Monday, October 26, 2009

Second Annual Tone, Trash Talk, and Thanksgiving Turkey

Since everyone from my son's neuropsychologist to my spiritual director has encouraged me to exercise recently given the stress of taking care of our son, I took it as a sign that I needed to get back in the saddle.

Last year at this time there was a builders race in the works. I was given a bye since I lived several thousand miles away and had just had an emergency appendectomy and a baby. Well, this year Red has a newborn, AWOL is getting into the zone for a foreign natural birth and we are praying for Kat's back.

But that still leaves 4 of us. I know B-Mama is always on board for a good work-out, Juris Mater would probably rather give up wine and chocolate than her elliptical and Mary Alice mentioned something about needing a little kick in the pants.

I've been back at running for about 2 months now. It feels good. Not great, but good. Oh, sure, there is that little voice in my head that, as I am wheezing after 4 miles, asks me if I am indeed the same person who ran 22 more miles than this for fun. So it's humbling to say the least. And that precious hour when all the kids are down simultaneously is spent on the treadmill and taking a shower (which explains much of my absence from this blog). I do not have marathon or IronMan aspirations. I just need to be able to stay one step ahead of my boys and maintain my sanity.

My family's Thanksgiving Day begins bright and early with a Turkey Day run and we are heading home this year. The last time I was home for Thanksgiving I was 7 months pregnant pushing a one year old in a stroller. This year, it is just me versus the cold. I am totally a fair weather runner since my critical bodily functions such as circulation shut down in the cold. I may be able to run at a good clip on a flat treadmill at a balmy 74 degrees, but I may just curl up in a ball on Thanksgiving morning and refuse to go outside. Except now I have all you readers to hold me accountable.

So that's it ladies. Get in a workout routine now before the holidays start. You know you are going to eat most of the cute holiday treats you make with the kids when they are napping! We can do is so very important for us to take good care of ourselves for the sake of our families. Pick a race...a turkey trot, a reindeer run...set a goal, and start sweating!


Mary Alice said...

Tex, this is just what I need! Last night we set a goal for me to have an early morning exercise routine. This morning I just walked, I couldn't have gotten out of bed if I had known that there would be a run involved, but eventually I will start running.

I hear you on the precious free time, it is really hard to use it for exercise, but I find that exercise and prayer are the two best ways to use nap time, and if I do one or the other the afternoon time is much more productive, so those lunch dishes just get done later.

B-Mama and JM, you are our regulars, early morning, night, babysitter or naptime, when do you ladies fit it in, and how do you motivate?

texas mommy said...

I have taken the leave the lunch dishes in the sink approach the last few weeks, and it has been great. I can do the dishes while I feed them an after nap snack. I feel like I maximize efficiency this way.

I am not a morning person, especially a morning runner, and I'm just too tired after the kids are all down. Since we have a treadmill, the naptime workout is the only feasible solution. I read the daily mass readings and spiritual reading while walking briskly, then run, shower, then do mental prayer. Usually just enough time.

texas mommy said...

Also, I set a goal for myself of 4 days a week, usually M, W, F, Sat. I try to be disciplined, but flexible. If I feel great on Tuesday, I'll run then and take Wed off. Or if our 4 year old was up 4 times the night before, I'll try to rest and run the next day instead.

helen said...

Good motivation Texas Mommy.

My husband and I have just moved to Oxford with a 1 year old and running is a big part of the culture here. (Cycling too, but that goes without saying!) As a former runner for fun I watch with jealousy as they stride past, thinking back to the pre-baby days when I'd head outside for a run whenever I fancied. These days it feels like i'm just too busy (yeah, I know, just one child!). I really need to get hubby to babysit for 30 mins so I can get some me only exercise...

Kat said...

TM, thanks for the update and for the reminder that exercise can be a great way to ward off stress! Sometimes, even when I do my best to be peaceful at heart, I can feel the effects of stress creeping in - for me, I get headaches, can't sleep as well, and have heartburn and other digestive issues. It's amazing how the mental and physical are so tied together! For me, exercise is one great stress release, and I also am lucky enough to have a piano in the house so playing for a good chunk of time can have a similar effect.

It's hard to "give up" the naptime hour(s) for something that doesn't show immediate results, like cooking dinner or cleaning house, but as you said, it's so important. Glad it's been working out for you!

Mary Alice said...

Helen, I totally recommend a jogger stroller, when you are ready to start running again. I can run with my double jogger, and if I am up for an adventure I can even get some of the older kids biking along with me. I have gone out with all 6 kids sometimes just to sneak in a run, but that means that I can't use them as my excuse!!! It takes discipline and motivation, neither of which are coming easily these days...

Juris Mater said...

Thanks for the post, Tex! Glad you're back in the saddle with exercise, you are and always have been one VERY athletic lady!

As for fitting it in, after trying everything under the sun, I am finding that in my 3 young children, non-pregnant state, early mornings are AMAZING. I wake up about a half hour before the kids do, tie my shoes and go, then my husband takes the kids for a half hour/45 min while he finishes getting ready for the day.

Here's why early mornings are great:
(1) I am not a morning person. I am miserable and grumpy and at low function generally in the morning no matter how hard I try. My exercise time provides a buffer between me and my family. By the time I get back, full of fresh air and endorphins, I am happy to see my kids and start the day with a bang. I still have yet to master getting through the 9:30am energy crash, but on the whole it's MUCH better.
(2) To piggyback on this, I get to start my day off with a morning offering, guardian angels prayers, and Rosary, which I can do while running, and just generally reflect while I run on what God wants from me today. I also give thanks in the mornings now, which certainly has never happened before.
(3) As B-mama once said wisely, I'm halfway through my workout before I even wake up, which is a huge perk. 23 conscious minutes of exercise is less painful than 45. I wake up outdoors to a glorious sunrise, birds, mostly quiet around me, and the great feeling of fitness. Not to kids who woke up "too early again".
(4) I'm in a better routine altogether, because knowing my alarm will go off at a certain time and I have to be feeling decent makes me more realistic and disciplined about my bedtime. This is the first time in my life that I've gotten a handle on regular bedtimes and the "heroic minute" in the mornings.
(5) I get to use mid-day quiet time for damage control, mental prayer, quality time with Bella after her 3 mornings at school, sometimes a power nap, and dinner prep, all of which make our afternoons much more enjoyable.
(6) I don't have to worry that something will interfere with my workout like I did when it was mid-day.

For getting into the routine and getting out of bed to face a run, the first morning is almost insurmoutable (it usually takes Lent for me to begin the routine again, and if I break it, I wait until the next Lent!!). The second morning is very hard. The third morning is unpleasant. By the fourth morning, it starts just becoming a fact, and MUCH easier with each passing day.

And for motivating, in short, running is cheaper than therapy. It regulates my moods, my anxiety, and my intensity, allows me to pound out confusion with each step and clear my head, to filter my emotions and thoughts. It generally gives me a feeling of physical strength and fitness that carries over into every part of life. I pray most intensely as I run, sometimes even crying out loud to God, although it doesn't substitute for mental prayer time. Stealing away in the morning is such a treasure, and very freeing for me.

B-Mama said...

Tex, this is great! Thanks for the umph!
JM, great thoughts on the morning workout. You are awesome to accomplish so much in the a.m. I have to say, I have been loving my gym time lately, thanks to a GREAT ymca around the corner with "free" childcare along with our monthly dues. I feel blessed to have this at my fingertips and definitely realize it is a splurge for our family finances. Though I really couldn't pay someone for all the good my morning workout does me. And the childcare allows for up to 2 hours of care/day. With three children there at times (though usually just the baby while the boys are in preschool), our membership fee pales in comparison to what this would normally cost me. Cha ching!

The kids and I get out of the house. They get a little romp time in the gym childcare and I get my hour's worth of workout sanity. I'm also meeting tons of other workout mama friends and am finding this to be a vital key to finding community in our area. I've even been meeting a lot of my fellow parishioners at the gym, who I hadn't been meeting at church! What a blessing it has been!

Go movin' mamas!

texas mommy said...

I also loved my double jogger...before I had three that I needed to run with. If we can get our son in a morning special ed class, then I think I'll take the little boys out for runs. They get fresh air, too! It is also good encouragement when your two year old tells you to go faster!

texas mommy said...

Juris Mater, If I may ask...what time are we talking about? I think I would have to be back from an am run and showered by 6:15 to ensure that this would work. Maybe it is reasonable to be up at 5:15 and I'm just being a baby.

Anonymous said...

Mary Alice and Tex

I do have a jogger, which we bought specifically because I wanted to run with it! We do lots of walking and shopping with it but I need to get out by myself. I think Juris Mater has the right idea by getting up a wee bit earlier.


Mary Alice said...

Helen, good for you for knowing what you need! Sometimes I run because I need to run, in which case taking the kids is convenient, but sometimes I run because I need a break, in which case having to stop to readjust a buckle or pick up a dropped bottle would be a real imposition! Also, sometimes an important part of the break is the childcare that hubby provides, it is good for him, good for the kids, and good for us to know that he is able to help out.

I am glad to hear that you already have a jogger -- I had one for 5 years before I ever ran with it, they are great all purpose strollers and being able to take lots of nice long walks in Oxford sounds dreamy!

I admit that it did not occur to me that I would be coordinated enough to run with a stroller, but it works out just fine. I think it does change the nature of the workout, though, and I can't really run as far with the jogger stroller.

JM -- what you say about getting up is so true! I have made myself get to bed the last few days because I was firm in my resolution to get up in the morning, and everything seems to be a bit better for that.

I think I am going to try to get up at the same time on the weekend, too, if I can, even if I take a nap later in the day. What you say about the first morning being hard is true, and I don't want to live that first morning every Monday!

Tex, it sounds like you are VERY efficient if you are fitting all that in to nap time!

Juris Mater said...

Tex, no, 5:15am would be insane and out of question. I have morning-person friends who get a kick out of that sort of thing, but I think I'd die. The earliest I've ever made routine was 6am, this summer because of circumstances, and my usual wakeup is 6:30, which is quite reasonable. I'm back around 7:30am.

I forgot that you have to be ready to roll, husband departing, around 6:15! That is such a long day. Do you have any neighborhood girls between the ages of 12 and 15 or so that could come over right after school for an hour, around 4pm? Leave your boys in a safe place and have her just stand guard and do the best she can to entertain them. Freedom to "just go" regularly is amazing, and especially with your long, long days, wow! Heck, your kids might like the break from you too : ) I feel like mine always like an hour off from their old hag mom. MaryAlice, your neighborhood young teenager coming over to hold down the fort for an hour after bedtime a couple times a week is brilliant.

texas mommy said...

Thanks, JM. If I had gotten home earlier, I would have written to not answer that question. The reality is that our lives all look a little different, and, as attractive as you make the morning run sound, it would not be feasible with my husband's travel and a few early morning commitments he has and I think I miscalculated and would have to get up earlier than I thought.
6:30 is standard in our house and that is about when the day starts for everyone.

I would love to have help, but for us, that is not an option right now. I cannot trust an untrained babysitter with our oldest who has recently given me a black eye and bite marks and I am practiced with a basket hold during a meltdown. I don't even feel comfortable leaving all three with grandparents to put down at night at the moment...we try to go out after Dash is down. Part of the reason I want to be a part of the special ed system is that some of the teachers also will babysit (for a fee) but at least I would have someone that I thought could safely handle a big boy meltdown around the littles.

MA, since the baby dropped his morning nap a few weeks ago and I still put the 4 year old down for a nap, and then, if he doesn't fall asleep, quiet time, I have a whole hour and a half (!) to accomplish those things. I change into running clothes right before lunch, so I am much less likely to get distracted by something else and head immediately to the treadmill.

Helen, do what you have to do! Take what useful advice you can and ignore the rest if it is not for you!

Mary Alice said...

Tex, changing before lunch is brilliant. If I change into a habit before lunch will I do my prayer and not get distracted by the internet?

Juris Mater said...

Tex, that's right, I'm sorry I was insensitive to the particulars of your situation, both with Dash's needs and Mr. Incredible's commitments. And I know I can't imagine just how intense it is. The real, main reason morning works for me is because my husband doesn't have to be anywhere until 8am. You're amazing to exercise mid-day, during the only possible down time. I'd probably lie in bed and cry! XOXO, hope you have a relatively peaceful day.

Catherine said...

Texas Mommy, I understand the incredible difficulty you have in finding child care for your son. I do hope you find a good situation for him so you can be refreshed too! Enrolling my special child in special education has been one of the best things I ever did for myself, my son, and our family. My son LOVES the structure in his special classroom, which I found impossible to replicate at home with younger siblings and only one adult. And for me, it is really lovely to be able to take my "typical" children to the "typical" childcare at the Y, or trade childcare with a friend, and not worry about anyone getting hurt or getting called in for an uncontrollable meltdown. Our school district also offers door-to-door bus transport for special ed children, so you don't have to try to manage your special child in a transition situation with your other younger children too.

Another option, when you need help at home, is many of the find-a-babysitter websites, like, allow sitters to note if they are experienced with special children. Lots of them are, either with siblings or prior babysitting experience, and can be a great help when school is out!

You are in my thoughts.

Catherine said...

I forgot one more thing--depending on your son's diagnosis, your income and family size, you may be able to receive financial assistance from MHMRA for respite care (babysitting). It takes a long time to apply, but the services offered are for life (again, depending on diagnosis and financial resources). Good luck!

texas mommy said...

Catherine, I just sent you an email. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and ideas!

JM...I did not find your comments insensitive at all! When we find what works well for us, we are almost duty bound to share. Others can take what is helpful and skip the rest!

Anne said...

Just had to tell you that I feel your emergency appendectomy pain! Mine was ten days postpartum. I'm hoping this Baby #2 will be easier, but I still have a gall bladder.... :)

Mary Alice said...

On the double jogger front, I am now using it once a week while the older children are in a gym class, it is a great way to multi-task and I wish I had thought of it sooner, I have spent way too much time with my kids trying to keep them quiet in lobbies while the older siblings were in classes, and while I was gossiping with the other mommies. I should have been running, better for all of us!

This inspiration came from a mom I saw doing Yoga outside of the high school while the kids were in swim class. She said you have to try to fit it in where ever you can, and also that sometimes it is better for her, and the child if she not watch the class -- that part depends on the child, of course, but mine could benefit from my not watching every second of every class at this point,

Mary Alice said...

I was thinking about all of your different work out schedules, and
I think that work with what you have is a great lesson here -- Tex has a treadmill and a fairly consistent nap routine, B-Mama has a great gym with childcare, I have a local teen who my kids look forward to seeing, and JM has a husband who can pitch when the kids are waking up.

I have been getting up earlier to walk or run, around 6 am, this week, and it has been fabulous! I also need to do a better job of making sure that my husband and I both get to fit in a longer run on the weekend, as well as some unstructured outdoor time with the children, I think.

For me, right now, exercise is the "break" that I find most uplifting. Going to the mall is not fun for me, it is a place I go when I need to buy something.

By running outside, I am also getting some time in nature, which is really important to me. Those who are coordinated enough to read on the elliptical are also multitasking, which I think is wonderful -- I would fall down!

Someday I hope to also fit in some breaks for culture, like a visit to a museum, a concert, even enjoying a pretty garden, with or without the kids.