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Dry Martini: Bah

This is the time of year when all I want to do is climb into my bed, pull the covers up, and not come out again until all of this holiday nonsense is done.

Some of this stems from my own tendency toward depression, which seems to be an unofficial theme on the AMR blog this week. It’s not something I talk about much, mostly because depression, while crippling, is also profoundly boring. There are only so many ways to express the bleak emptiness, you know? While Morrissey made a great career of it, I lack his stamina. And incredible bone structure.

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So sad, our Morrissey.

It’s also something I don’t talk about much because running and all of the attendant life changes that have come with it have really taken the edge off. Mostly, the black dog only pokes his nose in every now and again, just to see if I have any snacks for him. Mostly, I don’t.

Except around the end-of-year holidays. The perma-dark that settles in during November doesn’t help, mind. But what really makes me want to take to my bed are the obligatory events that I have to schlep myself and my kids to, which get piled on to the obligatory festivities that I’m responsible for arranging, which then get piled on to all of the actual work that I have to get done before everyone scampers out of their respective offices for the holiday.

But even that’s not so bad, really. I’m good at scheduling and stage managing — and I know that the kids appreciate it, even if they don’t articulate it. No, what gets me are the obligatory emotions that I’m supposed to feel. I can’t muster any real … anything … about this time of year. About the best I can do is feel faint uplift when I see the outdoor lights that make the dark mornings and afternoons a little less so.

In short, I’m not the one you ought to go to for any holly or jolly. My belly, however, does jiggle like a bowl full of jelly so I have that working for me. I also have been through this particular low spot enough times to know that it will pass.

It helps, too, that my running seems to be working for me, even if the season isn’t. While we had one super cold week in November, the rest of that month through now has been unsettlingly warm. Until the other shoe drops, which I have zero doubt that it will, I’ve set out most mornings in a long sleeved top and capris. It’s like a Christmas miracle.

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I've been taking the dog on short hikes on Sunday afternoons and calling it cross-training. See if you can spot her.

Last week, Coach wanted me to tackle a three mile run with the middle mile at tempo. I did what I usually do, which was take a few moments during the previous 48-hours to mutter to myself that there’s no possible way that I could run a 10:30 mile because I am old and slow. Then I’d promptly remind myself that I can now do lots of things that I didn’t think I could do and to put on my big girl Balegas and get over myself already. Everyone has these sorts of internal conversations, right?

Not only did I manage to bust out a tempo-mile during the early, fog-drenched dark, that tempo mile only took 9:54 and is, to date, the only time I’ve run a sub-ten minute mile. Admittedly, I couldn’t have kept that up for even another half-lap around the track but that feeling of being a total badass will certainly get me though any number of less invigorating runs.

Like my weekend ten miler with the middle five at race pace. The first four miles were great. After mile 4, I slowed down to Gu (Big Apple, for those scoring at home) and never could get my pace all the way back to my assigned 11:22 RP. Through sheer force of will I wrangled the last three in the under-12 range but it built a lot of stubbornness and not a small amount of swearing. By the time I made it home, I was just a husk of a mother runner, one who desperately needed a shower and a nap.

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Ten. And not one step more.

I did get the shower, at least, because the Teen equally desperately needed to go to our local (very tiny) mall, right at the time when it would be the most crowded with holiday shoppers. In hindsight, skipping the shower might have given us more room to maneuver in the stores. I’ll make a note. I never did get my nap, however.

Speaking of said Teen, one of my most favorite parts of my early morning runs (and is one of the reasons why the running has been feeling great despite my inability to embrace the season) is that we frequently pass each other on the sidewalk. She’s walking up to the high school and I’m running down from its track. She always sticks her hand out for an intentionally half-hearted hi-five and I always give her one while shouting some kind of corny motherly advice like “make good choices” or “learn lots” as I run past. It's become our little ritual and it’s enough.

Are you feeling the yuletide joy? Or would you like to join me in bed?

26 responses to “Dry Martini: Bah

  1. Yuletide joy? Depends on the day or at least time of day, but this year is off to me for some reason. I haven’t had time to dig into my internal ‘why’, though. Just keep swimming (or running)!

  2. Is the fact that I am reading this at least one day late an indication of the week? I love the peace of candles lit and our tree glowing, but hate the fact that I am not only working full days, but now work also has its obligations this time of year. Don’t get me wrong- I love my job but now we have to bring food, eat food, stay later, arrive early, and all the while we are cramming to get everything done before our week long break. So my vote is no work the entire holiday season. Stay home, light the tree and a holiday scented candle- and run…

  3. A great post that probably touches many of us….but I must say I absolutely adore the doublespeak of the ritual with your daughter.

  4. I’m kind of a mix of both – I love certain things about the holidays, but I don’t really love the whole go, go, go aspect all the time during the holidays. The feelings of obligations crushing me and my inability to meet all the demands is definitely not a fun part of the holiday season for me. LOL

    Love your ritual with the teen…that is AWESOME!!!

  5. I would like to skip the holidays sometimes, too. It is SO much work. And then I am mad all the time at everyone. This fall I am running with 6th and 7th graders at my school and today’s run was in the rain. I am glad to say a hearty crew didn’t skip it and we had a great time. This mild weather is certainly helping us keep at it up here in MA. Thanks for your story.

  6. Congrats on your 9:54!!! Awesome!
    I have a hard time w/ the darkness this time of year…dark when I get up, dark when I walk the dog, dark when I go to work, dark when I get home from work, dark when I walk the dog again…too much darkness!
    I do love the holidays, the busyness, the shopping, the decorating, the lights, the cooking and baking, the parties, all of it.

  7. I have to admit…that’s the first proposition from someone NOT wearing my wedding band that I’ve had in a long time! 😉 I love the holidays. Also, corny jokes and motherly advice. This was a great piece!

  8. Ah depression. Every year atarting in November there it is a cloud hanging over my head. Atleast when we get snow I’m lightened by its beautiful whiteness coupled with the Christmas lights. I love my family but the effort of getting my young kids to all the get together at inconvenient (um nap time!) makes me want to hide under my down comforter. No snow, lots of wind and rain has made it even worse this year. Love this post. Praying for sun

  9. I just came back from a three day trip – yes the drive is 12 hours so two of those days were spent in the car – to Asheville. Definitely feeling the joy!!! I took my mother’s sister (my mother died in Feb) and my sister to see why I love Asheville and am moving there. We went to the Grove Park Inn to see the National Gingerbread Competition and to a Candlelight tour of the Biltmore Estate all decked out for the holidays. Loved the trip and the sightseeing. Cannot wait to get back there!

  10. I feel like you’ve been reading my mail — the feelings about the season, the weather, using running as my primary way to fight off depression. As for tempo runs, I always have to have a “get over yourself” moment before heading out for one. Always lurv your posts!!!

  11. I, too, do not like this time off year. I try, but I don’t. I’ve often been know to say “can we just skip straight from Thanksgiving to January 1st?” I AM NOT ALONE! That right there is good to know.

  12. From the moment I read your first post I thought, “I need to be friends with this woman.” And you have just cemented a pinky swear you didn’t even know you made with this post. I WANT to love this time of year and I WANT to be filled with joy. Instead, I feel like I’m at mile 17 of a marathon and every day I put one foot in front of the other and count the days until the daylight returns (4 days). Congrats on the sub-10. And pass the blankets.

  13. Your posts really are very witty….dry martini a fabulous title…. I love the comparison to Morrissey. I have mixed feelings around this time of year…. Love the little moment you have with your teen on your run! Hand in there…January is around the corner.

  14. 9:54 Whoop! I am in a bah humbug state lately. Even running has not helped me yet. Maybe I should get a tree or at least put up a Festivus pole(which I did one year). Anyway Happy Holidays and keep moving.

  15. Love your writing, Adrienne! Way to go on the sub 10 mile! Awesome! And I will join you in bed. Once the dark days of winter arrive, I feel like hibernation is calling. Is it spring yet?

  16. I am always happy to see your posts in my inbox. I don’t always read them the day they arrive, but I save the email until I do have time to read them. Yours are the ONLY ones that receive this treatment. All others are either read immediately or deleted for lack of time at the moment. I love the “intentionally half-hearted hi-five” ritual.

    Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  17. Your posts are always my favorites! I can always relate. I think most of us feel this type of stress during the holidays to some extent. Congrats on the sub 10 mile. You’ve made such strides this year. Makes me truely consider hiring a coach.

  18. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday and once it’s over, I just put my head down and push through. Over the years, I’ve done some preventive planning to make Christmas less, just less. I stopped trying to live up to everyone else’s idea of what it should be. I clear my calendar, except for maybe one party or event a week, and I keep running. I basically try to make Christmas more like Thanksgiving. I make it less about all the stuff and more about all the people in my life. And that makes me smile.
    Sub 10 minute pace?!!!! Awesome! I knew you had it in you.

  19. I clapped my hands and squealed when I read that 9:54. Goooo you! I’ve been having a tougher time this Christmas than usual myself. I am hoping getting to the other side of finals will help.

  20. my sister died in August..she was my biggest fan. it is a hard holiday. i make myself get out for a run..i know i will feel better afterwards.
    Move over, Adrienne, and dont hog the blankets!

  21. I wrote about this on my blog yesterday! Coincidence? I think not. Misery loves company and there seems to be a lot of us out there. The only thing that gets me out of bed this time of year–besides my job, which is essential to paying the bills– is going for a run. Personally, I will be glad to see January on the calendar.

  22. Love the post! I’m trying hard to fake it until I make it, and find it much harder to get as excited about the season as I did before my boys were grown. Having SADD doesn’t make it any easier, especially with the blast of cold and snow we’re getting. But like Teresa said, I’m sure my mood will improve when my kiddos are home next week.

  23. Congrats on your sub 10 mile! I have one foot in bed and the other out finding my cheer. I like you have been feeling meh about the season but this past weekend my spirits lifted enough to get me half way out of the funk. Christmas is my favorite holiday outside of my birthday lol. I think once the oldest kid gets home next week my mood will change.

  24. Ugh. I feel you. This is me, with some amplified holiday angst, a dash more depression, and severely lacking in the running department (our weather has not been quite so welcoming). I’d stay in bed all day if I could just to catch up on my seasonal-chronic insomnia. Plus I feel more effective some days if I just don’t try. Alas, the rest of the family (and my employer) are not on board. May your holidaze be over with the speed of a sub-10 mile.

  25. Great post and congrats on that sub 10 mile! Not feeling the yuletide joy yet but trying to focus on the good stuff. I’m in a one-day-at-a-time mode this year. Best wishes and Merry Christmas.

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