Reasons, Excuses, Decisions
I ran today.
It is hot, by the way – if you have seen the weather recently you know about the heat wave hitting the East Coast, and being in the southeast it has been especially humid and gross.
I have not been as diligent about my running as I was. The heat has been a factor – running in the heat just plain sucks. I have been in a bit of a funk too, though. I lost my job in June. My husband works long days and if you have been reading my blog for any length of time you would know how little I enjoy being home all day – every day – with my kids. I am worried about money. I am taking graduate classes and increasing my student loan debt to obscene amounts. I have put on some weight because I don’t know how else to cope with these feelings of fear, helplessness, failure other than eating them away.
It has not been a pleasant 2 months for me.
A few days ago I went to the grocery store with both kids. FYI, shopping with my kids is about as fun as shopping for bras when you are 40 pounds overweight and your friends insist that the miniature sales girl at Victoria’s Secret really can help you to determine your size. My kids are not little – 7 and nearly 5 – but still they always seem to know when I need them to be especially well-behaved, and this is always when they are especially awful. Don’t get me wrong, of course I love them, blah blah blah, but they have done some truly horrific shit to me in public.
At the grocery store, things started well. They were helping me find produce. We chose a movie from the Red Box and negotiated around the candy machines. By the time we hit the second aisle, though, they were decompensating. As in, shrieking while chasing and hitting each other – up and down the aisle, around my cart. I issued several reprimands, stern warnings, threats. I gathered them by my cart and reminded them – again, with gritted teeth and wildly bulging I-fucking-MEAN-IT eyes – how we behave in the store. Promises, promises. Within minutes they were running laps around an older woman’s cart, while shrieking and trying to hit each other. She looked irritated. I’m sure I did, too. In a flash I herded the kids, mid-sprint, towards my cart. In my anger-fueled haste, I scratched E’s arm. I hissed at them, they both began crying, and we walked away from our half-filled cart and came home without groceries.
This incident was a huge blow to my already weakened self-esteem. I sunk into a cloudy depression. My kids are not toddlers, what have I done to make them so badly behaved? I mentally lashed myself all afternoon. Things snowballed – who did I think I was anyways? Of course I had gained weight, lost my job, had a life with no direction – I wasn’t good enough for anything else to happen. Cue the ice cream.
I ended up going shopping sans kids early Saturday morning. I scheduled childcare for them Saturday night, and the grown-ups of the house enjoyed a magical 4-hour date night. Tentatively, I nudged myself back on track.
Today, I was up before everyone else courtesy of the dog. When I stepped outside to let her out, I noticed that the humidity was not as high as it had been. Should I run today? I usually run on the weekends because it’s the only time I can do it early in the morning – during the week my husband goes to the gym in the morning before getting ready for work which only leaves me with a very small window of time, so I tend to wait until the evenings to run.
I vacillated between running and sitting on my ass with the Sunday paper for about an hour. When I finally decided to run, I could not locate my ipod. The idea of running without an ipod, well, this nearly stalled the plans. But I convinced myself to just do one lap, which is about one mile, around the neighborhood. Not surprisingly, one lap became two laps.
At the end of the second lap, I was feeling pretty good physically – not winded, my legs burning a little, sweaty. Mentally, I was a mess – I’d alternated running and walking and I always feel like a fraud when I do this. Running is supposed to be running, not running for a few minutes followed by walking for a few minutes right? (Hi, I am a black-and-white thinker, how are you?) The berating of myself continued. I was walking to my house when it suddenly occurred to me that I actually felt fine enough to continue running. I turned around and headed back to the loop. The fight in my head was “ugh, really? why run anymore? you’ve already done 2 miles, it’s hot, you don’t want to injure yourself, your coffee is waiting.” I really wanted my coffee.
I stopped walking, in the middle of the street, confused about what to do – run another lap or go home? And something in my head shifted a little, and I realized that I needed to continue running because what was stopping me?
Oh, right. Me. I was stopping me.
So I ran the next mile, alternated with some walking. The minutes passed quickly, before I knew it I was far away from the square of sidewalk in which I had begun. By the time I ended the lap, I honestly felt like I could tackle a marathon. I walked home slowly, enjoying the feel of sweat and my pounding heartbeat in the morning sun. My head held high, I embraced the quiet peace within my brain.
Today, I ran 3 miles.