Allow me to sum up the past four months of my running life: my springtime training plan went horribly awry, leaving me with neck pain and headaches that took forever to ease off; Amy and I ran only one half marathon all summer; long runs are now 6-7 miles as opposed to the double digits of last year; I discovered (and fell in love with) arm warmers…and I’m looking in to buying a set of knuckle lights and a reflective vest because I just can’t stomach the thought of heading back to the track at the Y merely because darkness now falls at 7 p.m.
I was pretty gung-ho about documenting my running life earlier this year. And I expected, as we headed in to the nice weather of summer, that I would have more time on my hands both to run when I wanted to and write when I wanted to. Not so, the universe reminded me. And it wasn’t just my troublesome neck that reminded me I’m not cut out to be an intense, training-plan-following, running-6-days-a-week type of mother runner. My daughter finished kindergarten back in June and OH MY GOD. This summer left me longing for the days of dropping her off at daycare in the morning and picking her up there, at the same spot, each evening. The season was a blur of ‘Where Is She Going This Week’. Summer camps, college kid babysitters, a few weeks of driving her back and forth to Oma’s in Mt. Vernon…combined with trading daycare with other parents so that my every Wednesday off left me with not one but at least two and sometimes three antsy 6 year olds. It was my debut summer as parent-to-an-elementary-schooler and by mid-July I knew it was going down in history as a Fail, AND WHEN DOES SCHOOL START AGAIN ANYWAY, but we’ll do better next year. The chaos definitely shoved my running habit to the back burner.
However, the season was not a total loss.
I mentioned those weeks the little one spent with my mom, who lives two hours away. I won’t admit this to my child until she’s grown and has children of her own…but those were the best weeks of my summer. You want to know why? Without my daughter here, I could roll out of bed just as daylight was breaking, force Amy to do the same, and go for a 3-4 mile run BEFORE OUR DAY EVEN STARTED. That’s right, folks. I fell in love with checking the running box first thing in the morning. I always hear about moms who say they have to make themselves get up at 5 a.m. because if they don’t run early, they won’t fit it in to their day at all. Let me just say that if that’s a luxury afforded to your life, I am completely jealous of you. It is glorious to step out your front door just as the sun is rising, when the only sound in your entire neighborhood is your feet pounding the sidewalk. Meeting your BRF on the corner a few blocks away and checking off the running box together? Even better.
So there you have it. A summer of running highlighted not by training for and running a litany of half marathons, but by the short little early morning runs that I could squeeze in at irregular intervals. This is my life right now and it’s taken me four months to come around to the idea of accepting it, but I’m getting there. Someday, my daughter will grow up and need me just a little less, and this will open up new doors (and timeframes) for running. Running doesn’t have to be intense, going up a size in jeans is not the end of the world, and WHO KNEW ARM WARMERS WERE SO AWESOME.
(Seriously. Go buy yourself a pair. You won’t be sorry.)
(And it will motivate you to keep at the free weights, because the arm pudge oozing out the tops of the warmers is not. pretty.)