Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why I Am Doing Exercises

Right after I did Ironman Wisconsin, I remember sitting down with my coach, Angela, and discussing what was next. I sort of knew that if all went well, I wouldn't be racing the following season. But I was afraid of what all the naysayers were predicting: that once you have a kid, all bets are off. Goodbye races/social life/insert-something-you really-enjoy-here. And Angela tried to reassure me a bit. She told me that it was actually easier to race when they are very little. Because they don't really understand the concept of time as much, and they nap, and you can sneak away or hit the trainer a lot easier than when they are older. She should know, too. She's done I don't even know how many Ironman-distance triathlons, an 100 miler, and countless other endurance events. Angela told me, "Once they get older, then they ask you things like, 'Mommy, why are you running?' And it makes you think. Because you have to give them an answer."

I'm starting to really appreciate this now, and realize how right that was.

One thing I'm pretty proud of is how Matt and I have integrated fitness into our insanely packed crazybusy lives, no matter what. I really think that it is a positive thing for our family, although some may think we are certifiably insane. And I know it's starting to rub off on Jackson, too.

The only time workouts seem to happen is when Matt and I get up at 5am. Even on the weekends. I used to think the weekends were more relaxing than the workweek, and now I'm seriously thinking of moving my rest day to Saturday. SATURDAY. What endurance athlete does that?! Because as soon as these kids get up, we are literally nonstop until 8pm. Jackson's pretty much done with his nap, so the best I can get as far as a quiet house is concerned is one three-year-old somewhat in one room for an episode of Phineas and Ferb...which isn't very conducive to intervals on the trainer. Plus, I don't wanna. I want to play in the snow or make play-doh monsters. I work all week, and Saturday is my day to catch up on life for a bit.

So, needless to say, I'm still sorting out how to do this. It's a work in progress.

This morning, I tried to beat the kids up and hit the 'mill for about 8 miles. Then I was going to lift upper body and stuff. At about mile 5.2 or so, Bug ran down the steps.

"Mommy, look at my train!"

He proudly displayed a remote-controlled train that had been missing the batteries for at least 4 months.

"Wow, Bug!" I said, without breaking stride. Shoot, is what I was thinking. I'm outta time. Damn.

I hoped I could at least make it to 7 or so. While I was thinking all of this in my head, Bug asked, "Mama? Why are you doing exercises?"

I thought about it a bit. This day had come. The day I need to explain to a three-year-old why I am doing exercises.

I finally settled on, "So I can get better."


"Yeah, so Mama can get better, Bug."

"Okay!" He scurried upstairs to have his oatmeal.

I managed to get the rest of that 7 miles in--a little shorter than I wanted to go, but whatever. You gotta take what you can get, I'm realizing, in this phase. And by "this phase," I mean the phase where I'm the one now stepping on little toy cars. I'm the one chasing a little boy up to the tub to take his bath with his baby sister. And I'm the one who never cries in movies, yet turned to waterworks yesterday in the last 10 minutes of Toy Story 3 because my little boy was snuggling on my lap. (If you've seen it--and especially if you have a little boy--you might sympathize with me on that one.)

I'm still not entirely sure how it's me doing these things. Somehow, I'm here already.

So I do exercises because I want to be better. Better health, so I can be with him as long as I can. Better mommy. Better wife. Better teacher, better friend, and hopefully even a better runner. Me doing exercises is a lot better than the me who does not do exercises.

So that answer for my three-year-old is actually one I would give myself.


Aimee said...

This is a great post! I have had those days when I try to sneak in a run/trainer ride while my boys are napping or watching cartoons. Some days are better than others and some times the workouts just don't happen. But, I learned that being flexible and having balance is key.
I loved your last paragraph! We do this to be better for ourselves and our family.

bobbi said...

I finally sat down and watched Toy Story 3 with my whole family Friday night (they've all seen it, but it was my first time). I had my 3 year old boy all snuggled on my lap, while my older kids all wondered why the heck Mommy was crying.

It got me too ;)

Anonymous said...

There is a fine line with doing what we want to do and have to do for ourselves and our kids.

Jim Ryan, one of the greatest runners of all time, quit running when his young son answered the phone as he was going out the door. "My daddy? Daddy's gone running again!"

He quit (not altogether probably) on that day.

Moderation is a good thing.

Alili said...

Such a great post! I love that my Saturday morning was spent making muffins with my 1 year old playing on the floor under my feet. :)

mouse said...

Love this post. I often worry about how I'm going to juggle all of the balls at one time once we start having kids, and it's so inspiring to "watch" other mommies/athletes do it.

ShesAlwaysWrite said...

Have totally been there crying in the last 10 minutes of Toy Story 3 : ) (or as it's known around here, "Moomie Toys")

My trainer friend has been coming on Friday mornings to work out with me, and when Bear started asking (every. single. time. I. work. out.) "why you doin that momma?" I finally settled on "because it makes mommy feel good." He seems content with that answer for now.