Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Sad People Dream About

I have this fantasy. It doesn't involve riding over a rainbow on a unicorn, or anything like that, but it does seem just as impossible. It goes something like this:

I wake up early in the morning while everyone is still sleeping. I glide out of my bed and into my running shoes. I slap my iPod into one of those arm band holders and cue up a playlist filled with upbeat and motivating, and yet, still GOOD, music. I start the coffee maker so that I am greeted by the aroma of my breakfast blend upon my return, and I head out the door.

I walk out my front door and stretch my legs out for a few minutes before I begin my brisk walk to the gate of my apartment complex. There is a very steep hill that must be surmounted before I reach the jogging trail; I do this with little effort, and it gets my heart rate up.

Once I begin my run, I feel peaceful. The adrenaline and the awesome tunes take over, and I hardly notice my feet pounding the cement or how hard I'm breathing. The endorphins kick in, and I feel...happy.

Here's how it really goes: I don't wake up before everyone else. I wake up at 6:30 to the sound of Charlotte crying for me. I could throw her in the jogging stroller, but we're both pretty cranky, so we usually watch a little "teebee." Then I have to feed her breakfast. So, I eat, too. Okay, NOW I could strap her into the jogging stroller and at least go for a walk, but, well, I just ate, didn't I? And I need to go to the store for pickles. I need pickles right away! No time for a jog. Besides, Charlotte would probably just start demanding Milk! and Raisins! and Binkies! and Bunny! And I would spend so much time hunching over the side of the stroller, I wouldn't get very far.

Now let's say I did get to go for that jog, with or without Charlotte. How it would actually go down is that I would walk up that hill, survey the jogging trail in front of me, remember how good that coffee smelled, turn around, and limp home.

Because, let's face it: I didn't always have a kid waking me up before the sun comes up and whining from her stroller. But, the reasons behind my inability to make this dream a reality go beyond my general laziness and the fact that getting up earlier than I needed to to haul my ass around the neighborhood just seemed like the stupidest idea ever when my alarm was going off.

For some reason, I've always really fancied myself a potential runner. I like the sound of it: "I'm going for a run." I've always wanted to be more athletic than I really am. I enjoy being active, outdoorsy stuff, but my body has never really taken to exercise the way I thought it was supposed to.

I played sports as a kid. Most relevant to this discussion were basketball and soccer. LOTS o' running in those sports. And, even as a healthy kid who played outside, participated in P.E., and partook in the drills and sprints required of me at every practice, I always felt like I was going to die a thousand deaths whenever I had to run for any length of time. Tiny daggers were piercing my lungs over and over again. My mouth would instantly go dry and hot. My legs would feel heavy. And my skin itched all over.

Not much has changed after all these years. And, yes, I know that you want to tell me it will get easier after a while. I have to work my way up to the place where I can run without hyperventilating and passing out. And you would be right. But, getting to that place seems so unattainable most days.

I think I (mostly) have the maturity and drive I need to work on this, but I need a realistic plan. Going without Charlotte is not likely, neither is going first thing in the morning. And, is it messed up to make her sit in a jogging stroller several times a week for a half hour or more? I mean, I'll make sure she gets her exercise, too, but even still. Am I being selfish? I have considered giving the gym one last try before I cancel my membership, but Charlotte has never done very well in the daycare center. Maybe now that she's a bit more social, I'll try again.

I don't know. I don't know why my blog is turning into an advice column starring, YOU! The reader! Apparently I need a place where people can tell me how to run my life. Or, maybe I'm just too tired and mystified by my kid's flat out refusal of bedtime lately to write anything more coherent. But, at least I'm posting every day?


  1. First off, thank you! I am not alone. I played Rugby in college and therefore clocked 3-4 miles a day seven days a week and it never, ever was any easier. I am getting back into running now, but I still kind of hate it and I don't think any amount of fitness will actually change my body's response.

    As for how to do it, I have no idea! The only way I was ever able with the kids in tow was to load them up, give them each a snack, a toy, a drink and a book then put on the ipod and ignore the frantic demands for 1/2 an hour. You can imagine how long that lasted... Now, we spent way too much money on a treadmill so we can run after the kids go to bed. Not a real solution, but there you have it.

    None of this was helpful, but good luck none the less!

  2. First of all, it IS helpful to know that not everyone will grow to love exercise. better for me to have realistic expectations.

    I think I'll give the jogging stroller a try. We're doing the St. Jude walk in L.A. this weekend, so she'll have to sit in it for three miles. we'll see how she does.

    I would soooooo get a treadmill, but there is not a single square foot of free space in our apartment. Maybe someday!

  3. Even though I'm a big lump who can't get off her ass?