I really really wish that I was a morning person.  The type who can hop out of bed at the crack of dawn – or earlier – and get my workout done before any of my evil-plotting  minions sweet cherubs wake up.  If I were “one of those” I could have those glorious endorphins pumping through my veins ready to take on the day and perhaps not be screaming at the kids and ready to cry by 7:30am.  I can literally say that endorphins are better than those drugs I was on for post-partum depression.  By a lot.  Did you know that working out hard for 30 minutes will improve your mood for the next TWELVE HOURS?!?!?  I will take some of that, thank you!

What was I talking about?  Oh yes.  I wish I was a morning person.  I can’t even say that I’ll work out when the kids are off to school.  I still have a toddler here with me who will most definitely set the house on fire, or worse, if I tried to take half an hour to run.  So if I don’t get up early, my option is to do it when the little man is down for his nap.  That still leaves the other two to keep occupied.  See, Cole is only in kindergarten (half day) and Caroline doesn’t go to preschool every day. 

Yesterday, I thought I was doing pretty well as the older two were happily engaged in play and Myles was down for his nap.  Perfect. I made sure they had a few options besides what they were doing already.   I told them I’d be down on the treadmill for just a little bit and if they needed something, please come down and tell me, and for the love of everything, do NOT scream at me through the vents.  I was about 20 minutes in, when I heard other-worldly screaming above me.  Then rhythmic thumping (the rhythmic-ness is very important as it indicates a tantrum or sibling beatings as opposed to accidental falling and head-injuries).  Then more screaming.  20 minutes in.  Just a mere 10 minutes to go before I can stop and say that I had a good cardio workout.  But Mommies know that 10 minutes is equivalent to about 4 hours to small children.  I found myself yelling at the ceiling. 

“What! Is! Going! On! Up! There!?!?  Just. Stop!!!!” 

I knew that the ceiling yelling wouldn’t do much to quell the skirmish, but it was worth a shot.  This time, it actually paid off.  Caroline came whimpering down the stairs to find me, declaring that Cole was hitting her right. on. the. head. just because she wouldn’t recreate a scene from “Elf” with him. 

Who knew such an innocent looking dude could inspire such violence amongst children?

Why do they fight so terribly over the most inane things?  It is beyond me. 

I managed to finish those last ten minutes due to the fact that Caroline stayed downstairs with me, thus eliminating the recipient of Cole’s vengeance. 

What am I trying to say?  Right.  So I’m not a morning person.  I have all sorts of good intentions to wake early and get moving, but then when I do actually wake, 99% of the time I am right in that sweet spot, completely comfy, all deliciously warm and snuggly in bed.  And all I want to do is drift back to Sleepy Town. 

I’m telling you all this so that you know that I’m not some crazy woman who actually springs from bed, on fire with energy, ready to run 8 miles or more whilst whistling show tunes.  I am normal.  As much as I have come to love working out, I also “forget” that awesome feeling I have right after a great session, so that it can be really hard to get moving.  So how do I still manage to do it?

One of the greatest lessons my mother taught me was that sometimes life sucks and you have to do things you don’t want to do.  It’s what got me through those difficult first months with my babies when I didn’t WANT to get out of bed at 2am to feed and change a newborn…but I HAD to.  It’s what moves me to throw some sort of meal together for my “Mommy I’m soooooooo   HUUUNNNNGGRRRYYY!!!” children, even if it just means cereal and toast for dinner.  It’s what gets me to pull myself together when hubby and I are having a “disagreement” and all I want to do is scream at him and tell him how pig-headed he is, but I know that I’m partly to blame and I don’t want to really be fighting at all.  So I get it together and we sit down to talk. 

It’s not easy.  It takes practice.  Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth

JUST DO IT, Woman!!! Get out of bed, hike up those big girl panties, lace up those shoes and GO!

and kick yourself in the tushy to do it.  I think that’s what made a difference for me.  The realization that some days, the last thing I want to do is put on my running shoes and go.  I think that prior to this, I was under the assumption that people who regularly work out love every second and are ready and raring to go for each session.  I’m sure there are those crazy folk out there, but then there are the normal, every day people like me who sometimes need to grit their teeth and slap themselves around a bit every so often.  Don’t let that discourage you.  It just means you’re normal.  But it’s at this point that you will realize just how serious you are about changing your life.  If you’re not ready, you will listen to that voice that tells you to go back to sleep, that you can do it later.  Because wanting something and actually committing to do the work that is necessary to get it, are so very different.  I want healthy, well-balanced, content children who have compassion for others and contribute something positive to society.  But I have to put the work in to teach them how to do all that.  I want a strong marriage that is rooted in friendship, respect, teamwork, committment and plenty of passion in the bedroom.  But I (well, we) have to work at keeping our relationship healthy and full of passion.  You may want to be a doctor, but you have to commit to all the years of schooling in order actually get the degree so you can wear that lab coat. 

So here is my challenge for today.  Sign up for a 5K.  If you’ve never done one and the thought terrifies you, PERFECT!  That is right where I was last year and it CHANGED MY LIFE.  Find a friend to do it with so you can keep each other accountable.  Start training.  I highly suggest the “Couch to 5K” program*.  It is perfect for the person who has literally been a couch potato and wants to make a change.  You start out slowly and gradually increase the challenge as the weeks go by.  Even if you have to do Week One for a few weeks.  Just do it.

I want to hear from you, if you’ve decided to run a 5K!!  If you’re in the Aurora/Naperville/Plainfield IL area, please consider running with me at the Eikon 5K.  This is the very first 5K I ever ran, and my friend got me to do it because it benefits humanitarian programs in Ethiopia.  For those of you who don’t know, my youngest was adopted from Ethiopia in June of 2009.  Leave it to my friend to find a 5K that benefits Ethiopia, but she did, and it was the best thing I ever did.  So talk to me!  Will you take up my challenge?

*If you Google “Couch to 5K”, there are many different sites that will come up, so figure out which one is easy for you to follow.