I had wasted my entire day.
It happens sometimes. And maybe wasted isn’t the right word. Procrastinated probably is more accurate.
On Monday, I had hoped to get up and run, even if it had to be on my treadmill. But I snoozed until it was time to get ready for work. And then when I went to wake the kids up, my daughter said she didn’t feel good – a continuation of the day before, which she had spent under the weather on the couch. I decided to keep her home from school, and threw the rest of my day into chaos.
I knew if I slept in, I could still go to the gym after work.
But now with a sick kiddo, I didn’t want to take her there.
So I thought, well, I’m working from home, and I can easily hop on the treadmill during what would be a lunch break on a normal day – especially since there’s nobody to see me in my gross clothes as I finish working.
But then the dentist called and said they had a cancellation for today, and would I want to bring both kids in during the late afternoon. They had an appointment for Wednesday morning, but if I could avoid missing more work, I would, so I said yes.
That meant a lunch break was a bad use of my time.
And so it spiraled.
After the dentist, we ran a quick errand, which took twice as long with two kids who swindled me out of a pair of earmuffs with sparkly ears on them and an impulse buy of silly putty. And then we came home and made dinner – black bean and sweet potato enchiladas.
While I waited for them to come out of the oven, I checked social media (which this horrible thing on my phone tells me I spend way, way too many hours on every day), and I saw a Tweet from my friend Katie, where she had pulled up an old column I had written about how running can ease anxiety and depression.
It was the exact right time for me, as I stood there and wondered how much of my procrastination was just straight spinning, for no good reason. I’ve been blaming the weather. Blaming the clutter all over the basement. Looking for reasons to do something else.
And sometimes that can work, and it does – when I feel burned out on running, I do a lot more yoga, or ride my bike more, or read a ton. Luckily I have any number of very time-consuming and solo activities to resort to.
But it’s been more than that lately.
I thanked her on Twitter for sharing, and she commented on some of the events I’ve done. And then noted that she had a date with her treadmill in the evening. “Me, too,” I replied.
And then I made one.
But when I went downstairs, the cats – dreadful creatures that they are – had, again, lost the safety magnet. The kids had followed me downstairs, hoping they could do their reading while I ran.
We all marched back up.
I complained mightily to Patrick, who was riding his bike trainer in the garage.
I stood in the hallway.
The kids went to their rooms to read.
I sent cranky texts to some girlfriends, railing about cats and clutter and winter and imagining how terrible the Zumbro 50-miler will go in April.
Then I opened a Nike app I have that I’ve used a few times. I found a 45-minute weights workout using basic equipment I have at home. And I stood there, in my entryway, and did the entire thing.
The kids came back down. They did it with me, in their hilarious way. Viv in red footie pajamas. Jack in an oversized sweatshirt trying to hold a weight and do squats. The kitties laid on the table and watched. I told myself this is just as important, and it was.
I got a workout in – and lifting weights is always good, and something I don’t do nearly enough.
The kids saw me do it, and that matters to me. I want them to see that this is what people do with their time. That their mom is strong. That we don’t give up. That we try new things, even right here, in the hallway, at 8 o’clock on a Monday night.
I’ve been teaching indoor cycling classes at the gym again lately, and sometimes my daughter comes with me and sits in the back of the classroom, reading a book and listening to music. I want all of this ingrained in them, this healthier living.
Earlier in the day I had been talking with a coworker about how at some point it’s just bad business to not have more workplace options for people who want to bike commute or workout over their lunch break – nothing enrages me more than when someone schedules a lunch meeting, and I don’t even have time to leave to run as much during the day as I used to. It’s just the principle of it.
But it’s not easy, for any of us.
My social media feeds are full of people signed up for spring races – the 605 Running Co. Skedaddle just passed a thousand runners for the inaugural race. That’s a thousand people in the area trying right now to get in the miles so they can have an awesome day.
And then there’s Chilly Cheeks just before it – a perfect training run – or Zumbro or Black Hills after, a need for more and more miles this winter and spring.
It’s so hard to not let life intervene. Sick days. Dentist appointments. Lost magnets. Lost motivation.
But not hope.
That’s not lost at all, and wasn’t, as the kids and I spent 45 minutes doing more than lifting weights. We spent it laughing, and talking about what we were doing, and trying new things and just being together.
It’s easy to think life is getting in the way, and so much harder to remember, it’s not. It’s life. It’s family life. It’s working mom life. It’s living on the trundra life.
It’s my life, and I have to keep putting myself back in the right spot in it, and then let it unfurl before me.
There are races to train for.
And kids watching me show them the way.
Jacqueline Palfy is a longtime runner, reader and writer, marathoner, mom and board member of the nonprofit Sioux Falls Area Running Club. You can follow her on Twitter @runnerJPK or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Story ideas are encouraged.