crazy together – and a perfect snowy run

This made me smile so big when I saw it yesterday:

The timing was spot-on because it wasn’t long after I got home from running 12 miles with Maddie in the freezing cold as the snow came down.  We were slipping and sliding along the trail at times, had snowflakes in our eyelashes and were covered in a sparkly thin layer of ice.  Our cheeks were rosy and we were all smiles, even though I am pretty sure we both would agree that we were completely frozen and maybe less-than-comfortable on so many levels.
We had intended on doing a tempo run but the slick surface of the trail quickly had us reassessing our purpose – it just would not have been smart to do that under those conditions.  So we ran easy and chatted and laughed the whole time, not even paying any attention to how fast or how slow we were moving.
We were running.  And we were having so much fun at sunrise in a winter wonderland, doing what we love to do and doing it together.  That was all that mattered!
The silence of a snowfall is one of my very favorite things about winter.  It feels so special to be out in the snow while it’s actually coming down from the sky.   Yesterday we noticed that the birds were even singing sweetly as it snowed.  It was just such a beautiful and treasured time.  I felt like we were lucky to be out there experiencing it, as only runners can.
I’ve been pretty grouchy about winter and all of the treadmill running I’ve been doing at the gym, but yesterday the season miraculously redeemed itself for me (at least for a little while) with that gift of the perfect snowy run.
When Maddie and I were finishing up our run on my street, out of nowhere she slipped on the snow and ice and was on the ground in an instant.  It scared both of us at first, until she had a second to make sure she was okay (which she was, thank goodness).  She got up and glanced at her watch and said “I still have point two more to go” and without thinking at all I nodded my head and started running next to her and then found myself completely cracking up at the two of us.  She had just fallen on the ice after we had run 11.98 miles looking like abominable snowmen but goshdarnit nothing was going to stop us from making it a solid 12 miles!  I mean, right!?  Any runner would not think twice about that, just like us, right?  We are all crazy and I love it.  Maddie and I laughed so hard at ourselves, at how NUTS we are, at how crazy-in-love we are with this sport and how it makes us feel.  It was just one of those moments I won’t ever forget.  I love being crazy, and I love being a part of this awesome community of crazy people.  We will get through this winter smiling and happy and strong … and yes, crazy as ever.

another snow day and feeling lucky

I am really really really trying to be friends with Old Man Winter.  The fact is though, I like him when he first shows up – am practically head over heels in love with him he is so beautiful and exciting at first!  –  and then in almost no time I want to kick him out very soon after he arrives!

I knew snow was coming yesterday so in the morning I decided to postpone my usual Tuesday swim for a run instead and move the swim to Thursday.  I met up with my sister and some good friends before sunrise and logged in a little over 10 happy miles.  I was planning on 8 initially but figured I will be running on the treadmill a bunch later this week so I took two miles off of the run for Thursday so that I could do more outside than in.  I was so happy I did that.  Making my treadmill runs shorter is always a good thing when I have the chance and I have no problem moving things around in order to accommodate that preference!

The snow yesterday was beautiful from my kitchen window.  I loved cozying up with my kids and watching it fall over our wooded backyard.  This morning though the roads and trails were icy and the temperature was in the single digits.  I just don’t even think about running outside when winter is like that!

I woke up at 5:30 this morning and put my running clothes on.  School was canceled and I wasn’t in a rush to get the miles in.  So I literally climbed back into bed with my running clothes on and fell back asleep.  It seemed like a genius idea at the time.  I figured I would wake up in an hour and start running.

That’s funny.

Life did not happen that way.

I wasn’t even stepping on the treadmill until after 11am.  I hopped on and started running and was planning on 10 miles with 5 of them in the 6:15-6:30 pace range.  Wednesday is usually my track day but that obviously wasn’t happening so I figured I would pick up my speed in some way on the treadmill today.  I warmed up with around 3 miles before Gus needed something.  He has a yucky cold and just isn’t himself, poor guy.  Once he was settled I hopped back on and ran a bit, but then Abby came in from the cold and needed help with her snow gear and wanted some hot cider and a snack.  So I paused the treadmill again.  I kept getting on and then off, on and then off for one reason or another.  One reason or another that was very clearly to me more important than my run and I never hesitated to take care of it, but it was at times making me think I was ridiculous for trying to fit 10 miles in on a day like this.  I was starting to get grumpy.

getting grumpy

I started in with my faster miles though and found some focus, and began to think about how lucky I am to even get to run AT ALL – especially on a day like this with three kids at home and the weather being what it was.  Trying to fit in the time to run – to make the time – at this stage in my life (or really at any stage!) is hard every day in a way, but I am in a routine now and have found and created a rhythm with it.  This kind of winter weather has tripped me up!  I’m glad I didn’t decide to throw the towel in or call it quits when I was thinking about it.

boom!  did it!

When I was finished, my kids cheered for me and we were all so pumped!  I quickly showered and dried my hair and then all four of us bundled up to head out into the snow.  We lasted maybe 15 minutes tops, it was so cold.  But we had a blast … and I’m sure I was in a much better mood than I would have been if I had skipped my run or cut it short.

i have no idea what happened with this picture i think my fingers were frozen!

So, Old Man Winter — give me whatever you’ve got.  I’m going to get through the worst of you and embrace the best of you, no matter what.  And I’m going to keep running.

Are you a running mom?  How do you survive on winter days when school is closed and the weather is brutal?  Do you love or hate winter running?  Treadmill running?

winter running with kids – when the stroller isn’t an option

There is nothing easy about making the time to fit your runs in when you are a mother.  This holds true for moms who work outside the home, moms who work from home, and moms like me who stay at home with their kids.  This holds true for moms who work part-time jobs or full-time jobs.

Making the time to run is difficult, but we do it because it makes us better mothers.  We do it because it makes us feel good and it makes us stronger, inside and out.  We do it because it matters.  Because we matter.

But how do we do it?  How do we make it work when it’s 30 degrees and raining outside, and we have a two year old toddling all over the house, who refuses to nap?  How do we keep our running a priority when we have a sick child who is home from school for the third day in a row and we feel like we are going to lose our minds if we aren’t able to take just a little bit of time for ourselves?

We have to get creative.  Be resourceful.  We have to adapt.  And truth be told, sometimes we simply have to accept the fact that we aren’t going to get to run today, despite our best efforts and intentions.  It happens, and that’s ok.

When my two older kids were babies, I basically gave up my exercise routine in the winter months, and fought depression as a result.  Now that they are older (6 and 5 years old) and I have an 11 month old baby as well, I am wiser – and I have learned that I don’t have to surrender to Old Man Winter and succumb to depression.

I have learned that there are ways to fit my runs in when the temperatures are too cold for a stroller run.  Most winter days I will just run on my home treadmill while the baby naps, but that isn’t always possible.  Sometimes he won’t nap.  Sometimes my kids are home from school because they’re sick or it is a holiday or a snow day.  That doesn’t have to mean that mama misses her run (though of course, sometimes it does).

Here are some of the ways that you can get creative on those days when you think you may just have to give up on the idea of getting to run:

* Run late.  Invest in some great cold weather running gear and a headlamp and head out in the evening after your husband gets home from work.  It is invigorating!  Come home to a warm fire in the fireplace and snuggle up with your foam roller and some hot cocoa when you are done.

* Run early.  Get your run done at sunrise.  It is hard to get yourself out of bed at that hour – but you won’t regret it, I promise.  Watching the sun come up on a cold, quiet winter morning is one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences and a fantastic way to greet the day.  You will come home to your family feeling ready to face the day.

* Join a gym that offers childcare and family memberships.  My kids love love love going to the gym.  (It wasn’t always the case, by the way.  It took a while for my son Will to warm up to it but now he is a big fan.)  Many days they will ask me if we can please go to the gym – so they can see their buddies and play with all the cool stuff there.  Baby Gus started going when he was three months old and he acts like he owns the place.  We go 2-3 days a week in the winter and it is a really nice, guilt-free way for me to get my exercise in when I can’t push the boys in the stroller or when everyone is home from school on a cold winter day.

* Swap with a friend.  You are not the only one in your world who struggles to make the time for exercise, or for a shower, or for a quiet moment to collect your thoughts and clear your head.  All moms go through this, I am sure.  Talk with your friends about it and help each other out.  That is what friends are for – love, support, understanding, encouragement.  Tomorrow morning I am watching my neighbor’s two year old so she can go for a run.  She will do the same thing for me one day next week.  I’m so excited and grateful that we have one another to lean on, and I know she is too.  Nobody understands a mom who needs time for herself better than another mom who needs time for herself.  Reach out and you will be amazed.  Even if you don’t have friends who “get” your running – they will understand the need for time on your own and they will appreciate you wanting to reciprocate so they can have time to do something they love or need more of in their lives.

How do you make time to run with kids in the winter?  Do you have more ideas to add to this list?