Running on empty

April’s Runner’s World has an article that promises to tell me “Why [and how] a pair of busy mothers make time to train for races and why [and how] you should, too.”

Spouse brought it home for me after he read the issue because he has a) time to read magazines, b) additional time to train several days a week and the resulting endorphins lead to sharing, c) the speed to win half marathons almost every weekend, the endorphins from which also lead to sharing, d) had enough of me complaining about baby weight and no time to exercise, and e) a death wish.

The article consists of the impressions, opinions, and feelings of two moms. They enjoy running. They race. Yay! I should, too.

(To the two moms whose stories are featured in the Runner’s World piece? I’m glad you’re enjoying your running. Really. Keep it up!)

But there are no data points in this article. How do they fit in runs? When? How many? How long do they race compared with their weekly mileage? Who helps with their children when they run? How old are their children? Does current research show that training while you exist on 5 hours of sleep is good or bad for your body? Should moms who are lactating run less, more, or the same as they would normally run? (That last one is answered on http://www.kellymom.com in case you need more than rant-iness in today’s blog surfing. I aim to be a resource even as I snark, yo. Power to the runner mothers.)

Aside from the indignity of claiming to include a “how” and then neglecting to do so, the article also highlights a wildly insulting quiz written, I’m guessing, by a male editor. In assessing what my next race should be, the quiz’s author mentions having “a baby attached to my teat” as though I were a beat of burden not a human. He also mentions the milestone of having a “child extracted from my loins” as though I just laid there and had Roto-Rooter do the job for me.

Putting aside such condescending douchebaggery for just a moment, let’s look at the pathetic options given in their quiz. According to Runner’s World, having multiple children, a fried brain, years of sleep deprivation, intense isolation, poor eating habits, and relative inactivity (all my actual answers to their stupid multiple choice questions), I should run a 5K. Jackalopes, with those qualifications you should be offering me a vacation, not a freaking three-mile race. Don’t make me stick you in my life for a month, dillweeds, to enable your writing a weepy article on how to handle a 5K when your soul is worn down in ways BodyGlide could never ease.

The other quiz results, by the way, are this stupid: go race soon, race longer than you think you can, or try a longer distance. Um, from which third-rate school did you graduate if your choices are “specific distance, unspecific distance, yay, and more”? Anyone teach you “mutually exclusive, completely exhaustive?” Thought not.

Look here, fathermuckers. Stop pandering with covers that proclaim a “Mommy Solution” and cease publishing sub-standard bullshite.

Here’s a real quiz for you.

You have only the following three choices for running:

1. get up at 5am to run before the kids wake. But you go to bed at 1am every night because that’s what business hours require for now.
2. run with the toddler in the jogging stroller when it’s time to go get the kindergartener from school. NB: you’re not a noontime runner, the toddler resists the stroller like I resist compliments, and the way to school always involves a significant uphill stretch that, with a 25-pound stroller plus 25-pound kid kills what little energy you have to run.
3. Run at 8:30 pm, despite being a morning runner; and after being beaten down all day, using all you energy to pretend patience, and binge eating once the kids finally get into the bath.

Tell me, you smug douche canoes who wrote and printed this useless pseudoarticle, which of those three options is the best for a runner who just cancelled payment on the family subscription?

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22 thoughts on “Running on empty

  1. One, I hate your husband, as I hate my own. He comes home everyday talking about his lunch time workout. And he proceeds to change from his work clothes into, yes, workout clothes again for a little more work outside (sport specific stuff).

    Two, the mothers who can run and do it all, I too hate. They clearly don’t have children in the delightful ages of 9 months – 3 years. Those are the worst.

    And now you can hate me: I trained for my last half marathon when my son was between 4-8 months old, at night, after he and his sister went to bed.
    But now, now that that boy is trying to walk, and INTO EVERYTHING and his sister is so very jealous of ANY attention he gets, the energy and desire to run is completed exhausted.

    Signed,
    A former runner.

    Lets go hang some douchebags. …just long enough for them to chafe in all the best places.

    • Dana, sure, if he makes his *own* shit sandwich.
      Fathermuckers, btw, came about when the unicorn, whom I miss dearly, told me to stop swearing using a mother-degrading term. A-to-the-men, unicorn! So fathermuckers it is.

  2. You, you are just, you are just so right about everything!

    My personal multiple choice options vary only in the gory details – the unhealthy and frustrated and negative feedback-y outcome sounds like it is exactly the same.

    So was your husband “taken aback” by your reaction to this obviously informative article his endorphins shared with you?

    • Macondo, in his defense, he hadn’t read it. He saw a claim that the magazine could help me out of a pickle and he brought it home. He was not shocked it pissed me off because, let’s be honest, what doesn’t. He was also not shocked that I maligned him in my post.
      At least he’s aware of what’s going on. ;-)

  3. I have learned that mothers of small children who have the time and money to work out 5 times a week are not women I am able to connect to on any meaningful level. As bitter as that statement makes me seem. They just aren’t my people. And I’m certain they feel the same about me. Its fine. Everyone’s life is different. That magazine clearly gears its articles to a demographic of which I am not a part. If I ever had a subscription, I too would have cancelled it before writing this comment.

    • Jane, he doesn’t even understand that handing it over meant a, b, c, and d. Ever occurred to him it was anything but helpful, which proves he has no chance in women’s head games. Finally a sport I’d win.

    • Maybe the magazine should write a useful piece on how partners who run should not mess with partners who want to run but don’t have the same opportunities.

      I’d read that. And give it to him. ;-)

  4. Still putting on baby weight, and so not looking forward to the struggle to get it off again. Because I well remember the issues with running while nursing (for me, this means enormous, quite painful boobs to contain while running and . . . I just couldn’t) and just finding the damn time already. It’s not important enough to anyone else in my household that they would think to offer to watch kids so I can run, so it doesn’t happen.

    This seems like something that should be addressed with some kind of stay-at-home moms’ group. Like, three moms agree to pool resources and watch each other’s kids for an hour or two for two days each week for each mom so she can exercise. Or binge eat. Or sleep. Or WHATEVER. Alas, that level of planning is generally unmanageable. And I don’t have any mom friends like that. Sure would be nice, though.

  5. [comment deleted at the request of the author, even though the blogger really liked the comment and is flattered that the author joined the conversation. But here at Naptimewriting, we dig our readers and do as they ask when we can.]

  6. “condescending douchebaggery”. really, napps. if i had one red cent i’d send it to you for your own brilliance. maybe i’ll send you some left-over easter candy instead…

  7. @Kristin every body is different, but I had much less engorgement with the second baby. I think my breasts finally got that they weren’t going to feed triplets. Hope running is easier for you on that front. On the family who doesn’t get it, I can only hope you can carve out three times a week and just say that you need support for those hours. Otherwise? Treadmill.

    @Alison never, ever give up the chocolate. Some day you’ll run again, but you’ll never get back those opportunities for chocolate endorphins.

    @Kate, thanks. I’m so mad I think I need to write a letter to the ditor.

    @ j I could just kiss you for the support. But I got your Halloween leftovers years ago, and I will not tolerate your Easter leftovers. Seriously. That would be enabling and boerderline abuseive.

  8. Behind our house is an open space during which I witness countless moms running while pushing a stroller. Every time I see one, I feel THIS much worse about myself. I sure as heck couldn’t swing it.

  9. OK, so I am back, because I am flattered by YOUR comment. :)

    As a mom, former and now-seriously-lapsed runner, and magazine editor/writer, I am simultaneously sucked in by and absolutely hate these articles. If I have to read One. More. Story. that tells me how I can make healthy delectable dinners that my kids will eat with delight/get perfect abs/whip my pathetic wardrobe into shape/make my skin positively glowing/unclutter my house/reconnect with old friends/become a runner if I just dedicate 20 minutes a day to said project, I may have to stop on the article like a tantruming two-year-old.

    Yes, I’m sure that if I did take “that 20 minutes” or whatever to do X, I would see tremendous results. But how many “20 minute” chunks do we have in a day, especially after work, kid wrangling, grocery shopping, laundry, etc.? Not so many. They luv to make it look so @#$ easy, but I think YOUR quiz was spot on. Maybe moms for whom running is a priority can make this all happen, but what I’d really like to see is an article for the REST of us, who know we need to exercise more, would like to exercise more, but must bend the time/space continuum (or make some serious lifestyle changes regarding work/childcare/time with spouse/time spend sleeping/etc.) to make it happen on anything more than an occasional basis.

    That is what I MEANT to say in my original comment, but I think I was too sleep-deprived/overworked/high on cardboard-box-fumes-from-moving-to-a-new-house to communicate properly at the time.

    • [beaming]
      Your rage is mine, sister.
      I, too, know I “should” do better on all those counts, and quickly skim those articles, and realize they’re crap written by freelancers who just want to sell words.
      The solution options are: try your best, give up and eat ice cream, overhaul everything and sacrifice something huge to make small strides in something else huge. So we give up fitness for now to have family success, or work successes.
      I wish I had some answers to share. Or some ice cream. Because right now I’m researching how to fix my kids, my parenting, my career, and my ass, but I’m not finding any answers…only more things I need to fix.
      I’m sure Cosmo and Runner’s World and Real Simple and Martha Stewart are willing to sell me lists on how to fix the new things, too.

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