Running down the street, dusk. Street lights on. Feet on the pavement, hand on the iPod, breath in and out. Colder; more realistically March, actually. 30 short minutes is all I get today, but it is 30 minutes I wouldn't trade for the world. Thirty minutes to run it out, to remind me who I am, to come home better. Better everything.
My shadows follow me with every street light. They start behind me, inch up in front of me, and then swishswishswish of the ponytail they pull ahead of me, reminding me of where I'm going. Where I'm heading.
It's funny, because one of my good friends that I haven't had the chance to talk to said that "from facebook and your blog, things look like they are going really well, right?"
I have an admission to make. It's really not an admission, but stating the obvious, I guess.
This is my highlight reel.
This is the place I usually focus on the good. And there is a lot of good, so don't get me wrong here. But if I am giving you the impression I have my schtuff together, all the time, every day, well...then this is false advertising, friends.
Let's get a little real here for a moment. The truth is that I fall. Often. I get so overwhelmed and tired sometimes that I snap. At Matt. At my kids. At my dog. Occasionally, I frantically email Coach Emily at 12:47am overwhelmed begging for mercy from my already low-volume week. Sometimes I cry when I'm making dinner or doing laundry or grading essays or packing lunches because I just feel like there is simply not enough of me to go around. Ever.
And the funny thing? I know I am doing this well. I'm doing, quite simply, the best you can do with a two and four year old and a full time job involving lots and lots of work coming home and an amazing husband who thankfully is in the same business as me and gets it. We're muddling through this together. And I know that those of you with teenagers and/or more than 2 kids are probably rolling your eyes at me right now, but let's just say that I finally get it. I get how difficult this is. And it's a constant tightrope I walk between balancing everything and still being me. I've been recently nominated for two really huge honors at work, and it's seriously an honor even to be mentioned. When I come home from a run on Saturday, Emmy says, "Mommy, sit! Mommy, sit!" and, of course, I do. I am number one in their books, and that's a good thing.
I'm learning. It's been 4 1/2 years, almost, but I'm still learning.
So to those out there who think this is effortless, this is easy for me, that you don't know how I pull this off, my answer is: it's not, holy crap IT'S NOT, and BARELY. Barely. I'm constantly working on being "good enough," because I know my version of good enough is still pretty darn good.
I think this is why aging up gets tougher. When I was in my twenties I wondered how the age groups got tougher as you got older. Aren't you supposed to slow down and stuff?
No, no noooooooooo, 28 year old self. You're cute. You get serious, is what you do.
You realize that every run is a connection to your self. Every early morning swim buys you more "Mommy, sit!" moments. And yeah, conventional wisdom says you shouldn't work through lunch, but you do it anyway, because it gets you some more of those "Mommy, sit!" moments, too.
I'm running better than I have in my entire life, and that is not an exaggeration. And as I'm approaching a new age group pretty soon, I think I understand.
I spent most of the first part of my thirties pregnant and nursing. I'm about to join the F35-39 here, soon, and like them, I plan on spending the second half of my thirties kicking a lot of ass.
And I'll continue to use this as it always has been for me: a place to put down what I think about when I'm swimbikerunning, my goals and dreams, my highlights, and occasionally my falls, too.
There's certainly a reason my knees are all skinned up.
It may not be pretty all the time, but I'll never stop chasing that shadow.