Monday, October 29, 2012

Why am I here?

The question is not quite as existential as it first appears. I do not regularly question my life, my family, or any of that. I like my life- it keeps surprising me because it's so full of love and bounty. This quandary comes from something much more mundane: about a month ago, I started to wonder why on earth I had a blog.

Not that many people read this blog. I am definitely not an expert on running.  When I started, I had a very clear goal (run a marathon- then, get a marathon PR!). There was momentum. When I got pregnant, I had a whole new reason to write; even though I am far from an expert, I was another voice on the internet saying that it's okay to run while pregnant.  It's possible (although unlikely) that I convinced some runner-turned-new-mom-to-be that there was no reason to quit running unless there was a medical problem or it just wasn't fun. A pregnant runner evangelist, that's me.

Then Alfie arrived. Life got hectic. I started running again, but without a goal- this was on purpose, because I didn't want to get back into full-on training too soon.  Now she's six months old, I'm running and teaching and chasing a three-year-old and poof! I ran a half-marathon two weeks ago and still haven't posted a report.

So why am I here? 

While running the other day, because that's when all good ideas happen, I decided I am here, writing this blog, for myself. It's simple and selfish- I want to remember.  Sometimes there's more to document- marathon training, PRs, pregnancy, a new baby- and sometimes life is relatively simple.  I forget to note those simple times, but they compose the bulk of this life I love.

I am here because raising kids while working and being a spouse and a good friend is so important and yet so hard to commemorate without intention.  Add running and racing into the mix, and some days- okay weeks, months- feel like a mad frenzy towards the future.

I am here to document how these years feel. When I started this blog, I named it The Marathon Year because 2010 was the year of my first marathon. I changed the name the next year because, well, Year implies one. Singular. Now the title means something completely different: These are the marathon years, the messy and wonderful years of adulthood and family and, for me, running. They are not a sprint, they require planning and care. Most importantly, the struggles are as much emotional as anything else.  The physical day-to-day is shaped by your mindset, in the same way that a race is shaped by your intentions, worries, and mental preparation.

This is why I'm here.

(I will post a better-late-than-never race report later this week.)


Monday, October 1, 2012

Sneaking Candy

I don't smoke. I have at most one glass of wine a week. I eat whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, quinoa, and fresh veggies. I drink at least 120 ounces of water a day. I don't even have caffeine.

Some would say I do a great job with what I put in my body.  And compared to many, I do.  However, I have recently started eating a lot more of something not-so-great: candy.

Sour Patch Kids, I love you. Your sour flavor wakes up my taste buds while your empty calories amp me up for a good 20 minutes.  Your artificially dyed colors are bright and shiny, like a summer day.  I could eat you every day. I have been eating you several times a week, along with your friends Peanut M&Ms.

I could come up with numerous problems with this candy obsession, but here are a few:
  1. I am thrifty, proudly so. I make good food for my family on a budget. And yet, I spend money every week on CANDY.  That's just wasteful, because what purpose does it serve besides temporarily filling my belly with something devoid of nutritional value? At least ice cream has dairy and fat, that soup├žon of health.
  2. When you eat empty, sugary crap, your blood sugar spikes and then plummets, making you grumpy, tired, and hungry again! Cruel, isn't it? I should be eating an apple, a cheese stick, mixed nuts, berries, baby carrots... the list goes on.
  3. Whatever I eat, Alfie eats.  I can't be proud of my caffeine-free, natural peanut butter eating self if I'm gorging myself on candy.  She's eating that crap, too. She's eating preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and sheer sugar.
  4. I have sensitive teeth, so eating chewy candy exacerbates the issue. Why make myself hurt?
  5. Bambino is impressionable, and sometime's I'm not sneaky enough. We don't live junk-free by any means, but we tend to live by Cookie Monster's "Cookies are a sometimes food" rule, expanding it to candy, ice cream, and other treats as well.  If he sees me eating candy, he wants some.  Do I say no and feel like a hypocrite or say yes and make him think it's okay to eat junk all the time?
Having said all of that, I am conducting a week-long experiment wherein I do not eat candy. I was going to make it no refined sugar at all, but a student offered me a cookie today, so...