With my youngest in preschool I’ve been really excited to have truly free time to run. I can run without kids from the Y or when my husband is home, but I always feel a slight sense of guilt. When all of them are in school, I feel truly free and it’s amazing! After so many years of never really running guilt-free, wow. It’s nice!
It’s funny how we think running with babies is so hard, but in retrospect it’s probably the easiest time to run as a parent. You tell the kids what to do, so if you want to run you throw them in the stroller or next to the treadmill and go. As they get older, it gets harder. They demand more of you. It’s not the physical demands of a baby, but they need your presence more and it’s more than just driving them to soccer. As the kids grow up and as they start articulating their own goals and big dreams, it’s hard to give the same focus to your own – at least it is for me. I still have mine, sure, but they’re now in a different context.
I certainly don’t mean to say anyone should subjugate their dreams to their childrens’ and I’m not saying I’m doing that either. I believe whole-heartedly that the best way to parent is to lead by example. If you want your children to chase their dreams then you have to chase your own. My point is that my dreams have changed along with my role as a parent has evolved. In fact, I’m deep in the process of reimagining my big dreams. It’s a weird time in that I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing, but it’s also exhilarating in that dreaming up new goals is incredibly fun!
As I’ve hinted around, with running in more of a supporting role in my big dreams than the star it once was, I’ve been spending my time and energy doing other things like Salty, but I also coach soccer and am on the executive board of my kids’ school’s PTO. I never played soccer before, but I was an assistant coach last year. This year I’m a head coach to an all girls’ U8 team and it is just such a joy! My team is the underdog of our 4-team league, but on Saturday they won their first game! They all played the best they’ve ever played together and I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see them strive and accomplish that! Later the same day, our PTO put on a carnival at the school and again it was a joy to see all the mostly thankless work of volunteering pay off with happy families enjoying fun as a school community. All well worth missing a run!
And with that, I had a decent week of running. Besides Saturday, I had to miss one of those 3-kids-in-school guilt-free runs when my 1st grader stayed home with a fever and, as I often seem to, I had some low-level crud along side the kids, but all-in-all it was a great week. I even got back on the track for the first time since mono and did 800s! First 800s I’ve done on the track since 2014!!! Sure, they were about thirty seconds slower than those 800s but at this point, I couldn’t care less. Just happy to be back.
Mon: 7 easy on trails
Tue: sick big kid home = off
Wed: Track! 8 with 5 x 800 with 90 second jog and then 3 x 200. My goal was 6:40 pace – ~8k race pace. I always raced better when I at least eased back into track workouts running them significantly slower than 5k pace, especially for 800s and longer. So this was a good start. Ran 3:20, 3:20, 3:18, 3:17, 3:21 and then wanted to run around 6:00 pace for the 200s and exceeded that easily with three 43s (~5:45 pace). Everything felt under control. My hamstrings may have been the only limiting factor as they started to feel twingey on the last 800. I rather do less in one workout than do more and miss weeks for something stupid.
Thu: 6 easy. Stomach was wonky! Definitely have some aspect of the crud my kids have had the last week. But legs-wise, I felt way better than I expected.
Fri: 7 easy with the stroller + 2 easy with the cross country girls.
Sun: 11 relaxed and enjoyable hilly miles by myself on a beautiful fall morning. The best.