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.
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 😉