One of the highlights of my year for the last five or six years has been my spring marathon. I love shaking off the winter sloth and getting myself back into racing shape. For the last two years, I've been lucky enough to do that by racing down Ogden Canyon in what has got to be the most beautiful course in Utah marathons (I know, all the canyon marathons are gorgeous, but this one has my heart). Last fall, I entered into the lottery for this year's race, knowing that life would be crazy, but also confident that it would be manageable enough for me to be able to get away for one morning and run the race.
The truth is, I could get away for a morning and run the race. I could probably clock a respectable time, too. And it would probably be fun.
But I'm not going to run.
It's true that Annie has a dance competition that day. I thought the competition would be early in the day, which would require me to find a ride up to Lagoon for her, then drive directly from the race to the amusement park, where I'd sit all day in my filth (at least until I went on Rattlesnake Rapids and got soaked). But I just found out that we don't even have to be at the park until 3:15, which would have given me plenty of time to get home, shower, take a quick nap, kiss my babies, and head out.
And it's not because I don't want to burden Ed with the kids all day. In fact, he has told me repeatedly that I should run the race.
I think it all comes back to my motivations for running marathons. I used to get a lot out of being one of the fastest girls on the road. I used to want to push myself harder and harder. I used to get upset when I didn't PR. I used to have a lot of my identity wrapped up in my speed. It was a way for me to distinguish myself-- to be more than "just" a mom of a bunch of little kids. And it really worked for me for a long time.
But this spring, I'm just trying to keep afloat. While I write this, Rose and Eli are emptying my dirty laundry basket, which at this time of day is stocked with everything I need to take downstairs-- laundry, cookbooks, dirty cups, and probably a few poopy diapers. When I go into the next room, I'll find another mess. We'll clean those up, run an errand, make lunch, start the laundry, put the babies down for a nap just as Bryce is coming home from school, and so on. In terms of the mental challenge of my life experience, feel like I'm running a marathon every day of my life. I can know see that there's no "just" about being a mom. Although I've been clocking 60 mile weeks and somehow got in all my 20 milers even with China and Ed's crazy work schedule, my head is not in the racing game right now. Running is a lifeline, a sanity, a much-needed escape to be with friends or just by myself. And although a good speed workout still gives me a rush, I'm not pushing myself like I did in the past. As a result, I doubt I'd run a fast race, and then there would be just one more thing to feel guilty about (as if the toddler battles and the lack of piano practice and my inability to just generally keep my life together like I used to weren't enough). I do feel like I'm starting to get my groove back, but I don't need a race to either a) prove I'm there, or b) show me that I'm not.
But I did train. I did work hard. And so, when everyone is getting up at their hotels in Ogden, I'm going to be heading out my door, to embark on my own little solo marathon. I've mapped out a route from here to the Capitol and back. I'll plant Gatorade and leave my Garmin at home. I already know where all the portapotties and bathrooms are. It won't be as scenic as Ogden, but it will do. And, as a bonus, I'll come in first!
And after that race is done, I'm sure that Rose and Eli will be waiting for me at the door. They'll probably even leave me some surprise messes around the house. The next week, I'll start to train hard. Because it's only four months until my fall marathon, and I'm going to be ready.