Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Parenting and Marathoning

This past Sunday MJ ran the Maine Marathon. And not only was he committed enough to run it in the most miserable rainy, windy and cold weather, but he also set a personal record! I was so proud to be there at the finish line and see him complete the race in the shorter time than he had predicted!

I feel very proud to have a husband who is a marathon runner! I mean isn't it a great hobby? I feel like there are so many husbands who spend their free time watching sports, or just watching TV or drinking beer or something. Running is just a great passion to have! For MJ, not for me. I am not a runner, but I am so amazed at people who can run a marathon! See, to me this is an unreal thing to do, so I am just so very impressed with you, the marathoners out there!

But of course, training for marathons does take quite a bit of time. It's a serious commitment. And sometimes it can get in the way of things. Like sleeping, or spending the time together. So here comes one of the challenges of parenting for us: for MJ combining marathon trainings and family with a small child, and for me combining family with a small child and putting up with MJ's marathon running. I hope I don't sound too dramatic when i say that, but there's definitely been days when I wished MJ hadn't run. Like when I am exhausted and Allie seems to be asleep, and I am about to finally get some rest, and the minute MJ leaves for a 20 mile run, she wakes up and I have absolutely no energy to rock and sign and read. On those days I very much wish that he was home. Now. Not in 3 hours. But really I am very happy with this passion of his and love to tell people that my husband runs marathons :).

After he finished The Maine Marathon this weekend and set a personal record, we were both so excited and were talking about it, what it took, and how he got there and how he can improve. And I said that I should write a blog about how he combines his marathon trainings with being a good dad and a helpful husband. MJ came up with an idea of me interviewing him, so I asked him a few questions and will share the answers.

Me: What do you like about running?

MJ: Being able to push yourself physically. A lot of times when I'm out there it reminds me of being on the canoe trips when I was growing up. You really get to explore and you can learn about the area much more intimately because running gives you a very useful skill of mapping in your brain. Also, it just feels good. And it's a great way to meditate.

Me: How has running changed for you after Allie "came along"?

It got tougher, because i want to spend time with my wife [me] and Allie. So I have less time for running. I get the feeling of guilt, especially on long runs. It also got harder keeping to the schedule. Sometimes I have to sacrifice one thing for another. I rely on a lot of support from my wife [me].  Sometimes I just simply have less energy to run with the late nights and early mornings.

Me: How do you deal with these difficulties?

My wife's support- it's huge. Jogging stroller was a great purchase! Now Allie can come with me on many runs. We can take runs together as a family. I need to be flexible and be ready for running schedule change and adjustments. I used to mostly run in the mornings and now I take runs whenever I can do it (early morning, or late at night, or during the nap). It involves more planning, but it's ok.

Me: How does your running benefits your family?

MJ: It sets a positive example to Allie for health and fitness, because running also ties in proper eating, nutrition, calm mental states. It shows setting goals and working toward them gradually. Things just don't happen, it takes  a lot of hard work and effort and time. It teaches mental toughness, "not give up" kind of attitude.  I hope that Allie will run with m in the future, if she wants.

Thank you, MJ, for sharing your thoughts. I hope moms and dads marathoners out there will find your words inspiring and useful!

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