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.