Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Spring Break in Seattle

Rainy Seattle isn't really anyone's idea of a spring break location but sometimes in life you just don't get to do the choosing.

My family is all sick except me and the one who is attending three different sleepovers in four days. My marathon training plans were going great. I visualize the event every single day and I get so excited just thinking about it. I even had it all planned out with the kids home all week from school. One day I'd put three on bikes and one in the jogger and go to the locks and ride out a trail to the park. Another day I could do Greenlake and the zoo. I'd get my runs in, the kids would get out, and the little one would get his nap in the jogger. That was all before the sore throats, stuffy noses, headaches, fevers and doctor visits. I didn't even run at all today and my weekly mileage is totally screwed.

Yesterday I reached burnout by late afternoon. My run had never transpired. The cool planned outing with kids never happened. The toddler never got a nap all day. I spent hours grocery shopping at three different stores with sick kids and accomplished nothing more. Nothing tries my patience more than sick kids. Somehow all of a sudden they become so helpless and I feel overstretched and want a break. So much for the satisfaction of being a stay-at-home mom. I made coffee at 4:00, knowing it'd keep me up late, but not caring because I was so tired and cranky. I even decided it was late enough in my day and turned it into a coffee cocktail. Most delicious. I started dinner and chalked it all up to just another day - tomorrow would be different. After my husband arrived home, I calculated how much time I had until he had to leave for a meeting, and thought . . . just maybe . . .

I pulled on some running clothes, grabbed my music and headed out the door. I sorta wondered if that cocktail I had earlier is how crazy runners train for those pub crawls. Sometimes, though, you just have to take the opportunity when you have it. Evening is a weird time of day to run for me - I do the day thing with the baby in the jogger and he does his nap thing. My run was so different it was amazing. I ran hard and fast - it's amazing how different it feels when you aren't pushing a jogger with a baby wearing ten layers of clothes and blankets and the rain fly.

I ran the same place I probably run 3 or 4 days a week, but at twilight nothing seemed the same. There was this one moment where I looked all around me and thought about my camera. It seemed ironic to me that the camera is broken. Almost as if it were a silent message to me to forget the tool and just open my eyes and take a look around and something I might miss.

I could look out across the bay to the city skyline as the lights were just beginning to twinkle. The sky beyond was dark and grey, but the mirrored buildings reflected the last bits of light from the fading day. A waterfront restaurant was all aglow in colorful holidayish lights that made it look like a magical wonderland. A couple of eagles flew overhead and I watched one soar up to the nest high in the trees. While I was looking up, I almost tripped over the geese scurrying across the path trying to stay out of my way. I stopped and noticed the babies. Finally. The baby geese - goslings if you prefer. To me, that and the sweet cherry blossoms signal spring around here. The winter has been unseasonably cold and wet, and today at the beginning of April it was snowing - like a sick April Fool's joke. But there were the tiniest of geese all huddled together hustling around with mom and dad. It doesn't last long. The smallness, the fragility, the clinginess. It's all a necessary part of an amazing process. It made me re-evaluate my little ones and not so little ones at home feeling needy. Some days are hard, but they're worth it.

I love my family. I love running. And I love when winter is over.

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