12 September 2007

Running Update (edited to include forgotten footnote)

The good DoctorMama would be proud: I have been running. For at least a month now, I've been getting out with the twins about three times a week. I'm not going far and I'm not going fast, but I'm going.

Overall, it's been a good thing. The kids like the stroller time after daycare; they are often pretty tired after a full, social day at what I call school, and the time out in the fresh air gives them a nice transition and chance for a quick nap if they need it. It's a good transition for me, too. I'm usually racing out the door at work, perpetually five minutes late for daycare pickup, and often I have a phone call to make on my way to get the twins. The time outdoors is good for my brain and my body.

A couple of weeks ago, my dad sent me his Garmin so that I could figure out how far and fast I was going. I finally remembered to put it in my bag for today's outing. It's a damn good thing that Sitemeter and all of your comments are stroking my ego because my running results were pretty dismal. I know, I know, it's not about speed, it's about getting out there and doing it. But it's hard not to compare today's results to my running heyday the year I got married, when I regularly ran 30+ miles/week at an average of 8:30/mile.

According to the Garmin, I did three miles in 33 minutes, meaning I was doing 11 minute miles. OK, I was pushing 50 pounds of baby in a 20+ pound stroller. That time and distance includes about .25 miles of walking split between the beginning and end of the run, three brief stops to retrieve thrown Snack Traps,* and one pause at the halfway point to wipe my sweaty brow and give myself a pep talk for the return trip.

I'll be honest here (as if I'm not usually): I don't love running. I never have. I know it's good for me. It does give me energy for the evening and more patience with the twins. It's an extremely efficient way to exercise, and the only thing I've figured out how to fit into my schedule. I love what it does for me, but I'll be damned if I can figure out a way to enjoy doing it. I've never liked listening to music when I run, although I do enjoy NPR while running (I know, I'm crazy), but I don't know if I'd feel comfortable with headphones on when the twins were with me. What else is there to provide distraction? The halfway point of my run is psychologically very important to me, and I do sometimes find that I get a whiff of that elusive "runner's high" as I'm headed home. I think that has more to do with knowing that I'm headed towards that dish of ice cream that I've earned (ha) than with the joy of pounding the pavement.

There are things about running that are not good for me. I've always struggled with perfectionism, and there is no perfect in running. (There's no perfect in life, but that's an entirely different post.) I can always go faster, harder, or longer. It's very hard for me to focus on being happy with what I've done rather than dissatisfied with what I didn't do. The Garmin is a blessing and a curse in that I think it will motivate me to go longer, but it will also give me blunt truths with with to beat myself over the head.

The pros definitely outweigh the cons, there's no question. I've just been a bit caught off guard by the psychological stuff that has come up for me from running. The perfectionism, the competition, feelings of dissatisfaction with my body and it's limits. I'm hoping that these feelings motivate me to eat a little better (see above-mentioned ice cream) and make some other small changes that will give my self-esteem a little lift. My clothes haven't fit the way I'd like them to for a while and my hair is in that in-between stage. I just haven't felt pretty in a while. The running can be the foundation for feeling pretty again if I can set aside my psychological crap.

I'm going to start by getting myself some ice cream before bed. (What am I supposed to do? The plan is to finish this carton and then not buy anymore. Sssh, I know what you're thinking.)

*A long overdue reply to the reader who asked me about Snack Traps: yes, they are great, but they are not perfect (hmm, is this a theme for today?) The kids still drop a lot of Cheerios, Cheddar Bunnies, grapes, or whatever else I put in there, but at least when they shake the cups up, down, and all around, they don't spill the contents all in one go. My kids can't take the lids off by themselves yet, but I have heard that many kids figure that out very quickly and thus endeth the joy that is Snack Trap since without the lid, what's the point? I think Gerber and maybe some other companies make versions with sturdier lid attachments.


Anonymous said...

I'm thinking you deserve that ice cream. I realize I'm a complete stranger, but from reading your blog I'm always amazed at how together you are. It took me several years after the birth of my twins to get in shape (and my metaphorical plate wasn't as full as yours).

So, my advice is: buy some new clothes. Who cares if you aren't the size you want to be? Who ever is? New clothes will make you feel better and you can donate them when they no longer fit after all that running. Can I be bold and suggest a hair cut too?

Sorry. I feel that I'm beginning to sound like my mother. I'm really trying to say that you're doing a great job and encourage you to do something (maybe not hair/clothes but, hey, some new running gear!) to treat yourself.

amyinbc said...

I hate jogging and always have. The fact you are making yourself do so (while you hate it too) is very admirable. Recently heard short bursts of extreme energy burned is the goal and most beneficial to the health (and weight loss). So there you go, jog, fast walk, jog. Exactly what my doc recommends.

mj has some great advice. A great hair cut and some new clothes. Your self esteem will thank you!

Elizabeth said...

Wow. I never realized I was doing this same thing to myself until I read this:

There are things about running that are not good for me. I've always struggled with perfectionism, and there is no perfect in running. (There's no perfect in life, but that's an entirely different post.) I can always go faster, harder, or longer. It's very hard for me to focus on being happy with what I've done rather than dissatisfied with what I didn't do.

So yeah, I do exactly the same thing. Always criticizing myself in my head after every run, always thinking I could have done more, gone faster, farther. I'm not sure what the answer is, but it is reassuring somehow to know I'm not the only one. It's hard work being a perfectionist,eh?
Anyway, good luck with the running, and from one perfectionist to another, give yourself a pat on the back and tell yourself good job for getting out there, no matter how fast or how far.

soralis said...

I am still stuck on the 3 miles (and with twins). You rock!

Robin said...

I hear you on the running and perfection thing. Because of shin splints I switched over to bike riding. I also got one of those trailer thingies for the kid and hooked it up to the back. He absolutely loves it!. I also got a reclined bike for inside the home. I find it more comfortable to sit on and I also get to read while riding the bike. Because I know I really need to excersise, to help motivate me, I can only read the book if I'm on the bike. Just a half hour a day and I totally gives me a time for me - to read, to excersise.

Anonymous said...

I suck at exercising. Suck. And I like ice cream. Hmmm maybe this is why I need to lose about 20 pounds?

I do however like to walk with the dog. I don't go for long walks very often anymore, as I always feel too stressed to raise my motivation level. However, I should tonight... an hour walk, looking at the houses lit up at night... That's actually can be rather relaxing and enjoyable. And then I can come home and eat ice cream.

Lucky said...

Last night I attended a talk by Dick Hoyt, the man who has pushed his son with cerebal palsy for miles and miles of running, and has even competed in some Ironman races. They finished the Boston Marathon one year in just over two hours! ARGH!
You are right there up with them. 3 miles in 33 minutes is something that I don't think I can do after completing one marathon, one half marathon, 9 triathons, and giving birth to ONE baby 14 months ago.
You are amazing.
You deserve at least one more pint of ice cream, don't you think?

Snickollet said...


Dick Hoyt is amazing! I usually watch Boston Marathon coverage, and he always gets some airtime (I think they run Boston almost every year). Now there's some inspiration. Was he a good speaker?


Mykal said...

The Hoyt's have a book about their experience racing that I've heard good things about. I think they're mostly retired from the big races, but I know they were coming to 5k's still last year. I've been in quite a few races with the Hoyt's (they do a lot of the F. I. R. M run triathlons, 5k), it's amazing, and being slow slow slow myself, I've never actually finished before them!

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about running--I don't enjoy it (although I do find that listening to NPR helps--the Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! with Bob Sagat from a few Saturdays ago had me laughing so hard I was almost crying WHILE running. So maybe not so productive. Anyway.) but I find running to be the most efficient exercise. I'm trying to get in bicycle-riding shape for a company bike ride (in a week!) and I just can't believe how much LONGER it takes to feel like I'm doing something. I'd rather get my exercise and be done with it.


Sarahviz said...

I'm with you. I don't necessarily enjoy running, but I do it.
And it kinda becomes addicting. And I've noticed that the more frequently I run, the less I'm critical about my appearance. I feel like even though I'm not becoming SLIMMER, I'm becoming STRONGER.
And that motivates me to keep going.

OTRgirl said...

It's comforting to hear that you don't enjoy running. I've always found it far more annoying than it's worth. Perhaps I'll give it another try at some point.

At the moment I'm just working on getting fit enough to bike the whole way to and from work every day (I'm alternating bike/train days with total bike days).

Anonymous said...

I, too have perfection problems. However, I've had to learn a difficult lesson over the years, as my body is less than stellar. I have two conditions that prohibit me from looking how I wish to look: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type Hypermobility and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The first has given me loose joints and painful connective tissues that greatly limit the amount of exercise I can do without enduring serious pain, while the second has given me insulin resistance and drastic weight gain.

I need intense exercise to keep even the slightest bit of weight off (try 60-90 minutes 6 times a week just to MAINTAIN my current size 12/14), but that kind of exercise can really hurt my feet, and I've wound up on crutches six or seven times from it.

Needless to say, I have just had to learn I can only do my best. No, I'm not the size 4/6 I was for most of my life, and yeah it kind of sucks. But what am I supposed to do? It's not my fault PCOS became a monster in my puberty and now adult years, and I can't afford to rip my body apart to be "thin." So, instead I exercise regularly, eat as healthy as I can and do my best to tell myself that's all I can - and should - expect of myself.

- A

~ Jolene said...

okay...3 miles in 33 minutes...you're kidding me right?!? that is amazing! I don't have any kids and if I run 3 miles 3 days a week, I would seriously consider myself a rock star. You're being too hard on yourself! I would be so damn proud of myself if I could do that!!! I feel you on the not feeling so pretty stage. NONE of my clothes fit like they used to. I've got that "muffin top" sticking out of every pair of jeans I own. I even get depressed on some days about it. Hence the reason I'm TRYING to start working out and the reason I got my hair done...so I can feel slightly cute again. Keep it up Snick...and what the hell...you can have that bowl of ice cream at least once a week. :)

Anonymous said...

Snick, you do rock, I just did a race a few weeks ago and avearged 10:30 a mile, ALONE:) So you're great lady!

Keep it up.

On the self esteem, I believe in the "look good feel better" theory, go get your hair done and buy an outfit or 2.

Lots of love,

Heather said...

Don't beat yourself up. At least you're doing it. I used to hate running, but I really enjoy it now. I read and followed the training advice in this book and got to where running is really my release now. I'd been out of it for several months, and ran 3 miles yesterday in just...43 minutes...with just myself and no stroller. So, no, I'm not fast (and you're faster!), but I do enjoy watching the improvement over time. My Garmin is great for that -- allowing me to see the little improvements instead of only noticing the really big ones.

Rex Olympiorum said...


i ONLY listen to NPR when running. I have an ipod nano and get the FREE podcasts of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, This American Life, and Only a Game downloaded every week...and it makes the time go by much faster! Plus, it's like running with someone else who tells really, really good stories.

Anonymous said...

I've been lurking, and reading your archives. I just came upon your January post about de-lurking and decided to de-lurk now! What keeps me running when I really don't feel like it is remembering that there has never been a time when I finish a run and think, "gosh, I really wish I didn't just run that 3 miles," while there have been many times that I have wished that I had gotten out there and run for even 15-20 minutes.

Good luck with your running!

Tiffany said...

Good for you for running and pushing the twins!! Wow just image a run without pushing the twins you will be amazed at how fast you go. I feel the same way about running, I don't love it but I get a good workout in and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. To mix it up should get a Burley (2 seater thing you pull with your bike - but they cost ALOT of money) and go for a bike ride. I jut wish I had one!

moo said...

I'm late to this post, but I wanted to comment on the Snack Trap.

We found it in the store two weekends ago and bought it for our 13 month old. It was a joy! A revelation! Amazing! So SMART!

Then, two nights ago, our very smart son pried the cover off. And the bloom is off the rose, as it were.

You find out about those better gerber kinds, you let me know, mmkay?

Anonymous said...

Long post lost but I'm with others about the hair cut and a few cute outfits... and maybe remember to say one nice thing to yourself after you finish a run whereby you propelled yourself and TWO kiddos for three miles. Impressive time even for the most seasoned runner. Bonus: you are giving R and M a gift - running and exercise will become ingrained.

With you on listening to NPR when your kids are napping in the stroller. I have found that one earpiece in and one earpiece out works just fine... You rock, my internet friend. Maybe toss that Garmin to the wind and give yourself kuddos since you are still vertical AND moving at the end of the day.

tree town gal

Anonymous said...

I like, sometimes love, running but have always hated running with the jogging stroller. Both my boys were crabby on runs, and my upper body feels so tense running with the stroller. Also, I think running alone helps you get out of your head a bit, which is the whole point of it. Can you sneak a few runs without the kids?

Try http://walkjogrun.net to plan your runs or track how far you've gone. It's a great tool and really helped me start going longer distances.

DoctorMama said...

I am proud!

11 minute miles pushing TWINS in a JOGGING STROLLER? Good lord, if you don't think that's fantastic, you definitely have perfectionism problems. If you entered a double-stroller race, you'd probably finish first, including the men.

(And this is why I say just DON'T calculate your speed ... if you're running, you're running. Go by total amount of running time.)

I really like what buttercup said: "What keeps me running when I really don't feel like it is remembering that there has never been a time when I finish a run and think, 'gosh, I really wish I didn't just run that 3 miles,' while there have been many times that I have wished that I had gotten out there and run for even 15-20 minutes."

Rock on.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the new gerber product that is like the snack trap: http://www.gerber.com/toddlersite?tmsdir=feeding&tmspage=lilsnackin.html&tmspromo=2

We have the snack trap and a set of the gerber bowls for our 2 year old daugter and they both work quite well for us. We bought the snack traps when she was one and she has never taken the lid off. I'm surprised by that since she is a genius! Seriously...she will be 2 in 3 weeks and can already count to 20 and knows her ABC's. (Sorry for the bragging but she is my first baby...you know how that is!) Anyway, we just got the gerber bowls and they work too. I prefer the snack traps though because they are a little smaller and easier for me to store in my cramped kitchen.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the running. I enjoy having done it, but I can't say that I enjoy it during. I do like it better than walking because of the efficiency.

I just got back into it (doing Cool Runnings Couch to 5K) and enjoyed reading your post.

beavis said...

Re: snacktraps. I got my son one and he managed to get every single piece of cheerio out of it by rapidly moving his little fingers in and out of the flaps (and chucking the cheerios out in the process). He thought it was a funny game. He's only 15 months now.