Redemption Race

Explore a runner’s feelings about running a half-marathon after her journey through infertility, IFV, and raising triplets.

It happened at Mile 9. A wave of emotion crashed over me, momentarily slowing the steady pace I’d been maintaining. My breath hitched as butterflies appeared in my stomach. Tears prickled my eyes. I’m here, I thought. I’m finally here.

At Mile 9, my heart finally caught up with my head.

I’d trained for the Mesa-Phoenix half-marathon three years prior. My Best Running Friend (BRF) had talked me into it with arguments like “It’ll be fun doing it together” and “Think of all the ice cream you can eat.” I’d logged the miles faithfully, complemented my running with strength training from Acosta Fitness, and determined how to fuel properly. I was in the best shape I’d been in since high school soccer 12 years earlier, and I was ready to conquer my first half-marathon.

But race day didn’t find me at the start line. Instead, it found me miles away, glued to my laptop as I tracked my BRF’s little blue line make its way through the 13.1 miles. The week of the race, I had started the stim cycle for my second planned ER in our attempt to get pregnant through IVF. While my RE encouraged me to live a healthy lifestyle during this time, he discouraged me from overtaxing my body. The needles I’d be stabbing myself with every day would stress my body just fine on their own.

Woman runner stretches calf against tree.
The last run I took before beginning IVF—13.1 miles before what was supposed to be my taper to a half-marathon.

I was ecstatic for my BRF, and so very proud. But I was as equally disappointed for myself. And angry. Running was yet another area of my life infertility had snaked its way into and wielded control over.

And that’s why I found myself having an uncharacteristically PDE (public display of emotion) as I wove my way through patches of runners with 4 miles to go. Running was the last tangible thing I had yet to fully wrest back from infertility. Yes, I’d been running consistently for a year. Yes, I’d completed two smaller-distance races. But this half-marathon carried with it more gravity. This was my redemption race, my last way of looking infertility in the face and saying, “No more. You have power over me no more.”

I took a deep breath and shook out my hands as I rapidly blinked away the prickles. There’s no crying in running, I told myself. I’d be damned if I shed one more tear over my incompetent lady parts. I took one more deep breath as I passed the Mile 10 marker. Then I picked up the pace. I had a goal to beat.

Woman runner holds medal after finishing half-marathon.
Victory! Official stats: 2:25:11 at 10:28 mm.


About Marcella Hines

Marcella Hines

Marcella wants to live in a world where she can escape to quiet rooms stacked high with books that come bundled with a brownie cookie dough DQ blizzard and cuddly purr monster. When she’s not finding creative ways to play with cars for the eleventy billionth time or shouting, “Undies! Pants! Sit! Pee!” at toddlers who have the attention span of a gnat, you can find her running to the beats of an audiobook/podcast or assisting writers in crafting their work through her editing business, A to Z Editing. Marcella likes talking about the day-to-day experience of raising triplets, like how to navigate toddler time and a park playdate with three toddlers in tow. Follow her running, English weenie-ing, and ice creaming on Instagram: @hineschica.

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