Tag Archives: running

That which we manifest is before us

It’s the day after the marathon, and I’m tired.  Not just any tired, but third trimester with a ten-pound baby tired.  A dense fog has taken up residence in my head, and my once agile body feels as if it’s an old beater at the end of a demolition derby.

I lie on the bed listening to Kiki cry, “Mommy, Mommy,” from her crib.  Of all days, today’s the day she naps less than forty-five minutes.  Murphy’s law or is it mother’s law?

I take a deep breath and drag my body off the bed wincing at the pain in my legs.  Feebly, I pick up Kiki from her crib and settle into the rocker for stories.  Bunder cries.

“Seriously?”  I say aloud.

I struggle to stand holding the baby and meet Bunder in the living room.  I offer to read him stories on the couch with Kiki.  He throws himself on the floor, “No Kiki!  No Kiki!”

He protests the presence of his sister; he doesn’t want to share my lap.

Kiki notices his intent and starts to cry and scream in my arms, “No!  No!”

With one child screaming on the floor and another screaming in my arms, I slouch to the couch and try to keep the thoughts of self-pity out of my head.

“That which we manifest is before us,” I think of this quote from Garth Stein’s book.

Time to manifest something different, I decide.

Through tears from all three of us, I manage to load the kids, the bike, the stroller, and the dog into the car.  I hobble back inside for the kids’ snacks and drinks.

Minutes later, we arrive at the dinosaur park, a county park with fake rock formations to climb on, large dinosaur eggs to crawl through, and dinosaur fossils to dig out of a giant sand pit.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.

Total bliss.

I only wish Bunder would keep his hands out of his pants.


The Case of the Mystery Poop

I returned from a run yesterday, and Mister, who was watching the kids, tells me he found a piece of poop on the carpet and can’t figure out where it came from. “Did you check Kiki’s diaper?”  I ask.

“Yes, and it was fine.  I asked Bunder if he pooped his pants and he said no.  I checked and his underwear were clean,” Mister continues, “I have no idea where the poop came from.”

The case of the mystery poop … one of many little anecdotes I hear upon returning home from a run.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to talk about running – not here anyway.  I started a new blog specifically for that topic.  Mister says, those who want to read about Mommy-world, don’t care about Marathon-world and vice versa.

I’ve pointed out to him, I do have a small following of mostly family who will read everything I write –God love ‘em!  I don’t even care if they chat about me behind my back – isn’t that the crux of blogging – giving people something to discuss.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  I was talking about how I’m not going to talk about running.  Except to say, these past five months of marathon training have been wonderful for our family.  The kids have grown more attached to Mister.  They’re less dependent on Mommy.  I’ve made new friends through Rogue, the running group I joined.  And I’ve found a much-needed balance to my life in the Mother-world.

Let’s face it, we, stay-at-home-moms, are with our kids day-in and day-out.  We have certain ways of doing things, and we might just think those certain ways are the right ways.  This can be frustrating for the other caregivers in the household (so I’m told).  My running schedule provides quality time for Mister and the kids to play without my interference (as if I interfere – “Don’t throw her in the air – that’s bad for her brain!  Don’t swing him like that!  You’ll dislocate his shoulder!”)

Now, Bunder often says to me, “It’s time for you to go running, Mommy.  Bye-bye!”

When I wasn’t working toward a goal, the marathon, I found numerous excuses to stay home and not get out of the house.  In turn, I denied myself a much-needed break.  Doesn’t everyone perform better with regular time to reflect and recharge?

My advice to you, stay-at-home-moms, is find something – anything you’re passionate about that doesn’t directly relate to your family and foster that interest.  Sometimes, in order to be great at something, you have to take a step-back.  Thomas Merton said, “Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.”

Running has helped me find order within my family, but I’m not talking about running on this blog, so you tell me.  What gives you balance?  What do you like to do outside of raising your children to bring harmony to your world?

The Smell of Fear

What does fear smell like to you?  Does it smell like freshly sharpened pencils, crisp final exams, and sweaty, gum-ridden lecture halls?  Does it smell like recycled air, stuffy perfume, and airline peanuts?  Does it smell like coffee mixed with freshly cleaned carpets inside a conference room?

I’m not afraid of test-taking, flying, or even public speaking.  Oh no.  To me, fear smells like the city exhaust, Gatorade, and nervous sweat at the starting line of a marathon.  I can imagine no greater fear than training for five months, making numerous personal sacrifices, running for three hours most Saturdays, running six days a week to face the inner fear of failure.

“After all this time and effort, what if I don’t reach my goal?  What if I dehydrate?  What if I bonk at mile twenty?  What if I can’t maintain my pace?  What if I don’t finish?  What if I fail?”

Scientists recently discovered the smell of fear is real – even contagious.  I smelled fear last Tuesday when I looked up my group workout on Rogue’s website.     It read, “Drills, warm-up, time trial, cool down.”

TIME TRIAL!  Do you know what that is?  It’s when you run as fast as you possibly can for a mile or two or three to determine if your fitness level matches your marathon goal.

Instantly, I smelled fear.  I began creating excuses in my head for missing the workout.  “No way!  No way can I run a time trial tonight.  I’ve been on my feet all day.  We have company coming tomorrow for Christmas.  I have a million things left to do.  I’m tired.  My back hurts.  I haven’t eaten well.”

The reality of the situation – I feared failure.

“What if my time trial shows I’m way off in my marathon goal (qualifying for Boston with a 3:40)?  How embarrassing.  How disappointing.”

I didn’t go.  I skipped the workout.  I felt terribly guilty.  You see, I’m not one to miss a workout or a deadline or an assignment.

Once at the end of a semester in graduate school, a friend of mine mentioned she hadn’t turned in her final paper.  I didn’t understand, “What do you mean you didn’t turn it in?  It was due two days ago!”  I started panicking for her.

She flippantly replied, “Oh, I’ll just ask for an extension.”

What?  An extension?  The idea had never crossed my mind!  How could someone ask for an extension?  The concept was completely foreign to me!

To compensate for my guilt, I e-mailed my coach straight away the next morning listing my excuses.  He replied soon after with a better description of what I missed:  1.25-mile warm-up, 2-mile time trial, and 1.25-mile cool down.  I promised to fit in the time trial amidst the holiday rush.

The next morning, I found myself running on my favorite trail in the chilly, drizzle of an Austin, winter morning.

I love running in the rain.  Of course, I’d prefer a nice warm rain on a summer day.  Nevertheless, even the cold drizzle put me in a good mood.

“What about now?  What if I run my 2-mile time trial now – on the trail? No one’s around.  No one will see if I fail.  It’s just me, the trail, and the drizzle.  A perfect combination for testing my limits,” I thought.

I had worn a few too many layers, so I looked for a good hiding place.  I stopped my watch, removed my car key from my vest pocket and tucked it into my waistband.  I wrapped Mister’s favorite red, Chicago Marathon sweatshirt inside my black vest leaving only a container of pepper spray and my gloves in the pockets and hid my things behind a rock twenty feet off the trail.

“If someone steals my stuff, Mister will surely miss his favorite sweatshirt, but at least I have my car key and cell with me.”

I picked out a good starting point, programmed my iPhone to play my “RunHard” playlist, turned on my watch, and started to sprint.  I felt free and swift.  How exhilarating to run as fast as possible!  I looked down at my watch.  “What?  I’ve only ran one tenth of a mile!”

I continued to run and keep an eye on my watch.  At one mile, I turned around to race back.  My body slowed to make the turn and fought my desire to accelerate.  “Do it right once and you won’t have to do it again,” I thought.

I kicked harder to make up for the slow turn around.  Half way through the second mile, doubts crept into my psyche, “Time trials are so dumb.  What does this really tell me?  I could make myself run a lot faster if I wanted.  I’m sure these aren’t very accurate.  I mean we all have different levels of pain tolerance.”

“Keep going.  You’re almost done.  You can do this!”  I coached myself trying to counteract the doubts.

Finally, I finished- 13 minutes and 40 seconds.

Definitely not my fastest time.  I remember running a 12:22 as a high school freshman, but now it’s twenty years and two kids later.

In reference to the marathon, the time meant nothing to me.  I hadn’t planned to run the time trial.  I didn’t know what time I needed to match my goal.

I called Mister and asked him to boot up my computer so I could check the race calculator on Rogue’s website as soon as I got home.

What did it say?

A 13:40 2-mile time equals a 3:36 marathon time.  I’m on track.  Failure avoided (at least for now).

I’m a Runner

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.”

He laughs.

“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.

Turkey Trot Race Report

When Kiki, Bunder, and I walk around the neighborhood or at the park, Bunder loves to run.  I know he’s ran/walked over two miles at times.  So naturally, when Mister and I signed up for the Turkey Trot in Austin on Thanksgiving Day, we decided to enter Bunder in the children’s 1K race.  “It’ll be our new family tradition.”  “He’ll love it!” we said.  “He’ll have so much fun!”

The only fun he had was driving home watching Toy Story in the car.  21,000 people entered the race and I swear half of them had children in the kids’ race.

On the drive into the city, Mister agreed to run with Bunder while I held Kiki and videotaped.  After finding a parking spot, we quickly unloaded the car and took off for the kids’ starting line.  Mister and Bunder found a spot in the starting chute, while Kiki and I set up camp in between the start and finish lines.  The racecourse looked like a horseshoe.

From my vantage point, everything looked great.  Bunder smiled at the start as he trotted past and had a determined expression as he approached the finish.

Once at home, we called many family members to wish them a “Happy Thanksgiving.”  Bunder, being two and a half, had to talk to everyone and tell them about his race.  His story went something like this, “I ran a race.  Yeah, I cried a lot.”

Mister and I kept whisking the phone away, “No, he had fun.  Really, Grandma.  I’m not sure why he said he cried.”

I’ll let you see for yourselves.  Bunder’s first ever Turkey Trot.

%d bloggers like this: