The Gods Conspire
There are mornings when I wake up that I feel like putting out my claws and fighting tooth and nail to stay in that bed or at least in the house. Days when the endorphins I get from working out seem like a pure myth. These are the days that my two year old seems to pick to fight me tooth and nail as well. He wants to stay home instead of going to play with his friends. Or he simply refuses to eat breakfast or get dressed or go to the potty. These are the days that a great idea for an article pops into my head and I start to convince myself that I just have to stay home and complete that article or clean that closet or anything but head out of that door for a two hour run. They are usually the same mornings when I know it is going to be cold or rainy or just plain nasty outside.
This happened to me on Sunday. First of all I knew scheduling a long run that morning was going to be impossible which meant pushing it off to the afternoon and squeezing it in between the toddler’s nap and the older children’s soccer practices. But I have learned to play tricks on myself so the first thing I did upon rolling out of bed was to throw on my running tights and a base layer for my run that I was sure would eventually come. That was as far as I got though as child number two began yelling about her uniform.
“Where are my shin guards?”
I am not sure why she bothers with this question because she is always answered with sarcasm. “I don’t know sweety. The last time I wore them I put them…Oh wait, I don’t wear them do I?” But of course, I head down the stairs and start looking for all that is needed for game number one of the day.
I am very sad to admit that one of my favorite things about Sundays is that I can do our weekly grocery store run without kids. I know what you are thinking. Wow, her life is so glamorous. But really, for me a morning at the grocery store without a two year old running down the aisles while I randomly throw things into my cart is an absolute dream. So as soon as kid number two is dressed and heading to game number one with daddy and kid number three in tow I head to my oasis. Its still not a run but I am in running clothes and it is bound to happen.
Without a two year old my shopping goes fast enough to make the tail end of child number two’s game before heading back to the house to empty the groceries and feed kids one through three and play one more trick on myself to make sure the run actually happens. I can’t run on a full stomach so I fix myself my prerun snack. And this is when I realize the gods are starting to conspire against me. First, there is a rumble to my tummy that simply shouldn’t be there. And secondly, I look out the window and am filled with horror as I see rain, snow and sleet pouring down onto my deck. Seriously.
Change of plans. I don’t mind running in the cold. And I sometimes like running in the snow. I will even run in the rain if it is warm out but thirty degrees and rain/sleet/snow was just not going to happen. So, as my children continued eating their lovingly prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I headed up the stairs, changed into shorts and a sleeveless top and lowered my long run from a thirteen miler to a ten miler. I simply refuse to run longer than that on the treadmill.
I tag teamed my husband and headed out the door. Alone again. Twice in one day, alone. “Wow,” (you’re thinking again right?) “glamorous!”
That is how I felt too. Trudging in my shorts through the nasty ice and rain to make it through the parking lot and up the stairs and finally into the warmth of my gym. Glamorous. But those gods can be tricky, they can get your hopes up and dash them before you know what hit you. As I made my way into the cardio room I couldn’t believe my luck. There stood my favorite treadmill and no one was using it. My lucky day. I thought to myself, that maybe just maybe this long run on a treadmill wouldn’t be too bad. Then I started. The first three miles were okay. I listened to my podcast and pretended that that reflection in front of me was another runner I would eventually greet along the lonely trail, but no. Once again, here come the gods conspiring against me and my run. Suddenly that rumble in my tummy started again and I knew I would have to make a pit stop. My first thought was “Wow, aren’t I lucky I am running in the gym today with a lovely bathroom just down the hall.” But I came back and a walker, yes a walker, had jumped on my treadmill, relegating me not only to another less perfect treadmill but one in the very back row, behind all of the other walkers. Fine, I thought. A treadmill is just a treadmill. I still have my podcast about the lovely couple who met unexpectedly in China, all is fine. That is, all was fine until this treadmill that I was relegated to stopped. That’s it. Just stopped after only six minutes. So I change treadmills once again. Only this one wasn’t fine. No matter how much I wanted to ignore that extra hop at every step because the wheel wasn’t catching the belt I was obliged after only ten minutes on this one to stop and change once again. Luckily, my favorite treadmill had opened up again so I headed over there.
Unfortunately, my groove had totally been disrupted. This was no longer a long run. This was torture. I started doing that thing I do when I know my run isn’t working. I started calculating. What have I run and how much more do I have to do? Suddenly the lovely couple on my podcast is just background noise. Suddenly, the numbers are all I can think about. Thirty minutes before I had to go to the bathroom, six minutes before the treadmill broke, ten minutes on the totally disturbed treadmill. Forty six minutes. As much as I would like to be an optimist and say, I was more than half done with this run, I couldn’t. All I could think was forty five more minutes of pure boredom and the god’s only no what other kind of torture would be dished onto my run. So I tried one more trick. “Five minutes. Five more minutes and you’re done.” I told myself. This worked for another fifteen minutes but then my brain gave in. No more tricks. No more gods conspiring, I was heading home.
But I was wrong. There was one more trick. And once again it was played on me by the gods who conspire against us long distance runners. I walked out the front door of the gym and the rain/snow/sleet had stopped. The sun was shining and even in my shorts it wasn’t so bad. Well, we all know…the gods will conspire.