Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Good Run

*It isn't all about running, Sha.  Promise*

This was one.  There have been others, too.  I remember quite clearly how it felt each time I ran and didn't ever want to stop.  It's easier to remember the good runs when I'm sitting on the couch typing on the laptop than when I'm out in the sweltering heat and suffocating humidity, panting and huffing and cursing at myself in my head for moving like a slug.  At those times, and there have been a lot of them lately, it's hard to remember ever having run before, and hard to imagine why anyone would purposely subject herself to such hardship.

Let me try to explain these feelings for those of you who aren't already silently shouting, "Amen, sister!" Running is hard.  Just because you're wearing athletic clothes and you know you're burning calories doesn't mean you feel thin.  The knowledge that getting your heart to pump faster is a good thing doesn't make it feel good when it seems your chest is going to explode from exertion.  Sweating is totally natural and necessary.  It's also a really grody feeling to have your clothes sticking to you and to have to wipe the salt crust off of your phone's screen after using it because of the sweat that dried on your face.  But then, there are times after a run when you feel like this:

Or like this:
Which is basically, like this:
Much like (I've read) a drug addict continues searching for that feeling they remember from the first time they got high, part of the reason that I (we) continue to run is in search of the overwhelming euphoria of a good run.  The happy news is that good runs are attained more often and in a much healthier, less law-breaking way than heroin highs.

I haven't run many miles, lately, and the miles I have run have not been the most pleasant.  Although I got good news when I talked to a real doctor for a second opinion about my circulation issues, I have been dealing with ever-worsening pain in my left ankle that I think is a tendon thing.  I've had a lot of rest days, hoping to ease the pain and be ready to start marathon training July 6th.  All that rest has made me crabby and flabby and generally unpleasant.  I've remembered, though, one of the cool things about running.  Even the bad runs are at least a little bit good.  Cardiovascular exercise = Good.  Outside in fresh air = Good.  Time alone with thoughts = Good.  So, the running, even with the nagging injuries and reduction in miles and maddening slowness, we'll call it good.  But that isn't the only reason I titled this post the way I did.

I've been at this stay-at-home-mom/homemaker/unemployed worker gig for a little over 2 years now, give or take a few substitute teaching job assignments.  It has definitely been a good run.  I've been able to volunteer at races, at Rip Claw's school, and at our church.  I helped raise a lot of money and put on fun, educational events as a PTA board member.  I'm a regular yoga class attendee.  I have time to write blog posts and follow people on Twitter and keep up with friends on Facebook.  I read books.  I cook healthy(ish), delicious meals.  Sometimes, I even clean.  Best of all, I get to spend almost all their waking hours with my kids.  I feel that I can't overstate how blessed and thankful I am for Charming; for his hard work and commitment to taking care of our family financially.
That's a shadow, not a hole in the top of his head.
Now, the time has come for this good run to end, though.  If I don't get a paying job, then we can't realistically think about moving from our teeny house into a normal-sized one.  If I don't get a well-paying job, then we can't realistically think about moving into my our dream house.

It may seem strange, but a part of me wants to go back to the working world for reasons completely separate from financial gain.  Am I a terrible SAHM for feeling somewhat unfulfilled by my job as a mother?  I treasure my time with the children.  I learn from them, I teach them, I laugh with them, and I know that ultimately, they're going to grow into successful, happy adults largely because of (in spite of?) me.  However, I feel like I have a lot to offer aside from being a parent.  I also feel like the value of what I have to offer the world at large is depreciating the longer I stay at home.  Sometimes, it's hard to see the difference between enjoying a good run and enjoying the comfort of a familiar rut.  I realized that I'm in the latter position when I noticed a trend in the jobs I was hoping to get.  The one thing they all had in common was me, at home.  Hard work pays off.  Smart work pays off.  Laziness does not pay off.  Great ideas, without action, do not pay off.  Yes, there are people who get paid to write blog posts about running and mothering and such.  There are people who get paid to read and review books.  There are even people who get paid to come up with ideas far less excellent than ideas I've had.  I've come to terms with the fact that I am not one of those people.  It would basically be the same thing if I said my dream job was to play the lottery.  So, yeah.  My dream job is to change the world, be intellectually challenged and stimulated, earn enough money to move to a house with more than one bathroom, and still spend almost every waking moment with my children.  But until there's an opening in that field, I'll probably return to where I had my last good run--tending bar.

Wanna hire me?

Your last good run?