I’ve gained some weight the past two years, I’ve gotten lazy and I’m two years older. I’ve also learned about the “menopause middle” and that it is indeed actually a “thing” and not a myth – that’s all I’ll say on that topic.
This is the reality I’ve come to face as I’ve begun training for the Chicago Marathon this October. An event which will be my fifth Full Marathon and a bucket list item, I’m excited to check even if my middle is a bit softer than in the past.
Not a runner? Not to worry. The lessons I’ve come upon really aren’t about running ... stay with me if you have a moment.
As I type this, I’m well into the double digits of race day. Training in heat is no fun and to say I’m right on my training plan would be a complete and total lie – yet I press forward.
My duo left for a visit with their father, shortly following the start of my 20-week training. My talk was big upon their departure, “Time for mom to shed some pounds and get serious!” I shared. Followed by, “When you guys return I’ll be totally dialed in to training mode.”
As mentioned, this is my fifth in the past six years, so my kids “get it.” Last week they returned and well, those words I’d shared turned out to be empty and not executed as they should be.
It’s hard for me to be selfish.
Contrary to what many believe about only children, I’m a people pleaser. Truthfully as an only child I think (some of us) struggle more with making people happy than others. We’re slower at learning to use our voice for fear of hurting someone, losing friends who in essence become the closest thing we have to siblings.
Extended family also becomes invaluable to only children. I myself have a couple of cousins that are more like brothers to me. Oh the torture I allowed them to put me through as a young girl because I “loved” them so much. Again … the only child can be a bit like a doormat, I speak from experience.
Training for a marathon takes a lot of personal time to log miles, recover and yes, even eat right. In short, it can be viewed as being a bit self-absorbed and yes, even selfish.
Then last week something funny happened, as my duo returned home, my motivation returned. These two are not just understanding, but pretty amazing emotional support; i.e.: cheerleaders.
As they unpacked their luggage, I started getting excited, really excited for my next scheduled long run. Gone were my feelings of selfishness, replaced by pride in knowing how supportive they each are.
I’m a better person when I take time for myself, that’s truly the long and short of it. It’s also the reason I chose to share a bit about this experience here.
I started running when my daughter was three years old. She’s spent the past nine years, watching her mommy raise the bar and continue to set goals. Sure, my waist is wider, my pace is slower and my birthday candles abundant, but I’m not done.
That’s what I realized as I was out on that long run last week, taking time for myself isn’t about being selfish, it’s actually about modeling for my children what it means to not just set goals but live them.
Oh sure, some might still call this selfish, there’s always going to be the critic, the token hater. The good news for this unselfish, only child is quite simple: I care more about what I model and teach my children than a hater any old day.
So this one’s for the mommies, dads, grandparents and guardians who just need a few minutes of solace to make them better at what they do. Just do it, the overall family outcome might actually leave you pleasantly surprised.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.