Your Name: Elizabeth Braatz
Children: 5-year-old twins and a 2-year-old
Work: Cycling instructor for the YMCA and JCC Milwaukee, freelance writer and domestic dictator of my household
Favorite part of being a mom: Little voices saying "I love you momma!"
Least favorite part of being a mom: POTTY TRAINING
Famous for: Being a vegetarian who can make a killer tenderloin.
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I have considered myself a runner since before I had children. I used to log a lot of miles on the treadmill after work until about 20 weeks pregnant with my now four-year-old twins. After their birth, I got back into running but not as intensely as before they were here. Instead, I became a spinning instructor and branched out to teach other group exercise formats. Still, I ran through my pregnancy with my now 18-month-old daughter. This summer, I decided to kick up my mileage significantly and do a half marathon. I have always been active and worked out but this was like the big kahuna of accomplishments for me.
I created a run club with several friends and we ran a few times a week. I often had to teach spinning in the morning and then would run with them at night. On my other days, I was doing kick boxing, lifting weights or doing other cardio. Every Saturday morning, I got up nice and early for my weekly long run. This became something that I really looked forward to because I was alone, it was cooler outside and running a long distance was a serious accomplishment. Week by week, as the long runs got longer, I felt even better about myself.
My half marathon was last Saturday, September 28th at Miller Park. It was the Brewers Mini Marathon and I was jacked. I had been having some IT band pain near my right knee for the last few weeks but I had gotten through it and did 10 miles the previous week with minimal pain so I felt good to go. On the Wednesday evening prior to the race, I started to feel a little off. By Thursday morning, I had the full blown stomach flu...fever, body aches, chills, stomach upsets, etc. I kept telling myself that a 24-hour bug won't hold me back, but that bug was still around on Friday evening when I went to bed before my big race.
I got up at early, took my temperature and then decided to get dressed. My fever was down and I was feeling confident. The first three miles felt amazing, like I hadn't just puked for three days. Then, came mile four and the illness kind of hit me. Progressively, I got more queezy with each mile but kept going. I considered walking or quitting so many times because I had an excuse; I was sick. I couldn't do it. My wonderful husband was standing under a bridge on mile 10 at the base of a hill. He had all three of my kids in our big stroller. When I saw their faces, it gave me the strength I needed to keep going. It was like I was given a boost of energy just knowing they were there. I saw him again as I came up the hill but with a little more pep in my step. The last three miles were really hard but I couldn't let down my cheering squad and I finished the race, running, just a little slower and a lot more dizzy that I thought I would have.
This experience was sort of a metaphor for life in that you cannot accomplish some of the greatest goals unless you have people behind you, supporting you and rooting for you. Though you can go miles alone, you can go even further with the support of those who love you.
This was one of the most pivotal physical accomplishments of my life, even without the fact that I was under the weather. Being with that many people who accomplished the same thing was so amazing as well. I'm ready to another one in November but I'm getting a flu shot well before the race.