As a working mama, I sometimes feel as if I don't have time for things that working mama's might. I know the reality is that I choose not to have time for some things, especially because I work, but where a stay-at-home mom might be able to reconcile spending one less 30-45 minute time period actively playing with her kiddos so she can read a book "for her" instead because she will spend most of the rest of the day with them, I have a much more limited time to spend with my kiddos to begin with and I try to take advantage of every second. That means most of the stuff that you can't really do with kids around I either have to wait until they're in bed, space it out enough to get a sitter, infrequently occupy them with a movie, or just not do it at all.
Add the fact that my husband doesn't work a traditional schedule, which means our family time and husband/wife time is even more sparse than the time I alone get to spend with the kiddos and even more things are off the table. Where some mamas take the opportunity to let their husbands put the kids down one night or take them out for donuts one morning so they can spend daddy time and she can get some mommy alone time, we don't have that opportunity. The days my hubby can do that I have to go to work early to make up for the days I go in late when I take care of the morning routine all by myself. As it is we only have 3 nights a week to spend together and I try to hold that time sacred for our family as much as possible, because there are plenty of things that try to steal our time together - some necesary.
As a result, true exercise for the sake of physical fitness has been difficult to come by since I became a mom. Sure, I walked to the park with the kiddos. I take them on walks. I walk up and down the stairs AT LEAST 10 times a day, at least 4 times carrying 1 or more of the kiddos. I get exercise somewhat by default, but nothing that actually ensured I was fit. Now that my son is getting older, sometimes I'll put on an on-demand fitness show and he and I will make it a fun time doing it together (and by the way, that is a really fun time...doing it together makes it fun enough but then watching him try to do the moves - priceless!). But still, I'm fairly out of shape.
Remember too, on top of working I've been completing grad school full-time for the past several years, so that took up a lot of time as well. About the time I was ready to start getting in shape after having my son (admittedly when he was 3), I injured my ankle and that injury was one that seriously made me believe I might not ever be able to do a lot of types of exercises - even 15 months later it causes trouble and I have to be careful.
So when it felt like all my friends were training for marathon relays and half-marathons and marathons I sat back thinking that though it would be something I'd love to do, realistically I knew I couldn't do it for all the reasons I've mentioned above. Then I found a fellow North Texas foster mom who was a runner and did an annual half-marathon to raise money for foster children (if I remembered who it was, I'd link to her blog but I don't! I'll figure it out again someday). At that point I got the strong desire to train for a half-marathon and either run with her (little does she know...) or at least run on her behalf. It was a bit late for training for the last one and my ankle wouldn't have been ready, but it took root in my heart.
When many, many of my friends decided to train with World Vision for a half-marathon this October, I really, really wanted to join them. But with the impending arrival of Little Miss' brother I realistically thought it would be a bad idea to train for that and add a baby right in the heart of training. I have learned to at least attempt to set boundaries for myself. Of course, baby never arrived to our home but then with our family vacation, my Uncle's murder, the beginning of Kindergarten, and fears over my ankle I thought it would just be too late to start training for a half-marathon.
THEN, I had the opportunity to train with many, many of these friends to run in a marathon relay in December as part of a 5-person team. I knew I had to jump on the chance. I figured, if I could do the approximately 5 miles for this team then I'd get a good feel (and be part-way-there) for if I could train for the half-marathon next spring. I also knew that if I had any hope at all for being able to do it, doing it with these girls would be critical - my fabulous friend Amanda has become known for her ability to inspire and provide guidance for complete newbies like me, to mold them into actual runners.
I'm not a runner. I never have been. Though I've always been able to run a quick sprint (and do quite well), I'm not a long-distance endurance kind of gal. Actually, this applies to other sports including my beloved swimming, but is especially true of running. Until 2 years ago when I did a boot camp, I hadn't run anything close to a mile since I was in junior high. Then during that boot camp I ran 1 mile twice and felt like it was going to kill me. So I've been nervous. I question whether I can do it. I'm scared I'll hurt myself. I'm scared I'll let me team down. I'm nervous I'll sacrifice too much of my family time to make this happen. I'm afraid I'll fail at many, many things that make me "mie".
Alas I'm doing it. We've been training for 2 weeks now and on my 2nd run I ran 2 miles without missing a beat. I was so proud of myself. I've done it again twice more now and I love that I'm running. I love that I'm conquering an arch nemesis. I love that I'm doing something for me. I love that I'm getting in shape not just for looks but just to be more healthy (and I am!). I'm excited I'm doing this with other ladies encouraging me on and to whom I can be encouraging to as well. I'm proud of myself.
This morning it took a new turn. I got up at 5:15 am to go run 2 miles before work. I wasn't a big fan, but I did it. And I did it faster than I'd done it previously. This really is something I can get into. Only time will tell if I become an avid runner, but for now I love the challenge.
Look for more updates on my training because, well, I just can't avoid talking about it :)