Last Wednesday started with our typical, chaotic morning routine. As quickly as possible, I packed breakfast to-go in multiple plastic baggies, zipped up both kids backpacks, poured juice in each of their favorite sippy cups (high maintenance may just be genetic after all), and then rushed to get them in their jackets and shoes before buckling them in their car seats. Despite having read multiple mommy blogs and articles about not “hurrying,” and just enjoying the time we have with our little ones, it seems I haven’t learned. “Hurry up, we are going to be late,” still comes out of my mouth every single morning. I can’t help it.
All buckled in, and car in drive, I took a deep breath. For a second. The next hope was to make the green light out of our neighborhood. So, ignoring their next demand from the back seat, I focused on getting to that stoplight, and making it. Because having to sit and wait for the next one would only contribute more to our tardiness; which, in reality, was only about a minute.
As this was occurring, I heard Levi in the backseat ask, “Mommy, when am I going to get to go on a train again to watch you run?” I lost my breath, yet again. My sweet, almost four-year-old son, remembered taking public transportation this time last year to watch me participate in Baltimore’s Running Festival. Both of my boys refer to the light rail as a train. Whenever we pass an intersection where tracks are set, they, in unison, sing, “Chugga Chugga choo choo.”
I completed the half marathon the last three years, but for some reason, I couldn’t find motivation to sign up for it again this year. However, it kept recurring in the back of my mind, and I found myself constantly considering the idea, hoping I would be able to find some external incentive to run. Was pure enjoyment not enough? My will to compete trumps enjoyment on any day. So, I just kept procrastinating on pulling the trigger.
Caught off guard, knowing the event was three days later, I didn’t know how to respond. “Oh, Levi, I don’t know if mommy is going to run again.” Like all three-year-olds love to do, he asked, “Why?” The truth is, I didn’t have a good answer. The real reason was because I didn’t think I would be able to finish in the same exceptional time as I had the three years prior. I wasn’t about to tell him that crazy excuse.
He started recalling activities he participated in following the race. He expressed such excitement when talking about going on the bounce house slides, and having breakfast with daddy at Lenny’s, and, of course, eating bags of chips at 11:00 in the morning.
So, I came home, looked online at the website, and clicked “register.” My almost four-year-old wouldn’t know the difference between me doing a mile fun run, a 5K, or a half marathon. He just enjoyed the overall experience. But, I would not have been satisfied with running any distance less than I had in the past. I would see it as a weakness, a failure. My son would see me as a hero, no matter what I chose to sign up to run. But, my inner demons came out. Again.
So, yes, twelve years later, I am a “recovered anorexic.” But, does someone who endured an eating disorder ever really rid it from their mind, behaviors, or temptations? The personality of a competitive, driven, perfectionist still seems to protrude when opportunity is present in the appropriate environment.
I like to believe I am completely recovered. That my obsessions are managed in a way I am able to live a more balanced, happy life; and they are, for the most part. The truth is, I still have times where my competitive nature and tendencies come out. Yes, I may tell you I ran for Levi yesterday, which I did. But, a little fix here and there gets the best of me, too.
I completed the Baltimore Half Marathon in my best time yesterday at 1:30:02, finishing fifth overall for women, and second in my age group. Satisfied? Sure, I felt great and had success. But room for improvement? Always. (And, there it is again. That personality!)
Next challenge: Full Marathon. When: To be determined.