Tag: Running

Where’s my motivation?

The heat. The humidity. Things that will arrive in Houston in May and probably not leave until October.

On Monday I went out for a run even though I didn’t feel like it. Yay me. Doing something runners do every day. I haven’t run since.

It was 6am and already 80 degrees. The humidity made it feel even warmer, and I was drenched in sweat. This little picture collage was me right after the run, what my weather app said about the conditions, and the double dose of Nuun I drank to try to avoid the summer-run headache I usually get. (Didn’t entirely work.)

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Last summer I made this work. I started running again at the end of July and our summer doesn’t end until October. I just don’t know how I did it. Every morning is a battle between the elements and being exhausted already because of the heat.

I’ve read articles and posts that suggest running later in the day when the humidity is lower. Unfortunately this is Houston. Lower is still pretty humid. I am wary of 90F and 60% humidity being any better than 80F/85%H. Treadmill access requires major schedule rework, and I haven’t had the motivation to make it happen.

Slump? Maybe. Whining? Definitely. Any tips on managing summer doldrums?

Not as easy as they say.

One statement I’ve heard a lot about running:

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“It’s the easiest sport ever! You just put on some running shoes and go outside!”

Totally correct! Except when it’s not. I think it’s a gross over-simplification that breaks down pretty quickly for many people. For me, that could have been correct when I was under 30, single, or newly married.

These days – with three children (toddler up to now first-grader), an awesome husband, and a full-time job away from home – it’s more like this:

20140606-103204-37924347.jpgIs it worth it? Absolutely. Is it easy? No way, and I’m not even talking about the running part of running.

I love reading running blogs, but need to go beyond my usual reads. They’re great women, but they’re mostly child-free and younger than me. I am serious when I say that I love reading their posts and have learned a lot from them. I need to find some peers to round out my reading, you know? I start putting unrealistic expectations on myself otherwise.

I had a conversation online with some other mom friends who are working fitness into their lives in various ways. It is HARD. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom who stays and works at home or if you’re a mom who’s working outside the home. Filling at least three roles (individual, partner, and mother) takes a lot of time and energy. Adding a fourth role – RUNNER – brings in a whole new dimension of strategy.

I run in the early morning or in a gym at the end of the work day. For the early morning, I run outside in our neighborhood. I have had to think through the things that would make me feel safer … reflective gear, light-colored clothing, lower music volume, CONSTANT VIGILANCE (thank you, Professor Moody), sticking to well-lit sidewalks, and timing my run so that I’m running more toward sunrise than not. I totally bailed on running when DST started because it was just too dark. Also never pictured in my post-run photos: the pepper spray I try to remember to carry every time. Not just for humans, but for any dogs whose owners aren’t being smart about them. I’m also thinking about buying a reflective vest type thing to wear when I run early morning. Early mornings work for me because kids are asleep, my husband can shower and start to get ready, and it’s the coolest part of the day here. I hate getting up, but that’s the trade-off I have to make.

I think that’s the big conversation you have to have with your partner and yourself: trade-offs. If we both agree this is something important to do for my mental and physical health, we both have to agree to make space for it somehow and address associated concerns. If the concern is being left alone at a certain time with the kids, what are the alternative plans that don’t result in that and what steps do we take to mitigate additional concerns? If the concern is safety of running location or time, what are the adjustments to be made to meet those concerns? Which primary concern “wins” for both of you so that you agree to make the adjustments for the secondary concern?

Adding in the Runner role requires change. It is NOT the easiest sport ever for me. It requires flexibility from everyone. There is no absolutely perfect solution that requires no change, because no change keeps you in the situation you’re already in. Something always has to give – time, routine, or money for a gym with childcare so mommy can exercise and not lose her head.

The pay-off has been totally worth it. My daughter plays “runner” now, in the middle of being a princess-astronaut-doctor-mom. She went to go have her run “in space” after putting her babies in bed. My oldest son wants to start running with me every week. My toddler already loves the jogging stroller. I don’t want to smack strangers as often as I used to. It’s awesome … it’s just not easy.

I’m a wimpy runner

Yes, I will confess: I’m a wimpy runner.

Back in November? Still a wimpy runner.
Back in November? Still a wimpy runner.

I’ve been following Jeff Galloway’s runDisney training plan for the Disneyland Half (PDF file) in August. I’m not running the race, but I thought it’d be a good guide for the summer months. It’s not horribly strenuous either, which gives me the chance to catch my breath with all the other stuff that happens with small children and summers! It’s basically 30 minutes twice a week, then a slowly escalating long run on weekends. It’s actually kind of perfect for a busy mom/working girl schedule.

But here’s the thing: the plan has been completely hit or miss for me. Not because of Jeff’s design, but because I wimp out sometimes.

Like this week: I started getting those tickles in my throat on Monday night. You know, the kind that warn you that either allergies or a summer cold are on the way?

Tuesday morning, I woke up at my scheduled run time. It was 5:30 a.m., and it was already 75/76F and around 90% humidity. The throat tickle had gotten worse overnight, and I was stuffy in the head. Could I have gotten up to run? Sure. Would it have made me feel better? Maybe.

I just didn’t want to go. So I turned off the alarm, waited for my back-up standard waking time alarm, and snoozed a bit more. A more hardcore runner would have sighed, suited up, and gotten out there. Me, the wimpy runner? I enjoyed the extra 45 minutes of sleep.

Of course, looking back on that decision four days later, I feel it was probably the right call! I’ve been knocked flat by a virus that has me on the verge of a sinus infection and/or an upper respiratory infection, complete with hacking cough that keeps me up all night.

I’d like to think it was my stellar body intuition that got me to stay in bed and rest Tuesday morning, but I’m pretty sure I’m just a wimp. 😉

It’s been a while, right?

So …

How’s it going, folks?

I’ve been thinking of reasons to re-invigorate this blog, what I would say, etc. I think I need it for the accountability in running and workouts, as well as just allowing for a creative outlet.

It’s just been so stinking busy lately!

I’ve been organizing my first virtual race – the Have a Gray Run race weekend this week! It’s not that complicated of an event, but it’s still time-consuming. I love it, and I love that we may be able to help our friends in some small way.

Then there’s the usual mom thing, the usual work thing, and the usual wife thing. Except none of those stay very usual for long, right? We’ve had an ER trip and overnight at the hospital for our daughter (nothing long-lasting, just a temporary illness gone bad), big changes at my job, and trying to keep my husband my number one priority in the middle of it all (and with his own growing business). So there’s that.

I’ve slacked off on running training because a) I don’t have a race and b) we’re already getting well into the “Houston running weather sucks” time of year. Ever since the time change to Daylight Savings Time, I’ve been exhausted and irritable. I can’t get back into a good routine, and I haven’t found the motivation to make it happen.

So all that in mind is why I’m trying to find little ways – like blogging – to get me back into routines.The jury is still out on what that will look like — Mommy Monday? Training Tuesday? Some other set of weekday themes to prompt me to write, build some posts that I can write when I feel creative and schedule to be out in the world more regularly?

As far as training, here you go: I want to do another half marathon or two. I want to run more for it and actually, really train. I decided to pull the Disneyland Half Marathon training plan into my calendars (work, phone, etc.) so I can use it as a guide. I’m not running that particular race, but it will help me prep without feeling too pressured.

The other training I want to do is a bit more specific, but it starts in October. I want to find a way to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon next year, but I want to do the Glass Slipper Challenge. Some friends from work are seriously talking about doing it, and I think we would have an absolute blast together.

That’s the plan. Check in with me to see how it goes in reality. 😉

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