Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blah-gg, Blah-gger, Blah-gging

Tap, Tap. Anyone still out there? Anyone??

As someone who prides themselves on being a multi-tasker, I am shocked to discover that I can't seem to do more than one thing at a time.

First, it was getting Big C off to school and all that entails. Holy crap, there's a lot of paperwork. And rules for what we can and can't bring for snack. And more paperwork. And parent meetings where they make you feel bad for not volunteering for the Parent Council. I've decided that there are certain people - neither good nor bad - who run for Parent Councils. They are probably the same people who ran for Student Council when they were younger. I was the geek in the drama club. I am not the governing type.

Then, I spent two whole weeks preparing for an audition which I didn't get. Suffice to say that I am somewhat humiliated that I couldn't get a role in community theatre, for which I extensively prepared, and for which the director personally invited me to audition. Apparently, I am not queen material. To which I say a very royal "Eff Off!" (Hm. Mayhap that was not very dignified..) FAIL.

Now, I spend every waking and while-I'm-supposed-to-be-sleeping moment planning and fretting about our upcoming kitchen renovation. Frankly, I thought it would be a lot more fun. However, I lose interest after choosing the colour scheme. Not to mention, the IKEA Home Planner is a lot like doing a puzzle with math. I like neither puzzles, nor math. And why is it so hard to get hold of contractors?

I'm excited and terrified to be finally renovating a kitchen that has needed an overhaul for the past 7 years. I want it to be done yesterday. Everything is moving at a snail's pace, and this frustrates me. And I'll be devasted if, once done, it doesn't look fabulous. OF COURSE it will look better than it does now. ANYTHING would look better than our ragamuffin kitchen, but if I'm going to do something, I want it to be perfect. Better than perfect, if possible. I also don't know how it's possible to live through a kitchen renovation with two small children, one of which is a very light sleeper, and both of which will lose their cookies if they are not fed at regular intervals with the food they are used to.

The stress has wreaked havoc on my skin, and I retreat - in my non-existent spare time - to vapid TV dramas like The Vampire Diaries. The show is not good, and I can't get enough of it. In times of upheaval and disappointment, it's good to watch very pretty people, people who seem to have everything under control, get eaten.

Please don't take off while I get my act together.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Run, NoMo, Run.

The hardest part about running is getting out the door.

I've been running for about 11 years now and this is as true now as the first day I put on my sneakers and headed outside. The hardest part is making yourself do it. In fact, it's even harder now that I have two kids. There's always an excuse. I'm too tired. I had a bad day. I could use a nap. I want to sleep in. I don't have the time. I haven't had a glass of water since - wait, did I even get a chance to drink today?

I started running because Mr Earth-to-be decided he was going to start running to get in shape, and I didn't want to be left out. I also didn't want to watch my ass get larger while he got leaner and healthier.

I found that I liked it. I started out running for about a half hour, and everytime I felt like I could go a bit further, I added another five minutes onto the run. It took about a year until I could run for an hour easily, but I never got past that point. (Except that one time when I unwittingly ran past my turnaround point, but that's a story for another day..)

When we moved to our house, I met up with an old schoolmate who ran with an informal group. She invited me to join, and I agreed - never intending to actually go. Then I got to thinking: why the hell not? So I did. The group was led by a 60-year-old man who had done countless marathons and who could run circles around me. Thanks to him, I ran my first 5K race and mustered up the courage to take on a half marathon.

I got into running more and more, and joined an official training group. With them, I managed to complete a 30K race, and was training for a marathon. The marathon happened to be scheduled ont the same day as a 10-hour rehearsal I had for my current play. I didn't feel that I could do both in one day, and the rehearsal won out. I ran a 40K training run the day before, though, because I hated to waste all that training time. The next weekend I took a pregnancy test and it was positive, and I gave up the idea of marathoning for a while.

I ran through both pregnancies: to 37 weeks with Big C, and 36 weeks with Little G. Both were born a week after I stopped running. Do you think they were enjoying the ride, or wondering when is this chick going to stop running long enough for me to get the hell outta Dodge? Since having kids, I haven't been able to run much longer than 10K. There just isn't the time to train that I used to have. And I'm tired. And I like napping. And I keep forgetting to drink water.

But, I'll tell you this: in the 10 or so years since I've decided that my health matters and I really need to give this exercise thing a go, I've tried TaeBo, kickboxing, yoga, pilates, spinning, gravity, aerobics, and weight training. Running is the only thing that I keep coming back to, time and again.

It's the perfect exercise. (Well, maybe not 'perfect' - it has yet to get rid of the muffin top..) You can do it alone, or in a group. You can run for fun, or compete. You can wear some ratty shorts and old shoes, or you can have the latest gadgets and gizmos. You can be short, tall, skinny, fat, fast, slow and it doesn't matter. You don't need any particular skill or coordination, just determination. And that, I have in spades. I always smile when I hear someone say: "Oh, I'm not running today, I'm on vacation." For me, vacation means having more time to run. Not squeezing it in before the kids wake up, between meals, or during nap time.

I started out running to lose weight, but that's not why I continue to do it (although it's a nice bonus). I need to run. When I'm running, I feel like everything else just fades into the background: stress, anger, frustration, and yes, even exhaustion. It keeps me sane. After I run, I yell less. I'm annoyed less. I'm more patient. I'm more enthusiastic. I have more energy. It gives me confidence, because I feel like even if my day falls to pieces around me at least, at least, I've accomplished that one thing.

That one thing is huge, too, because so many people think that they can't do it, but I know the truth. I can. Anyone can. All you have to do is take the first step: Get out the door.

It's hard. But it's so worth it.