Friday, April 6, 2012

Balancing Act

Being a stay-at-home-mom is one of the most challenging things I've ever done. You spend all day with your amazing, trying, sometimes crabby and needy, kiddo, and every day is the same. You yearn for adult conversation. You get no weekends off. It's utterly exhausting. But it's also wonderful. I've witnessed all the "firsts" in the Weasel's life. I've taught her so many different things and watched her eyes open wide as she explores this "new" world around her. (And I really hate to complain since her father has missed so much of her life already due to deployment, but sometimes it's frustrating. Especially after having a "real" job.)

Fortunately, I belong to an amazing running club, Stroller Warriors, full of women in a similar role. We meet twice a week for scheduled runs and sometimes lament our day-to-day drudgery (more often we talk about upcoming races, training plans, or ways to fuel for our long runs!). But we need that outlet. It keeps us sane.

TE, Jill (in blue) and me on our pre-Easter Tuesday workout.

Yesterday, I ran 7 miles with my friend, Jill. She's an amazing SAHM with a nearly 1-year old. Her husband is gone for a couple weeks to do training elsewhere and while she was ecstatic that she witnessed Liam's first 4 unassisted steps, she was frustrated with herself. Jill's signed up to do a triathlon later this month, so she has been trying to work in some time on her bike trainer. The other day, she logged exactly 9 minutes before her son woke up. She found herself irritated at the situation and then felt lousy for having her priorities out of whack. 

Jill with Liam before one of our Saturday long runs...making it happen!

I've found myself thinking these exact same thoughts. How do I balance being a good, attentive mother with maintaining wifely duties and keeping myself happy? I do it by exercising. I love running. Even when it sucks, it's one of the best parts of my day. I am thrilled that the Weasel doesn't fuss too much in her stroller (she's even done a full half with me!). She's a terrible napper for the most part, but she sometimes lets me finish an entire Insanity workout mid-day. I'm grateful that I don't have to sit at a desk, yearning to get out for a workout; but it's not that simple. She has a schedule. If I take her for a long run, it compromises her naps. If I want to go for a bike ride, I have to find someone to watch her or get her into the hourly care (which means a long drive). And lord knows when the last time I got into the pool was! But if I didn't do these things, I can't imagine how grumpy I would be. 

So while it's not always easy, I try to remember that I am also a priority. My happiness sanity comes from running. If I don't fit it in, I notice a difference. Running (or working out in general) makes me a better mother and a better wife. For all of you other mother runners out there struggling with this same balancing act, just know you're not alone. Remember, you are just as important as everyone else. As long as you're not sacrificing the needs (not wants) of your child, the way you fit in your "me" time is not only a good thing, it's a necessary thing. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Best Friend + Care Package = One Happy Runner

I'm hosting a baby shower for my friend, Lynsey, in May, and she wanted to get me a little gift just to say thank you. She veered away from the traditional hostess gift of a candle or bottle of wine, and instead, went out and gathered some awesome products that she thought I might like. Here's a peek at the care package:

I'm in love with all things Honey Stinger and Nuun, but Lynsey got me a Honey Stinger gel and a new flavor of their organic energy chews that I've never tried, plus a new flavor of Nuun! I've never tried the Hammer Heed products, but I just got a new bike trainer (there will be a post about that) and I'm itching to sign up for a triathlon, so those will definitely come in handy on future bike rides. What runner doesn't love great socks? I've got a pair of Balega's, but the other pair, Thorlo's Experia, are new to me and I can't wait to wear them. And best of all, she sent me a new Brooks running hat...and isn't it PRETTY?!

I seriously have the best friends a running gal could ask for! Thanks're so thoughtful! Love you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

In Memorial...A Post for Micah True

About a year ago, I had recently given birth to my first child and was struggling to get back in shape. I had signed up for a local half marathon to prove to myself that not all was lost in the realm of physical fitness. Unfortunately, I didn't have the proper equipment to run with the Weasel in the Bob, so I found myself logging many miles on the dreadmill while she played happily in the co-located day care facility. During these miles, I would enhance the font on my Kindle to GIANT and read while running. The first book I tackled was Born To Run. I was mesmerized, fascinated, and overwhelmed by the story of Caballo Blanco (Micah True), a man who had given up nearly everything, moved to Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, and taken up a live of running with the Tarahumara Indian tribe. (Since this is basically cult reading for runners, I have no doubt most of your have read this as well.)


I found myself zipping through miles and not even noticing because I had immersed myself in the struggles and successes that the group of runners who eventually made it down to Mexico to complete a first ever 50-mile race through Tarahumara country. I was inspired to run longer and to try to teach my body that despite the aches and pains, this is what it was made to do.

Recently, I saw on Twitter that Micah True was missing after setting out for a run in New Mexico (his usual routine). Soon after came the terrible news that he perished in a desert canyon, legs half submerged in a stream with a 1/2 full canteen next to him. He was just 58 years old. 

While the entire running community is saddened by this loss, I was happy to read this article, where the point I pulled away, is that runners are not coming out against this solo, ultra running way of life, but rather, encouraging one another to go out for a run - without a GPS or watch - and just enjoy logging miles, the way Micah always did. God bless this man and his amazing contribution to the running world.