Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Running makes me a better Mom.


Location: Pocahontas State Park
Trails: Bright Hope, Outer Lick
Distance: 7 miles
Time/Pace: 1hr, 11mins. 10:10 min/mile

Days 'til Marathon: 39

 Running makes me a better Mom. Motherhood has made me a better runner.

This connection is so undeniable that it deserves a mention. Today's run at Pocahontas was another example of how my "therapy," is such an effective tool in my Mommy-arsenal. 

This morning, the sun was shining (finally!) and the temperature outside didn't require full face and head protection in order to avoid frostbite. In other words, the weather was perfect for a jaunt in the woods. Better yet, it was a preschool morning, so I actually got to hit the trail. Yippee!!

 Lucy loves her preschool. Tons. I'm not sure who was more excited about today being a school-day; the wiggly, jumpy, dancing 2-year old or her equally-wiggly Mama. Oh wait, we both got trounced by the 120 pounds worth of restless and hyper-excited K9 who live here. 

I mean everybody be happy up in here.
I don't mean to sound like a total anti-Mommy Mommy here; I really do adore my kiddo and cherish every day we get to spend together. We spend a lot of time together. A LOT. Most of it it wonderful and happy and adorable and all that jazz. But, let's be honest, being a stay at home mom is NOT the easiest thing on the planet. There are a lot of perks (naptime!) and I wouldn't trade this time for anything; however, the 6 hours each week that Lu spends in preschool are pretty magical. Dang magical. 

 It may not seem like a long time, but 3 hours in kid-free mommy-land is golden. Each Tuesday and Thursday, I march my happy ass over to Golden Land with a big smile on my face. If I could whistle, I would. (Nope, I can't whistle. Whaat?!) My husband thinks its cute to try to teach me how to whistle. I think he just enjoys the part where I can't do it and he can. Nah, we aren't competitive.

Today I loaded up the pups and headed over to Pocahontas. I've never taken Val & P to the equestrian side, so we headed that way to mix it up a little.
The dogs were so happy to be out on the trail (it had been a whole week, Ma!); their energy and enthusiasm were contagious. They've been left at home for my past few trail runs due to the crazy cold weather and snow. Poor, neglected creatures; left to wallow on the warm sofa while I trudged through 3 feet of snow (OK, so it was more like 6 inches, but still).

About 5 minutes into our 7-mile route, I knew it was going to be a good one. All three of us were practically skipping down the path. 

Val, the trail scout.

I've missed running in average weather; this winter has been crazy. I'll take sunny and 45 anytime. Today was a beautiful reminder of how much fun trail running is and of why its the best natural therapy I've ever found. 

Scent-patrol on the scene. They take their job very seriously.

After a mile, my body warms up. 

Mile 3: I begin to feel energized and invigorated. 

Mile 6: I hit my groove and that amazing "I could do this all day," feeling. 

Then, of course, its over.

Damn, I love this.

 After a 10-minute drive home (Bruno Mars jammin' on the radio) and a quick shower, its time to go pick up my little one from preschool. Its been three hours and I can't wait to see her. I feel refreshed, refueled and ready to go back into "mommy-mode." Running does that for me. I'm more plugged-in when I'm with her, more playful, more patient; a better version of myself.

 As a group, I think that we moms are way too hard on ourselves. We work our tushies off to make sure that everyone in our family is fed, clean (well, somewhat clean, anyway), warm and happy. Lots of times, though, the person who is at the bottom of the "to take care of," list is ourselves. I've found that when I make running a priority, the other stuff gets much easier. I need to run. My family needs me to run. Lord knows my husband needs me to run. Why? Because I'm a much better wife,mom, friend and person for the other 21 hours of the day if i make that time to take care of me.

My outlet is hitting the trail and logging a few (or a dozen) miles. For other people, it may be painting or yoga or music. Its different for everybody; the important thing is that we all have something. What's yours?