My husband likes routine. Just keep everything the same day in and day out, and everything will be okay.
Routine is nice…for a little while, but then I want to shake things up. I find moving to a new house is exciting (until you actually start the move and have to do all that physical labor). I tremble with excitement when a special meeting is called at work. And I like to try out lots of new hobbies. (Maybe that’s why none of them ever stick. Except running, and that’s probably only because of this blog and fact that I have to register for a race in advance.)
So when I announced that I switched up my marathon training routine again on Sunday night, I got “the look” from Mr. T, followed by a sigh and “Just pick a day.”
He wants me to run my marathon, he really does. But he can’t handle me constantly changing my running schedule. Irregularity drives him nuts. Rigidity makes me crazy.
I don’t really think my problem the other day was that I needed to cut back to running only three days a week. I think it was that I needed to find times and places to run that don’t cause me to completely stress out. And because of my schedule constraints (family, mom, work), that can be tricky.
Running 7-8 miles outside at night is not enjoyable for me. I can’t relax, and I have to run in and out of the same dimly lit cul-de-sacs up to 6-8 times each. Mind-numbing. Scary. Stressful. Not to mention all those half circles start to bother my ankles after rounding a few of them.
There is no other day to do my mid-week long run, and so it’s at night on Tuesdays. But I felt so good on Sunday, just a day after my 15-miler that I toyed with the idea of doing my 8-miler on Monday morning before Mr. T and T Junior woke up. Avoid a night run this week.
This was when I got “the look.” This was when I almost gave up…again. This was when I got snippy (a word also used to describe me during my wedding rehearsals). This was when I had one of those Oprah-trademarked “aha moments.” And then, this was when I realized that my real problem is not running four days a week. And it’s not Mr. T. And it’s not T Junior. And it’s not even me.
Isn’t it always?
I’ve been too cheap to just suck it up and get a gym membership near my house. And I’m no Scrooge. Just ask Mr. T. But for some reason, even though running has far surpassed the hours I’ve spend on any other hobby I’ve ever had, I’ve been hesitant to join a gym. A real gym. A gym with a day care. A gym that’s open really early in the morning and at night.
When I got my membership to the Secret Gym near work, I felt like that was okay. After all, it wasn’t a real gym. Just a therapy room attached to a chiropractic office. That’s all. And $13 a month? I’ve spent that much at Starbuck’s in a week. Probably more. (That’s pre-T Junior, of course. But you get the idea.)
My running schedule has just always seemed like an incomplete puzzle. But I think I may have found the missing piece.
I am canceling my membership at the Secret Gym. It doesn’t fit anymore.
On Monday, I signed up at a no-frills gym two miles from my house. There’s no yoga, no spinning. There isn’t even a real locker room, just a room to change in and some bathroom stalls.
But, the New Gym is open early in the morning and until late at night. They have rows and rows of equipment. They have one wall lined with treadmills, even the kind with TVs. And, they have a day care.
And it’s only $3 more than I was paying at the Secret Gym. What was my problem?
Mom-guilt had something to do with it. T Junior goes to day care three times a week, so I won’t feel like Mom of the Year when I put him in day care in order to fit in a 4-miler here and there, or some cross training on Mondays. But he will most likely only be in there once a week for about an hour. That’s not bad, is it?
Monday we did a test run. At first, when we were being given the New Gym tour, T Junior wanted to go in the day care. He practically leapt out of my arms over the half-door and into the room. And once I set him down, he headed straight for the model dinosaurs. That’s one of his favorites right now, dinosaurs. He growls and then says, “A scary dinosaur!” Or sometimes, he decides he’s a bear, but he says it like, “A baurr,” like he has a funny accent, and it makes me laugh. And I love it.
Anyway, after I paid for my membership, I changed into my running gear and went into the day care to officially sign my son in. My heart sunk when I heard he had been crying for me a little bit. And then he didn’t want me to leave. And he was clingy. And teary. And I felt guilty. Which is why, in the end, I only ran 4.2 miles. I wanted to make it to 5, but he’d already been in there for an hour – remember, I had been at the front desk for about 15 minutes signing up and paying.
So when I hit four miles on the treadmill (the longest I’ve gone on a ‘mill thanks to E!), I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I had to go and get him. The mom guilt overwhelmed the running guilt.
When I went in to pick him up, he whimpered, “A Mama a go a car,” over and over as he clung to my sweaty capris. It was about lunch time and getting close to his nap, so that might’ve contributed. But the rest of the day, he couldn’t stop talking about the dinosaurs and Caden, who I assume must’ve been someone who was playing plastic Jurassics with him. So I guess it couldn’t have been all that bad.
And I felt so good afterward. In fact, my mood improved dramatically. The late-day whining didn’t bother me as much as it usually does and I got quite a bit done (oil change, a trip to the park, lots of dishes and laundry).
This week, I’m doing my 16-miler on Friday with Jill, which is going to throw Mr. T for a loop. But I’m paying for extra day care by T Junior’s actual provider. I think he will be more comfortable there. After all, he sometimes asks about them on days when he’s home with me, which doesn’t make me feel great, but at least I know he’s having a good time while I’m copywriting.
I just think it will be nice to have an entire weekend to go do something as a family without me having to stress when I’m going to get my 3-hour run in.
It’s only for a limited time, right? Just 8 more weeks. I wonder how much this is all going to cost?