Whoever said the infant/toddler stage was the hardest stage LIED! Rewind four years, 2015, picture it. I was…well, four years younger (we’ll leave it at that), and a mother to a not yet one-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. Both pretty active in their one-year-old and three-year-old ways, but NOTHING like today. I was fit…like superwoman kind of fit! I had gone from 260 pounds to 160 and I was getting ready to run my first triathlon. Sure, I worked full-time as a defense attorney, in court daily, sometimes until six or seven o’clock at night, and I ran a household with the help of my superhuman supportive husband, but yet finding time to train was easy peasy lemon squeezy. And, I looked like this…
As my precious, amazing, very much loved children have gotten older and busier; finding time to train has gotten harder. Why? Because parenting has gotten much harder! And my kids are amazing kids, seriously. But oh my goodness, the homework, the lessons, the practices and recitals and campouts and box car derbies and popcorn sales and book fairs and feeding them and bathing them and making sure we don’t have cavities and the birthday parties…sigh. The list is endless. Had I known then what I know now, I would have bottled my four years younger self’s energy and put it back for today. But alas, I didn’t, and here I sit 60 pounds heavier, still attempting to find time to train and race. I haven’t stopped racing though. I’m just not as efficient as it as I was four years ago nor near as fit.
Sure, I may look happy in this picture (who isn’t happy when running a Disney race?) but boy was I struggling. My girlfriends who ran this race with me were much faster, and I was MISERABLE. I had not trained much at all for this race, and it was definitely getting the best of me. To make matters worse, one of the girls with us on this trip literally ran maybe two miles before this race and even SHE finished before I did and ran the entire half-marathon! Super impressive by the way, but she paid for it later that night!
Four-years-ago me would have blown that race out of the park! I would have ran a 10-minute mile, 12 at most if I stopped to take character pictures. This year, I was lucky to keep a 15-minute mile pace. I just simply never found the time to train. It’s always easy enough to fit in a 20-30 minute run before picking up kids from daycare/aftercare, but the REAL training, the long run, 2,000 meter swims, 20-40 mile bike rides that have to inevitably take place on weekends, well, those are much harder to convince the mom in me to take the time away from the family and go for.
Balancing fitness and parenting isn’t easy. Most days, I am drowning. I struggle to hold my house together, which is a constant state of dust and mess and chaos and dirty dishes and clothes in baskets that are clean, yes, but never folded. I find myself feeling guilty about my training because it takes me away from my kids and my motherly responsibilities, and let’s face it, they are growing FAST and I don’t want to miss anything. But I love racing and so I continue to register for these races knowing full well I am not going to have the time to put into training for them. Or will I?
I have one month…give or take a few days…before my first triathlon this season. One month to fit back into my tri suit…crap! I forgot about that part. And so far, I’m doing pretty decently on my running. Luckily, I have a job that is pretty flexible, so on days I don’t have to be in court, I go for a run after I have dropped kids off to school. Days I have court, unfortunately, my kids have to suffer a bit and stay at daycare just a tad bit longer so that I can get in at the very least a 30-minute run. I still have yet to find the time to swim or put miles on my bike, but I will, because racing makes me a better mom. And I need to break in the new shoes.
I am determined to find a healthy balance. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I’m sure it exists. My hope is that somehow, through my journey of fitness and motherhood and career that I can help inspire someone else. Because believe me, if I can do it anyone can.