Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chasing Kids Isn't A Workout

Chasing the kids isn’t equivalent to an actual workout, says Jacqueline Stenson, MSNBC contributor, in a story posted yesterday. The article states that moms of young children may "feel like they are run ragged by the end of the day" but they "may not have engaged in as much physical activity as they think.” My heart is boiling with the collective indignation of mothers the world over.

The report explained a study conducted at the University of Iowa where mothers of children under six wore a device to measure physical activity for a week. Findings showed that most of the meaningful physical activity was of the intentional variety (i.e. sports and exercise) while any incidental activity (like chasing after kids) didn't offer a significant health benefit.

Despite the questionable validity (a whopping 58 subjects in the entire study?!), the researcher’s conclusion is hard to sell. During the writing of this paragraph, I was summoned across the house two times, once to "please close the bathroom door" and once for an official wipe. In fact, most of the day I whisked around shoveling loads of laundry and vacuuming the debris trail of the World's Hairiest Dog. If this doesn't have a significant health benefit, please somebody stop me.

As a runner, I would love for women everywhere to enjoy an hour of early morning quiet, pounding the sleepy streets like I do. But as a mother, I know that exercise often follows flossing to the archive of abandoned resolve. Why would a mother want to exert herself if she is already worn out? If she is, indeed, “run ragged” what conceivable perk does she gain by adding something else? I run because I enjoy it, not because some expert told me to.

Dear authors of guilt-inducing studies:
When you describe your target group as "run ragged" do not then accuse them of not doing enough.

Your Mother

Ladies, do not under any circumstances give yourself fitness credit when keeping up with the children. Run, dance, swim if you like, but adhere to the guidelines. If you don’t, your under-exercised self may drop dead of a massive coronary during pre-school pick-up. It’s a proven fact.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Prayer Running

My running partner, Jerri, and I have gotten very close in our three years of yapping running together.  Things between us got honest right away, since we both have unflattering mucous habits during exercise.  You can't put on airs while hocking and blowing phlegm every quarter mile, and we settled for intimate friendship over mutual disgust.  Recently, we decided to use our vulnerability with each other for a deeper purpose.   Instead of spending the last half of our run rehashing the conversation from the first, we do something more spiritual... you know... like pray

There is a beautiful street at the end of our run, lined with tall trees.  When we round the bend to this last stretch, it is praying time.  There are no rituals to make God seem far away. Our hands can't clasp, we can't bow our heads, we can't even close our eyes.  We are two friends talking to each other and to our God who is as close as our own breath.  Our prayers spout and gasp, but they surround us like little lamps, warming our insides with freedom and energy.   

There is no pretension.  Our confessions, our worries, the stones of our souls, they float off like bubbles as we stomp down the road. We pray for our favorites- Her Jerrod, My Greg, and the four babies between us.  We fight for them, with all the fervor our legs can muster.  We can't help it, as we speak we run faster and faster, as if our effort is the measure of our passion. 

When we finish, we are breathless.  We have shown each other our ugliest, our best.  Like two lovely warriors we walk along, sweaty and peaceful, ready for another day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Greg Calls It "Washed Out," I Call It "Classy"

But this is my blog, so I get to design it however I want.  I couldn't figure out how to do all the stuff I imagined because it required a Dr. Suess-ish vocabulary and I don't know a widget from a jaypeg.  I guess you can't go wrong with a stock blogger template and photoshopped iphone pics.  Don't argue.

In other news... I'm updating my blog links too, so if you haven't posted in over two months I'm cleaning you off the roster unless you comment on THIS POST.  Believe me, I understand a neglected blog, but seriously Todd, it's been too long.  To everyone who isn't already on my list and wants to be, leave me a comment and I will show you some love.  That's how I am.

Preschool starts back next week (Glory!). I have a bone to pick with preschool. If preschool were nicer, it wouldn't have abandoned me all summer in the raging, never-ending heat. Where were you preschool while I tried to keep the boys alive under the Elmo sprinkler? Where were you while they ate their ice pops in the bathtub because it was too hot in the driveway? Where were you while our family rolled lethargically around the couch demanding goldfish and juice boxes [Toby and Charlie] and pretending to be asleep [me]? Now here you are again just in time for my boys to play outside in the mild(ish) fall weather instead of dangle whiningly from the fridge door. Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad you came back, but your timing is less than impeccable. 

I forgive you preschool.  Just the sight of your golden head peeking over the horizon like a seraph makes me gracious.  With a couple of free mornings every week, I'm looking forward to sitting in my coffee shop again, plinking out whatever comes to mind and dumping it into cyber space for posterity.  It's the good life.