Yesterday, while my kids were pegging Legos at each others heads, giggling wildly and shrieking (I mean, ear piercing shrieks) I found myself wondering why their behavior has gone downhill so fast this week. And just as I started to raise my voice for another stern “If I have to tell you boys one more time to calm down you are both going in time out” a stark realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Or, at least a handful of Legos to the forehead: My kids aren’t misbehaving, I’m the one with the attitude problem.
So I immediately put myself in time out.
As the hysterical giggling continued, I sat in the other room and took a few breaths. It’s 6 pm and I’m tired. No, tired isn’t the word. EXHAUSTED.
But not that burnt-out-stressed-out-might-explode exhausted. Just a good, physically exhausted. Like a 3 year old slouched over drooling on the straps of their car seat 2 minutes into the car ride home after an exceptionally fun day at the playground.
Currently, I’m on top of the world with my running, hitting 11 days in a row of my marathon training, to a tee. No missed workouts. Even my cross training days have been awesome. That’s got to be a record of some sort (for me). And what’s more, I’ve seemed to have cured that “must-race-everything-I-possibly-can” fever, as I find myself turning down local 5k’s, turkey trots, and local half marathons that friends are racing. I turn them down because they interfere with weekend long runs. I turn them down because I want a GOOD, solid marathon, and I want it bad. No local 5k age group/overall trophy or medal seems to even come close to measuring up to how bad I want this marathon.
I’ve decided true marathon training is like being in a committed relationship. You can SAY you want it, you can go through some of the motions, but at the end of the day you either have to give 100% or get out. You’re either ready , or you aren’t. I haven’t been until now. 4 full marathons and having never (not once) hit over 100 miles in a month will prove that I’ve always been less than faithful to the distance. But now that I’m putting everything I have into this training, I’m learning a lot about myself. I’m learning to really question my reasoning, question my emotions, take a look outside of my immediate self and focus on the bigger picture. Sure, this applies towards the whole “man my bed is SO warm and comfy, do I really want to get up at 5:00 am?” predicament, but it goes far beyond that.
Probably over a year ago, someone left a comment on one of my blog posts saying something along the lines of the whole “Running makes me a better mother” statement was just a cop-out by all of us moms who are trying to justify all of our running. And that running makes us better at many things but mothering our children is just not one of them. Mind you this comment came from a running mother at that. That comment has stuck with me for this long. I didn’t believe it back then , and I certainly don’t agree with it now. My life lessons in running carry over into my parenting, and my life lessons in parenting carry over to running.
As I sat there in my time out I realized that patience may just be the most important lesson I take from this marathon training.
Patience to realize that the goal I want to achieve will not happen over night.
Patience to realize that while 9:42/mile (the pace that runner’s world smart coach keeps hounding me with) seems painfully slow right now, it will pay off to keep my pace in check.
Patience to realize that one day I will be able to race five-5k’s in a row if that’s what I want, but right now I want the marathon, so the 5k’s must wait.
Patience to realize that despite the fact that this goal means so much to me, my children did not choose this. On any given day, they’d choose the excited, energetic (not post tempo-run-tired) mom to chase them around the house in a game of tag, and not get frustrated at them for doing things that toddler and preschool aged boys are supposed to do….like build an intricate tower of blocks only to barrel across the room at top speed (and top of their lungs) sending the tower into a crashing heap of disaster on the living room floor. Am I frustrated with them, or am I just tired? I’m just tired. They are just babies. Deep breath, relax, and give them everything they deserve out of their mama.
Nothing good and worth striving to be your best for ever comes easy. Be it a marathon, school, a relationship, or motherhood. There are ups and there are downs, but even the worst of days are a blessing in disguise.
I took myself out of time out, and joined the boys for an exciting game of monster truck versus dinosaur, a fun picnic dinner in the living room, a few books, and a thrilling episode of Go-Diego-Go. These are the moments I will always treasure.
See? Running just made me a better mom. Again. Or being a mom just made me a better runner. Again. I’m not sure it matters which came first, all I know is that I am so thankful to be a running mom. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
And speaking of running moms…here are two more you need to check out.
1) My very first college roommate Sarah. Mother of two, just started running this summer, has caught the bug and signed up for her 3rd race already! She JUST started blogging yesterday, so go over and say hi! (just don’t ask her to tell you any stories about freshman year. I will deny EVERYTHING!) http://www.sarah-goingthedistance.blogspot.com/
2)UL-TARA my crazy 100 mile running mama is having a headsweats hat giveaway on her blog! Stop by and enter! http://mommysarunner.blogspot.com/2010/11/give-away.html