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 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?

Really? You’re gonna thank them?

I’d like to thank the ants who came charging into the house today. Thank you for finding whatever it was you found in the silverware drawer. I’ve been meaning to take everything out and soak it in hot, soapy, vinegar water. You’ve given me a reason to do it today and for that I am thankful.

I’m also appreciative of the people who stop in parking lots and wait, desperately, for anyone walking by to identify one of the parked cars as theirs. Thank you for holding up the dozens of people behind you. Without you we might have been able to proceed with our days. But because you made parking take almost 30 minutes, I got to hear the wonderful tricks my 4 year old used to keep my screaming infant from blowing an artery. It’s a good thing you didn’t just drive normally until you found a parking space farther away. Then I wouldn’t know how resourceful my son is. I surely am grateful to you.

Thank you, terrible parent in front of me in line at the store today. Because you bought for your child every piece of crap he whined for, my son is starting to doubt our family’s system. Thank you for encouraging his critical thinking skills. Here I had him unquestioningly following the policy that we don’t buy things unless it’s already on our list; and that special purchases like toys have to be on a holiday list from which loved ones may choose to buy or not to buy. Thanks to you, Parent Making Interesting Choices, my son is interrogating our system and querying into our family’s stance on democracy. Lessons on thinking for himself and governing systems in one day. What a thanksgiving blessing. Thank you.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank the cat for waking me up almost every hour last night. If it weren’t for you, Cat One, I might have missed the beginning of the baby’s crying. All five times that he woke and raged about something or other. Of course, had you not been thumping around and yowling, the baby might not have woken. But then I wouldn’t be able to practice my catatonic calculations about which soothing technique to use on him. Thanks, kitty, for keeping me sharp. Except for the part where waking me every hour dulls my ability to function or think. That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, Cat One. That’s why you’ll be sleeping in the garage tonight. And for that I am thankful.

Look! It’s rant time!

To whomever wrote: “You’re probably feeling a whole lot better as you settle into your second trimester. Less nausea, fewer mood swings, and “glowing” skin contribute to an overall sense of well-being.” SCREW YOU, LIAR!

To the cat whose illness has led to feces on my bed, urine all over my house, and a $400 vet bill with a shrug and an “I’m not sure what’s wrong with him,” SCREW YOU! Next time you get sick I’m spending the money on an iPod and you get a brick in a pillow case.

To the vet clinic who told me to collect feces and urine for my cat then forgot to give me the kit and locked the doors before I had even gotten to the car: Screw you, too. I’m not coming back for the kit then going home then coming back with samples. Screw you a lot. Now YOU get to come over and collect feces and urine. For all the family members. I do it every other day; now it’s your turn.

To the phlebotomist who closed the lab ten minutes before we got there: Screw you. No, I didn’t check your hours by calling or anything. But who the hell runs a lab open 9am to 4:30pm, closed for lunch 12-1? Seriously? Do you do any work? I collected a toddler and a sick cat, both of whom needed more than the usual amount of fecal clean up today, got the noisier of the two into the car and drove half an hour for your stupid one vial of blood intended to scare me about all the things that could, hypothetically, but we can’t tell you with any certainty, what might be wrong with my poor, maligned, nauseating Hazelnut. Screw you, lab tech. You give phlebotomy a bad name. and sphignomenometers. And sternocleidomastoids. And stuff like that.

To the librarian who accused us of returning a DVD case with no DVD: SCREW YOU! I always double check because I don’t want to walk all the way down here and have to go back for a stupid disc. AND, I don’t rent baby Einstein crap. No, I didn’t. No, I didn’t. Stop telling me I need to go home to get it. I’ve never IN MY LIFE checked that crap out of your library. I’ve never seen that DVD in my existence. No, I didn’t. Oh, and how do you propose I do that? Buy a new one and give it to you? Screw you. I may have mentioned that, but it bears repeating. SCREW YOU. Oh, you’ll double check? That’s so thoughtful. Oh, it wasn’t me? Oh, you’re paging a different library patron without apologizing to me? You’re ignoring me now? SCREW YOU! I’ve never liked you. You’re greasy, icky, and rather creepy and give my kid a bad image of the few male librarians on this planet. You know what? I’ve taken bibliographic methods. I’ve aced out of all the methodological and theory-based library sciences courses. I could OWN you if I felt like it. Don’t ever accuse me of Baby Einstein Forgetting again.

You know what, world? Screw you. Screw all the nasty people and the yucky people and the rude people. Screw all y’all. Cuz I don’t have the patience for your asinine driving, ugly looks, rude cell phone talking, and general in-my-way-getting. Get off this planet, you jerks. Especially the dude who took the last jar of m—-f—ing olives today. Screw you. You’d think I’d have something new or clever to say, wouldn’t you? Nope. Screw you. You people are killing me. And you don’t need those olives like I do.
I hope global warming takes out, like, 85% of you by next year.

(And to the little emotional sponge who lives in my house, who is way intense and way sensitive and way perceptive and way neophobic, I’m sorry dude. I know when I’m way off my rocker it’s even harder for you. I watched as each of these little wrongs in our day sent me further and further from reacting well, you absolutely melted down. Sorry, friend. We’ll both get some sleep and one of us will have a really, really dreamy can of caramel colored sugar water and tomorrow will be better. That said, if you ask “why” one more time I’m ripping your arms off and shoving them down your throat.)

Words to the wise

Dear handyman: get off your high horse and lose the attitude. It took you a month to schedule one stinking morning appointment, so if I cancel because of a family emergency (I want to take Peanut to the concert in the park and farmer’s market more than I want the leak in the sink gone, but you don’t know that and you’re not gonna) then that’s my problem. Do you want the work, or don’t you? Don’t act as though you’re losing your home just because I canceled. I gave you 48 hours notice.

Dear printer: stop lying. You’re not out of toner. I just bought you toner. you’ve printed, like, 200  pages. I know you better than this. I raised you, printer. You will shut your paper hole and I will obligingly open every stupid door and drawer, shake the toner cartidge, and put it back in, and we’ll have another 200 pages before you lie again. And I’ll go through the whole bullshit process again, at least twenty more times, and you’ll give me at least 2,000 pages, andIi’ll wonder which is harder: kidgloving my stupid f—ing printer or putting a toddler to bed. Secret answer: I don’t know. Neither is particularly fun or easy, but I have you both down to a science, so whatever. It’s like knowing you have to start your car on a hill. Sucks, but at least you know the drill.

Dear lady outside the Starbucks’ bathroom: stop rattling the g–d—- door knob. Didn’t you figure out the first four times you rattled it that someone is in here? i refuse to holler “someone’s in here” because any idiot can figure that out from the LOCKED DOOR. Also, I refuse to holler “almost done” because I just got in here and I am not almost done. I mean, relative to the guy before me who took half and hour and peed on every square inch of the seat, I’m almost done. But relative to my need not to talk to you, I’m not. You’d think I could pee by myself one freaking time this week. Just for that, I’m washing my hands twice. And checking my pores. And practicing origami on the paper towels, because it’s not like they’ve given me a lot of entertainment options in here.

Dear blogosphere: get back here. Just because I post anti-spanking and anti-segregation instead of lame jokes about how much my kid gets my goat, doesn’t mean you need to stop reading. By half. How the f— do half of you go away just because I talk all serious about stuff? Fickle freaks. What, are you over at the Bloggess listening to her in prison on the Nimitz story? Please. “Oh, look at me, I’m funny and patriotic and not ranting about respecting your kid.”  Fine. I get it. You’re not tough enough to take my brand of genius. Whatever. Your loss.      Wait, I mean, get back here. I’ll try to be funny. I swear. Or not, if that offends you.

Dear so-called medical experts: shut the f— up. You have no idea what you’re talking about. ‘Nuff said.

Ditto you parenting experts, job experts, and Pynchon experts.

Dear lady we saw yesterday: you’re damned right, you should be embarrassed. When you’re walking your first grader home from school, with your iPod blaring, you *should* feel guilty enough to drop the earbuds and listen to your talking kid. Kind of pathetic that it took us running by (not judging you because we didn’t know, until you dropped the buds like they were contraband) to make you listen to your kid. After she’d been in school all day. I’m glad you feel bad.  You totally suck.

Dear advertisers: stop manipulating people.  You suck.

Dear government: would you please get them to disclose what natural flavors they use? You know it’s anchovies, I know it’s anchovies. Would you please make them put anchovies on the label? Cuz otherwise I might someday thing, well, it’s natural, so it couldn’t possibly be ground up carmine bugs, right? Wrong. Trade secrets my ass. The amount of  brown sugar in something is a trade secret. The fact that they’re feeding dead chickens to cows and dead cows to chickens should be on the front of the package. In simple pictographs because nobody reads labels anymore.

Dear neighbor: please don’t call the cops. He was doing that because we’ve had trouble with deer eating our brand new sunflowers, and we thought that the only natural defense we have, since the Ivory everyone else swears by isn’t working,  is human urine, and I know you probably looked the other way when it was a three year old, but he doesn’t have a big enough bladder and the tall guy does. Besides, what are you going to tell the cops? It’s our yard. And our urine.