Sunday, November 2, 2008

An Easy Run

I hadn't run for a couple of days, since it was raining so much. Pause here to say a huge "Thank you!" since my state is in such desperate need of water. We probably don't need it here, but up in the mountains, where the reserves are kept.

Still, for a couple of days I've been draining the bath because adding more water on top of an already-soaked garden (and standing in the rain with a hose to do it) was more than I thought necessary. I also didn't really want to take myself out for a run if it was more than a drizzle, although I have fond memories -- at least I think they're mine -- of running in the rain.

When I woke up today and was the only one really really awake, and the "extra" hour was just sitting there, all full of promise, and it wasn't raining, well. I dressed and took off. If I had run in the rain, also, my shoes would have been wet still. Suzee had been very inspiring about longer distances, so I figured out how long I should run to hit about five miles, and took off. It was lovely. The sky was tones of pewter, and the clouds were doing that ballet where they mass and roil slowly. Empty streets, and just the sound of my little shoes flap-flapping.

I noticed some time ago that I breathe on a 4/4 beat, so songs that follow that beat tend to get lots of play on Stefani Radio while I run. But after about a mile and a half, even the mind monkeys get tired of talking, so I just ran. I was doing great -- I planned not to look at my watch until the halfway point, and I didn't until then. When I made my turnaround at the ferry terminal, I was right on time. So back I went, along a tiny section of the Bay Trail -- it's all patchwork, really -- and was doing fine.

Until my hip started making lots of noise, with a backup ensemble featuring Ms. Thigh and Ms. Knee. I bargained with them -- "Just let me make it to the corner, okay?" -- and I tried slowing then stopping and stretching. No dice. My run was over, no matter what I wanted.

So I walked home from the Starbucks, approximately, and checked the distance. Four good miles until everything went to pot, and a lovely walk home. Even with the walk, they were still in bed, actually.

But one thing hit me as I ran. I'd been telling myself that I'd do "an easy five mile run." And for many people, it would have been. And for some people it would have been impossible, and for others, every possible permutation in between.

Then I realized that my definition of "easy" is "Things that I do." So the fact that I got a Master's degree in English (thesis-free, as Eric is happy to point out)? Easy. Homeschooling four children, some of whom are a challenge? Easy. Soft and squishy homemade bread (apologies to Mrs. Peters)? Easy. Working while full time doing the kids? Easy. Making time for exercise before anyone wakes up? Easy.

I shortchange myself in ways that I would never ever do for other people. Just because I can do it doesn't make it dismissable.

So I've been thinking about ways to make some things less not-easy for me. I'm going to start working with a housekeeper tomorrow -- she has lots of ideas about how to make this household more welcoming and nurturing for us. And I'm 90% certain that the two middle Things are going to start going to school down the street, possibly this month.

These aren't easy decisions, but I'm hoping they're going to help increase the positive experiences around here. I'll keep thinking and evaluating, except for the blissful half hours on my run that I get to turn off my brain.


Ruth said...

That line rings so true for me: "my definition of easy is Things That I Do." I'm working on that self-dismissal thing, too!

Charity said...

This is a very interesting thought process, the idea of things we know how to do not holding as much value. I'll be interested to hear how you work through this.

Sounds like a lot going on in your world - I'm sure those "easy" runs will help through the transitions. :0)

patricia said...

The two middle Things in school? Gasp! Well, I agree that you should do what it takes to make life less not-easy. But I would surely miss those Things!

And someone else around here would miss one of those Things even more than I would.

Here's hoping that the housekeeper will make life really and truly more easy.

Tamami said...

I, too, gasped on the two middle Things going to school! I'd love to hear about how that came about, if you are ready to share.

Robin said...

Wow - this "Then I realized that my definition of "easy" is "Things that I do" describes me perfectly as well. What a great post!! It's exciting that you are making some changes to make things even better for you and your family! I need to hire a maid. That should be my "making things less not-easy" thing.

allisonmariecat said...

I had never thought of it that way, but I do the same "Things I do = easy" thinking.

Ooh, a housekeeper! It's not Mary Poppins, is it?

I'm glad you're figuring out what changes to make for improved quality of life for all. Fantastic.

Ruby Louise said...

Add me to the list of "Things I do = easy" people. I once told someone it was "just a PhD" when talking about my academic background. I can't decide if it's good or bad to know that I'm not the only one who does that.

Good for you on making things easier for you!

runninghitherandyon said...

Nice post. Sounds like a great run, despite the pain.

I do that, too, the "easy" bit. I wonder if it's like the reciprocal of the Cinderella complex.

I always keep the picture of putting the oxygen mask on myself "before assisting others" in my head, when things get hairy at home.

S said...

When I read that you breathe on a 4/4 beat it reminded me of something I heard: People perform CPR better when they sing Staying Alive while doing it. It's the beat. Another One Bites the Dust is also effective, if less encouraging. I hope if you put the kids in school it gives you some rescue breathing room. And that they find their beat there.