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The brutal truth

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It hasn't all been bad, a few times I have escaped into the mountains to attain full bliss. Here, the meadow above Dan Moller Cabin was like a bowl of gold amid a sea of green.   Abby Lowell / Juneau Empire
Abby Lowell / Juneau Empire
It hasn't all been bad, a few times I have escaped into the mountains to attain full bliss. Here, the meadow above Dan Moller Cabin was like a bowl of gold amid a sea of green.

I fiddled with the touch buttons on the screen of my iPhone, navigating into the depths of my running log.

I had to know.

Perhaps seeing my mileage tally would be a motivator; perhaps I was subconsciously plotting my own defeat.

It has become habit, you see (I blame my days of competitive skiing and running) to log every footfall, every minute and mile spent exercising. I examine the run times, the mile averages, my pace, the terrain and route. Most times, doing so acts as inspiration.

But lately, I’ve been afraid to look.

A year ago today, I sat in this same spot — huge with baby — and waited as the days clicked closer to the birth of our second child.

Over course of my pregnancy I had accrued 468.92 miles. I was proud, strong and oh-so-ready to NOT be pregnant.

Sometimes, when I trudged up a steep hill or forced myself to walk a rolling downgrade (mostly because I couldn’t see my feet), I yearned for the pre-baby, lighter version of my body.

“Oh! How good it will feel to run without being pregnant!”

Weeks passed, our baby arrived, and the months morphed from winter, to spring and summer, in a blur of busy.

Now, in the dim of morning, before the glowing screen of my phone, I tapped deeper into the data. Then, there it was — my mileage tally for this year: 136.6 miles.

I suppressed the urge to leave the building that instant, to gallop down the road in my dress shirt and skirt. I calculated the tally again. Same number.

Not only was my yearly average down, but also my monthly averages had dropped substantially — in June of this year I tallied a measly 8.87 miles. Last year (while 8 months pregnant) I logged 96.38 miles. July is an even sadder story; I didn’t run once.

Of course, I know the reason behind it all — family —beautiful, captivating and demanding.

The time I had once allotted for running has been swallowed up by, well, life.

I once wrote about how to carve out “me time” — about how it took just letting go, accepting that things won’t be perfect or “the same as they’ve always been.”

But I was wrong. It takes a lot more than that.

Now that our family life is up on step with two children in daycare (it’s a lot more work than you think), two full-time jobs between the parents, one nursing mother and six mouths to feed (if you count the cat and dog) — things get, well, crazy. Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., I function at full tilt. It’s not until I’m in bed, listening to the sound of my sleeping baby, when my mind slips to the place where thoughts mingle with dreams, that I realize what I forgot that day: a run for me.

The question remains: How does a full-time working wife and mother carve out time for herself?

Frankly, I don’t know the answer.

What I do know is that my respect for those moms who have figured it out is substantial. My interest in piqued. Please do tell …

In the meantime, I’m going for a run — at least I'm going to try.

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