When I was about six months pregnant with first child, my husband and I took one of those baby prep courses through our health region. We learned about the different types of pain relief during labour and how to bathe a newborn. If there was any justice in the world, all expectant parents would also be given ninja training, specializing in the fine art of getting in and out of an area quickly and undetected.
Today I went out for a run and my feet looked like this:
I have about three baskets of clean but unfolded laundry in various rooms of the house right now (three might be a bit of an underestimation as all are piled so high they are on the verge of tipping over and burying the dog and any other small creature, such as an unsuspecting toddler, in a colossal avalanche of sleepers, cotton thongs and Spiderman pajamas). The compulsion to run struck mid-afternoon. Given my recent bout of indifference, I had to act on the urge immediately or risk losing it to the temptation of a glass of sparkling Pinot Grigio chilling in the fridge. Both kids were down for a nap. An awesome time to feel a flash of motivation. A not so awesome time for my infant son to be napping in my room, roughly a foot away from my little stack of running clothes. An even worse time to discover I could only find one running sock in that pile.
I tiptoed around the room, searching the dirty laundry, trying to make as little noise as possible and well aware I was losing valuable time with each passing minute. I knew there was one clean (unmatched), non-cotton sock in my drawer. I had the choice to take it and (stealthily) escape from the room or keep looking in vain for something only I or a What Not to Wear host would even notice.
My entire existence feels like a constant balance between such choices. I’m typically not the kind of person who would skip a run because their socks don’t match no matter how good the wine is. However some days, the decision whether or not to exercise means compromising or shifting other less superficial priorities. Can I run errands in the evening, in my tights, without a shower? Do I have time to set the stove to simmer, dash out a quick 5k and get home in time to eat dinner with my family or do I wait until after dark, when the kids are winding down for the night instead? Deodorant, thank God for deodorant. And pretty headbands and hair accessories to throw into a windblown “run bun” that end up looking like the intentionally messy style A-listers rock on the red carpet. But what about that wine? Sitting on the couch and enjoying some peace and quiet is such a rare opportunity. Am I really going to toss it out the window for day-old socks, a pool of sweat in my cleavage and tight quads my three-year old will repeatedly bounce up –and-down on in a few short hours (because really, what is a mere seven kilometres when faced with her own personal mom-sized mechanical bull).
In short, yes. Yes to the stink and the sweat and the bad hair and the wildly inappropriate tight tights in public (an elderly man verbally appreciated my shape while I was waiting in line to pay for coffee cream. True story). Because there will come a time in approximately 48 hours when I’ll be faced with the same decision and I’ll choose the couch, the carefully-yet-quickly flat-ironed hair instead and the chance to doze off in front of a PVRed episode of Modern Family. I jump on the opportunities when they arise and I don’t actually manage to talk myself out of them. The wine will still be there when I get home. Hopefully so will the kids. And the endorphins may, just may, inspire me to fold some clean clothes so next time I can run in perfectly matched socks.