ones where you research training plans, the ones you buy airplane tickets for (or at least arrange a couple days of vacation), the ones you mark on your calendar with a permanent marker, maybe a circle, maybe an exclamation point or five.

Currently, the only day like that on my calendar is my baby’s due date. There’s a 5k next month that I’ve got my eye on, but I haven’t even registered for that yet, much less written it in permanent marker.

This is fine. I’m thrilled for my daughter’s impending arrival, and I accepted a long time ago that pregnancy, and babies, often mean that Races with a capital R hang out on a back burner for…a while. Shoot, sometimes they get nudged right off the stove. This happens, and it’s okay, and I know that Races and running in general will be there whenever I’m ready to come back.

At the same time, it feels good to be excited about this sort of thing. It feels GOOD to know that below all these nesting instincts and hormones and pre-motherhood thoughts and concerns…that fire still burns. It’s a tiny flame, true, but a persistent one.

Some day – maybe in one year, maybe in six – I’ll pick a distance and a race. I’ll write it on the calendar with permanent marker. I’ll pick a training plan and, more or less, follow it. I’ll run that race with butterflies in my stomach. I’ll pay attention to my time. I’ll try my hardest. I’ll race. And my little family, whether they’re on the course or back at home, will be cheering for me. I can’t even imagine how that will feel.

Until then? Here’s to keeping that tiny fire burning.



5 thoughts on “Fire

  1. As someone who was once so deep in the throes of burnout that I couldn’t even bear the thought of racing, I agree that just finding that “fire” again is cause for celebration even if you can’t race. The grass always seems greener on the other side though, doesn’t it? Right now I’m in the midst of training for the Chicago Marathon – a permanent marker capital R race if there ever was one – and I’m longing for the days when I can run just for fun and energy and not worry about paces, workouts or schedules.

  2. Congrats! I definitely know how that goes… I have had to put running on the back burner for a baby as well, but was able to get right back into it afterwards! I am currently training for my first marathon and would love any big tips you have for a first-timer 😉

    1. Thanks! And congrats to you for training for your first marathon! The biggest piece I could give you is to have fun with it. Savor every mile of training and don’t worry too much about speed — there’s only one first time!

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