Monday, July 15, 2013

Domestic Enemies of the Marathon Running Mom

This summer, I am really, really trying to take better care of myself and my body. So I loved this post about what it's like to be a running mom. Because I honestly want to get it. But I don't. Because running in Texas in the summer sounds horrible to me unless someone is chasing you or there are wild animals or something. But this lady makes it sound... Intriguing.

I'm Kristin, Texas stay at home mom to 2 little ladies (ages 2 and 4). I started running after my first daughter was born, when I was surprised to learn that my baby only weighed 7 lbs and I had another 33 hanging out around my waist, which didn't magically melt off after breastfeeding. Four years, two 5Ks, and five half marathons later, I'm still running and training for my first full marathon. 

It's surprising to me that I love to run. I grew up as a chubby teenager who desperately wanted to be a popular, fit athlete, but instead was insecure, awkward and self-loathing. I spent many afternoons eating Little Debbies in front of the Jerry Springer Show instead of at cross country practice. Becoming a runner has completely changed my self-esteem. There are days where I have been at home all day, cleaning up various forms of excrement, but I can look back and remember that I ran 7 miles in the morning and still feel accomplished. When I get up in the morning and pull on shiny, moisture-wicking shorts and bright running shoes, I'm no longer just a wife and a mom. I'm a runner. And for me, having a healthy way to feel good about myself each day makes me a better, more confident person. 

But running, I've learned, comes with it's own unique set of domestic enemies.

1. The Double Jogging Stroller
You know what's hard? Running. Even harder? Running while pushing 70 lbs of toddler, plus stroller, books, Disney princess dolls, snacks and various other accoutrements. Harder still? Running, pushing said stroller, and answering such philosophical questions as "why is that squirrel sleeping in the middle of the road?" "why are those birdies eating that dead deer?" and "what color shirt does Jesus wear?" (By the way, I'm open to any suggestions for how to answer those questions.) I love being able to involve my kids in my training, but oftentimes I think about how much faster I would be done if I didn't have to stop to open a package of peanut butter crackers or break up disputes about who's on who's side of the stroller. Pushing a double stroller sometimes makes me feel like a rock star-it did help me knock 35 minutes off my half marathon time. Other times, I feel like Sisyphus pushing his rock. Also, I feel I could pick up the pace a little more if I wasn't listening to "Kiss the Girl" from the Little Mermaid on Pandora. Again.

2. Mom Guilt
I've dealt with Mom Guilt ever since my oldest was born. Even though I'm over feeling guilty about stopping breastfeeding and sleep training my kids, I've discovered that running has it's own set of guilt. Whether I'm dropping the kids off in the gym childcare with 40 other snotty-nosed kids, bribing them with yet another bag of M and Ms to sit in the stroller, or shlepping the entire family off to stay in a hotel so I can run an out-of-town race, I am often hit with the realization that everyone else in my family is making sacrifices just for me. There are times I can justify it with the whole "a happy mom is a good mom!" philosophy, but there are other times when I'm a running a race and will pass by my sweet husband attempting to wrangle 2 little girls by himself, while one is whining for juice and the other is reaching for me and yelling "Mama!" and I just feel so guilty. I will, however, be interested to see the therapy bills for my youngest, who is surely being traumatized by wanting her mama and watching said mama run away from her as fast as she can.

3. The Well-Meaning, Yet Terribly Concerned Public
People mean well. I know they do. They see 2 children strapped into a double stroller, pushed by a sweaty mother breathing like a dying water buffalo, and are very, very concerned about the children's well-being. I've gotten asked if I want an umbrella for them (it was drizzling. They have rain covers. We were almost home. They've been wet before.), if I think they need blankets (it was 60 degrees. No.), and once, when I was pregnant, if I should stop before my baby falls out (side note: running until your baby falls out sounds like the best labor plan ever). When running in my neighborhood in the summer, I pretty much want to scream, "yes, these are stretch marks. Yes, I am wearing just a sports bra. It's hot as hell and I am pushing 2 giant children. Just relax and let it happen." I will say that for every cat call and disapproving stare, I've gotten a "you go girl!" which I'm not too proud to admit makes my day.

4. Hunger
Here's a fun fact: lots of people actually GAIN weight while training for a marathon. That's right. And I had no idea why until I started training too, and realized that long distance running makes me want to eat like Michael Phelps at his peak. My kids have learned that on long run days, they need to keep one arm around their plates like a recently released POW. It really doesn't seem fair. If I'm going to wake up at 5 AM to run for 2 hours, at the least, I should be rewarded with a 6 pack. As it turns out, it's hard to have a 6 pack if you choose to cover those ab muscles with boxes of Peeps (hey, I'm "refueling").

5. Post-run tiredness
As it turns out, my 2 little training partners don't so much care that Mommy woke up a 4:45 to bust out 7 miles on the treadmill before playgroup. Nor do they care that Mommy pulled her left glute and is hobbling like Tiny Tim minus the cane. They are 2 and 4 and are proverbial Energizer bunnies from 7 AM to 8 PM. After my early morning runs, I'm pretty much like "No! Don't do that! Stop fight....ah, whatever, Do what you want" until I can catch a nap. It's exactly like The Blur that I foolishly thought I was done with when I sleep-trained my youngest. I have been known to ask them if they want to play Sleeping Beauty. The only rule is Mommy's Sleeping Beauty. Also let Sleeping Beauty sleep until Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is done, and then start attempting to wake her up. Also, shh, Sleeping Beauty's sleeping. All I can say is that I'm thankful for coffee and the Disney Channel. 

As much as the enemies try to get me down, I love running.

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

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