Dry Martini: Epic Runs and Family Time

For the last two weeks, my social media feeds have been full of First Day of School pictures. While I am happy for those mamas (and papas) who have sent the little darlings off to their teachers, my two couch lumps will continue discovering new levels of sloth until after Labor Day. The struggle is real, y’all.

woman in blue hat
I spent 2.75 miles of an easy 3 trying to get a gnat out of my sinuses. I am done with August.

Don't get me wrong, I love my teenagers. I do. But I would love them even more if I didn’t have to see them all the time. While my teens are relatively low impact, they have leaned hard into this unstructured summer and I have been too hot for too long to care.

My husband and the oldest teen have been visiting colleges for the last ten weeks, which means that her First Day of School picture will likely be last First Day of School picture on our back porch. There’s one more college on her schedule, which all four of us are making so that we can hit the Corning Museum of Glass on the way home. it won’t be long before our family road trip days have passed.

It’s several kinds of bittersweet to think about even now, months before it happens. In the blink of an eye, I’ll be taking the Dropped Her Off at College and Cried All the Way Home snapshot.

We’re not there yet, however. Instead of feeling sad she’s not around, I’m irritated that three-quarters of our bowls, spoons, and glasses are in her room, to say nothing of the debris field that she leaves in her wake. I’m told I will miss picking up stray socks and power cords and paperwork. I have doubts.

gray house with a lawn full of plastic flamingos
There was one surprise on my run last week. One of the high school teams "flocks" folks as a fundraiser.

The younger teen is that magical age where he communicates with as few words as possible. He is too young to be gainfully employed but too old for day camp. Also in the house are two very fluffy dogs who are blowing their coats. Every surface is covered in hair again about 30 seconds after you vacuum. The first person who can figure out how to monetize this fluff will win my undying love, by the way.

All of this would be 100 percent fine, frankly, if I weren’t also incredibly bored by all of the running routes in my town. I’m pretty sure I’ve could pick out of a line-up every single tree, shrub, flower, rock, and water feature within a five-mile radius. If I am ever kidnapped, I will know by the odors — cat pee, fried food, barbecue — how close I am to Chestnut Street. Rather than provide comfort, my familiarity with my city is bringing me down.

I did have a small surprise last week and it was what I needed. Amazon (bless its corporate heart) recommended a book that I actually didn’t know I wanted. Lonely Planet, the travel guide people, has started a series of essay collections with an epic theme. There are Epic Hikes of the World and Epic Drives and Epic Bike Rides. Epic Runs came out this month.

book cover
I want to go there.

(Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Lonely Planet or Amazon. If you buy a copy through the link, AMR gets a penny or two, I think. I bought my copy because I needed the distraction and love the cover art. I’m writing about it because some other mother runners might need the distraction, too.)

Epic Runs of the World is pretty much what you think it is. Runners-who-write and writers-who-run penned short essays about a notable route or event. Each of the seven sections covers a continent. Some of the writers will be familiar, like Dumb Runner Mary Remy and Ultra Runner Girl Stephanie Case. Some are new to me. All, however, have captured what it is like to run in Big Sur or La Paz or Amalfi.

The essays cover big, exclusive events like Boston or the Barkley Marathons, which mere mortals will never get (or want to) experience. But for each of those, there are loops around places like Chicago’s Lakeshore, England’s Fells, or New Zealand's Gorge that anyone with shoes can take on.

Each entry is followed by helpful hints and a list of similar runs that make something exotic seem possible. Add to that the gorgeous photos and Ross Murray’s illustrations and it’s an armchair escape that will carry me through the ho-hum weeks until fall.

What is your dream epic run?

20 responses to “Dry Martini: Epic Runs and Family Time

  1. You are describing my oldest son….also a senior in high school…..who hoards bowls, spoons, cups and always leaves a mess in his wake! I think we need to form a support group! I will miss him when he goes to college, but I will NOT miss his mess! I am also so sick and tired of running around my town. I signed up for a half marathon last weekend just so I could run in a different place and be with people! If I had a money tree, I would take a “runcation” every year! I may have to buy that book just so I can escape for a while!

  2. All I can say is that when we drpped off my middle son at college his freshman year, my youngest saw a mom crying after saying good-bye and he asked me what was wrong with her…I guess she’s upset, I said. Then we got in the car and all started laughing since they knew that wouldn’t be my reaction. I had sniffles the day after I dropped each one, but honestly, it’s really liberating. Just dropped the third son in Boston for his junior year and passed through upstate NY heading home and thought of you. My epic run was Plettenberg Bay in South Africa, gorgeous beach with hard sand and giant waves. Unforgettable!

  3. Laughing so hard. Mine are grown but guess what – they move back! Invited our grown daughter and her husband to move in with us so they can save for a house. Now every time I walk out of the house she asks me where I’m going! Thanks for the book suggestion too.

  4. Skip the ‘Dropped them off at college’ photo and hit the rum instead! A kind waitress could see the struggle (tears) and served it up 10 min before it was legal to serve in that city. Enjoy the senior year, but be ready to be busy beyond belief. Loved every minute…wouldn’t go back.

  5. And I thought I had the only teenage girl who leaves dirty dishes and empty bags of goldfish all over her room. She always seems to gather them up and bring them down 5 minutes after I’ve stated the dishwasher. She had her twin brother will be high school juniors this year, and although I get annoyed at their slothness and the messes they leave everywhere, I am so going to miss them when they both go off to college at the same time

  6. I can laugh about this because mine are grown and out of the house. I just have to say, for me, the absolute worse was the summer after freshman year of college were the absolute worse.

  7. I want you to enjoy your teenage children now. Really. Because once you have one move in AFTER college graduation and take over your home for a summer in a similar manner, like taking over the extra closets, hogging the washer/dryer, leaving a trail of flip flops from the front door to her bedroom, and never washing a dish, it will hit you that this child is not a teenager any longer, but a full grown adult that should know how to contribute to the house without being asked and you realize how you’ve failed as a mother. She’s assured me an apartment is coming now that she has an “adult” job. I’m thinking it’s going to be culture shock when she finally moves out and realizes that food doesn’t magically appear in the fridge and bathrooms don’t clean themselves. Thanks for the book recommendation as well! 🙂

  8. I have two coat blowing huskies in a very small house…. I feel your fur pain. And yet… Can’t imagine life without them. If you find a way to make dough off that blown coat, let me know. LOL!

  9. Wow, total empathy in this blog post! I have two teens too – it’s all true. Although after many miles of college visits, I ended up having a college commuter. My epic run was definitely Big Sur – totally lived up to expectations. Can’t wait to check out the book and see what the next adventure might be. Thanks for the humor and the book recommendation!

  10. I am so happy that I am not the only one who feels like you do. I too have 2 sloths who are waiting to go back to school. I unlike you I am lucky in that they are both going back to college or start their masters (far from home). Is it bad to say that I am counting down the days until they leave? Thank you for writing this. I now know that I am not alone!

  11. Once again Adrienne has brightened my day with her wit and honest view of life! I have also been finished with the heat and humidity of summer for several weeks, so any diversion is welcome – and what can be better than dreaming about far away, epic places!! Thanks Adrienne for putting this on our radars!

  12. I would have to say my epic run is Running around Timothy Lake up near Mt. Hood. It is beautiful and the trails are soft and easy to run on. It isn’t too steep either. I love it .

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