All over Facebook, my friends across the country have started posting their back-to-school pics. You know the ones -- the pics of their cute kids standing at the front door of the house, fully-loaded backpacks on their backs and big smiles on their faces. Although we still have two weeks of summer left here in Portland, all the back-to-school pics have made me realize school is just around the corner for us, too.
The end of summer is always such a bittersweet time. In some ways, I look forward to school starting again. Everyone will be back on their usual and predictable schedule. I'll run into all the moms and dads at school functions that I haven't seen in almost three months. My son (12) begins his fall soccer season. My older daughter (3.5) starts her first ballet and soccer classes. My younger daughter (2) will continue to learn and grow at her Montessori preschool. The trees turn gorgeous shades of red and yellow that light up the streets at twilight, making perfect vistas for an early evening run. And my husband will begin his annual love/hate relationship with Notre Dame football.
But it is also a time of reflection. Did we have enough lazy mornings eating pancakes in our pajamas? Did we do any spontaneous activities like driving to the beach for an afternoon or having a picnic in the park? Did we go to the pool enough times? How many family vacations did we take? Did we enjoy every moment of sunshine that we possibly could? (Here in Oregon, we pretty much HAVE to enjoy all of our sunshine because we won't see it again until next summer...I feel guilty if I do anything indoors when the sun is shining!) But the biggest point of reflection for me usually has to do with my relationship with my kids. Did I give enough of myself to them over the summer?
This summer was a challenging one for me because of the injury to my foot (extensor tendinitis). It has kept me off the running trails the entire summer. It has also kept me from doing just about any activity on my feet. For someone that thrives on the endorphins released during/after a hard run and looks forward with anticipation to long trail runs, it has been mentally (and physically) very tough. At the same time, it has made me realize how much time my running usually takes up each day. I never have been an early morning runner. My runs generally take place on Mondays through Thursdays between 8:30-11:30am. (Plus a run on the weekends when my husband watches the kids.) Not coincidentally, those are the hours my youngest kids are in preschool. What it also means, however, is that all of my "free" time is spent running.
A new school year signifies a new beginning, similar to a new calendar year. So I am making a new (school) year resolution! I resolve to become an early morning runner. There. I said it. I have so many excuses for not running early in the morning. 1) It means getting 1-2 less hours of sleep in the morning. 2) I really have a hard time pushing myself to do a "hard" workout right when I wake up. 3) I am worried about running in the dark.
However, despite my excuses, I can picture myself finished with a run by 5:45am (the time my husband leaves for work) and still having an hour to myself before the kids wake up. I'll get to shower, drink coffee and maybe even read an email or two. All before 7am! And it will mean I still have time to do a few things for the family when everyone else is at school. Grocery shop, begin preparing dinner and do all the things required to run a family.
I can't wait! Huge thanks to Dorothy at Mile Posts for being my inspiration today. :)
What about you? Do you run in the morning? If so, how long did it take to make it a habit?