Okay, all joking aside — here is the real deal….
Why am I running in this marathon?
Mama needs a win.
That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, but it means everything to me.
The last two-and-a-half years have been tough. Putting aside for a moment the medical issues that we have in store for us with Hope, having two kids — two toddlers — is just a heckuva lot harder than I thought it would be. Being a mom is harder than I thought it would be. I was so good with Grace those first 21 months, we were on the same wavelength and all that touchy-feely, motherly-instinct stuff was totally working for me.
Then came the terrible twos.
Then came number two.
Then came Prader-Willi.
I lost myself along the way. Before Hope I identified not just as a mom, but as a good mom, one of those really “in tune” moms that reads to their kids all the time and takes them on educational outings all the time and makes all their food from scratch. After Hope things got exponentially harder — again, putting aside the PWS and all of its issues — going from one kid to two kids was not just simply doubling the work. These are two people growing and developing at two vastly different rates and styles. They also happen to be the two most important people in my universe and suddenly discovering that the old saying “you can’t be all things to all people” applies to motherhood too…well, that was a tough one to take.
Now factor in the Prader Willi and the effect that had on me. I’m not trying to be melodramatic or overly critical of myself, I think that saying that the diagnosis shattered me into a million tiny pieces is a fair and honest assessment of what happened. You don’t just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry on after something like that. It takes time, and a lot of it, to get back up again. And even once you’re back on your feet, you have to learn everything all over again…first you crawl, then you stand, you take a few steps, fall a lot, but eventually you walk more than you fall and then one day you can even run.
Which brings us to the marathon.
I’m not the mom I was three years ago, I’m not the same woman, I’m not the same wife. Truthfully, I’m still trying to figure out just who I am now and most of the time I feel a lot more wobbly on my feet than I let on.
I started running because I needed to lose weight. I need to live a healthier lifestyle. I need to live a long time, or at least try and do what I can to improve my chances. It’s brutal to say it, but it’s the truth, I started running because maybe that way I will outlive my baby girl and I won’t have to worry then about what will happen to her when I’m gone.
But there isn’t any rule that says if you run, you must run a marathon — no, that was more selfish on my part. I’m running this marathon for me. I used to be a planner, one of those super-organized people who had the future all laid out and worked toward the long-term and short-term methodically. I loved day planners and calendars. I really liked that about myself. Having two kids greatly reduces the opportunities for me to make plans, having one with special needs — pretty much eliminates them altogether. Though I am sure it works for some people, the “take it one day at a time”-approach has never appealed to me and yet it has now become the only way I can live my life and it’s frustrating. In my past life, my planning life, all those little to-do lists, charts, tables, “life-syllabi” I used to create were just as much about security as planning. They helped me to feel prepared and in control of my own destiny. Now my life is chaos and it makes me feel vulnerable and insecure.
So I decided to sign up for an 18-week marathon training program. Four runs per week, three of them trainer-led group runs. There’s a table of all the workouts. Each workout is different, with it’s own little list of to-do’s. I could have a calendar, checklists, and a game plan. For 18 weeks, in this one little aspect of my life, I’d be able to plan and work towards something.
Truth be told, Thursday I did my very last training run and I felt more accomplished that night than I think I’ll feel after I finish the marathon. The marathon is just the icing on the cake. For the first time in a really long time, in at least of sliver of my existence I’ve been able to reconnect with that determined, focused person I used to be. I had a goal, I followed the plan, stuck with it and surprised myself along the way that this running thing actually suits me. I think about running now the way I used to think about cooking, I’ve found a new passion for the new normal. Running “centers” me and gives me sense of confidence and balance that is good for me, and hopefully will trickle over into my other roles as mother and wife.
That’s it. That’s why I am doing this. It’s my way of taking some control back and daring myself to be the best version of myself I can be.
Oh God, I’m channeling Oprah aren’t I?
Well, who cares — Oprah finished her marathon, and so will I. Come Sunday, mama’s gonna get her win.