Friday, May 20, 2011

My Running Life

A few years before I got pregnant with Zoe, I made the conscious effort to go down a different path I had previously been traveling.  I decided to stop smoking cigarettes and drinking so much and start running.  I had been talking to my sister Jill, who at the time was training for the Boston marathon, and she was encouraging me to sign up for a 2 mile race.  I initially laughed out loud, saying I didn't think I could run a BLOCK, let alone two miles.  Then all of the sudden I got this motivation.  I don't know exactly where it came from, but I credit Jill for encouraging me to run and my friend Johnny Hawkins for betting me the amount of money it would cost to buy a year's worth of cigarettes, that I couldn't go a year without smoking one (I won...and refused his offer to actually pay up.  Haven't had even one puff of a cigarette since, in fact).  Those two things along with the fact that I think I was just mentally ready to make a change in my life (I knew I wanted to have kids someday sooner rather than later, and I wanted to be a HEALTHY mom) prompted me to say "You know what?  It would be so awesome to do something I thought I could never do.  What the hell, sign me up!"  Then Jill took me to the store to buy me a pair of running shoes, saying "If I buy them for you, you have to run--otherwise you just made me waste $30!" and it was full steam ahead for me and my running life.

At first, all I could do was run for 30 seconds, then walk for 30 seconds, run 30 seconds, walk 30 seconds, etc.  I remember the day I decided I'd try to run for 6 minutes in a row and I was wheezing so badly that someone passing by in a truck honked at me and laughed tauntingly out their window.  3 months later, I ran 10 miles and soon after that I ran my first half marathon.  I ran one more half marathon the next year and often times ran to work in midtown Manhattan from our Brooklyn apartment via the Brooklyn bridge.  I was hooked and was constantly pushing myself.  I was addicted to the feeling the thought that "just last year, I was sitting by my kitchen window smoking cigarettes all morning, and I just ran 10 miles!"  gave me.  That high lasted for a really long time and then I got pregnant and even though I stayed pretty active, my running waned as my belly got bigger and bigger (and bigger and bigger and bigger and....)

Ever since having a baby, I've found it really difficult to find the motivation again to push myself.  I know it's because I have virtually NO free time anymore and am more often than not, completely exhausted so I'm not too hard on myself about it but I miss the rush.  I've tried a bunch of different ways to find that drive again, but have been too caught up in parenting young children to be able to focus on something that's totally and completely for ME.  I have hope today though, because I think I MIGHT feel a little tiny spark at the thought that I could be running hard again after giving birth to two children.  I've accomplished the most mind blowing and insane physical challenge I've ever heard of by giving birth naturally (TWICE!) and now that I'm not planning on doing THAT ever again (never ever ever) I think I'm excited about focusing on running again.  Wish me luck!

Anyway, the weather here has been very un-Boulder-like.  It has rained and rained and rained for at least a week straight and is supposed to be rainy for a few more days.  Such a bummer, but it has given me the opportunity to try out a couple of indoor activities I've been wanting to try with Zoe and haven't had the chance since we usually head out to the playground and stay out as long as possible.  I saw this idea for a toilet paper roll marble run on TinkerLab a few weeks ago and started setting aside empty rolls for a rainy day.  Zoe had a really great time with it and it was fun to watch her try and figure out how to make it work...great problem solving activity and she was so pleased with herself when she finally made it work!

Also, I'm SO HAPPY to say that the chore sheets and bean jar are back!  We were doing this a few months ago and it was such a great thing because not only did Zoe like it but it was a really useful parenting tool for me....I got the idea for the chore sheets from my friend Katie and whipped up morning and evening sheets for our house.  When she does all her chores, she gets a dried bean in a jar and when she collects 15 she gets a reward (trip to the ice cream shop, movie night, etc)...if she misbehaves, though she gets beans taken away.  Before we started doing it I found myself struggling often with how to discipline her and convince her to behave.  I'd throw out these ridiculous threats like "If you don't get in the car RIGHT NOW, no TV for a WEEK!!" When, let's be honest, the TV is as much for me as it is for her, so then I was punishing both of us!  Anyway, when we started "bean in the jar", all I'd have to say is "Do we need to take a bean out of your jar?" lovely! (Thanks, Kelly for telling me about this magical system!) Sadly, though after a few blissful months of that she suddenly got tired of it and just completely lost interest.  The down side of the system is that if the kid doesn't care, it flat out doesn't work.  Nathan got her interested in it again somehow the other day though, and we are back on!  Hooray for Nathan!!!!

Gotta start somewhere!
Today we had the CRAZIEST storm pass by.  We actually had some sunshine for most of the day, and then in the afternoon these dark clouds rolled in and dumped a bunch of rain and hail.  It came and went so quickly but got everything totally soaked again.  Towards the end of the storm, I got this idea to try and measure how much rain we were going to get...Me, Nathan and Zoe all made guesses and we put this milk jug outside to see who was right.  Unfortunately, I thought of it too late so we didn't really get anything in the jug, but now I'm prepared for the next storm.  The jug was a good pretend boat for all the huge puddles the storm left behind anyway!

Crazy, crazy, crazy Colorado weather!


  1. I hope you won't mind if I copy your chore chart. We've been trying to figure out how to implement it for a while now!
    And yeah, that storm was something else. I had to run out and rescue the tomato plants Brian's been hardening off.
    Good luck with the running!! Back when I was running, I found that if I could change up where I ran, I got more excited about it. Are you still thinking about a triathalon?

  2. That's a serious puddle! My hubby and I were in Denver for a wedding two weeks ago and we had one of those crazy rain storms and the highway/interstate looked like your photo, I told him we should have rented a canoe instead of a car!

    My girls would love making a marble run- great idea and thanks for sharing!

    Pink and Green Mama

  3. Totally....we get some crazy, out of the blue storms here, that's for sure.

    It was so simple and fun, and you could make it way more complicated with older kids who have more patience!