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

35 comments:

  1. You go girl! I was never brave enough to take my bairns with me in a stroller - my hubby happened to start his master's program about a month after DD was born. So once DS (older) and DD (younger) were down for the night, er, couple of hours as DD was only 6 weeks old when I started running - he was home studying, out the door I would scoot!

    I hear you on the guilt - its a delicate balancing act for sure, on all fronts.

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  2. I could have written the exact same article. I was the chubby teenager who didn't run a single mile until I turned 30. I did my first marathon at 32 - 6 months after my 3rd son was born. Here I am, 35, 8 weeks post-partum starting to train for my 4th half marathon in 3 months. The way I figure it, running is cheaper than therapy and has way better side effects than Prozac.

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  3. I'm just a runner, not a marathoner and I agree completely.

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    1. You're not "just" a runner :)

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    2. NEVER say "just a runner..." :-)

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  4. Woo hoo! Keep it up lady! I run, on occasion and it's those calls from random other people running/walking/biking on the trails that keep me going while pushing a double jogging stroller. It's my goal to run a half marathon.

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  5. Hip hip and hooray!! Fellow running mama here, and I love all of this. Thank you!!

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  6. Awesome! I am starting to train for a half marathon and it is hard! The Texas heat and humidity is kicking my butt as well as finding time to do it.

    My mom ran a ton of marathons, and I always thought it was so much fun to travel with her to all the out of town races. I was able to see so many differently places.

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    1. Angie, that makes me happy (I am the author). I always worry how the kids will remember watching my races (see "mom guilt" above!) I'm glad you have positive memories.

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    2. Angie, that makes me happy to read (I am the author). I always worry how the kids will remember watching my races. I'm glad you have positive memories!

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  7. You go Girl!! I used to love running, admittedly I find excuses not to now a days but rock on!

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  8. Wonderful! I used to run before I had my 6mo. I hope to get back to it one day, but I can't even bother to take the stroller out by myself, it's so heavy! I know that trying to run with my baby in the Ergo is a terrible idea, so I just hope that we move out of our 4 storey walk-up really soon. Keep at it, you're an inspiration!

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  9. Love!!! I just used the Michael Phelps reference in one of my posts, too, lol!!! Just.cant.stop.training!!!

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  10. i remember the double jogger days well (and none too fondly and in texas to boot!).

    in less-hot colorado now and down to a single now that midkid is in school full-time. but what i lack in poundage my youngest makes for in earnest. the non-stop questions, the endless requests for a different music, the 'momomomomomomomomomomomom, just wanted to say hi'. ahhhhhhh!

    kudos lady, for pushing through!

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  11. Good luck with the marathon! You are inspiring your young daughters to grow up to be an athlete like their mama. A funny athlete, too.

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  12. I hate running. And now I want to be a runner! Great post.

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  13. *Snort* Oh dear Bob...I remember the days of the double jogger...I hated them as much as you do. Missouri heat and hills wanted to kill me I swear. I however was lucky enough to have boys, so I wasn't subjected to the Disney princess songs. Now I just have to figure out how to work in runs around 6 kids schedules. One day I may have time to train for a marathon...right now, it's 5K's and Half's...and sprint triathlons. My husband *LOVES* being the tri-sherpa and child wrangler...HA!

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  14. so true. so true! Keep it up! And you are a total rock star for pushing the stroller!

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  15. Hahahahahaha as a marathoning mom, I totally love this. People are SUCH WEIRD JERKS when you're out training with the kid(s) in the jogger! and then trying to deal with life after you run???? oh lord, that exhaustion is pretty much on par with being postpartum. You keep on runnin' and goin' with your bad self! When you finish that 26.2, it will all be worth it!!!

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  16. Totally agree with all of the above for the most part! Thankfully, my kids generally LOVE going for runs with mommy and before we got the double stroller they fought over who got to go first in the single jogger :) The hunger is a killer, I eat like crazy as it is and sheesh, I eat more than a water buffalo on the days I run. My older boy (3.5) really just enjoys the fact that when mommy does really long runs, he gets gatorade and "jelly beans" (the sport beans by jelly belly).

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  17. LOVE "The only rule is Mommy's Sleeping Beauty."

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  18. Thanks so much for the kind words, guys! And Rachel B, no kidding! Right after I wrote this, I was running with the kids and someone stopped, got out of the car, and yelled "get out of the road!" to us. It was crazy. I'm over at www.trialsintoddlerhood.blogspot.com if you want to read more nonsensical ramblings.

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  19. So you are one of those double-stroller moms who race past me while I'm huffing and puffing on my own while WALKING. You have my admiration, so don't let my scowl and shaken fist fool you. I love going on my power walks and yoga and used to feel the mom guilt until I realized that my kids actually enjoyed their time away from me. Also, after a good workout, I'm too relaxed to remind them to clean their rooms. Now when I'm especially grouchy, one of them will give me the eye and ask, "Shouldn't you go work out?"

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  20. The squirrel is having a nap on his way home, it's not a very safe place for a nap but the only one who can wake up a squirrel is another squirrel.

    The birds are eating the deer before it gets smelly and ruins everyone's day.

    Jesus rocked it in a Hawaiian shirt.

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  21. For the runner moms out there...did running click for you right away or did it take some time? I've tried running but a couple weeks in I always give it up. I just don't enjoy it. I know so many people who love it. I just keep wondering if I'm not giving it enough of a chance or if I'm just not a runner. I'm sure I'll give it another shot once baby #3 arrives and we get settled into a routine.

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    1. It definitely took time for me. I've been attempting to run since college. But with a husband who travels, and kids who aren't in daycare or preschool, my time is limited and it was the best way for me to get a workout whenever I needed and even be able to take them with me. So by necessity I learned to love it!

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  22. Brand new runner and can I just say that jogging strollers are the worst. :-)

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  23. I love to run. Now my 12 yr old girl wants to run with me. Awesome, yet not. I like the solitude of running. Guilt...

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  24. That's okay. I run away from my children as fast as I can even when I am not in a race :)

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  25. Kristin let me say again "Write a Book". When you do Mel and I want it to be dedicated to us as we have told you multiple times you are hilarious and it would be a best seller!

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  26. Great post! I can so relate to playing sleeping beauty after having an early workout!! I usually try to convince my kids to walk on my back, which feels nice until they decide it's a trampoline. I have said many times that I didn't want my children become addicted to tv, but it seems they know the routine now: mommy comes home from exercise, feeds us breakfast, turns on tv, while she showers. At least I get a peaceful shower, most mornings!

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  27. You go girl! Me... I only run when chased, but I have MUCH love for a mom that wakes up and runs 7 miles while pushing children in a stroller.

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