Back in March I decided to get a new pair of running shoes and sign up for a 5K after a five-year hiatus from running. I use the term “running” loosely because I’ve never been much of a runner. I have a rocky relationship with this brutal form of exercise and the only thing that keeps me coming back is that I know it produces results- physically and mentally. It doesn’t matter how slow I go or how bad I look, I cannot cheat the miles. If I put in the work, I will see results.
My brother-in-law has transformed his life over the past few years with running. His passion for the benefits of running on a person’s overall health rivals my passion for real food and KonMari. We were in Houston for a homeschool conference last weekend and during our visit he suggested I sign up for a race with him in October. Before he even finished his thought, I started spouting off excuses. I’m a busy mom and I can think of a million reasons why I can’t start training for a race even if I wanted to. Here’s just 10 of those reasons I can’t run:
1. I’m not a runner.
I’ve completed several 5K races, a 5 miler and even a half marathon, but I’m not a runner. I’ve always done some sort of training plan that starts with alternating walking and running, and I’ve never been able to get up to running more than about five minutes at a time. The longest I’ve ever run was in April when I did ran a 5K with my sister, an awesome personal trainer and fitness guru. She was probably more exhausted by the amount of coaching she had to do during the race to get me to run than from the actual race! I think I ran a 12-minute stretch to start the race, but then alternated walking and running all the way to the finish line.
2. I’m exhausted.
It’s been about five years since I’ve had a quality night’s sleep. Baby #1 didn’t sleep more than four hours at a time until almost two years old and still wakes up pretty regularly at almost four years old. Baby #2 is a much better sleeper by comparison, but still wakes up 2-5 times a night. I’m in bed around midnight most days and usually up to nurse at 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. and then up for the day at about 6 a.m. I’m just plain tired and the thought of exerting extra effort with running sounds like a ridiculous idea.
3. I can’t leave my kids.
For the most part, I don’t want to leave my kids. I love being a stay at home mom and spending my days with them. Sometimes, I do actually want to leave them though and I’m thankful my husband treats me with one night out each week where I get to spend time with friends and he takes care of bedtime. I also go to the YMCA and enjoy the perk of childcare while I work out a few times a week. Running at home poses a major problem because I’d have nobody to watch my children. My husband works long hours and already does so much around the house that it seems impossible and unfair to ask him to do more. Short of parking them in the driveway strapped into strollers with an iPad while I run around the block, I’m not sure how to get around this problem.
4. I don’t want to take a shower.
Well, I do actually want to take a shower and one shower a day is actually a non-negotiable in my house. But I’m at the mercy of my children when it comes to the timing of my shower, and it’s not uncommon for playtime or school work to happen in the master bathroom at some point during the day so I can fit in my shower. I sweat like a pig (do pigs actually sweat???) and an immediate shower is a requirement after any exercise that requires effort.
5. It’s too hot.
I’m a wimp and I can’t take the heat. My grandma once told me that she doesn’t sweat, and I almost slapped her. Starting around Easter, I start melting the second I step outside. I’m talking dripping, pouring sweat and smelling like a dirty gym sock. It’s completely unattractive and requires an immediate shower after doing any form of exercise (see #4). I live in Texas, and this excuse is perfectly acceptable year round.
6. My neighborhood has too many hills.
My absolute favorite form of exercise is walking on the treadmill with a friend. In the cool, air-conditioned gym, my mouth gets an amazing stretch as we catch up on all the latest mommy happenings around town. I keep the treadmill set to a leisurely pace and never go above “0” incline, which my sister kindly informed me is actually a negative incline. Yep, that’s how I like to work out.
When choosing a running route in my neighborhood, I ask my husband to complete an analysis on the hill situation to minimize the damage done to my calves. It’s just not fair. Next time, we’re moving to a street where I can run downhill both ways.
7. My thighs chafe when I run.
If you know what I’m talking about, enough said. If you don’t, count your blessings.
8. I don’t have time.
I cook, clean, change diapers, rinse and repeat every single day. By the time I throw in a Pinterest activity and coax a “massage” out of my husband, there’s just enough time for me to rest my head on the pillow for five minutes before someone starts crying. I’m pretty darn good at rushing through things and putting in just enough effort to finish the job, but running is a bit of a sticky situation because if I try to rush it, I just might collapse in the street.
9. I’m breastfeeding.
I could say that I was worried about my supply dwindling with exercise but I’m blessed with an abundant supply and now that my baby is over a year old, I’m not concerned with exercising too much. I am however concerned with the heavy weight and jiggling of my chest with each step I take. I can feed the baby just before running to lighten the load, but it doesn’t always work out as planned.
10. I just KonMari’d all of my running gear.
My collection of decade-old workout shorts and running tops got the boot when I decluttered my closet using the KonMari method. The thought of the good ol’ days didn’t bring me joy so off they went to a new home. I have a quality pair of shoes and one pair of running socks left, but that’s it. My brother-in-law made me promise to never, never, ever run in cotton. Real runners wear Dri-FIT.
The ONE reason I have to run
Motherhood is a sacrifice. When my family relies on me for so much, it’s a challenge to hold anything back for myself. But I have to. I need something in my life for me. Something to remind me of my former, pre-motherhood self and give me a glimpse into who I can be when my little ones have grown and left the nest. I love my children and I love this season of my life, but I can’t lose myself to this job.
I may be the last person on the race course because I’m so slow, but I will get my exhausted self out of bed in the morning when it’s only mildly oppressive outside, leave my sleeping children with my husband, throw on the only Dri-FIT shorts I own with a double layer of sports bras, rub a little powder between the thighs and head up hill. I will be sweaty and I may not get to shower all day, but it will be worth it.
Enough with the excuses, I can do this! I just have to put one foot in front of the other and I’ll see you at the finish line.