Today I ran 2 miles without stopping. But like a lot of earned accomplishments, things don’t always end up happening like you think. The weather was worse than any of the previous five weeks I’ve been running; it was bitterly, cruelly cold. And windy. And toward the end, rainy. And for some reason my body hurt, and for the first time since restarting my running career I wanted to give up. I didn’t feel great until the last half mile. I was robbed.
The sight of my son in my car, each time I passed him, helped encourage me. When I run at the track the kids are expected to entertain themselves for the thirty-five minutes I’m walking, stretching, and running (today it was just Nels: Sophie had taken two buses, there and back, to have a lunch date with her dad). Maybe the biggest awesomeness of my running is to make this time for myself and let the kids see me doing it. I’ve spent the last seven-plus years rediscovering prioritizing my interests. And it’s hard; because in taking an hour or less out of the day for just me it can feel so arbitrary, selfish. Gee if I didn’t do this I could make sure the laundry gets done, or by the time I’m back home it’ll be noon already. But in doing this I’m telling the kids I’m willing and able to care for myself, not just them and their father. And I expect them to sort it out while I’m doing it.* And when I get back in the car – sweaty, elated, brilliant – I thank them for their help and patience.
And while I’m at it, is what I do really “running”? Not so much, as another runner who lapped me no fewer than three times today proved. More “jogging”. Or perhaps “lumbering”.
Today my heart and lungs felt great; my shins and pelvis, not so much. I finished it though. My last quarter mile was accomplished to Pulp’s “This is Hardcore”, and I was fought by sideways rain and gusts of wind so violent as to literally take my breath away.
While we drove home Nels and I spied a beautiful rainbow.
11/17/2009 Edited to add: I’ve had a few comments here and in actual, honest-to-God real life from other people who want to run but think they “can’t”. Sallie at PlusRunner.com is one of my many inspirations for running, and I want to give her a shout-out – and a Thank You, for helping me do something I’d been wanting to do for some time. It’s hard to read her site and continue to come up with reasons or excuses why you can’t get out there and get moving.
* By the way, Nels took a leak on the field during my first half mile. And I was across the campus when it happened. So today I discovered that “boy peeing” is a rather particular posture. Because he was so stealthy I couldn’t see any bare flesh or anything, I could just tell what he was doing by the way his feet were collected, his shoulders slightly gathered. I kind of blame the HS school track (although I did discuss with Nels, no thanks, one does not piss in a public place) since the facilities are public yet, oddly, the bathrooms are usually close.
Good for you! I’m also a trying-to-be-a-runner Momma, and working it around the kids is so much of a PITA that it’s often just easier to use it as an excuse not to. I love my boys, I do…but telling them to Stay Put while Mommy runs is often just an invitation for drama. One has to pee, the other gets hurt somehow, they both fight, one or both tries to catch me, and even from my *trying to zone* distance, I’m battered by demands and questions and…
OMG I’m psyching myself out and I’m sitting at my computer!
My point is…it’s easy to NOT do it, especially with kids. Your post was inspiring, and dang it–I’m going to try your approach. 🙂
I found that it took A. practice and B. my total expectation that they WOULD stay put and stop pestering me. After a few times they’ve learned to bring books or whatever. Yesterday Nels didn’t bring anything so (after his outdoor bathroom break) he just sat in the car and fiddled with the turn signals, etc.
My kids are 5 and 7. I honestly think that’s about the youngest your average kiddos could consistently take care of themselves while you’re running. I mean, all kids are different and YMMV. For instance I have one kid who at three might very well have hung out and played, but another three year old who would attempt to climb trees and cross the highway! Again, it depends on the kid.
I hope you do find the way to do it. Oftenttimes being a good parent who also takes care of oneself involves some creative thinking! Please keep me updated!
Not a mommy here, but dang, I wish I could run. People keep telling me I could, but man! I can’t even make it one block without feeling like I want to explode. How do you DO that?
Anyone able-bodied can do the running program I do – http://www.c25k.com/ . It really is a walking / jogging program where you get up to being able to jog 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).
It is a myth that “runners” have a certain body type or a long stride or need all this fancy running gear and shite like that. ANYONE who can walk can run. Of course, it isn’t like I’m ever going to win any races or anything. Still it feels great to be able to do that with my body and it helps clear my mind for the rest of the day.
Um, we had a windstorm last night so violent it kept me awake a lot. This morning it’s kept up. I might, regretfully, have to use the Y treadmill. Ugh.
I have downloaded the couch to 5K several times and just looking at it makes me want to cry. Part of it is a commitment problem that I struggle with in ALL areas of my life, the other part is a lack of seeing myself as an athletic person who exercises. I think it’s a problem with perception on my part.
I understand having commitment issues! I CAN HAZ THEM TOO.
I also understand thinking “I’m not someone who exercises.” We’re all human and we all self-limit. (Some people don’t have the health to do the things I can – I try to be aware of this and grateful for my health, but that doesn’t mean I owe it to anyone to optimize it.)
For me reading a lot of Fat Acceptance made me more able to commit to exercise, and I love it. Maybe you know about FA, maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re not fat, but there is no woman in America (and likely lots of other places) who wouldn’t benefit from thinking more about body acceptance and the way women are raised to be humorless perfectionists (I’m not saying all women are – we are just raised that way, and others, in our culture). Anyway… reading deep into FA I began over time to realize my concepts of what kind of woman I was had severely limited me in doing things deep-down I wanted to do. Running is one of them.
I don’t think I’ll ever be an awesome runner. But I do now know I’m a woman who can jog for 30 minutes straight and feel good doing it. I could not do that a month ago. Who knows where I might go? But I can’t help thinking it feels wonderful for my body and mind.
And if in any way my running – or writing about it – inspires any other woman (or man) to do something they’d previously thought they “couldn’t”, that’s almost even better.
But I sure hope it doesn’t inspire anyone to feel bad they don’t exercise (b/c that’s no one else’s business by the way!) or feel bad about their self-perception. I mean c’mon. The first thing we need to do is dose ourselves with a little self-kindness!
Dude! I’m going walking tonight with Dancing Queen! That’s something. Right?! THAT IS SOMETHING!
Okay. Didn’t mean to shout on your blog, but yes. You exercising and writing about it makes me feel less stupid about wanting to try it as a lifestyle. So go you!
I wasn’t paying attention – but today I saw this incoming link and I am SOOO excited that you’re out here writing…
You hit the nail on the head (for me, several heads)…learning to accept who you are (call it FA, call it growing up, call it turning off the TV) is a huge part of being able to see yourself as an athlete – regardless of size. When we’re so busy prioritizing our identities as wife/mother/mom/daughter/workerbee/shopaholic/tvexpert, it’s hard to realize there’s room for ATHLETE. But we all have it in us.
Thanks for including me in the journey and giving me a shout out…it’s why I do this…
Sallie, of course I am giddy that one of my Sheroes commented. I am hoping some of my other readers find your site, and find the inspiration – and pass on to more friends who do the same. Thanks for all you do!