Monday, October 1, 2007

Have you seen that girl...

This post has nothing to do with homeschooling proper but everything to do with one mom trying to maintain a sense of balance in the journey. I just thought I should warn you in advance in case you want to skip this one! :)

...who used to run five days a week, who liked the way she looked in her favorite jeans, who ate healthy almost all the time (minus some really good dark chocolate a few times a week)? I haven't seen her lately either!

I have briefly mentioned running a few times. I am a runner. I love it. It's no longer what I do, but it is an important part of who I am. Passions are like that; they grip us. People who have met me in recent years assume because I am so zealous about running I have been athletic all my life. HA!

I never played sports growing up except one very embarrassing attempt at co-ed softball in high school. I was a girly-girl through and through. I don't really even remember sweating as a child! I walked regularly in college but during my final semester of student teaching I had limited time to exercise. So for the first time in my life I tried to run a little. I ran off and on for the next six years but never more than two-and-a-half miles at any one time.

In the fall of 2003 I had just experienced my second miscarriage in less than a year and I was tired of being sad and tired of feeling sorry for myself. I decided to train with a friend for a half-marathon to get my mind focused on something positive. I figured I could walk 13 miles if nothing else. My first "long run" was a five-miler and I threw up afterward. I was so discouraged but my friend kept telling me, "Don't give up. Your body will respond."

Well, she dropped out and I kept running. She was right; your body does respond. You just have to give it time. I am slow as a snail when I run but I can run all day long. I actually look forward to getting up for a good 10+ mile run on a cool Saturday morning.

These past four months I have hardly run at all because I have been all-consumed with our school. I love homeschooling and truly desire to create the best learning environment for Thatcher (and later his brothers) I possibly can. But here's the truth, as I have come to see it: I could spend all day every day on homeschool endeavors - researching curriculums, writing lesson plans, checking message boards...and still not be exactly where I want to be. There's just too much out there to even attempt to know it all - which is my natural inclination.

Why not take some time out and do something for me which in turn blesses my family because they have a happier mommy? Here's why I need to run:

1. Every female in my family except me is on or has been on anti-depressants. Running releases hormones that stabilize moods and I truly see the difference when I run. It is a lot cheaper than getting a prescription filled every month (I am not anti anti-depressants, but this is how it works for me).

2. I am a small-framed Caucasian female with a strong family history of osteoporosis. Running is great for building bone-density and helping to prevent bone fractures later in life - and hip fractures are some of the most common.

3. I have a blood-clotting disorder that caused me to be on blood thinners in my last two pregnancies. Blood thinners leech calcium from your bones (and btw, so does caffeine ladies!) further increasing my risk of osteoporosis. Running, along with a daily aspirin, helps prevent blood clots from forming.

4. When I am regularly running I experience almost no effects from PMS (homeschool dads who may possibly be reading this, I apologize). I have no bloating, cramps, headaches or mood swings. That in and of itself is worth it for me! ;)

5. It is time away everyday to myself: time to pray, think, process, and reflect. These are all things hard to do with three shadows (no matter how adorable) on me at all times of the day.

This is just one mommy's opinion, so take it for what's it worth, but if you are a homeschool mom - or dad- and you are not taking enough time for yourself...DO IT! I would strongly encourage exercise but doing anything that will get you out of the homeschool mode for a few hours a week can be a huge blessing for you and your entire family!

Oh by the way, the girl I was looking for, I saw her tonight. She was running slow as Christmas but she was movin'!

P.S. My next post will be, "How to become a runner: A guide for non-runners!" if anyone is interested. This is me (on the right) crossing the finish line of my very first, and so far only, marathon with my friend, Shay. I hope it inspires someone to go for a goal they have always thought they could never really accomplish because that is what crossing this finish line was for me!


LisaWA said...

Jennifer! That actually brought tears to my eyes! OMgoodness... I’m surprised at my reaction....

We do need time for ourselves.... I have only been able to go on my treadmill recently and I long to walk outside.... would love to be in good enough shape to run!

I can relate to this post my friend.... I can so relate! I always feel better after I exercise. For almost 2 years I met daily M-F with a friend and we would power walk between 4 - 6 miles a day! I miss that so bad! I miss my time with my friend... but she is in China now. :(

anyway... thanks for the post.... I look forward to more

Your KS friend, Lisawa

Anonymous said...

What a great post. I too am a runner and a homeschooler (following the WTM). Lately I have fallen behind on my running because I have been so busy getting the school year started. Your post gives me the push I need. It is so true that you need time to yourself and running has so many other benefits beside just time to yourself! Now if I could only get myself off coffee!!
Thanks for the motivation,

Anonymous said...

What a great post!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great post and reminder that "homschooling" will consume us, if we let it. What an encouragement to see you find something you love and pursue it. I'll be looking for your next post and how to become a runner. I've have always enjoyed running but never pursued it as a regular part of my life. Thanks for sharing!

Mrs. Allen said...

I will also be looking forward to your next post about learning how to run. I have tried to start running a couple times but never followed through, so hopefully this time I will!

Kristiana said...

What a great post! I'm not a runner, but had been working out daily until our vacation, now 3 weeks ago! I'm really starting to miss it. I need to get back on that.
I know the feeling of spending every waking moment thinking about homeschool and still not getting to it all. I have a problem with this and am searching for balance at the moment.
Thanks again, and I'm glad you saw that girl tonight!

Anonymous said...

Jennefer, excellent post! I can't wait to read your How to become a Runner virtual pamphlet soon. :)

Dawne, who is taking time from HS'ing to keep turtles now. lol

Mom2legomaniacs said...

While I will never be a runner, I totally appreciate what you said. If we don't nurture ourselves, we can't effectively nurture those around us. And we do a great disservice to our children if we don't present ourselves in other roles to them. They need to see that we are also wives, sisters, daughters, and friends, not just their mother. They need to see us taking care of ourselves.

Maybe, I'll become a walker and volleyball player again though! It is so easy to lose ourselves in our children. We do need to remember who we are. Our kids will learn from this as well.

Thanks for that post. It was sad, beautiful, touching.


Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

Man oh Man, Jennefer... I wish I had read this in the daylight instead of 8:45 pm. I feel this strange need to strap on some running shoes and turtle pace myself around my neighborhood.

Good for you! I think it's wonderful you recognize the benefits to everyone when you take care of you.

Amy said...


I loved your line about how passion grips us. It is the best way to describe the urge to run and keep running. I hope you continue to find time for yourself to keep running. As a fellow runner, I know that it is the best way to clear the head so you can work, teach and live.

Take care,