Last year, I started running. I did this because, a full year after having son #3, I still looked like I'd *just had* son number three. I had signed up for a Curves membership, did my three workouts religiously (despite the fact that I was the youngest member by a good 30 years), and still had people - women! - asking me if I was pregnant.
So I started running.
I began training with a girlfriend, who was also trying to lose weight. A mutual friend was hosting a charity 5K a few months later, so we made that a goal.
For me, who had never run further than the end of the driveway, it was a challenge. I had to start slow: 2 minutes walking, one minute running. 3 minutes walking, 2 minutes running, and so on.
Months later, I was barely making 2 miles, but the 5K was around the corner. I escalated my traning, and long story short, finished the 5k without walking a single step.
I've been running ever since, and I've found that if I keep races on my calendar, I always have a fitness goal. It's not so much about losing the weight anymore, it's about finishing a race. Somehow, that goal works better.
And where I used to be glued to the treadmill, running while watching old episodes of "Buffy" on DVD, I now run outside. I got a Zune for my anniversary, and I've crammed it full of the Misfits, Social Distortion, Still Little Fingers, old Red Hot Chili Peppers - all the driving music from my heyday.
I used to run at night. I'd skip dinner, but feed all three boys, and when they sat down to their meal, I'd hit the treadmill. But now I, who used to wake up at 8:50 and work in my home office in my PJs, I now wake up at 6 and head out for an AM run. I've found a nice route where I cut around a pond, and I've seen goldfinches and orioles and little bunnies in the morning sun.
For a working mother with 3 boys, ages 2, 4 and 6 (and 38!), this is my vacation.
Last summer, we rented a cottage on a lake in Ontario with the boys and my in-laws. Ig, the little one, who's always been a little tough, had 5th disease while we were there, and was just about intolerable. He was whiney and clingy, he wouldn't sleep and he wouldn't go to anyone but me. At the same time, the creative department at work had kidnapped a very high-profile project of mine, and I was forced to bring my laptop on the trip. (That was fun - I had to drive 15 minutes to get ONE BAR on my air card!!)
Every day, I'd put Ig down for a nap after lunch (didn't care whether he slept or not) and I would just run. I'd run as fast and as hard as I could, with all the energy and anger of a primal scream. It felt good. I took a dirt road through the woods, past wildflowers and hummingbirds, only a little nervous about bears and axe murderers. But it was what I needed. The perfect escape, the perfect release.
That's why I still run. I have a history of bad knees, a trick hip and I'm in desperate need of new sneakers, but I'll keep running for a while.
When the kids are older, maybe I'll start walking instead. Or dancing!