Around here, snow comes slow and seldom. For a few days a year life stalls with a thick blanket tucked in at our island’s shoreline. It interrupts routines and creates new ones, like sledding and icicle collecting. But as the snow first began to fall, I panicked about how it would affect my newest routine: half marathon training. I felt like any missed day from my clear schedule would put me far from ever crossing the finish line in less than twelve weeks.
Monday’s hot chocolaty- marshmallow sips after snow flake chasing couldn’t mask that I was still having one of those days. My two year old wanted up all day long, and down two seconds later. This pattern was stuck on repeat. Ugh. This habitual napper pulled a nap strike and I was grumpy I couldn’t get anything checked off my to-do list.
Darkness and my hubby’s arrival home from work brought more snow. My minivan was warmed and ready for my workout. Almost to the gym, I panicked in the darkness of a light blizzard, forgetting a lifetime of snowy New England and Montana drives. I slammed on my brakes and spun around, hit the haazards and headed home. Half way, I pulled over. I questioned a return after only ten minutes when all day I’d longed for a forty-minute musical break.
I like to do what I least expect. Maybe it’s this stay-at-home mama life, but things are so routine rarely do I get to be in a moment of my own direction. I want my own routine, with my own rules. The last time I set myself to a schedule with outcomes for me and only me, it was when I studied for my GREs. But I was in my early 20s, basking in a lounge chair by a roaring Montana creek. I spent hours each day before afternoon canyon thunderstorms with a highlighter, pencil and piles of junk food. Fertility treatments, years of breastfeeding and historic home renovations also top the list of routine activities, but it’s a workout routine that’s leveled my mind and helped me become a better mama. Honestly, I least expected that. I’ve never really been a gym membership kind of gal. In exactly a year’s time, I’ve lost forty pounds and gained my strength back. Labor’s broken coccyx and mononucleosis with a newborn certainly delayed my bounce back attitude after our third child was born.
I reviewed all of this personal history as I zipped up my down hoodie, pulled my shoelaces taut and turned up my iPod. Falling snow made the high school’s track seems smaller somehow, and my story of how I came to run here made me smile.
With each lap in the twenty degree evening air I thought: I’m going to run like a mama because I am one. I’m going to run like a mama because sometimes it’s so hard to get out of the house and I just can’t find that tiny dolls shoe or one more stuffed animal. I’m going to run like a mama because this body, this willpower brought three healthy babies into the world naturally. I’m going to run like a mama because sometimes I think I should be home, reading a story or stirring a simmering pot. I’m going to run with all of this in my head, leave it on the pavement and come back with a clear mind and a calmer soul.