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Running Away

My father once told me about his neighbor. A stay-at-home mother of three, the woman picked up running. And got seriously addicted to the habit. She ran ALL the time, my father said. 

"She's running away from the house," I said, half joking. 

Now, that I've started running myself I can tell you this: it's no joke. 

A friend remarked yesterday that she knows a number of women my age who start running, and I have a theory about the phenomenon. 

We're running away from the chaos, running from the madness that chases us daily and threatens to swallow us whole. 

I need to hear my heart pound and my breath labor to drown the daylong barrage of crying jags, constant tantrums and whining, oh my god, the whining. MAKE IT STOP. 

I need to distract myself from the toys scattered across the floor, the unmade bed, the dirty dishes, the bills, the cluttered cupboards, the disorganized closets, the unpainted fence, the laundry pile, the clock that shows that Kent is still not home. 

"Just make it to the next light," I tell myself.  "The next stop sign. The top of this long hill."

It's not unlike the pep talks I give myself during the day:  

"Dig deep. Only 20 minutes till quiet time."  

"Another hour and you can get a coffee, march the tribe to the park, get them outside!"

"Wash the pans now. Empty the dishwasher. Get it put away so you can start fresh tomorrow."

"Forty-five minutes and they'll all be in bed."

It feels like a tiny victory every time I make it to the next mark. So good that I feel like I can make it to the next hurdle.  Sadly, that's how I get through most days. Encouraging myself to power through the increments. 

I work hard to find beauty in the moments. But let's not lie to each other, they can be ugly too.

Which is why the running feels so good. So necessary now. I'm running from the ugly - putting distance between me and the noise - so I can look at the house differently when I run home.

Reader Comments (6)

I'm an avid runner and I give myself those pep talks during practically every run. Running has curative powers, sort of like chopping off inches of long hair, but actually repeatable everyday. Organizing the day into increments makes things much more manageable!

November 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

You capture it perfectly. Absolutely perfectly.

After pretty much a lifetime of running, I found it hard to get back to it after Ava because she was always with me. Running with the babyjogger was the biggest downer. A tease. I needed that time and my bodily efforts all to myself. That is the magic of it.

Of course, now with two kids around...one of whom never sleeps...it's just not happening.

Am reposting this on facebook and emphasizing to my husband, once more, that I really, really, really need this mini-vacation back in my life.

Great post!

November 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLea R

Exactly! With running, women discover why men want to go out and hang with the GUYS or go play ball.

Being a parent, while wonderful, is overwhelming. And sometimes it just kind of sucks. But mostly because we're tired or haven't "nourished" ourselves.

I think women don't allow themselves to even think those thoughts, so they often think they don't need to run or get out. Good for you for going for it!

But please don't get too addicted!

November 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterONE of THE GUYS

I used to run waaaaay long ago. Back then it was more about my butt than my psyche. Your post has reminded me of the other benefits as well. Maybe I'll give it a try again.

November 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBuenoBaby

Bueno Baby - a word of caution - get the right pair of shoes before you start back pounding the pavement. I had to hang my cheap running shoes up this past week and give my new passion a rest because my knees are SCREWED. I'll be hitting the pool for a few weeks before venturing back out on the road (in a new, perfectly fitted pair of running shoes).

November 23, 2009 | Registered CommenterDana Damico

I love how you describe this! I am a runner (I always was even before my daughter was born). Now that she's here, I run every day (and feel really disappointed when I have to miss a day). I actually run with her, which gives us some nice quiet time, together.
It really makes you feel great, doesn't it?

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah C.

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