Weekly Long Run: 15 miles

One thing you should know about me:  I am NOT a morning person.

Of the five humans and two canines in the family, only Black Dog and I prefer to wake up after the sun.  J and the girls arise full of energy, ready to see what the day has in store.  And they fully expect me to be a part of the action.

I would really just rather sleep, thank you very much.

But, since I am a Good Wife and Good Mother, I drink a pot of coffee and get started…and before I realize it, I am in the groove and the day is rolling.

Long runs are kind of the same thing, aren’t they?  You may not be up for the miles, hills, and aches they bring, but once underway its really not so bad.  And every once in a while, you luck out and find a buddy.  Today, my friend Elle joined me for the middle of the run – those painful miles when legs start to talk back, and home seems so far away.  The mindless chatter of back-to-school and hurricane survival melted away the monotony, and I was able to finish strong.

My mommy-friends are the same…what a support network we’ve needed during these baby and pre-school years.  I can only imagine what curve-balls are coming with grade-school, but I know that talking it through over a bottle  glass of wine will make it more manageable.

Maybe that’s what makes the kindergarten transition so overwhelming.  I hate to be melodramatic (but I will be anyway, because that’s who I am) but seems similar to college.  We’re leaving behind all that’s safe and familiar and starting anew.  The scope of problems and setbacks appears larger.  The stakes are higher.

But my baby girl is not a baby anymore.  She’s ready, even if I am not.  She’s got the strength and energy, and I have to trust that I’ll have the endurance.  Because these years are not a sprint, even if looks like it in our mind’s replay.

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Weekly wrap-up:

  • # Days Run:  5
  • Longest Run:  15 miles
  • Total Mileage:  49.2 (Personal Record!)
  • Cross Training:  0 (Bleh!  Vacation & Irene derailled my plans)

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Beginning

When I run, the mish-mash that lives in my head starts to untangle.  Things begin to make sense, if only for a short-while.  When I don’t run, or can’t run for whatever reason, I lose that perspective and the little things in life seem much…more…serious.

My first-born starts kindergarten on Tuesday.  Yesterday she was an infant.  A screaming, colicky, inch worm who was determined to take from me the identity I had painstakingly developed over the past 30 years.  I didn’t come gently into motherhood – it was a tsunami of hormones and emotion that washed away everything I thought I was…job, hobbies, running, friends – gone.  Husband – annoyed at my self-pity  (He’s really a great guy, by the way, fantastic father and my best friend.  Let’s just say he needed an adjustment period too).

But in the days, weeks, and months that followed that cold December day, we fell in love he, she and I.  Her smiles came, then her laughter.  She charged ahead – never afraid, never hesitating.  She’s clever, persistent, precocious, caring, stubborn, wiley, and a ray of sunshine.  And my identity was rebuilt…not as I had planned, but as it was meant to be.  Play dates and pre-school forged a new set of friendships.  Old friends reconnected over sippy cups at Starbucks.  The witching hour became the new happy hour.  Two more little girls followed to make our family complete.  But something was missing.

I needed to do something for myself.  Just me.  Running has always been a refuge, and last February I started again.  In the cold days as winter gave way to spring I pulled myself out of bed and onto the road.  I ran slowly at first, but as my legs got used to their new routine, I added distance until I could run from my house to the University Lake and back.  I ran the local 10K.  And PR’d.

What??

Where did the speed come from?  It had been nine years since my last PR and I had three children.  That didn’t make any sense.

So I ran another 10K a month later and PR’d again.

Turns out, I really didn’t need an escape.  I just needed validation.  See, the thing with motherhood is that we don’t know if we are doing a good job or not.  The PTA president can have a kid in rehab…the slacker parents have a kid that ends up at Harvard.  You just don’t know day-to-day if your creating the next sociopath, sociologist, social networking guru…or a Kardashian.

But the clock doesn’t lie.  Your legs don’t flatter.  You run your race and get your result.  And maybe, send the message to your kids that fitness is a part of life..of fun.

Still with me?  Tomorrow I promise I will tie this into Kindergarten.

After my long run 😉