Friday, March 7, 2014

Great Expectations

“We need never be ashamed of our tears.” 

Pysch.  Total literary ignoramus here.  I have never read this book.  I was a science major, skipped freshman writing (can't you tell?) and have only vague memories of being forced to read Where the Red Fern Grows and Death Be Not Proud in high school.  But I can google with the best of them.  And today I'm thinking about expectations.

Specifically, what sort of expectations are realistic for myself as an athlete, and as a mother and wife.  In general, I am the last person on earth that should ever complain about her work schedule.  However, this week I was informed that I'd be shifting my working hours significantly later on alternate weeks.  What counts as significant?  60 to 90 minutes.  Which isn't a lot, and is certainly reasonable given the business need.  But that change shaves 60 to 90 minutes off of the (already too little) time I get to spend with my kiddos before they go to bed.  I handled the news with faint grace, grumbling and sulking until today my boss finally told me to go beat up a fax machine and be done with it.

I, like many working mothers (working parents?  parents in general?) feel extremely guilty for all the time away from the home I spend.  I know the statistics - working mothers today spend fewer hours with their children than their stay-at-home counterparts, however spend significantly more time with their children than homemakers in 1965 did.  (Confession - I've watched 2 reruns of Mad Men this week just to try to make myself feel better).  Furthermore, my children are home with their father.  We are extraordinarily blessed to be able to have the Jedi at home with the kids until they are both old enough to be safely stashed in full-time (free!) public school.  It's not like my kids are sewing buttons in a Hong Kong sweat shop or locked in a dark basement smelling of cat urine until I get home from work.  So what is my deal?  

Little leprechaun ready to run.
DIY costume = Mommy SCORE!  Right?
Yesterday was my one work-from-home day per week.  I worked 9 hours (in my pajamas), squeezed in an almost 5 mile run, and still had time to spend the evening working on my daughter's leprechaun costume for the 5k we are running together this Sunday.  I built Lego creator sets with my son.  I read stories.  I cuddled at bedtime.  Then I stayed up until 10:30 dipping over 200 purple cake pops for this week's custom order.  It was by all rights, a good day.  A day I should be proud of.  Yet, as my kids laid the guilt on as thick as Nutella on graham crackers this morning when I told them I had to leave for the office, I drove away feeling bereft and guilty.  Again.  I suppose my kids have the right to expect the world of me.  What do I expect of me?  Organic dinner cooked by me every night?  Two hours of focused, quality playtime with the kids per day, regardless of how tired I/they are?  Working enough to pay the bills and trusting that my children know they are loved even if they don't see mom all the time? Still working on that answer....

We also built a leprechaun trap.
Anyone know where I can
get a toy leprechaun to put in it??

Another set of expectations on my mind are my goals once this half-marathon is over, a week from now.  I'm quite clear I'm all done running long distances for now.  So... get faster running?  Add in some strength training?  Keep working on my swim stroke (definitely, once this shoulder un-sticks).  What should I expect from myself heading into this triathlon season?  How often, how much, how far?  Sometime I envy the simplicity of goals for folks training for only one sport.  Though even then it can be rocky.  Chatted today with a friend who's husband started running less than a year ago.  He's now heading into his first marathon at paces that she, after 4 years of running, still only dreams about.  Not fair?  Sometimes not.  

I am very familiar with pace envy.  Despite confusing the heck out of my coach by running my last two runs at unprecedentedly fast paces for me (side note - having your coach write "what the heck is going on?" in your training log is always good for a giggle), I am still woefully slower than I'd like to be.  In the perfect, svelte, gazelle-like fantasies I have about my running career. Honestly I have no idea what paces/times I should be hoping for or expecting for any of the legs of this summer's races.  I have no benchmark.  But I do have a coach, and I bet he has some ideas.  I should probably discuss with him....  

Side plug - if you haven't entered our coaching giveaway yet please do - four more days!

So long as I'm throwing the world "expect" around... when can we expect an end to all this white stuff?  Yesterday's run was not at all warm, despite my husband telling me to shed a layer before I left the house (I must stop listening to him).  We set the clocks forward this weekend - a double edged sword of more difficulty getting up, but more daylight to play in after the work day ends.  Last year I distinctly remember Easter Egg hunts in two feet of snow.  I suppose this year is likely to be similar.....

Can't come soon enough

On that note, I invite you to enjoy the spring makeover I gave this blog page, and I'll leave you with another quote pillaged from the internet (thinking Charles Dickens lived in New England - no Mom not really):

“Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.” 
― Charles DickensGreat Expectations

What are you looking forward to the most about spring?
Clocks forward - welcome change or evil waiting to happen?

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