My Running Reality vs. Online Perceptions

January is when my CPA husband starts working ridiculously long hours and I rarely see him until May. For years I could entertain myself when he had to work late weeknights or every single weekend by going running, visiting with friends, going to work on-site, etc. But with Alex, getting out to do stuff is harder. I don’t really dare run further than a few miles from home with the stroller these days because she has more definite opinions and if she gets angry… she gets ANGRY. She goes to bed 7:45-8:00, so it’s not like I can really go anywhere. And I rarely see friends these days, between working full-time (as a telecommuter) and having a toddler, I just spend too much time at home.

When I wrote my resolutions post (or anti-resolutions post, as it was) I said I was grumpy. That’s not quite true… I was down right angry.

  • I was angry that my time wasn’t mine to schedule
  • I was angry that other bloggers online seem to be able to train for marathons/Ironmans while pregnant or parents to tiny babies.
  • I was angry that I didn’t have a spouse that was more encouraging of my running and eager to stay with the baby.
  • I was angry that I had no idea how to even plan a race schedule for this year.

But then I did the Resolution Run on New Years Eve… I had been planning on running the 10K all year, but as it got closer I was going to blow it off because I’d had a hard time getting in any runs during the holiday break with the baby home from school. I had a change of heart (thanks for the simple text to get me out there, Jimmy), decided to take the stroller with me and run the 5K with Alex in tow. And I enjoyed getting out and running, pursuing my hobby while involving my daughter.

Wallowing in negativity isn't doing anything good.

It made me realize that wallowing in negativity isn’t doing anything good. Yes, I have a one-year-old daughter and full-time job and my husband has a more-than-full-time job, that makes training for distance events really hard. I know there are people who do it. I’ve seen things online that say, “Don’t feel bad about getting a babysitter for a couple of hours while you get in a long run.” Well… I would feel bad. I already send my daughter to daycare all day while I work. I WANT to spend time with her, far more than I WANT to train for a marathon. Maybe someday she’ll think I’m no fun to be with, but right now she wants to be with me as well. (So much so that it’s nearly impossible to get good naps on the weekends because she just wants to hang out with me!) I’m taking advantage of that time.

I think to myself that I’d like to plan out a race calendar, but that’s so hard these days. I don’t have any Saturdays to myself until May due to hubby’s work schedule. Then it gets hot and sucks here in Vegas for several months. And then the fall arrives and the husband’s college football obsession kicks in every Saturday. Maybe this coming fall, A will be able to entertain herself even more while he watches TV… but so far, she is very insistent on me playing with her. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with her. But nobody asks you when your next time playing blocks is or when you’re going to push the popping mower around the house again, they all just want to know when your next race is. It’s frustrating sometimes.

Who cares what other people think I should be doing with my time?

But who cares what other people think I should be doing with my time or how many races they think I should be running. I don’t run to put on a show for others, that’s a big reason why I no longer share all the details of my workouts online. Although seeing others doing that so frequently does tend to make me second-guess myself.

I honestly do not understand how so many women online do so many things when they have kids. I feel so overwhelmed as a working mother. I am not one of those women who can just tote my kid all over the place and still manage to maintain my own hobbies. Gals that can train for marathons with toddlers or complete a race every other weekend with small kids, I just don’t get it (and kudos to them). But then, I don’t know anyone else’s whole story… just the narrow window they choose to share. Maybe they feel just as depleted as I do. Maybe they can do their training, but give up other aspects of life that I choose to indulge in.

I don't know anyone else's whole story... just the narrow window they choose to share.

The only way that I can keep any kind of running schedule these days is going on a run for my lunch break, because every minute outside of my 7-4 work hours are devoted to family life. Weekends I’m pretty much glued to my child (or she’s glued to me, I guess) because she’s such a mama’s girl. I don’t know if my hubby gets to do his own stuff because she’s such a mama’s girl or if she’s such a mama’s girl because he does his own stuff all the time! Some days I feel like I should just reconcile myself with the idea that I don’t get to have my own identity until she’s older and more self-sufficient. But that doesn’t seem like an option, since running was part of helping me re-claim my identity after falling into the devilish hands of ED.

So the only solution I can think of? Run shorter races, purely for fun, so I can take the stroller along with me. I will try to do a few half marathons this year (I wouldn’t mind signing up for the Mustang Half, but that’s during hubby’s busy season) but I have to accept my life is different, I will never have the life I used to have. And in many ways, this life is so much better. But it’s still hard to adjust.

This is all a massive brain dump, huh? I guess I’ve just been feeling depressed? Can you have postpartum depression 16 months after having a baby? But I’m feeling really good about the decision to make the best of where I’m at now, others’ opinions of what I should be doing with my running/fitness be damned.

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9 comments

  1. Wish I had some great advice to give. I quit working out for some of the reasons you listed…they were already in daycare so for me to get a babysitter so I could workout didn’t make sense to me. Maybe talk to some of your mom-runner friends face to face and get ideas, don’t rely on online “you shoulds”. Schedule some races in Utah and then I can take her for you! 🙂

  2. Oh, I’m not insinuating you should quit..I hope my first half didn’t sound like that…I gave up because I couldn’t find a solution. Now I workout at night when Scott is home or when they’re in bed.

  3. No great ideas, just lots of sympathy and the assurance that time will help. I could never have run a marathon or a half when any of my kids were A’s age: I just didn’t have the time (or energy). But, now they’re older and I can. Also, a big kudos to you for realizing that no one else’s opinion matters! It really doesn’t. But, your sanity and mood do matter! Do you own a treadmill? I know treadmill running sucks, but it would let you get in the maintenance runs during the week while A is napping or in bed for the night and then you’d just have to find time on the weekends for the long runs…. Not sure that helps, sorry. Yea, no great ideas, just lots of sympathy. 🙂

  4. She’ll only be little for such a short time and you’ll be able to run well into your retirement, God willing, so walk or run the distances that work for your life right now and enjoy the heck out of her childhood. In other words, you’re doing the right things so keep it up! (I have five that are all adults now and I have lots of free time but I miss seeing their sweet, little faces!)

  5. I wish I had something truly inspiring to say… but I don’t. You’re doing exactly what you feel you need to do for your family and that’s pure strength. Maybe it would be beneficial to really level with your husband and let him know how you’re feeling? I hope it gets better. I’ll be sending good thoughts your way my fellow runner!

  6. Hi Jill. My motto is, “No peer pressure!” I get to run 2-3 times/week and do a HipHop Abs workout 2 times/week. I don’t need to post my workouts on FB. As long as I stay strong and in a decent shape to get the energy to take care of a small child, that’s important. I have not participated in any race since I got pregnant with Geneva. I just get out there to enjoy a run or a walk with a stroller or a hike with hubby. For you, a fulltime job and a toddler already give you enough pressure. I’ll race again when Geneva gets older. Do what you can and make you happy. You will have many years ahead to sign up for races. Alex needs you to read to her and play with her. I take G. to the park often and read her many books. It’s an important stage for their age to be curious and to learn. I am not saying you stop working out. Just don’t give yourself more pressure.

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