I ran 3.8 miles this morning. Well, run might be a strong word since my pace is one others might define as, “Sunday stroll.” Still, there is no mistaking that the girl who had to start out running for 60-second painstaking intervals has come a long way. Which isn’t to say I now find running easy. Yeah, no. But for a few stretches where I’m going downhill, in the shade, with a breeze, and listening to a great song, I’m basically forcing myself to take each step. But, those stretches do exist and I love them. I really am a runner now, you guys.
People love to go on about how great beginnings are, about how important it is to just get started, but I think beginnings kind of suck. Look at the beginning of people. Babies are terrible. They’re needy little noisy poop machines. If all of parenthood was dealing with babies, I don’t think I’d make it. But, they get better. They eventually deal with their own excrement, feed themselves, and buckle their own freaking seat belts. One day you are able to say, “We’re leaving, get in the car,” and your children actually do. (True story, new moms, I’m not making this up.) You sit there in the driver’s seat, waiting for buckles to click, and think, “this is it. I have arrived.”
I’m at my sister’s house and all seven of our children are in this great summer camp. It’s two weeks long and it consists of hiking, swimming, archery, crafts, capture the flag, and pure childhood bliss from what I can tell. They’ve been going for years and in the beginning, it was a nightmare getting them out the door.
Trying to get each of them dressed, breakfasted, lunch packed, shoed, supplied with a towel, and covered in sunscreen took two grown women and a ton of self control. Every morning at least one child was crying about something — usually the sunscreen. Now, morning send off is more like an exit interview. Have your towel? Lunch? Water bottle? Shoes? Have you been sunscreened? Great. Get in the car.
After a while, parenting switches from dragging yourself through the motions to enjoying the process. From what I hear, that’s what happens to you as a runner. Much like parenting, you go from asking yourself, “what in the hell am I doing here?” to “I don’t hate this right now” to “I’m really glad I chose to do this.”
As my moments of non-hate stretch, I can’t help but look back on the skeptic my former self was about my ability to be a runner. I want to be there for her in the beginning as she is trying to force herself through those 60-second intervals, doubting that she’ll ever be able to run her 3.11 miles goal, and whisper in her ear, “Keep going. It gets better. You’re going to make it.” Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure she heard me. That new runner, that new mom, that new nurse, that new potter, they’re all still me. They are the me that kept going. They are the me who has arrived.
I like to throw things.