Monthly Archives: October 2012

Run with it

I always think it’s funny when people ask me why I run.  Not funny that they would ask the question, but funny that when I stop and think about it, I can never quite articulate why I do run.  Sure, there are the standard answers: it allows me to eat whatever the hell I want, it keeps me from becoming homicidal…but when you get right down to it, why does a 34 year old woman who never ran in her life until three years ago, who suffers from chronic neck pain and holds a full time job while parenting a small child on her own want to run?

I’m reading the novel Love Anthony by Lisa Genova right now.  While I love her other novel, Still Alice, far more, I’m still enjoying this book quite a bit and as I sat reading over my lunch this afternoon, I came to a paragraph that sums up why I run.  One of the characters, Olivia, is describing how her walks on the beach every day have healing powers on her mind.  Substitute the word ‘run’ for ‘walk’, and you have a nice mission statement:

“Walking feels good.  It enlivens her brain, convincing scared and buried thoughts that it’s safe to come out of hiding, inviting incomplete thoughts to show their jagged edges, welcoming the wandering and weak.  When she walks, her thoughts line up in her mind like white rocks where they can be clearly seen and cared for.”

That’s IT.

A few months ago, I was running by myself at the park, and from nowhere (it seemed) the thought popped in to my head: I really hate Bryan.  Can’t stand him.  Now, in my non-running state, my first instinct would be to feel somehow guilty or ashamed of this thought.  While not running, I would quickly back that up with ‘shame on you, he’s Zoey’s dad’, or ‘well, YOU married him, dumbass’.  But in my running state, the thought just kind of hung out there for awhile.  No judgement.  My mind and body together seemed to think it was okay–fair, even– to hate the man who ruined my marriage and has turned out to be a rather crappy show of a father to my daughter.  And in that moment of just hanging with the thought, I could feel a little edge of the anger and hate peeling away and floating off to wherever bad, shameful thoughts go when you’re through with them.

Sometimes we run to feel good about our bodies.  Sometimes we run to carve out a little social hour with our friends.  Sometimes we run because we know there is cheesecake waiting in our near future and a good five miles pre-cheesecake makes us feel slightly less guilty.  Sometimes, though, we run to be with our thoughts for awhile and give ourselves a break from beating ourselves up.

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Further chronicles of a slacker mom

I am changing the title of this blog to SlackerMomRunning.  Or something like that.  It seems, despite my best efforts to maintain long lists posted on my kitchen cabinets regarding all the important things that need to happen/be remembered each day, I am still forgetful and this week the room mom of Zoey’s class (excuse me, Support Manager) called me an “all around slacker”.  We’re friends.  I think.  So I’m pretty sure she was kidding but regardless, she’s right.  This week, I managed to forget the Farm Day theme for Friday (totally disregarded the email that went out asking for parent helpers at the breakfast Friday morning, as I knew I would be at work happily not dealing with 21 kiddos begging for more pigs in a blanket) but I forgot to send Zoey dressed in Farm Wear.  I’m pretty sure we don’t have any farm wear, and anyway, Zoey didn’t seem all that put off by not being sent to school in overalls.  In fact, she didn’t even mention the theme of the day–it wasn’t until we were at my sister’s house later in the evening, eating pizza and babysitting my niece and nephew, and I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone (I’m an awesome babysitter), and I saw the frantic 7 a.m. post from Jennifer (Support Manager Mom) cataloging all the items she had accomplished before daybreak in preparation for this Farm Breakfast, and also some pictures another friend had sent me of the kids actually participating in the Farm Breakfast–and I happened to mention to Zoey ‘hey, how was the breakfast at school this morning?’.  Her reply?  ‘It was good.  We were supposed to dress in farm clothes today.  I think we forgot.’

And that was that.

Oh, and then there was Wednesday.  My child, on the verge of mental exhaustion, was in tears before school, begging to stay home with me for the day.  I felt sorry for her.  But I had a list of errands to accomplish that was longer than my arm, and I needed her to be in school all day.  And I’m not ashamed to admit that the first item on the list, right after 1. Drop off Zoey 0830 was 2. GO FOR A RUN.  Running has seriously taken a back seat to all this frenetic kindergarten activity, and I need to re-prioritize.  My pants are fitting a little snug and I’m starting to feel guilty about things that, in the big picture of life, don’t matter.  (See above: Farm Breakfast.  There’s also not-selling-enough-Coupon-Books guilt, forgetting-to-organize-family-community-service-volunteer-project shame, and oops-did-I-REALLY-volunteer-to-organize-the-Box-Top-fundraiser? embarrassment.  And don’t even get me started on F**k-the-Phone-a-Thon-I-am-NOT-calling-and-asking-people-to-pay-more-money-than-they-already-do-to-this-school.)

Which brought us to Thursday, the only day in the week I truly did feel guilty about.  Zoey just couldn’t hack another day in school.  She wasn’t sick, per se, no fever and no vomiting, but she, the girl who bounces out of bed each day at 6 a.m., had lost her bounce.  I had to drag her from bed at 6:35, just as I was getting ready to leave, and I held her as she cried and said ‘I just don’t feel good, Mommy’.  I felt bad.  I had seen this coming, after all.  Kid needed a mental health day yesterday, and had I just dropped whatever else needed to get done and tended to her, we could have avoided this come-on-sweetie-I-have-to-leave-for-work drama.  When you think about it, it makes sense.  I’m the Ultimate Organizer (or…Slacker) in this kindergarten game, but she’s the Player.  In school, all day every day, trying to keep up with a million different themes and concepts and new rules and new teachers.  And if I’m ready to throw in the towel and scream at someone CAN WE PLEASE JUST HAVE A FRIDAY WITH NO ‘THEME’ ALREADY?! and I’m a level-headed adult…well, I can see why a five-year-old would be on the verge of meltdown on a random Thursday morning.

So I had to leave her with my grandma all day.  God bless grandma.  They sat on the couch and watched PBS cartoons all day until I could get someone to relieve me at work at 3 p.m. (more guilt, more drama that I had no time for) so I could come home.

And there you have it.  Another week in the life of a slacker mom.  SlackerMomRunning has a nice ring, doesn’t it?  Is it bad that I don’t mind my new nickname?  Because at the end of the week, I’m just relieved we survived.  It’s now Saturday morning, and I am happily typing and sipping coffee while Zoey is happily working on homework.  We made it through another week.  And, if I can figure out a way to get back on my running schedule, I’m going to care even less about things like Farm Day.  Brace yourself, Support Manager.

Surprise!

So there I was, having just ran a half marathon in 2:30 (Amy and I were taking it slow and enjoying ourselves on the Interurban Trail in Bellingham on Saturday morning), wearing two racing shirts because it had been crazy-cold at the start line, plus a plastic Hawaiian purple lei (Maui Mile) and a tiara crafted from pipe cleaners (Princess Mile), with a running skirt I’m pretty sure I peed on because gravity + 13.1 miles = a bitch, and I pull in to my mother’s driveway looking forward only to a long, hot shower and an afternoon spent lounging on mom and Paul’s back deck, gazing at the lake while my leg muscles slowly stopped quivering, when what to my wondering eyes should appear?

Most of my family, many of my friends, all assembled for a surprise birthday party.

FOR ME.

I had no clue.  Seriously.  I probably would have cried if I had had any fluid left in my body.  My sweet mom had apparently been planning this for months.  My sister Alisa and her family were there, aunts, uncles, cousins, plenty of kiddos for Zoey to play with, my best friend Rikki and her family, my dear friend Paul (the only CRNA I’ve ever met that I don’t hate working with), and then, behind another small crowd of people, I saw Kate and Kendra, two of my mom friends from Vancouver.  My aunt Cindy tells me the look on my face was priceless when I saw them.  They had driven probably close to five hours to be there.  I hadn’t seen them in months.  Then I REALLY wanted to cry.  How had all these beloved people pulled this off WITHOUT BLOWING IT??

Mom says it was hard.  Actually, her direct quote was “as the week went on, I just didn’t want to talk to you at all.  It was too hard not to blow the surprise.  So I kind of didn’t want you to call me”.

I spent the entire afternoon lounging on the deck, as planned, except I was surrounded by nearly everyone I love.  If Abby had been there, it would have been perfect.  Mom had fashioned runner’s bibs for everyone to wear in lieu of name tags.  The whole theme was running.  A ‘start’ banner led you to the beginning of the buffet line; a ‘finish’ flag was stationed near the cake table.  The food was excellent and all my nieces and nephews, plus Zoey, helped me blow out the candles on my birthday cake (trick candles, which they found hilarious).

What an awesome birthday, and what a perfect mix of people.  34 seems to be off to a very, very good start.

Here we go again

An extra day off today made my birthday week most relaxing and fun.

And it gives me time to do all the errands I would normally accomplish in a weekend, as Zoey and I are northbound this evening, along with Amy, so Amy and I (together with Carrie, and her sister, and my best friend Rikki, and many of Rikki’s friends) can take part in the Run Like a Girl half marathon in Bellingham.

It’s really a shame I haven’t run AT. ALL. in the past week and a half.

Good thing there will be something to look forward to at each mile marker of this race (I’ve heard rumors of Tiara Stations, Chocolate Miles, and–the one I’m personally waiting for–several fire fighters waiting to greet you as you cross the finish line).  Also, it’s a good thing it’s billed as a very casual, low-key race.  It’s not even chip timed.  The website recommends that if there’s a particular time you’d like them to yell out for you as you cross the finish line, just let them know shortly before you finish.  Sounds fun!  And interesting, and most likely painful, as I’m sure that jumping back in to the 13.1 game after nearly two weeks of nothing is NOT recommended on any professional training plan.

Maybe I’m not as nervous as I probably should be because I know I’ll be running with a group, and if I collapse, I’m sure they’ll all drag my body across the finish line.  Oooh!  Maybe the fire fighters will come rescue me….