Friday, October 31, 2008

Just Another Reason I Hate Treadmills...

I've never been a huge fan of treadmills. Even in the dark, cold months of winter... I'd much rather be running outside accumulating ice on my eyelashes and frost between my buns than running those endless miles to nowhere.

And yet we have a treadmill in our basement. We didn't buy it and we rarely use it--guess that was Grandpa's reason for giving it to us a couple of years ago. It has, however, come in handy on a few occasions so we keep it.

With two young girls in the house, we always keep the key to the treadmill on top of our refrigerator. Without the key, the treadmill will not work. Period. Unless... Unless you forget.

This post is about what happens when you do forget. It's my reminder to you to NEVER forget to put the treadmill key out of reach of your children. Last weekend, my oldest daughter decided it was a good idea to try running a 6-minute mile. What followed were burns on the tops of her feet that kept her up the entire night. (Imagine a superman pose, hands on the front rail and feet dragging behind on the belt.) Not pretty. Here's a shot of her feet close to one week later.

When I think of how painful a small "kitchen burn" is, I cringe to think of how bad these must have felt. At the very least, I thought, there would be a good lesson learned. But when I asked her, I got this: "Yes, I learned not to put the treadmill on 10 MPH." Huh? How about, "I learned not to mess with the treadmill." You can be sure we had a refresher course on why we don't play on the treadmill at all...

Anyway, the wounds on my girl's feet are just another reason for me to hate the treadmill. And to never, ever, forgot to keep the key in hiding.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Have a Llama

She spits. Maggie, my youngest daughter who will turn three in December, has recently developed her own expression of anger. When "provoked," she will walk around the house leaving trails of bubbly saliva on anything in sight. This (and every other seemingly dysfunctional habits my kids have) has left me wondering what I did to cause the behavior. I don't spit at people when I'm mad, or drizzle a string of goober along the floor in front of them. In general, I keep my anger clean.

So, where did she learn to spit? Having spent a fair amount of time in the jogger, the only way I can place some blame on myself (which of course I absolutely MUST do) is to assume she sees the spit flying on the run. Yep, I'm one of those girls. I spit innumerable times during my runs, have mastered the farmer blow and have been known to use my shirt as a kleenex in a pinch. Not too much girl-girl in me, I guess. At least not when I'm running.

Looks like it's time for me watch myself when I'm running with Maggie in the jogger these days. The front end and tail end of two are very different--on the cusp of three years kids pick up so many behaviors. Which means I have to give up my other favorite "skill" for a while or my daughter will never get potty trained. A good friend once taught me to pee standing up (just pull the running shorts to the side, girls!); I'm sure it would totally confuse her little mind. I can only imagine what she's thinking... "Mommy goes potty when she needs to, too. I don't really need a bathroom if she doesn't!" Lucky for me it's an art form that can't be done with tights on, so I guess pretty soon I'll be forced to stop anyway. For now, when I duck into the bushes, I'll turn the jogger the other way so she's none the wiser.

Back to my llama girl... I know it could be worse. The dogs help me out by licking up any spit they find that might contain a food crumb. And my girl is expressing her feelings, right? While part of me prefers the thought of a teenage girl spitting over a teenage girl screaming and crying, I know it's not going to happen. She'll get through this phase and soon find a new way to express her little emotions. Let's just hope she doesn't pull her diaper to the side and leave her mark in other ways!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Touched by Feet

About a month ago, I started working very part time at a local running store. As if I didn't have enough on my plate already (caring for our two young girls, editing a local sports magazine, co-authoring a book, teaching group cycling classes, personal training, volunteering at my church and running), I decided to use the free time afforded by preschool punching the time clock at my favorite local running store, TC Running Company.

I haven't worked retail in close to 15 years, but the idea of hanging out with other runners and spreading good running karma really appealed to me. And of course it's nice to get a great discount on gear (although I've yet to make any purchases!). Not in a million years did I think it would be challenging or life changing in any way. Until today.

You see, it's not uncommon for me to see butts (and I'm talking butt-holes here, not just cute pudgy buns) in my line of work as a mom, to wipe those butts and noses and change poopie diapers. I check to see if clothes are dirty or not with the smell test (NOT a good idea with undies, mind you!) and oftentimes forgo a shower so that my kids can get here and there on time. Yep, I do a lot of stuff I wouldn't have imagined doing in my younger years, but I don't think twice about it. And I certainly don't think of it as service. 

Today I came to realize I need to adjust my thinking a bit. An older woman came into the store looking for a pair of shoes to walk in. She'd been walking in shoes with no support and was suffering the consequences. I watched her walk, looked at her shoes and brought out a few pairs for her to try on. Having recently turned 81, she typically uses a shoe horn to help get her shoes on and off.  Since I couldn't find one (I didn't look very hard), I sat down on the floor to help her put on and take off several pairs of shoes. I usually shy away from touching other people's feet, but there was something wonderful about helping her try on shoes. Holding her feet and tying her shoes was truly a religious experience for me. I gently tightened the laces and adjusted the tongue on each pair and I felt like for the first time in a long time I was truly serving another person. I genuinely cared about this woman, she could have been my mom. I wanted to make sure she found a shoe that fit.  Perfectly. 

When she left the store I realized that we have opportunities to be extra kind and extra gentle every day. We just have to look for them. And this applies, perhaps most importantly, to how we treat our kids. We can wipe poop off butt cheeks gently and with humility. We can clean faces, comb hair and brush teeth the same. 

Tomorrow morning, when the whining starts (and I know it will!), I will struggle to remember this...  Remind me if you see me!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Phone, the Marathon and the Sweaty Sisterhood

I've been looking for the phone for a few minutes. We don't have a big house, so really this should be a simple task.  I didn't go downstairs; have only been in three rooms, but that phone is G.O.N.E. gone. I'll admit I even looked in the refrigerator cause I did get lemonade (and I've left the phone in there before).  Oh well, I guess I'll find it the next time someone calls and consider it a blessing...  Now I'll have time to post a quick update on the marathon.

Ran the Twin Cities Marathon this morning. It's my hometown marathon and my favorite to run so far. I didn't set a PR (personal record), but it was probably one of my best marathons yet.  Felt great the whole time despite pouring rain, chilly temps and soggy shoes. Saw all those great faces along the course, including my husband and two daughters. They were a great cheering squad--even brought me dry socks, mittens and a jacket to the finish. Delicious!

The rain made the run eventful and my sister-in-sweat Cindy was a great partner for the duration. Really didn't think I'd like running with anyone during the race, but it was great to help each other along during our individual struggles. We'd done almost all of our training runs together so crossing the finishing line hand in hand was a perfect way to celebrate. We stopped to kiss our kids along the way and passed the time as we usually do on our runs...  chatty. (Though the chatter wasn't quite as juicy as usual!)  Finished together with a chip time of 3:24:18 and actually feeling GREAT!  Thanks, Cindy, for a great run today!

Now, on to find that phone so I can check in with all my girlfriends who ran today...  I'll let you know where I find it! 

p.s.  Edited to let you know that the phone was on the hook. Who'da thunk it?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Marathon Goodness

This Sunday is the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and I'll be toeing the line with thousands of other runners, making my way from the Dome in downtown Minneapolis to the Capitol building in St. Paul. I know the course well and feel at home on the route. I'll see lots of familiar faces along the way, including friends and family. I love their support and have come to expect it in some ways. After 30 or so marathons, though, I still get teary-eyed at the crowd of people who line the streets to cheer for not just family and friends, but strangers too. I love watching my kids support people they don't know, being part of pure goodness. Watch for me out there. I'll be wearing a white singlet, black shorts and a big smile.