I awake to the baby crying. My head feels heavy as I stretch to find my glasses and read the alarm clock, 4:47 a.m.
“Please let her go back to sleep,” I think to myself.
I lie perfectly still in bed listening to her gentle cries as I take inventory of my aches and pains from last night’s quality workout with Rogue. Nine miles of sprinting up and down three sets of hills repeatedly has my legs burning, my back throbbing, and my head – why does it feel so heavy?
“Oh thank heavens! She’s gone back to sleep.”
I roll over and snuggle deeper into the covers, “Maybe I’ll skip my run this morning. I worked hard last night. I’m so tired. I don’t need to run today. Forget the training plan.”
Kiki cries out loudly.
“I might as well get up. She’s not going back to sleep.” I stare down the alarm clock as if it’s responsible for the absurd time, 4:58 a.m.
Two hours later, Mister waltzes through the door with his workout complete, dressed, smelling incredible, and drinking a coffee from Panera. The kids go berserk.
“AHHHHH!!! Daddy’s home!” Bunder screams.
Kiki crawls over to the front door half-squealing/ half-whining to be picked up by her favorite.
“Daddy, do you want to wrestle? Daddy, let’s wrestle! Daddy, throw me!” Bunder incessantly begins his demands.
(What IS it about Daddy that makes him so adored? I’m the one who cooks, cleans, and wipes butts all day long. Is it too much to ask for a little merriment when I enter a room? Oh sure, sure. I get the boo-boos and runny noses, but save all the high-flying excitement for Daddy).
“I think I’ll skip my run today. I’m tired. You’re busy at work. You don’t have time to watch the kids,” I list off my excuses to Mister over Bunder’s enthusiastic pleas.
“Oh, no! You’re going running. It’s only five miles. You have to,” Mister counters.
“So you’re saying I’m fat.”
“Darn! Why do I have such a supportive husband?” I grumble to myself as I reluctantly rush to change out of my pjs.
Approaching the trail by car, I start to perk-up – similar to our dog smelling the familiar park and pacing back and forth in the back hatch just dying to start her run. Well, I’m not dying to run, but the car ride has built the anticipation enough to make me look forward to running.
Fifteen minutes into the run, my tunes are blaring, the sun is rising, and my legs find their groove. I’m reminded of how I love to run. It’s so simple, so pure – one foot in front of the other. I forget about the Garmin on my wrist. I forget about the training plan. I forget about the Austin Marathon. I forget about trying to qualify for Boston (again).
I feel free and fluid. Endorphins flood my system. In the next several minutes, time ceases to exist. Somehow, in the window of that runner’s high, I’m not somebody’s mother or somebody’s wife. I’m not responsible for dinner or play dates. I’m not shackled to my ever-growing to-do list. I’m not worried about my weight or balancing the checkbook. I’m not thinking about childhood milestones and preschools.
I’m a runner. I run.
Simple. Pure. Yet so indescribably awesome.
As soon as I pull into the garage, I hear howling and laughter from the other side of the door. I’m welcomed home with big hugs and wet kisses.
“Mommy , you’re home!” Bunder exclaims.
Silly but true – I missed them. I’m happy to be home. I’m happy to see them. I’m happy I ran.