That’s what it feels like I’ve been doing for the past few months. And I mean it literally. I’m due at the starting line of the Applefest half-marathon relay race in four days, and I’m not feeling too good about it. Taking on 6.4 miles was never gonna come easy. But this time around, training, and finding time to train, has been a bit more stressful than soul-soothing.
Running has always been a constant in my life, my go-to for both physical and mental fitness. There’s nothing like the runner’s high. And I’m no stranger to road races, from 5Ks to half-marathons. I’ve always enjoyed training, because I love to run. But then I’ve never done as much running around on my “day job” as I do now.
When I signed up for Applefest months ago, I was very optimistic that it would be a great way to shed baby weight and get back into running after nine months of being a sedentary blob. I thought, for some deluded reason, that I would have all the time in the world to pound pavement. But hello, people with three small children in various stages of development do not have all the time in the world. We rarely have a minute to use the bathroom or put on fresh clothes. I multitask to the point where I blather incomprehensible commands to my children, like “put your shoes on your book bag” and “make sure you eat your milk.”
I’ve tried my best to fit long runs in between weekend yard clean-ups and grocery store runs, do push-ups during nap time, even use Julie as a free weight. I’ve got a dedicated running partner who’s been there to bolster me up when I’ve felt like I couldn’t run another step. I know I can do the mileage on Saturday. But I’m just not feeling the magic. I’m not uplifted, I’m not inspired. I’m just so damn tired. (Hmm…Taylor Swift’s next song?)
I’m going to take a moment here and mommy rant, so some readers may want to skip to the end. But I think anyone who does, or ever did, a lot of manual labor in a day can relate. On my job, I run around all day. Take the 20 foot sprint from the family room to the bathroom, to prevent the toddler from playing in the toilet. I repeat that sprint about 20 times a day to keep dirt/toys/rocks/old food/and whatever else the tot finds under the baseboards out of her mouth. Then there are the laps at the grocery store, the drug store, Target (that’s a BIG store, you know), the craft store, etc. Then there are the quarter-milers around the block with the kids, trips to the playground and evening bike rides. The fatigue builds. Some days, I pray for rain. Throw in a few 3 AM wake-up calls for bad dreams/teething/illness and this mama is spent. Running isn’t the release it used to be because I’m already a wet noodle by the end of the day. There’s no angst left to fuel a four mile-run!
You would think all this running around would help me be a better runner, but indeed it has just the opposite effect. And can you tell it makes me cranky?
I hope the adrenaline kicks in on race day, and I feel the love again. But I’m thinking it might be time to trade in the running shoes for something that seems a little less like work. Reading? Knitting? Meditating? I’ll settle for just sitting in one place for five minutes.