The abrupt 5:42 AM morning wake up.
The breakfast routine where the princess just can’t decide what she prefers on her plate.
The putting-on of the shoes, jacket, gloves and hat while moving at a sloth’s hasty pace.
The school drop-off where you’re sad to say goodbye, but must pry the child’s hands off your leg ASAP so you can squeeze in a morning run!!
The quick jiggity jog followed by chaotic locker room rantings when you realize you forgot to pack your skivvies for work. Yup.
The day job. No lunch break. No down time. 8 clients in 7 hours. Annnnnnnnnd GO!
The “it’s already dark out and I feel like a bad mom” after school pick up.
The making of the dinner you wish was an organic, free-range, hand-carved pheasant with a delicious side of slow-roasted potatoes and green beans, but really it’s just a pot of rice and beans. Fill ‘er up kiddo.
The washing of the dishes. The packing of the lunches. The paying of the bills. The subsequent freaking out about the bills, your finances, your livelihood and how you’re going to have to work till your 90 years old. The doing of the laundry. The setting out of the running clothes. The packing of the gym bag.
The bathtime bubbles that go everywhere. The battle over brushing the teeth. The stories, lullabies and I love yous.
The boyfriend phone call to say goodnight that miraculously makes all the chaos feel manageable.
The passing out while doing coaching emails (job #2) sometime between 10 and 11 pm.
The doing it ALL OVER AGAIN the next day.
And the day after that.
And the day after that.
And the day after that….
Welcome to the rat race.
The Rat Race: where it’s not all bad, but it’s surely not always great either. Some days it just… well, it just is.
Calm down. I assure you, I love my life. In many ways I am very very happy and have much to be thankful for with Lillian, Christopher and my supportive family by my side. Plus running, coaching marathoners and counseling add color to my life in ways I could have never imagined. Yet over the past four months I have noticed something gradually starting to weigh on me: the monotonous day.
I’ll be honest- I find it affably obnoxious that the very thing I routinely search for [consistency & balance] often leads to a sense of boredom and a feeling of complacency. Now maybe that statement isn’t completely right. It’s not complacency that ails me, but rather the humdrum nature of the day that sometimes leaves me wondering, “Is this it?” Like I said earlier, I love many facets of my life and yet the constant balancing of the check book is taking a toll. I’m making enough, but I’m working my bum off. Lately I have felt like I’m just trying to survive the to-do list of the day. Just make it though Monday. Then Tuesday. Then Wednesday. And so on. The concept of going shopping for new work clothes or taking Lillian to events around Boston just feels so far right now. I can’t be alone in this…. please say I’m not alone in this…. anybody?
Maybe it’s the rat race wearing me down or maybe it’s the fact that I’m a single working marathon mom and some days I’m just spent. Marathon or not… single or part of a team… working or at home… each path has it’s own strengths and struggles. It’s time to face facts: I really just want to become independently wealthy, move to Alaska and run mountain trails day in/day out for as long as my legs will hold me. Oh and there will be plentiful amounts of cookies, ice cream and cinnamon buns at my disposal. Is that really so hard to ask??
Alas, I am NOT independently wealthy. I AM a single working mom. And I AM training to run my third Boston Marathon come April 2017.
So I run. I keep moving forward. Never stop running.
The funny thing is that I don’t just run to train. What I mean is that I don’t spend my days thinking about the Boston Marathon or my goal pace etc. In fact it rarely enters my mind. As I mentioned earlier sometimes it’s hard to see past the day. While this can feel limiting, at times it is refreshing- like when I’m running. ESPECIALLY when I’m racing!! A little over a week ago I raced the first race of my training cycle: the SSYMCA Frozen 5k 2017. I stood at the starting line a smidge nervous as I eyed the other runners. I know enough now that just because you “look quick” doesn’t mean that you have the passion to push hard and just because you don’t have a “runners body” (like myself with my meaty legs and short boxy torso) doesn’t mean that you can’t hustle your bum into a place on the podium!
From the moment the race began my mind went blank. I kept my eye on the leading female and for twenty minutes (and nine seconds ) I repeated to myself, “Keep pushing. Never stop running. Keep pushing. Harder. Cant stop, won’t stop, never stop running.” I found my manageable-yet-very-uncomfortable pace and held it strong for 3.1 miles. Not once did I doubt my own ability. Not once did I ponder if I would be able to manage. Not once did I complain to myself about the hurt. For the first time in a long time I just…existed. For twenty minutes I didn’t worry about anything. My mind wasn’t racing. I didn’t feel overwhelmed, unsure or incapable. I just existed in the moment running and breathing, breathing and running, and it was GLORIOUS.
This day was different.
This day wasn’t a rat race.
This day was MY race and it didn’t feel so humdrum after all.
The female lead tugged me along to push harder, run faster and put every morsel of my being into that race. I may have come in second place but I ran 11 seconds faster than the previous year and put in a much harder effort. Did I mention that IT FELT AWESOME?!?!
It may be Monday night where the rat race is in full swing but this feels different- something lit up inside of me last weekend. The race, the competition, the giving it everything my body had and the 20 minutes of empty, calm bliss that enveloped my brain. Pure perfection. There’s only one option: I NEED TO RACE AGAIN, and SOON!!
MV 20 Miler on 2/18 as a training run
Black Cat 10 miler in Salem 3/11 as a RACE
Eastern States 20 miler 3/25 as a training run
Never stop running… or racing <3