I’ve been settling into our family’s routine in our new house at the start of another school year. Over the past year, we have had 2 homes for a total of about 10 months. Moving is exhausting, which we have done twice in the past year, and so is caring for 2 properties. We handed over the townhouse a little over a week ago and it’s been a huge relief. Our new house checks all of our boxes and is just a few blocks from both of my sisters. We plan on staying here for awhile. As I’ve had a bit more time on my hands, I’ve been getting the itch to run more. I spent my run Monday morning chewing on my next steps. Often, a runner wants to go faster and farther. As I age and continue a lengthy running streak, I am well aware that these goals are an either/or for me, not a both/and. I can achieve them both over time but only while focusing on one at a time. I have decided to focus on speed first. I have been running slowly for a couple of years now since reading Primal Endurance and that slow pace has increased over time without much effort but I’m ready to put in more effort now. I pushed my pace on several runs this week and it felt great. I plan to spend a few weeks focusing on pace and then have an easy week before taking a few weeks to build distance. I will reassess in a couple of months and set more goals then. I’m headed out for a trail run this morning and am really looking forward to the solitude. I’ve run 1-2 miles every day this week and also added in pull-ups, dips, and a flip to a couple runs, yoga one day, and hip hop dance class another. It feels great to have more time and energy to invest into my exercise routine again. Motivation and discipline are rarely my issues. However, I’m not always inspired. It takes a lot to pull me out of the day to day routine and concerns of my family. However, my sister shared the video for the Oiselle brand relaunch and it is enough to pull me out of my own head. It’s truly inspirational. Have a look and see for yourself. If you are a female athlete or care about someone that is a female athlete, this video will be worth your time. This is a fantastic company committed to some amazing causes. They are inspirational. It’s a good week for me to have this video take my increased motivation and give it a kick of inspiration.
The past year has felt like one step forward and two steps back with my running fitness. I know that’s not entirely true because I have been able to maintain an awesome run streak but I sometimes feel really discouraged about my decrease in mileage. It really seems like every time I start climbing out of the hole something comes by and knocks me back into the hole again. Regardless, I’m climbing back out of the hole again. For the past week, I’ve been able to run 2 miles every other day and I’ve gotten back to my pull-ups, dips, and a flip routine as well. It feels good to get back to those activities that I consider basic for my overall fitness. It has been ridiculously hot out so I have tried to either run in the morning or right around sunset. Several evenings have still been into the 90s with the heat index. It’s been rather sweaty. I’m hoping for another week of 2 mile runs alternated with one mile runs before I bump a few runs up to 3 miles. Fingers crossed!
I decided to run on the local trail through town this morning. There is a stretch that crosses a few bridges so there are more “hills” in that area. I drove there to run since I needed to go to the store anyway. The weather was super dreary but warmer that it has been. It really is about the best you can get around here this time of year. I ran a little over 3 miles and pushed my pace a bit. It was a great run overall.
On Wednesday night, one of my older boys said he wanted to get up early to go to the gym before school. I was pleasantly surprised! I decided that I would go with him and we planned on getting up at 6. When I woke him up, he had changed his mind. Since I was already up, I decided to run from home since it was quite warm for January. I was actually really warm on the run! It was 55 degrees before sunrise. It was a winter time miracle. I thoroughly enjoyed my 2.5 miles around the neighborhood. I did 2 sets of pull-ups, a set of dips, and a flip at the local elementary school while I was out. It was a great pre-work workout. Since I had woken up early yesterday, my body woke up early again today. I had no interesting in running in weather 50 degrees colder than the day before so I went to the gym. I ran 1.5 miles and enjoyed the time at the gym more than I have recently. It wasn’t very busy and I remembered to wear my hat, which keeps the ridiculously bright lights out of my eyes. I’m in 7th place in the gym’s workout challenge and it’s actually been an extra level of motivation for me, which I appreciate. I’m enjoying being a part of a group challenge more than I had expected.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. I’ve been so busy lately that I asked him to order his own gift and he had to order a slice of cake from a restaurant’s dessert menu. He was kind about my limitations. After dinner, I sat with my son as he struggled through the residual emotions of a difficult day. He was quiet and withdrawn, which aren’t a good combination for him right now. His identical twin brother sat nearby trying, unsuccessfully, to do homework. My husband was putting our youngest to bed. My struggling son committed himself to his safety while I ran a mile so that we could go for a drive when I got back. I’m so proud of him. He continues to make hard decisions to help himself get better. He didn’t want to do anything last night but he got himself up and out the door on a cold, dark night for a drive. I can only hope that my commitment to get up and out the door on a cold, dark night to keep my streak alive can serve as an example of perseverance for him. I ran the half mile to the elementary school playground, did a few pull-ups, a few dips, and a flip over the lowest bar before running that half mile back home. My son and I then went on a drive after that despite my exhaustion and day packed to the brim and it was magical. We looked at Christmas lights and talked about many things as we drove. We got home late and went to bed even later but I went to sleep knowing that my son was in a better place emotionally. I will take less sleep for that peace of mind any day. Tonight, my daughter came to town and said she wanted to run with me at the gym. We left around dinner time and one of my twins came with us. He shot baskets as my daughter and I ran laps around the indoor track. I thought she might want to run together but she just wanted us both to run on the track so she could use me as motivation to run faster. I love that girl. She sent me a bitmoji of us as two peas in a pod yesterday and it meant so much to me that she sees how alike we are as well. I also love that I can serve as inspiration for my daughter to run faster even as I approach 40. After we each logged 2 miles (my daughter would probably want me to point out that she finished a long time before I did), we played a game of pig and around the world with her brother. My daughter isn’t as naturally athletic as her brothers but I love how she enjoys athletic recreation regardless. My son won the game of pig, despite my best efforts of bounce shots and backward shots but I won the game of around the world. We had a blast. My husband stayed home to put our youngest to bed again. He has been so supportive of my older son and his struggles. He has also been incredibly supportive as my older kids have needed more of my time and attention as we all go through the transition of moving and facing my son’s mental health struggles. It has been a gift. I am now sitting here awake at 3am awaiting the return of my other son. He traveled to St. Louis for a concert tonight and I look forward to him getting home safely. I remember a parent telling me when my older kids were young that the sleepless nights return when you have teenagers and it is proving to be true. I’m thankful for my running, which allows me time to process my busy life. I was reflecting on my run tonight how my daily running has become an accepted part of our family’s routine. On New Year’s Eve, I will celebrate 3 full years of my running streak. I realized that I started this streak when my youngest was 4 years old. Next year, I will have been streaming for over half of his life. At this point, he probably doesn’t even remember a day where I didn’t run. That brings me joy. I love that I have this one thing that I selfishly pursue for myself and that it has such positive ramifications throughout my small circle of influence. I often read everything I can get my hands on about depression and one of the lists I read recently discussed the importance of a streak. The list talked about finding something you can commit to doing daily that you can pursue while checking off the number of consecutive days that you have remained committed to the task. I completely agree that there are positive mental benefits to this pursuit. I love my streak and how much it adds to my life.
I was really hoping to hit the gym today for my run. I hadn’t had a chance to go before dinner so I checked their hours on the way home and realized they closed in 20 minutes. I knew there was no chance that I could make it home in time to get my shorts and make it to the gym for a mile. I was super bummed. A late day run in the dark, 20 degree weather was not on my list of things I wanted to do today. My son actually had a really rough night last night. He had a fight with his girlfriend and he was pretty distraught. I was up with him until 2am and I was exhausted all day. This was just icing on an already crappy cake. I bundled up anyway and headed out into the darkness. I stopped by the neighborhood elementary school to do some pull-ups, dips, and a flip, then ran 2 miles. It really wasn’t too bad. My anxiety was a little higher than usual but really the run was better than I had expected. I was def ready for it to be over when I got home but I’m proud of myself for making it out even though I would have rather stayed home. While I was on my run, I was trying to remember yesterday’s run because I knew I hadn’t blogged about that run yet. I couldn’t remember it at all. I even started worrying for a minute that maybe I had forgotten to run. I convinced myself to relax by reminding myself that my Garmin would give me the details of yesterday’s run so I could check that when I got home. My Garmin reminded me that I ran at 6:17 yesterday morning and I ran a mile around the neighborhood to the north. It was also kind enough to mention that it had been 14 degrees with 11mph winds from the southeast. I might have actually mentally blocked out that run.
If I could perfectly plan each of my days, I would be running farther and eating healthier. However, life isn’t perfect. I wanted to run 3 miles today but I really only had time for 1 mile. It was a decent mile though. Maybe little windier than I would have liked but the temperature was great. I ran around the little retention pond just to the north of our house. I’m glad I got to run outside. Tomorrow, I will likely be stuck in the gym either before getting my youngest ready for school or after work. Our temperatures are expected to plummet tonight so I need to get my winter running gear ready so I’m not stuck on the hamster wheel indefinitely.