Ain’t Nothing But a Break in My Stride

As random--and entertaining--as the post below.

I love a break—no crazy early alarms, no agenda—but, at the risk of sounding anal, I hate losing my rhythm. It's not so much that I mind losing it, it's more that the process of picking it up again is always harder than I expect it to be. Kind of like running after weeks off: how did this used to feel so easy?

I've got one more day—Ben apparently needed six, not just five, days off—to amble about, and then I'll set about finding my groove again. In the meantime, here are a few unmatched, unflowing items that perfectly mirror my state of mind.

1. If you haven't had enough of Deck the Halls yet--really, does every store have to fire up the musak at 12:01 a.m. on November 26th?--here's a holiday playlist that I put together a few years ago for Women's Health mag:

Christmas Wrapping The Waitresses
Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight) The Ramones
Father Christmas The Kinks
Step into Christmas Elton John
The Christmas Song (Holiday Remix) Christina Aguilera
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) U2
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (Stuhr Remix) Kay Starr
Last Christmas (Studio Version) Jimmy Eat World
This Will Be My Year Semisonic

I'd also add in Relient K's 12 Days of Christmas, which I checked out of the library on a whim and my kids have been playing in rotation with You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch pretty much non-stop since Wednesday. The fact that I'm still recommending it speaks volumes.

2. Speaking of the holidays, here are some running-related things that could be either asked for or given:

Babysitting hours so I can run for free
A certificate for race entry fee(s)
iTunes gift card
A certificate for a massage or personal training session
A coupon for a good coffee or bagel, which can only be redeemed after you run (give a few to your best running pal)

I'm avoiding mentioning specific products and gear because I don't want to spill the beans too early. But here's one (protein-filled, black) bean to munch on: on December 8th, we'll kick off RLAM's 12k's of the Holidays. We're far from Oprah, but we're still so.dang.excited about the whole shebang, which will have 78 giveaways over 12 days: all running-related, all cool prizes.

And all perfect, I might add, for keeping for yourself.

3. Before we get all gifty on you though, realize that on Wednesday, December 1st, we'll officially enter the hardest month of the year to exercise. For many reasons, including but not limited to peanut-butter kiss cookies, visiting in-laws, winter school breaks that stretch on for years, it's also the most important month to exercise. For that reason, I'm asking you to think now about how you'll continue to RLAM through December. My suggestion, if you're not training with a specific race in mind, is to commit to exercising three days a week for 30-40 minutes: enough time to maintain both your fitness and sanity.

But that's just a suggestion: I'm putting this topic in front of you now because the Hump Day Giveaway this Wednesday will involve setting a goal for December. So put your thinking caps on now and we'll revisit in 48 hours or so.

4. Quick training update: last weekend and this weekend, I did a 60-minute run on Saturday, and then on Sunday, I did a  90-minute bike ride that mostly involved climbing. Through all four workouts, I couldn't believe how little my normally very whiny, belligerent body hurt. Not pain-free, but about 10% of how much it normally hurts. Last Monday, I told Marcia, my Pilates Godmother, about how unbelievable it felt to not wince from pain during and after the workouts. She, who has witnessed my transformation from can't-stand, -sit or -walk without pain to a nearly happy body, got teary. As well she should: she's truly the first person who has taken the time to decode my body, unravel my kinks, notice the tiny flaws in my movement patterns that ripple through my being. I am so lucky to have her shine her light on me.

5. In this season of always feeling like I can never do enough for my kids—are we starting traditions? am I creating good memories? did I get the right gifts?--I was reminded with one simple sentence that sometimes the most invaluable thing to offer is love: "Children are tropistic; they grow in the direction of light and attention."
--Geneen Roth, Women Food and God, page 134

16 responses to “Ain’t Nothing But a Break in My Stride

  1. Thank you! I read this yesterday and it came just in time! I took off the last 2 weeks by sheer laziness. I read this and I got my butt to the gym nice and early today. Just the jump start I needed!

  2. So glad to hear you have no pain! And validation from your PG!

    Love the quote. I just requested the book from the library.

    Yes, I’m in for a December challenge. I just bought a new box of baby wipes for the office and my lunch runs. 🙂

  3. We {husband and I} just officially joined the local gym. Paid in full for 12 months. I’m using it daily {M-F}… that was a big chunk of change! So I’m in for that December challenge…

  4. Thanks, words to think about as I very nearly hyperventilate thinking about all that *should* happen this month (vs. what *will* happen.) Since I am also on the upswing from injury, I really need to think carefully about how to set running goals. Since I also have elderly, sick parents in two different states, I need to think carefully about how to divvy up the time, while simultaneously meeting kids’ and hubby’s needs. Somehow, I’m going to try to stay grateful that I at least can run again to deal with the inevitable stress and guilt.

  5. First of all, I got my Badass Mother Runner shirt while I was on a girls’ getaway weekend (running around Estes Park lake, earning the shirt). So, I look forward to wearing it to the track to do my speed workout this week.

    I have been dreading my visit to the in-laws because it will require extra planning to get in my running and cross-training, but I have a plan already in place.

    I will wait 48 hours to talk about my training goals.

    Thanks for this post today, I’ve been itching for some kind of discussion today!

  6. Loved this:
    “Children are tropistic; they grow in the direction of light and attention.”

    Really true….
    Cant wait for the 12K’s ox Xmas!

  7. We started downsizing the craziness of the holidays with Thanksgiving. My parents were out of town and my siblings either live far away or have at least two other families to visit with, so we had a low-key family dinner. Don’t get me wrong, we did the whole shebang (turkey, mashed potatos, corn, peas, stuffing, gravy, cranberry) but it was just the four of us around the table. It was fantastic! My husband and I have also been talking with the boys (who are 7 and 4) about asking Santa for only one gift and asking him to give any other gifts he would have given them to other little boys that don’t have as much as we do.

    This year is my first year as a runner (I started “running” in March of this year), so I’m not sure how the holidays are going to work. I’m up for the challenge of continuing at least three days a week…I’ll need it with all the food around everywhere! 🙂

  8. Three workouts a week? I will tell you, fellow mother runners, that I will do at least that through the month of December. Thanks for throwing down the challenge.

  9. Great parting words-very true. Hilarious opening comic. Why don’t I visit this site more often? It’s my number one new years resolution for 2011. Happy Holidays, ladies!

    P.S. Yay on curbing the injuries and being almost fully recovered!!!

  10. with 3 kids and a husband to please, I came to realize that everyone was totally overwhelmed by the holidays. So last year I interviewed my kids & husband, independently asking each of them what their 3 favorite holiday traditions are… and lucky me, they almost all over lapped. I took the list and cut EVERYTHING ELSE from our holiday last year. It. was. awesome. Everyone was happy, and we were not over scheduled.

  11. Thanks for the motivation. I’m up for a challenge that will get me through December. Every year I’m ashamed that I put everything on hold until mid-January and then I feel like I’m starting from scratch.
    No more! I will come up with a challenge for myself to get through these holidays in one fantasticly fit piece.

  12. The quote at the end of this post is great! It quite similar to theme for our Advent sermons at church. It is not about the STUFF! It’s about the TIME we spend together as families/friends. As I look back on Christmas memories I rarely remember the what. I do remember the who and where. The stuff will be lost, broken, out grown or become obsolete. The memories we share and the time we spend together will be remembered. As for the planning to get through the holiday season running, I started thinking about that yesterday. Haven’t formalized a plan as yet. Looking forward to seeing what others are doing.

  13. Thank you for writing the above but most of all thank you for making all of us Rlam’ers feel “normal”. I have already started to stress about my Dec. goals with all the chaos. And I sit her wondering if I do enough, am enough and have bought enough for my kids at this very moment….when u come through with that quote, perfect!

  14. I love the quote at the end. This year we’re decreasing the quantity of toys that our kids will be getting but increasing the quality of the presentation on Christmas morning.

  15. Thank you for this motivating post! It prompted me to reach out to my running mates and formulate a plan for December. Winging it this season will not suffice, and as a colleague of mine once said, “Hope is not a plan.”

    I also love the Geneen Roth quote – thanks for sharing that!

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