Friday, February 21, 2014

Relay on My Mind

Here we go again. Spring is rolling around and it's time to sign up for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Relay. As I pointed out in my post Hammer Time last year, in case the italics isn't adequate enough to bring attention to the word 'relay,' I'll just go ahead and iterate it here with its own special statement: we are merely running the relay. I say this because each of the last two years some friend who reads this and obviously believes the best in me says in deep reverence, "Wow! You're running a marathon!" No, friends, no. I run marathons in my dreams; I run marathon relays in real life. I very much love this event and feel that little else brings the city together as much as this annual run seems to do. In remembrance of the 168, we gather together to run our hearts out and we are supported by miles of sideline spectators who do their best to amuse and love us. The high-fivers and sign-holders, both motivational ("You can do it!") and hilarious ("Don't look now, but there's a zombie behind you!", "Shut up, legs!", and "Smile if you're not wearing underwear!") are my favorites. BJ's all-time favorite supporter was an older gentleman reclining in a lawn chair in his yard in an historic neighborhood, clad in a suit and fancy hat while smoking a cigar and sipping a martini. Apart from the amazing support, there is so much motivation to meet one's goals in light of the reason for the race in the first place--the tragedy that took beloved members of our city from us. Last year I chose an angel from the 168 as well as one of my family members to dedicate my race to, and this year I have done the same. I like to keep those kinds of things just between myself and my angel until the race is over though. Here is a photo of my last year's angel, Anthony Cooper, age 2. I also dedicated the race to Silas, who was Anthony's age at the time.

This training season I once again find myself in a postpartum situation, which I seem to be in frequently these days; consequently, my training is stop-and-go depending on how I'm feeling and how much sleep I'm getting. I can hardly seem to make myself get going when I've only had five hours of sleep, and yet two years ago I had no choice because George went on a growth spurt and requested my presence frequently for nighttime feedings during the week leading up the run. Maybe this year will be my last year to run tired. I have committed to running a 10K leg of the relay, which consists of five legs totaling 26.2 miles. The fifth leg of the team remains undecided, but so far I have finagled BJ (always a member), my sister Christa, and my brother-in-law Dave into participating. It should be pretty great. As is the case with every year, I'm getting very little help with deciding a team name and so I threatened my teammates with an obscure Saved By the Bell reference if they didn't help me choose something better. I did the same by threatening "Hammer Time" last year, but was bitten in the ass by that when two of my teammates loved my threatened name and the other two were mortified but not enough to help me choose an alternative, so Hammer Time it was. Now, of course, two of my teammates love the threatened name "The Zack Attack," and voted for it instead of my other ideas (Pumped Up Kicks, Scrantonicity, Sisters & Brothers, The Alternates...). Feel free to weigh in.

Aside from naming the team, I remind myself that I need to get my butt in gear and actually go running. Has anyone else mentioned how hard it is to run when you have three small children and no time? Seriously, the ONLY time I have to run is in the dark, either early in the morning or late at night. I no longer have my 90-pound lab Tex to run with since he lives with my parents, and Chanda moved seven miles away (oh, how I miss her!), so I'm left with the choices of 1. running at a nearby park with a can of mace to deter possible psychos and 2. running around my cul-de-sac over and over and over again. I choose the latter. Hence, my training runs are circling the same six houses at this point until the sun comes out for longer or time somehow becomes available during the day. Could be worse. I'm also in the process of reading The Runner's Handbook, which I am hoping will educate and motivate me. It seems to be doing its job so far! At this point I'm fairly comfortable running about a mile and a half, but I have a lot of work to accomplish in ten weeks. I'll keep you updated!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What Was I Saying?

It takes exactly one look at a pregnant woman to see what kind of toll her developing child takes on her body. In my case, it also usually takes exactly one conversation with me to see what kind of toll pregnancy and motherhood have taken on my brain. Never have I been more thoughtless and forgetful than in the past four years of my life, and for that I feel the need to apologize to many people. Mothers of young children, expectant mothers, can you relate to me in this? I swear, I used to be sharp! I used to debate smart-people books, politics, and philosophies of life with vigor and relative ease, and now several times a day I can't even remember where I put my phone. This has definitely been a fall from grace, although I now have three beautiful (and crazy) children to make up for the loss of my cognitive edge. I read somewhere in a psychological journal that there is a biological change in a woman's brain once she gives birth and becomes a mother, an exchange in which she forfeits pathways that once served short-term memory and now serve something else that benefits her relationship with her baby and, from an evolutionary standpoint, her baby's survival. Don't ask me what exactly it is that she gains because, of course, I don't remember.

Long-term lack of sleep definitely plays into this; it seems only logical that it would. During the first couple months of each of my children's lives I have forgotten things both trivial and of importance. Small mistake: woops, I made it to the store and bought everything in sight except for the one thing I went there for. Bigger mistake in an excerpt from my post entitled My Two Under Two List, when George was a newborn and BJ and I forgot to lock up one night:

 A concerned policeman rings your doorbell in the middle of the night, checking on you because you left your garage door wide open, your car in the driveway with doors open, and the keys in the ignition. He apparently doesn't realize that you have a newborn and a 20-month-old, which newly entitles you to endanger your home and yourselves when you arrive home late, get the kids to bed, collapse into bed yourselves, and forget the little things like locking up. This is TOTALLY made up, by the way...yeah... 

I've embarrassed myself countless times, such as the time I asked my lovely friend Emily if she had found out yet if she was expecting a girl or a boy, and she kindly pointed me to a text conversation we had had two months prior in which she told me she was having a girl and I excitedly congratulated her. I'm sorry, Emily. Twice in the last week I have been told of something that happened during my high school years that I don't even have the faintest memory of, yet I was a central part of the story both times. I don't even remember now what one of those stories was. Perhaps most unsettling, the other night BJ and I even briefly forgot that we had two older kids! We were sitting at the table with Van after dinner as our older two were off in another room and we totally blanked out for five minutes. Something began to seem wrong because it had been suspiciously quiet for five long minutes in our house. We both suddenly remembered we had kids that should be making noise, and so I went to investigate. I found that Silas had pooped in the master bathroom at the back of the house and George was wiping his ass. Classic! Cognitive edge, totally gone! I'm sorry! I'm sorry for all the times I have been asked twice to do something, forgotten something I was supposed to bring, neglected to respond to an email you sent, or completely blanked out while you may have been talking to me. Something about my babies is now more prone to survival to make up for my apparent rudeness, but who the heck can remember what!

I also blank out when I'm talking, which sometimes creates hilarious scenarios when I'm with friends and probably just creates awkwardness that I'm not aware of when I'm with strangers. For instance, a few weeks ago Sommer was in town and we had some friends over. At one point Sommer and I were in Van's room alone with him and I was changing his diaper as we talked. Van let out an extremely loud bowel movement as soon as I had his new diaper on him. What I meant to ask out loud was, "Was that wet?" What I actually asked was, "Was that Van?" Sommer looked at me in surprise and asked, "As opposed to me? No, Jenny, I did not just loudly poop my pants!"  But wait! There's more! Just 15 minutes later I was talking with the last of our guests to leave, Laurie and Jeremy. Knowing that Laurie and Jeremy are soon leaving for a big vacation, I meant to ask, "So are you leaving for your trip soon?" What I actually asked was, "So, are you leaving soon....?" Laurie, only mildly fazed, replied, "Well, I guess we could leave in a few minutes."Yikes! Backpedaling and making excuses for myself are my two best new talents.

Oh, friends, the exchange of IQ points has been quite worth it in the long run. Who needed that extra standard deviation of 15 points anyway? 


 George (He was potty-training. I didn't actually forget his pants.)