Tundra Trailblazer Jill: ISO: A Running Sitter…and a Therapist….

Woohoo! It’s April!

Also happening in April…

Relaxing April rains, warmer weather, and the promise of summer coming soon. I know, this is WI, so there’s always the chance of one more great snow storm. I do recall being snowed on camping once at the end of May, but…

I’m being hopeful, so don’t bust my bubble on this, people.

This month’s running events include the longest runs of marathon training. Saturday’s run was the first of these, at 16 miles, and this week follows with 18, then 20, with a “break” at the end of the month to participate in the Oshkosh Half Marathon on April 30th.

In other words, I like to call this month: Hell Month.

Or in a positive light, the most crucial month of prep work for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon. It’s the point of no return, and I’m feeling like I’m going to make it. Or maybe I’ve just had a lot of coffee right now, and I’m feeling the running high still from my recent productive training runs.

Either way, today I feel like I CAN run a marathon. 
And that’s a great feeling.

Saturday’s 16-mile run went relatively well, with my pace a bit below my goal marathon pace. However, I’m finding a comfortable stride around the 8:12-8:21 min/mile range. I ended up with a 8:33 min/mile pace due to running out of water, starting to feel ill, and also running into Grumpy Cat in the last 2 miles and HAVING to stop and take a picture. We’ll see how the 20-milers go coming up, but I’m hopeful to attain my sub-9 min/mile goal.

Injury-wise, I left Saturday’s run pain-free (WOOOOHOOO!!!!!!) outside of the fact that I shortly after realized I was getting the stomach flu that my kids have/had/gave to their cousins…. I spent the next day and some change hydrating and NOT eating anything, which I should add is my FAVORITE thing to do after that long of a run; eating whatever the heck I want which is usually pizza, or chocolate….or pizza with chocolate. Mmmm…chocolate pizza…..

I don’t like donuts, but pizza…well, I mean…

With my foot issues, I solicited/took (thank you Run Away Shoes..again…) some advice from a few local runners, did some research, and eased up on 1 run a week that last two weeks, taking things down to running 4 days/week and XT 1-2 other days. That seems to have done quite a bit for my foot injury, along with a lot of stretching, rolling, and a LITTLE extra help in the Ibuprofen realm as well.

Who would have thought? Stretching and rolling, right!?!?

But as I mentioned in my last blog post, which you can find here, I was skimping on those all too important warmup and cool-down aspects of my runs to avoid sinking further and further into that fun thing called….

Just trying to protect everyone,
that’s all
“Mom Guilt” 

Mom Guilt 
/mam/ or /MAAAAMMM!!!!!/ /gilt/ – noun – A remorseful feeling a female caretaker gets when spending 473 hours/day caring for her offspring is not enough and she chooses to partake in a completely self-serving act focused on increasing her physical, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being which in turn requires her child to be in the care of another individual and/or temporarily self-reliant. These acts include any and all forms of exercise, showering, entering a level of REM sleep, eating a meal without getting up 17 times, watching a show they DVR’ed 4 weeks ago, and so on.

See also: Marathon Training Mom Guilt, Hangry Mom Guilt, I Just Don’t Care Anymore, But Feel Bad 20 Seconds Later That I Said That Mom Guilt, & Go Ask Your Father.

2 of my 3 Human Beings

Now, before you think I am saying this is only something that a sexually-defined female caretaker of another human being can feel, I’m not. However, I happen to be said sexually-defined female who is the main caretaker of 2 (okay, let’s be real, my husband is also included here…) 3 human beings who also happens to believe in speaking from my own perspective and not generalizing to all sexes, types of parents, or those who choose to not have kids but have other very demanding obligations, and so on and so on.

In other words, I’m going to go with term Mom Guilt, and you can adjust accordingly to relate…or not, if you don’t. In that case, I need to be stronger like you are, because I SUCK at not allowing my children to drain my emotional tank on a daily basis.

First, can I just say, why do I do this to myself!?? 

Where does this feeling that I need to constantly be showering my children with attention come from? And why am I constantly buying in to it? I can think of 2 main reasons: The Internet & Society (this is starting to sound strangely like a paper I might have made one of my students write..oh well, on we go…)

1. The Internet
Well, ironically as I’m writing this online blog about the topic, that is actually part of the problem: EVERYTHING IS ON THE INTERNET! 

Nap Time Target Runs Be Like….

Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest, and reading running blogs, and seeing pics of my friends kids whenever I want. What’s for dinner? Let’s see what Pinterest has to offer. What local races are coming up? Check the Facebook running pages. I don’t even enter stores without consulting my coupon apps and price matching the items on Amazon. And if I can help it, sometimes I don’t even enter a store at all; especially, around nap time.

In the running sense, the online world can be a great place to go to get tips and ideas on how to overcome injury, up your pace game, and even put healthy meals on the table.

However, it can also be TOO full of ideas or as I like to call them “Awesome Things I Won’t Ever Do That Make Me Feel Like I’m Totally Doing This Running Thing Wrong” or “Things I Shouldn’t Read In Lieu Of Seeing The Doctor Because Now I’m Afraid I’m Going to Die”.

Good Example: Runner’s World articles. On one hand, there are a lot of some great tips and ideas that come out of the plethora of posts that fill their Facebook page daily. However, there are 2 things I notice that bother me:

1. They use the word “mortal” to describe a normal runner and “elite” to be anyone who evidently is “really good” at it. Seeing as how mortal is being used in contrast here to something obviously quite “superior”, and the word itself has a secondary meaning of “leading to death”, I mean I’m not literary genius, but there’s probably something better out there that could be used. Maybe something like “bad ass runner who doesn’t get paid for it” rather than mortal?
I don’t know, just throwing ideas out there. 

2. They like to post articles about scary rare health problems in runners that can come up that you have no control over. If you read them at 10pm (along with binge watching Unsolved Mysteries while your husband is at work), good luck sleeping…ever.

Anyway, my point here is that the internet can make you feel like out of control and inferior in many of your life roles;
a mom ABSOLUTELY being one of these.  

There are a plethora of ideas online of what you “should” being doing for your kids (throwing elaborate birthday parties, planning out organic, nutritious, color-coded, themed lunches each day of the week, having in-depth discussions about the US current political system, etc.), that if you buy into all of this,
you might as well kiss any time to yourself and your own personal wellness goodbye. 

There’s also the other end of this spectrum – those that shame other moms for going above and beyond at times for their kids. I’m not going into that here, but to those that judge openly please heed this advice:

99.9% of moms posting about their personal triumphs in motherhood (eg- putting pants on their kids before 10am, getting more than 7 consecutive hours of sleep, peeing in private, etc.) are NOT doing it to make you look bad. They are NOT thinking about you as they do things; they are feeling good about accomplishing something and/or are excited for what they are doing for their kids. End of story. 

So calm down and go eat a Snickers. 

In my case of Mom Guilt, I feel guilt a lot of the time; no time more than when I’m marathon training. Having to ask someone to watch my kids so I can go out running feels selfish. I also have the added fact that this time around, as a Tundra Trailblazer for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, I am chronicling via social media every aspect of my training. That’s new for me, and at times, I wonder if other’s are thinking about how much time I can truly be spending with my children if I’m always out running.

The internet world says I should be spending every waking moment making my children handmade clothing and singing about our favorite things, so how could I possibly plan, prepare, and then execute up to 5 runs a week?

Conclusion: I must be a bad mom. 

And I don’t mean in the hot Mila Kunis “Bad Mom” sense. I mean in the sense that I’m doing something that is just for my personal well-being and only my well-being. Although I sometimes consider where she’s going with the day drinking thing….. 

2. Society 
I’m new to this SAHM/WFHM (stay at home mom, work from home mom) thing. Until recently, I was working full-time in my career field on top of teaching Sociology coursework at a local college all while running a successful music business as a performer. In other words, I was doing what American society told me I should: Get an education, and then work, work, and work some more.

We have an obsession in this country with being the best, and with that doing the best. And the best often times correlates to financial success, which in turn means you have to have a paying job. So, in the a nutshell without getting too into this, I have found in my switch from the career world to being a SAHM, SAHMs are the hardest working, least appreciated professionals I know. Hands down. I’m not arguing this. Here’s my FAVORITE completely biased, non-researched based video to back my personal opinion. (Around 3:15 is my favorite part: Moms are the best!! guy…)

A more statistically sound example, I logged 1,243 steps DURING dinner yesterday. DURING. I also wrote this blog over the course of 6 days. Mostly child-caused delays, some due to lack of personal motivation….

So here’s a fun psychological experiment to play. True or not, do this:

Tell someone you are a SAHM or SAHD. 
I mean, don’t randomly walk up to people and do this. Next time they ask what you do, tell them you stay home. 

When I started telling people this, I saw a major switch in people asking me about my personally derived success (when I was a professional in my career) to almost feelings of sadness for me or jealousy for my new found “freedom”.  No longer was I being asked about my degree, what I liked about my job, etc. I got a lot of the following comments/questions (and had a lot of the following thoughts as well….)

“Well, what do you do all day then?”
(Not sit at my desk and think, “It’s really quiet here today. Where is everyone?”)

“But you got your Masters degree and now you’re just sitting home. Doesn’t that make you feel bad?”
(I do more counseling now than I ever did. Ever had to talk a 3-year old down from eating an entire party sized bag of M&Ms and then explain why this is wrong? Yeah, let’s just say, we had the police on backup…)

“I wish I could/I would get so much done if I stayed home all day.”
(Oh yeah, I mean, now that we are always home instead of the kids being at daycare, obviously there aren’t more meals to make, dishes to do, things to pickup. My kids never need me, and I don’t ever have to stop what I’m doing to assist them in going to the bathroom from the 47th time that hour. It’s a cakewalk really….)

“You’re so lucky, your husband must have a really good job.”
(My HUSBAND is so lucky that I am willing to give up my career to allow him to continue his very demanding schedule to benefit our family. He is also lucky his is a male in a traditional male profession and thus, as is still so very common, makes more in overtime than I did in a weekly paycheck. I am lucky because I get to spend so much time with my kids every day. That’s what makes me lucky.)

“You’re so lucky that you don’t need to work.”
(That’s right. I don’t work at all nor do I miss it. I just sit around all day while the kids rub my feet and we listen to classical Chopin nocturnes whilst discussing our latest Dickens read..)

“Well you have the time to do things, you don’t work.”
(“Things” – Chauffeuring, babysitting, volunteering, childcaring, cooking, cleaning…)

My LEAST favorite one is: “I wish I could run/go to the gym/stay active. But I have to work.” 

I hate this one because I really CAN’T argue it to some level. I always went to the gym and ran either before work or during my lunch hour, but I truly don’t think I would marathon train if I were in the same boat I was last year, working 3 jobs and raising kids.

So I’m back to feeling like a guilty mom. I am lucky that I get to be with my children so much, that is true. But at what point am I allowed to make time for me without feeling judged?

You are your own worst enemy

Can I fit into this equation still? And should I? 

The short answer: Hell yes you should.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Bad is a subjective term. YOU define bad for yourself. Yes, things like the internet and societal mores can definitely enhance or influence your feelings of being “bad” or a “bad mom” tins this case. But, your perspective in the end creates the bad.

So how am I getting over this mom guilt while marathon training?? 

1. I’m consciously choosing to no longer buy into it
2. I’m focusing on all the benefits my marathon training has for my children

This past week, I bought my daughter new shoes. She might just call these sneakers, or tennis shoes, but she on her own calls them her “running shoes.” My son asked to go running to the stop sign with me (about .3 miles) and was so excited to talk to me about how he thought he was getting faster, and do what mom does. (Tear….)

Proud Running Mom moments right there. Also, a constant reminder that they are watching me, they are looking up to me, and they are learning from my example.

In some ways, this is OK…

I know my daughter didn’t think up the name “running shoes” on her own. She watches me put mine on and both her and her brother talk to me about my running, always asking, “How was your run, Momma?” They know that this, marathon training, is something that is truly important to me. They are seeing the dedication and hard work that I am putting in to it, and they seem proud of me. (Tear again….)

So why would I feel bad about that!?!?!

I will only be able to continue being a good role model if I continue to take care of myself and do things the right way.

So that’s my input on my struggles with Mom Guilt and marathon training. In conclusion, be nice to yourself, be nice to others, and remember that not everyone actually throws their kids birthday parties with handmade personalized party favors for each kid to take home sprinkled with real bits of gold.

Damn you, Jeni…. 🙂

Unless you’re my sister Jeni, then yes, yes you do. 

Wow, It’s amazing what comes from marathon training!

Not only am I learning a lot about how to overcome physical limitations, I really do feel that by dedicating myself to such a strenuous task I gaining a little bit of me back, and feeling emotionally stronger along the way.

Maybe I don’t need a therapist after all. I just need to keep blogging…. 🙂

Make today the best day yet!


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