Not twice the effort

I had a fabulous run yesterday, one of those runs where you feel like you could run forever, but your body still thanks you when you stop after 6.5 miles. I wasn’t running fast by any means, but I did finally venture back to the scene of the great snake sighting. Running by that creek always puts me in a good mood. I was reminded again just how lucky I am to have such a scenic trail so close to home. Mostly though I just let my mind wander. I started thinking that I should really sign up for a race because it has been many months since I last raced. Perhaps a summer half marathon is in order to spur me to run longer than a seven mile long run each week (or 6.5). I should check the race calendar to see what my options are.

As I was contemplating the idea of a half marathon, I was reminded of a conversation I had after completing one of my early half marathons. I was relating that a half marathon was a huge effort, and I didn’t see how it would be possible to run twice as long in order to complete a full marathon. A half marathon was taxing enough, I just didn’t see how I could expend even more effort to run a full. I honestly can’t remember who it was that responded that “A marathon isn’t twice the effort; it is the same effort, longer.” I remember thinking this couldn’t possibly be true, but after running a few marathons I’d wager that she was right. Of course getting to the point of being able to expend the same effort for twice as long isn’t trivial. It takes many weeks, and many long runs in order to build your endurance to that point.

I was trying to decide if the whole not twice the effort, just the same effort longer thing works for other areas of my life. Does it work for having more than one kid? No, having two kids is definitely more effort than having just one. Or is it? Yes, most definitely it is. Although, a case could be made that it is just the same effort longer. I mean yes there are two kids to get dressed in the morning, two kids to help put shoes on, two kids to get strapped into their car seats, and two kids to hug and kiss goodbye when they are dropped off at daycare. That all boils down to the same effort spread over more time though. Helping The Boy get dressed isn’t all that different from helping The Girl get dressed, one involves a diaper change and the other involves some prodding to use the toilet. Still, it isn’t all bad, there are now two kids who look at me like I am their world, two kids who say “I love you Mommy,” or in the case of The Girl “My love you Mommy.” Two kids who I get to watch transform before my eyes as they learn and grow each and every day.

I don’t plan on running any marathons in the near future, but it is clear that I will be participating in plenty of endurance sporting for the next several years. Yes, I will keep running, but the biggest test of my endurance to date seems to be this thing called parenting. There is no option of taking the DNF here either. In a marathon I can quit at any point, but with kids we have to just keep on running no matter how tired we are. Whether it is lying on the floor until The Girl goes to sleep, or handling the tough life and death questions with some sort of clarity, there is always a new challenge. I expect that while the physically challenging aspects of parenting (sleep deprivation, having to carry children around, etc.) will diminish as the kids age, the new mental challenges will be just as great. I swear, I never thought of any of this when we first decided to have kids.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

It's all in the eye of the beholder..you're thinking of marathons one day, I'm patting myself on the back for the 1k fun run I did with my dog.