Monthly Archives: July 2012

3.4 miles of recovery

On Sunday I set out for my least favorite run of the week: the Recovery run.  Defined by my Running Bible (aka Train Like a Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line–and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity, by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea), a Recovery run is “a short, easy cruise, usually under three miles, you do the day after a hard effort or race”.  Otherwise defined by this girl as “the run most likely to be blown off during the week”.

Last summer I was much more dedicated to the concept of a slow, leisurely run the day after logging some hard-core miles.  I would happily pull up the latest podcast of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and off I would go, cruising at a just-above-walking-pace of 12 minutes per mile.

This summer?  Not so much.

I think it’s because I’ve become accustomed to (and spoiled by) the presence of my running buddies, Carrie and Amy.  There’s nothing like ten miles of idle chitchat and gossip to make the hours fly by.  We just started this weekly group running early this year, and I love it.  Last year it was pretty much just me and my iPod, and while I love my music, I’ve definitely found that having someone to talk to helps me pick up my pace (and ignore my whiny knees).

Amy and I do a few short runs together throughout the week and all three of us typically set out for ten miles or more on Saturdays, so I’m pretty sure that all family members involved are tired of our bonding time come Sunday morning.  So we’re left to our own devices.  Carrie, the dynamo of the group, probably gets up and runs six miles (overachiever) before the sun rises.  Amy and I?  See this author’s above definition of Recovery run.

But yesterday I decided it was time to whip it back in to shape.  Grandma came to sit with Zoey and I fired up the podcast playlist that has been so woefully ignored in the recent past.

It wasn’t the best run ever.  I found myself needing to set little mental goals for myself, such as ‘okay, you made it to Bradley Lake, you’re 1/3 of the way there’.  There was certainly no runner’s high.  I didn’t even feel like I worked hard enough to warrant eating whatever the hell I felt like for the rest of the day.  But I do acknowledge the importance of an easy run at least once a week, and with the You Go Girl! half marathon looming around the corner in roughly six weeks, I want to make sure my body and mind are pumped and ready.

But it hasn’t escaped my notice that the three miles I ran on Sunday were more mentally challenging than the ten I ran on Saturday.

I have no patience

So, my daughter is desperate to master the art of riding a two-wheeled bike this summer.  It appears this will be the death of me, or the death of my patience (levels which, we all know, were a little low to start with).

Zoey has always been an active child.  Anxious to climb to the highest slide and go down face first at the wee age of 18 months, it quickly became obvious this kiddo was not going to mimic her mother’s cautious nature.  In many ways, as she has gotten older, her personality has become more and more like mine, but certainly not on the playground.  Each summer she sets her sights on some new playground skill and relentlessly practices until she gets it DOWN.  Last summer, it was the monkey bars and the scooter.  It took months, many blisters, and a near concussion, but she got it.  And you know what?  It was great.  I was proud.  I set her up with the scooter, the helmet, the many trips to the park, and let her go.  With very little coaching from mom, she took off.

Not so with the bike.

Two wheels and a set of handlebars seem to give Zoey supreme anxiety, a level of anxiety I didn’t know she possessed when it comes to athletic skill.  She whines that her bike is too big (it’s not) and cries that she can’t do it (she can) every time we pull her spiffy Barbie bike out for a spin.  Frankly, I’m ready to give up and maybe wait for next summer.  But she’s not.  Despite the crying, the whining, and the fact that she slammed in to the side of a building (twice) last Wednesday, she’s determined to get it.

I suppose this is where it might be nice to have another parent around so I can turn over the reins.  I can nurse blisters and take her swimming and jog along beside her while she scooters down our favorite running path, but I can NOT seem to muster the patience needed to deal with this whiny, dramatic acquisition of two wheel bike riding.  Every time she asks if we can head to the park so she can ride her bike, I cringe.  She fascinates me…does she enjoy the crying?  The drama?  Why is she so determined to get this down?

Maybe we’ll both look back and remember the summer she was five, and how frustrated we both were while she doggedly cried her way through learning to ride a bike.  I admire her tenacity and, if I know my child, she won’t rest until the last tear is dried and she can confidently climb on board the Barbie bike and take off with no fear.  But damn.  Getting to that point could very well do her mother in.

And she’s already asking if she can get a skate board next summer.

Fresh start

Watch out, blogosphere, I’m back!

I abandoned my old blog nearly a year and a half ago because I was simply having a hard time writing posts that were authentic and genuine.  I started that blog when I was a married mom of a toddler, getting my husband through school so we could move home and start our real life together.  I dreamed of working part time as a nurse and raising the three children I was bound to produce.  I excercised because I had to, not because I wanted to.  I planned meticulous menus and organized grocery lists that took at least two drafts before I deemed them properly cross-referenced with coupons and store-ready.

Ohhh, the Amy of 2009.  I remember her well.

My life took some kind of crazy, effed-up detour that left me divorced from a drug addict, raising my daughter on my own and, perhaps most surprising of all, a RUNNER.

Yes, that’s right.  When the going gets tough, the tough start moving.  Or at least I did, if for no other reason than to release the pent-up stress and anxiety I felt constantly pressured by.  My friend Paul taught me proper form and pilfered an Albuterol inhaler for me, so I could survive my first winter season of running outside in the cold.  He trekked alongside me at what had to be a boring pace for him during my first painful 5k races, the races I felt sure I’d never finish.  My sister Abby ran along beside me and made sure I didn’t hurt myself on my worst days, when I needed to barrel down the indoor track of the YMCA like a gorilla, punching the air in front of me.  My mom bought me good shoes and supportive bras…the only real gear needed for my newfound sport.

Flash forward to Amy 2012.  A handful of half-marathons and various 10k races under my belt, and I have long since ditched my anxiety-inducing habit of menu planning and list making.  I live with a five-year-old.  Let’s be real.  We eat mostly PB&J and turkey dogs for dinner, the meal that is generally a stop-over between the end of a work day and the beginning of a busy evening spent at swim lessons or a training run or haircuts or the library or…or, or, or.  I miss the old Amy every once in awhile.  But I wouldn’t go back to 2009 if you paid me, and I’m happy in this life as a single mom/nurse/runner.

I write a lot about my daughter.  I plan to write a lot about how it is, exactly, that a single mom manages to train for a half marathon.  (Think lots and lots of babysitting support from friends and family who love us.)  I love to write.  That’s why I’m back!