running fool

I’ve never liked running. Running, to me, it torture in slow motion. And in my case, very slow motion, especially if I’m running long distance. For track in high school, I ran sprints just because I wanted to get the running over and done with a fast as possible, not because I had any talent for sprinting.

Still, I run. I go through phases. Again, in high school, I used to take my little Excel car on back dirt roads and run 1-2 miles. In the past when I wasn’t a member of a gym I’d run for exercise, but never far. I have a 3 miles limit on my tolerance for running.

Now enter my husband. About three years ago he started running. He’s since competed in two half-marathons and one full. I’ve seen him come in from a fifteen-mile run, sweat dripping down his face, him all out of breath, and haven’t felt the slightest case of inspiration or desire to do the same. This is because running is misery.

And now, to torture myself, I’ve agreed to train for a half-marathon with him. I promised to do it when I still had an eight-pound baby in my stomach, sort of a nodded agreement, “Sure, next year I’ll train with you, dear”, all the while having to stop and catch my breath walking upstairs, so – at the time – it wasn’t the most sincere promise I’ve ever made.

But a promise is a promise and now it’s time.

My scheduled training starts on August 9th. It doesn’t seem too bad; three to four days of three to four miles runs a week, with one long run at the end of the week. According to the schedule, I’ll be able to run 13 miles by October 29th. 13. Effing. Miles.

Last week I ran a total of ten miles, spread over 4 days. I didn’t die. Last night I ran four miles straight and it actually felt, sort of, cool. Like, the last mile felt cool. I’ve rarely run more than three miles at a time in my 34 years of life, so the fact I wasn’t combusting internally from the distance felt reassuring. Of course, this morning I ran a measly three miles and wanted to die about halfway through so last night’s high was probably some fluke.

The hardest part of this all is forcing myself to slow down. I hate running slow – hence the whole sprinter-in-high-school-thing. My natural instinct is to run as fast as I can to make the run get over and done with. But I’ve got to get the whole “pacing” aspect of long distance running in my head. I’m in decent physical shape right now so I have no doubt my body can take me to 13 miles, but the question is if my mind can handle it.

I’m excited about the whole “setting a goal and achieving it step by step” aspect of this trek. I’m sure the sense of accomplishment is rewarding. Maybe I’ll grow to love running. Maybe. In the meantime, I’m taking it one scheduled run to the next, hoping it gets over as quick as possible.

just keep “swimming”

I sat in the kiddie pool a few days ago, with my 10-month-old in my lap. He was happily splashing away. Meanwhile, on the hot concrete, my 2-year-old was pacing back and forth, throwing toys in the water, but refusing to go into the one-foot deep pool. And in another four-foot pool, my husband was splashing around with our 7-year-old, who was wearing inflatable water wings as he confidently “swam”.

Meanwhile, I was eavesdropping on a conversation taking place in the kiddie pool.

“Teaching swimming is the easiest thing in the world! It’s SO EASY. Anyone can do it.”

The speaker was the grandmother of a little girl, about one-year-old, and she was confidently stating this to her son-in-law. “Seriously. Teaching swimming is the easiest thing in the world“. This woman repeated the phrase at least half a dozen times.

I looked at L, red faced with her arms poking out of her puddle-jumper. A few weeks ago she fell on the steps of a pool, face first (wearing the puddle-jumper) and ever since then the girl would not go in a pool. Be it a kiddie pool, or my little plastic wading pool in my own backyard, she is not putting a single toe in the water.

Then, my big boy E. I started swimming lessons with him at 3. This year is his fourth year of swimming lessons through the town, and he still needs water wings in deep water. He’s a “level 2” swimmer, but his instructor has to hold him up when he practices the back float. He talks a big game when it comes to swimming, but I don’t know if he could survive falling off a dock or boat.

I wanted to go to the woman and ask her advice. I really, seriously did. Because, among the things I feel bad about as a mother, my children’s swimming abilities ranks high. Especially with E.

I was a late swimmer. I was always the weakest compared to my friends. I can remember being 9 or 10 and all my friends trying to teach me to dive into the water, and me crying and refusing. Even today, I can hardly muster much beyond a breaststroke when I go in a pool. I have a very real fantasy of completing a triathlon, but this is always debunked when I imagine swimming long distance. I can’t do the freestyle across the length of a pool, how could I possibly swim a quarter mile in open water?

Anyway, on this same pool-date-day, L did manage to sit on the edge of the pool and kick her feet in the water. This is progress. I’m sure the fear of falling in won’t last forever, and before I know it she’ll be back splashing around.

Furthermore, E is becoming more and more proficient each day. Unlike when he was 3 or 4, he actually has a desire to learn to swim now. He has a full week of swimming lessons left, and I’m going to sign him up for the next session as soon as I can. He doesn’t appear to be super behind his other peers in ability. I know, based on his personality, if I had thrown him in the water with a rope around his waist two years ago, he’d still be suffering from major PTSD.

So while I still think about that woman and he Easiest thing in the world to teach comment, I also know for my kids this slow and steady approach is probably the best way. I’ll keep diligently signing the kids up for lessons every summer, I’ll keep them going to pools and lakes and the ocean, and I’ll keep all those floatation devices on them until they beg me to allow them to swim without them.

gone

So I’ve gone and done it. Become one of the masses of hoards of abandoned “mommyhood” blogs. I didn’t intend to- of course not. So here comes the next cliche- the “promise of more frequent updating”.

It’s not that my source material is any different. I keep having the thoughts: I should write about this, or this would make a great post. First it was my road trip to New Hampshire, then the purchase of a new, ultra-cool minivan (I type that without a trace of irony), I could have also written about my daughter’s complete lack of cooperativity with potty training (I’m writing this staring at her still-cloth-diaper-bottom and grimacing). My solo-parenting-cross-country trip a few weeks ago is full of great potential ancedotes and stories.

But, like many before me, I just haven’t had the motivation. I’m not particularly busier than before; if anything, I’m spending less time writing because I’m spending more time scrolling, a habit I am desperate to quit. When I started this blog I had a cuddly little newborn, a hazy sense of time and the hormones made sitting and reflecting just easier.

So I’m going to fight my slacker status and aim to update at least twice a week. We are in the dead heat of summer, that time of year when I look at my tanned, blonde children and wonder if their browned skin is the sign of healthy outdoorsy kids or if I’m harming them and subjecting them to skin cancer. The days are long, sticky, there is so much to do this time of year and yet I also find it the most frustrating (it’s too damn hot!). I’m going to focus on just writing, pushing the words out, and worry less about what the reader thinks (I get terribly shy when it comes to people I personally know reading my words).

So – here it is. My “Coming Back” post. Hopefully it’s not the final update I ever give and you, the reader, aren’t reading it as my “most recent post” in the year 2019. If it is 2019 and you are reading this as the newest post, do me a favor, please, track me down and kick my butt. I’ll probably be looking down at my iphone 9 scrolling through Instagram. I’ll deserve the butt kicking. Thanks!