Sunday, April 19, 2009

Parenthood: The Original Endurance Sport

My husband and I competed in a mini-adventure race this weekend. For those of you who don't know what adventure racing is, imagine an extreme off-road triathlon on an unmarked course. Adventure races run the gamut from 2-hour minis like this one to 7-day expedition races. Hubby's been doing them for years and anything under 8 hours is like a warm up for him. For me, this was another Life Experience...another adventure to add to my Do-One-Thing-Everyday-That-Scares-You List. We ran, kayaked, and biked for exactly 2 hours and 23 minutes. We came in 2nd place overall, so we did pretty darn good, but during the race I fell twice, waded through murky water, portaged a kayak through knee-deep shoe-sucking mud, and got bitten by a mosquito on my eye lid. I have scrapes and bruises I can not even account for, and aches and pains in muscles I did not know I had. But I feel AWESOME.

In the past, when we competed in any athletic events, we'd come home and just crash: shower, rent a movie, and eat our traditional "We Raced Today So We Deserve This" meal of pizza, wings, beer, and ice cream. We wouldn't move. Sloth and gluttony. It was glorious.

But then we had kids.

Instead, we found ourselves bouncing and jiggling a fussy 8-month-old and throwing foam blocks with a squealing, hyper 3-year-old...our muddy wet clothes still in the truck, my bloodied scabbed knees stinging, and both of us counting the minutes 'til at least one of us could sneak away for a shower. Wings and pizza were replaced by teriyaki chicken (one of Ben's favorite take-outs) and a bowl of cereal. And instead of a rented movie, we sat through "Monsters, Inc." for the third time. We were in bed by 9:00...only to be awakened 4 times during the night. Ben woke up with an ear ache and an attitude. Aidan with his usual random senseless wailing. I almost laughed...almost. At 3:00 in the morning, exhausted and aching, I realized that from now on, when we are thinking about competing in an athletic event, we have to take into account not only the race itself, but the "post-race requirements" a.k.a. Ben and Aidan. We simply do not have the luxury anymore of being too tired. We will have to know, going in, that after the strain, challenges, and exhaustion of the race itself, we will then have the strain, challenges, and exhaustion of parenting waiting for us when we get home.


  1. Remember when we told you once you had kids you'd never really sleep again.... And you didn't believe us.


Comments rock...