On the Run

June 21, 2010 at 5:00 am | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop, Running | 37 Comments
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Daddy is on his way home from work, ready to take Lollipop and Giggles to the pool. I’m slathering sunscreen on my fair-skinned daughter, Giggles is throwing pillows off the couch and stomping on them, Bun is screaming in his vibrating chair because his pacifier fell out for the 34th time, and I can’t replace it because I’m up to my elbows in sunscreen. I want to run.


It’s nap time. Lollipop is playing in the bathroom going potty and yelling for help because she has soap all over her hands and can’t turn the faucet off, Giggles is wailing in his crib because he pooped in his diaper and then stuck his hand in to see what would happen, and Bun is in his baby recliner growling and gnashing his gums like a fasting lion. I want to run.


We’re headed home from preschool. Giggles is pulling on the mesh divider separating the backseat from the dog/cargo area, Lollipop is loudly and insistently demanding I do something, anything, to stop him now. He swipes Bun’s burp cloth and hurls it across the backseat at Lollipop, who yells even more loudly and insistently. Trapped in the middle, Bun waves his chubby arms spastically and sputters his displeasure. I want to run.

Chris Brown’s “Forever” comes on the radio. I crank it up, just for a few stanzas, to drown out the fighting and yelling and sputtering. I haven’t heard this song in exactly 245 days.

13.1 miles and a thunderstorm later ...

On the Sidelines
Exactly 245 days ago, it carried me through the last half mile of my first half-marathon, drowning out my screaming quads and the raindrops beating down on my visor. I crossed the finish line two minutes ahead of my goal time. And 11 weeks pregnant. ย  ย 

I haven’t run since. Oh, how I want to. Need to.

My iScape Plan
I don’t want to run away, not for good. Just for thirty minutes. I want to lace up my Asics, crank up the Chris Brown on my iPod, and just go.

I want to take my mind to a place where it’s not thinking about how to get poop out from under fingernails or how long is too long to use the same bottle-washing brush. Where it’s not thinking about anything except where to turn left and what verse comes next.

Hot Mom in the City
I know it will be achingly hot. I know my lungs will burn after just a few minutes. I know my leg muscles, what’s left of them, will beg for me to stop. I know it won’t be easy.

But I’ll be out there. Just running. Running away from tantrums and toddlers and too much laundry. Halfway through, the gloom will lift, the endorphins will flow. I’ll round the corner and run home. I’ll complete the circle, renewed and ready, ready for the mental miles I log when I walk through the door and back into my lovely, chaotic life.

How do you manage stress? How do you make time for yourself? What’s more important when you have a newborn, a nap or a workout??



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  1. I wish I could say ‘run’ but I’ll take the nap anyday… I run a whole 5km every other day and I just love it. I can’t imagine completing a half marathon and am in awe of people who do. I think you should probably do the run.

    • I actually ran the half in memory of a friend who passed away from cancer. I had never run that far before. It was tough, but I wanted it to be, to honor the fight my friend had waged with his disease. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to (or interested in) running another one, but I do want to get out there and run something. 5Ks are a great distance, definitely one of my favorites.

  2. Great post Stacia. I think everyone is different so for some downtime is about some peace and quiet and relaxation but for me ideally like you I need to get out and do something, ideally hiking but walking is good enough. I got to spend some time walking with my Dad this weekend and just getting away and doing what I love best made a huge difference. So if you want to run, follow your heart and get out there and do it.

  3. To relieve stress right now I try to get in a little time at the end of a day to read a good book. It’s just my little treat. Well, and ice cream.

    I used to run, and I had intended to return to it this spring, but then I got knocked up. I’m now aiming for NEXT spring, and I think I’m going to ask for a jogging stroller for Mother’s Day!

    Although with a newborn, I think a nap is more important.

  4. Love how the post went from “I want to run” (and we’re all thinking “…away”) to just your desire to get out and hit the pavement again. Got a triple stroller yet? ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, good for you. I hope you can squeeze in some running time this week!

  5. Wow! I’m really impressed that you finished a half marathon during your first trimester. You go, girl! (Or, I suppose, You went, girl!)

    Personally, I would have gone for the nap over exercise (but I am a lazy good-for-nothing fitness-wise so my vote shouldn’t mean much). And I know the rule of thumb is “nap when the baby naps,” but I often felt better doing something I wanted to do than forcing myself to sleep when I didn’t really want to. So I’m with the others: give yourself permission to take care of you, whether that be in your bed, on the couch, or on the running trail!

  6. First, Stacia, Congrats on finishing that Half-Marathon. I am a runner and running is the primary way I relieve stress. So I vote for the run. Even if you can run for 15 minutes, it is worth it. I know you are in that dreaded newborn state of things and napping is oh so important, but the run, the elation when it is over, is so fulfilling. I know you may not have time right now, but check out Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (nice blend of why he runs and how it helps him and his writing).

    Great post Stacia. Thanks.

    • Just went online and reserved this book at my local library. Thanks, Rudri!

      • Great! I would love to know your thoughts after you have some time to read it.

  7. I get this. Oh do I get this. The question is–can you use nap time to run? Do you have someone to watch the kids? See, for me, I couldn’t run because it meant getting up early–too early–so that my husband would be home to watch the kids. It was too much too soon.

    Right now, I still don’t run. I can’t get out of bed. What I do, though, is walk. I walk everywhere. I keep the weight off (and say “bye bye” as it leaves) and feel good because I am outside. It is luxurious. Plus, it makes the kids happy because they are outside rather than inside. If you don’t have a triple stroller, improvise. Carry Bun in a wrap or snugli and stroll the other kids. I do this even though I have a double stroller because sometimes my baby just wants to be close to his mommy.

    • I am with you, Amber. I am SO not a morning person. I like to run in the evenings after the kiddos are in bed as a way to put the stress of the day behind me (and give the dogs some exercise). I absolutely wish we could walk more places, but it’s so brutally hot here. Not to mention the traffic and crazy drivers. I’m envious that you’re able to do that!

  8. I’m so impressed that you ran a half-marathon (and preggers, no less). My body cannot run. It just refuses. I do take long, brisk walks when I can. Oh, and wine works, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I can run while you count to 15. Then I’m done. But I will walk until the cows come home. And where I live…they do leave, and they do come home. I’ve walked beside them.

    When mine were little and hubby was in grad school I bought a wagon. Most days I fed them a picnic lunch in that wagon and pulled it for an hour so I could walk.

    Walk or a nap? No question. Endorphins every day. It keeps the anti-depressants away.

  10. Who cares if it has been 243 days since you ran a half marathon. You’ve run one.

    I’m IMPRESSED. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I love this. Running out your stress and anxiety and worries. That feeling of exhileration. I’m in awe of you doing that 11 weeks pregnant! I hope you get to running soon!

  12. I’m a new runner. Just started a couple of months ago. I’m running my first 5K this weekend. All buildup to a half marathon in October. I don’t love running. Yet. But I totally get why people do. Maybe someday I’ll be there. I hope so.

    • Wow, Cara! Good luck this weekend! And keep logging those miles … I’m wishing you endorphins!

    • Good luck with your 5K, Cara. I ran my first 5K in Dec. Since I have run 2 half marathons, one 5K, a 10 miler and a 20K this past weekend. It is addictive so watch out!

  13. A nap with a clean home to wake up to is the most important thing for me. Getting away from it all doesn’t help me if I have to come back to even more work than I left behind.

  14. When I read this, I’m of course nodding my head in understanding. I know that doesn’t help you at all. But honestly, you make me want to get my butt in gear and start running. I wonder how it would make me feel? I want to do it. To have it to help manage my own stress. Right now, when I’m feeling like you do here, I mostly cry. No kidding. Cry, and cry, and cry. It helps for sure. But a good run would probably help more. I really need to get my butt in gear. I’m not good at making time for exercising.

    Take care of yourself Stacia!

    • I hear you, Christine. I’ve run and cried at the same time before! Both are good for the soul.

  15. Yes, find the time if you can. I finally bought a treadmill two years ago, and I love it. You will probably fee so much better if you can squeeze in a run.

    I’m so impressed about the half marathon. Congrats.

    My new therapy is biking. We have a trailer that attaches to the bike for my youngest daughter. I love a nice bike ride so much. It keeps me sane.

  16. Currently I self-medicate with candy and lots of it. I’ve never been a runner, but there’s a nagging feeling deep down that I should maybe start. There’s a 5k in September that I could start training for in a few weeks. I doubt I’ll ever be the person who loves running, but I wouldn’t mind if that happened.

    • Yesterday I requested that my husband buy the super-jumbo bag of M&Ms from Costco. So I know all about self-medication with candy! And let me tell you, vast quantities of candy without the running, as is occurring in our household at this time … no good, no good at all.

  17. Oh my, I remember this feeling well even though I hadn’t accomplished anything like a half-marathon before my daughter was born. But here’s what I wanted: I wanted to move again. I wanted to spend a few minutes alone again. To remember that I was a woman, not only a mommy, again. When I got back to my exercise class – where I’ve been going for 21 years now – after my daughter was born, I cried through half the class. I couldn’t believe I was there.

    So when I see moms with jogger strollers, do I understand? Yes, I do.

  18. I’m not a marathon runner, or one who runs as a form of exercise, but I FELT this post. All of it. Because I often want to just run away from my house. Not for long and not forever, but just for a little while. When it’s loud and chaotic and requires my response. And I don’t want to respond. I just want to crank up my iPod and GO.

  19. Congrats on running a half while pregnant! I cannot imagine it. I would vote to go for the run but that is what I do so I would do that first.

  20. Because “balance” is an unattainable tease for moms of young children, I try and wring every drop of juicy life out of the moments alone I get.

    If running restores and energizes you, I say run: clumsily, sweatily, and post-partumly.

  21. I did a similar post on running — realizing that I HAD to run. I needed that free feeling. Alas, I’ve only run maybe twice since I wrote that in April… not a very hopeful comment.

  22. Wow! Good for you! You’ll certainly get back into the run of things.
    For me, I pick the nap more often, but really need the exercise.

  23. Yes, yes, yes, I know how you are feeling, except that I want to walk since I’m not a runner (evidenced by the one 5k experience in which I peed my pants).

    A long walk with my ipod and an audiobook sounds like heaven. Heaven! I don’t even mind pushing a stroller while I go, except that now that there are three little ones, we don’t have a stroller that fits them all. Plus, it’s a little hot to walk with the baby for too long.

    Every day I think, “Maybe I can take a quick walk this evening.” Evening comes and is filled with bedtime, nursing, and cleaning up and my energy disappears.

    Let me know if you figure out how to get running again!

  24. Oh, if I were close by I’d happily give you that 30 minute break! (And I’d bring my teen along as reinforcements… and the entertainment.)


    Sometimes 30 minutes really is all it takes. And it can be impossible to get even that, when they’re little.

    • If your son brought along his art supplies, my kiddos would be his best friend forever … or at least until the paint ran out. =>

  25. I don’t know how you do it with three. I really don’t. I admire you every time I read a new post, because you’re even finding time to write!

    I like to run, too. I started only a couple of months before I got pregnant with my daughter, and tried to keep it up in the early months. When I got too big and uncomfortable, I was surprised how much I missed it. I had quickly gotten addicted to the endorphin rush. After I had her, I couldn’t wait to get back to running. It took a little while to work up the energy, but I’m still enjoying it. There’s nothing like the “clean” and unclean feeling of being covered by your own sweat.

  26. This feeling? I *feel* it. Deeply. You have to find a way to just get out there and do it. One way or another.

    My stress management is laps at the pool. Sometimes I swim them with a 30-pound toddler on my back, but I swim them. And the world rights itself for a bit longer than before.

  27. Oh nap. Although I want to say workout. I’m quietly trying to talk myself into starting to run. I’ve never been a fan – but my sister has been running about three times a week since last November and she looks completely amazing. Also? I think it would help me shake off some of the stress and lethargy that weighing me down.

  28. […] Now, I can feel the five pins that hold my tibia in place. Stairs still hurt. And there’s a high probability I’ll never run again. […]

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