Marathons and Motherhood.

August 22, 2011 at 11:32 am | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away) | 14 Comments

Even though we were on vacation last week, I was determined to keep to my training schedule and do the distance I had planned.

Early in the week, I was keeping up with my hydration and nutrition, (even though I indulged in salty snacks and Mike’s Hard Lemonades) and I was able to run my distances without issue. I had a really good, fast 7 mile run and a nice relaxed 5 mile run.

And then on Friday I was to run 18 miles. And I wasn’t as good as I should have been on Thursday – my rest day – about staying on top of hydration. I drank a couple of Mike’s in the early evening. And we had tacos instead of pasta.

I made it 11 on a really hilly route before I cried uncle.

It was pretty awful, actually. I was angry with myself for not taking better care of my body so that I COULD accomplish the distance I wanted.

And then I got angry at myself. Because if I was a BETTER runner, I wouldn’t HAVE to nurture my body.

I could just, you know, go.

It was a long drawn out hatefest going on.

So on Sunday morning, I decided to attempt another long run. 10 miles this time, which would put me up to 33 for the week, which is where I would have liked to be.

Problem is, the 18 attempt had been so awful, and I had been beating myself up for it for two days, that mentally I wasn’t sure I could manage it.

Because if there’s one thing my Inner Critic is good at, it’s creating doubt.

But I filled up my water bottles on my fuel belt with gatorade, and put a packet of Gu in there.

And I went out anyway. And in the first 3 awful miles, when my muscles screamed and all I could think was This is so fucking STUPID! What am I DOING, thinking I can run a MARATHON? I just kept trying to truck along.

I stopped to walk at one point, and I saw out of the corner of my eye another runner approaching. So I started jogging along, because, you know, I have to keep my street cred. Or something.

And when he passed me, at a MUCH faster clip, he said this to me.

Ah, another early morning marathoner out for a run. Have a good one!

He called me a MARATHONER.

****

When I first had O, I felt like I was faking the mom thing. I relied on my SIL, my mom and my friends to help me figure out my baby.

I STILL remember feeling like a Big Fake on my first Mother’s Day.

It’s still hard for me to remember those days. Because I was SUPPOSED to be happy that he was here. It was what I had dreamed about for so many years.

But there I was, completely overwhelmed, sleep deprived, and scared shitless because I was responsible for this being and I had NO CLUE what I needed to do.

It wasn’t until those first shots at his 2 month appointment where I wanted to punch the nurse who made him cry that I really felt like his mother.

****

That’s where I am, apparently, with this marathon training thing.

When that runner called me a marathoner, I was sort of shocked.

Me? A marathoner? No way. Marathoners go out for double digit runs every weekend. They get up early and get it done. It’s just what they DO; it’s no big deal.

(And of course my Inner Critic says: I bet you they don’t even have to focus on hydration the night before.)

Except.

I get up on the weekends and do long runs, all in the double digits. I get up early and just get it done. And then I go and live my life. Because I have a three year old son, so I can’t just go home and stay off my feet and rest and take naps. I have a life to live, too.

For the rest of the run, that man’s label stuck with me.

Marathoner.

****

It seems like O hates me right now. In all things, he prefers his father. He contradicts me on everything. If I say it’s time for school, he argues “it’s NOT time for school!”

And yells it over and over and over and over and over until I either agree with him or push the issue and fight him on it.

And then we spiral down into a pissing contest, and I’m left hating myself.

Really, Serenity? You need to WIN AN ARGUMENT WITH A THREE YEAR OLD? Over whether or not the sky is BLUE?

I have no idea how to handle him. On the one time I did pickup, he pitched a fit so badly that not only did his teacher remark that she had never seen him like that, but then she commented to J the next day that it didn’t seem like I knew how to handle it.

(Yeah, that was awesome.)

I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing with him some days.

I’ve heard having a three year old can do that to you.

****

Apparently, I need to be perfect at something, really know EVERYTHING about it, in order to accept that I am something.

Marathons and Motherhood are just two examples, really.

The fact is, most people are just faking their way through life; taking things as they come, trying something out, reacting when it works or doesn’t work.

There are very few EXPERTS at life.

I ran my 10 miles going by how I FELT. I decided to not force myself to slow down if I felt good. I walked a couple of hills where my legs were cramped up.

But I finished strong, sprinting my way up a hill I usually walk, too.

And as I walked the rest of the way to my house, basking in the endorphins of a good run, my mantra kept repeating in my head.

I am a marathoner.

And I got home, and O freaked the fuck out about something I said or did.

And I took him to the grocery store with me anyway, to give J a break from the three year old insanity. And when I was done, I gave him a quarter so he could ride the mechanical horse outside the store.

And then he broke out in a song from his favorite Backyardigans episode, and I sang along. We giggled when we both yelled “yahoo!!!”

I am his mother.

And at the end of the day, I’m kind of just faking my way through life.

But so is everyone else.

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14 Comments »

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  1. Amen.
    Apparently I need to write a post because I just keep leaving it in everyone’s comment box…but my friend just told me a story. She was in with a group of women (religious conference) and all looked so posh and together. Then they all started talking and she realized that they were all just as “broken” as she is. They were just really good at looking like they have it all together from the outside. We all fake it.

    I know I do. And, for what it is worth, I do hear that three is the worst age. Much more horrible than “terrible” twos are…which I am dreading because two is pretty much kicking my ass.

  2. When J was a baby, he preferred me, and would never go to sleep for my husband. I knew it bothered my husband when he cried and cried for me. I always told Mr S that the day would come when he would reject me and only want daddy- and that day is now. When J acts out, I ask “Do you want trouble?” and that means time out or no computer games or TV time. He hates that so much he’ll mind me after that, but I know not every kids cares.

  3. What a great post! We are all faking it through this life and there is always someone who LOOKS like they are doing a better job than we are. Some might actually be doing a better job at some things. But nobody can live our lives but us.

    Kudos to you for doing long runs on your vacation. That is what a marathoner does! You are a marathoner. I ran a marathon once and when I finished those 26.2 miles I realized one thing, it wasn’t the race that was hard, it was the training. It was getting my ass up and running 18 miles by myself. That is what’s hard about it. And you’re already doing that. You’re doing the hard part. You ARE a marathoner!

    And you’re a great mom.

    I might have an idea for a good book to deal with your son’s fickle ways right now. I use a similar book for teaching and it’s been so helpful. I have their book for parents and can’t wait to read it. My daughter is one so she’s a little young yet but it’s really great. It’s not a system but a philosophy. Anyway, let me know if you’re interested and I’ll pass along the information. I totally understand if you’re not, too.

  4. You have NO IDEA how much I am TOTALLY faking my way through right now.. LOVED THIS POST!

  5. Sometimes I miss the days of serious running. I felt so accomplished! The perfect Saturday: up at 6:30, a long run in the sunshine, taking my time with my stretching, back home for breakfast with my husband, and a day spent eating and doing whatever I please. And then there was motherhood. I still run a couple of times a week, but my distance and times are shameful. Running seems so much harder to me now than it used to.

  6. Three. Is. HARD. We’re there too, and so much if it seems to be about control. Stupid shit like “mama don’t say ‘you guys.'” Seriously, kid???? And she shrieks if I forget one of the forbidden words or phrases on her loooooong list – it seems so random. Anyway – I feel you. Hang in there Marathoner Mama!

  7. I think everyone is faking through something in their lives. As I am reviewing my job experiences I have laughed at myself and how many times I had no clue–but somehow made it look like I did. Such is life, I guess. 🙂

    You are doing great on both fronts–just hang in there!

  8. I ran my first marathon two years ago, and I can’t wait to run another one. It is hard. I won’t lie. But during that 26 miles, I learned A LOT about myself. It gives you a lot of time to think and reflect. And no matter how you finish that 26.1 miles, whether it be running, walking, or crawling, you will be a marathoner forever. Good luck and I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

    This is the first post I have ever read by you. Where and when is the big day?

  9. This is going around, it seems … people passing the baton to other runners … just like my last post! 🙂 And I like Nicole’s comment … it doesn’t matter how you finish; just that you do.

  10. Three was hell. Read a book on parenting a strong-willed child and/or playful parenting and/or “I Brake for Meltdowns”. All are helpful. It is VERY hard when you know he is being defiant or stubborn or willful on purpose to not blow your top. And, my inclination once my son has hit his red zone is to meet his aggression with aggression but, as I learned the hard way this weekend, that is NOT going to work long term. It is hard to balance discipline, diversion, and not reinforcing the negative behavior.

    It is a rough go but you are faking it less than you know.

  11. Riding the range, riding the range! O’s song is what life is like some times. You never know if your journey will be civil and peaceful or wild and out of control. But your right that everyone fakes some things. You are an inspiration Serenity…. my first 10k is coming up soon.

  12. Oh! I fake everything. Well, um, I mean, not *everything* (hi honey!) but you’re right that a lot if things you just fudge as you go along. You’re doing fine. Except oh my goodness do not do the arguments if you can possibly help it. If it’s a giggly game of contradict then fine, if it’s reasonable negotiation ok, anything else he just gets me counting. Cannot stand it. Of course, you know what kind of weekend we had so take it as you will.

    I’m about to get out a book that was recommended to me called 123 magic. Let you know.

    Bea

  13. I love this post!

    It is just what I needed to read today…because boy, am I faking it! Something about this week is making me feel like a crazy woman and I just can’t put my finger on what exactly it is.

    Thank you for the reminder that all we need to do is the best we can.

  14. Love. This. Post. : )


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