The running gloom

Weekend mornings are meant for sleeping in. No screeching alarms, no scrambling for the bus, no morning commute. On Saturdays and Sundays, my hard-working husband and I are afforded the freedom of a few extra minutes of slumber. In theory.

In reality, we usually wake up with a toddler-sleep-schedule hangover and long list of events and errands that make our weekdays seem like siestas.

My first waking thoughts of the weekend usually go like this: It’s Saturday. No school today! I can sleep in. The only thing on the docket is that birthday party this afternoon. The gift is wrapped and it’s a drop-off party! Yes. Oh, doesn’t my husband have that coaching kick-off for both girls’ soccer teams? But that’s not until 10. There’s time for coffee. Oooh, I didn’t get groceries yesterday. I’ll have to grab groceries. And dry-cleaning. And the specialty dog food I can only get at the vet, which closes at noon on Saturdays. And the Mother’s Day Run is just two weeks away, I absolutely have to run today. What time is it? It’s 7:30?! Dammit. I’m late. 

Almost every day, but especially during those precious weekend hours, I have to mine through my list of things-to-do and determine the tasks that really need doing, and those that I could probably do without. Usually, running is all too easily cut from the list. (The other day I actually chose to go to Costco in southwest Calgary on a Saturday instead of tackling my scheduled 5k, which means I’m not just lazy but totally insane.)

I approach the ‘obligation’ to run like a petulant child, as if I’ve just been told to clean my messy room. (Which reminds me, I really need to tell my daughter to clean her messy room.)

Sometimes, the weather is just too nice to run a five-kilometer circle around my friendly neighborhood. It’s just too invigorating to run my personal best. My thoughts are just too uninterrupted. My playlist is just too funky. (If you don’t have Dolly Parton and The Weeknd on your running playlist, you’re doing it wrong.)

I’m not sure why I have such a poor attitude towards something that no one is forcing me to do, and something that actually makes me feel terrific, but this is my process. I don’t always make sense. (Let it go, darling husband.)

I also hate to complain about how demanding our schedule is: birthday parties, soccer practice, gargantuan packs of paper towel sold in bulk, poor me. Believe me, I know we’re lucky. We have our challenges, and while finding some leisure time for running seems very much like a luxury, it’s also an important part of our self-care.

So I did get out for a run this weekend. There may have been pouting and stomping as I warmed up my weary legs. I may have cursed the chilly north winds for winding their way down my running jacket. I may have mourned for the minutes lost to running that I could have used for a more productive task. But I did it. I ran. And it felt great.

I’ll just have to pick up the dry-cleaning another day.

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