Whoops. Lost this blog for a bit. Life has been hectic, crazy, full. I think I have cycled through all the feelings that exist within me so far this year (ALL. THE. FEELINGS). And it’s only May.
I feel a bit like this guy:
The big rock just keeps rolling back down the hill. I’m getting stronger, this is true. My old tendency to give up & run away from the rock and let myself get smooshed has thankfully been replaced by a fiery will. Unfortunately, I am still only one person. The task of parenting – of escorting this whole other amazingly complicated and wonderful human being through the beginning stages of his life – this task is the greatest task there is. It’s beyond Sisyphean. To feel that you are somehow failing at the greatest, most important job of your life is not a good feeling. As parents, we ALL feel this way at times. As a single parent, I feel this way 89% of the time.
I’ve written about this here before. I guess it’s a theme. A theme that I so wish I could overcome. I see other women succeeding beautifully at “doing it all”…career, kids, relationship, personal goals. I know more than a few female ultrarunners who manage family, job and enjoy great success in their sport. (yes this post is about running…I started this as a running blog right? ha.) Intellectually I believe I can do it all. On paper it looks totally manageable. Parent, work, take care of home, train my ass off, run a 100 miler. What’s so hard about that!? Honestly I am still trying to answer that question and it is so damn frustrating.
I wish it were this easy.
There was a bit of a setback early this year which threw a wrench into my whole running plan. Ironically, while I was immobilized and high on painkillers from my nasty trail fall at the Orcas Island 50k, I was notified that I made it into CCC100. (if you’ve been reading for a while you will recall that this is the 100 miler I DNF’d back in 2013.) I am still chasing my goal of a 100 mile finish. Why? Why do I set up these goals when I know that logistically it will be so F’ing hard to pull off? When nearly every weekend between January and August will be filled with either basketball or baseball games, out-of-state tournament travel, practices to get to, school projects to assist with? When my 14 yr old son is on the verge of starting a demanding high school career and I am “it”?? I am The One he counts on to be there.
When I face that reality, I feel like a crazy person for even entertaining these goals. Running a 100 mile race is a goal that will be there for me when he is 18 and no longer relies on me in the way he does now. Am I giving up on the hundo? No. Not yet anyway. Running, for me, is too important to give up. I am a runner. I just might not be an ultrarunner right now. That makes me sad and a little bit pissed off. Pissed off at myself for not having my Badass Ultrarunner Mama shit together. And then I realize that the passage of time is so swift. In four years, I will be attending Liam’s high school graduation ceremony. Will I look back and regret not running more miles or races? Will I feel like a failure because I didn’t run as much as those other women? God no. I will most likely tear up with gratitude that I was able to be present for my son when he needed me. That he didn’t have to wonder “Where the heck is my mom?” during a game. This is in NO WAY claiming that I am “perfect” in the Mom Dep’t. (see 89% failure comment above). But, I believe I have the priority thing down.
that’s my boy <3
I just wish there was a flow chart for all this stuff.
My inner compass is better than it’s ever been, now that I am paying attention and no longer numbing-out. I know that my running helps me be a wayyyyy better version of “me”, and that my son is a happier kid when he has a happier mom. The fuzzy confusing icky uncomfortable part comes when I start feeling like my son is losing out because I put my running first. This is a lose-lose. I can’t ignore the joy that chasing a running goal brings me, or the fact that I am setting an example for my son that hard work, dedication and consistent effort brings tangible results. But when it physically hurts to hear about the all the latest epic mountain training runs that friends have done while my ass was glued to the bleachers for 2+ games per day over a 3-day weekend, I wonder if something’s got to give.
Despite feeling like I am doing NOTHING right, I try to live like this:
First and foremost, I am a mom. A mom who likes to run. I will never ever be a runner who likes to mom on the side. And that’s perfectly OK by me.