My phone comes to life in the early dark of our bedroom and I swim from sleep to chase it around the nightstand one clumsy hand outstretched fingers trying to work that goddamned slider eyes adjusting mini-camera shutters opening wide in the gloom and here is what I’m supposed to do, I’m supposed to get up pull on running tights scrape oily hair under my battered Nike hat clip on my iPod lace up my shoes and the thought of all that sends me falling into the pillow dropping back into a drowsy fugue and no, I guess there will be no running this morning. Ten hours later I think how if I’d gone ten hours ago I’d have been done for ten hours now.

A year and a half ago I ran 26.2 miles, today I’ve forgotten all the machinations of running and after one solitary mile my brain pulls itself up to a glowing keyboard, cracks its knuckles, begins composing an increasingly agitated message to my body that ends with an all-caps instruction to STOP RIGHT FUCKING NOW and so I do, I walk and pant and I cannot remember how I managed to keep going, once upon a time. I have lost a sense of momentum. The less I move the harder it is to begin moving the more it makes me want to be still. I am pulling inwards while my body expands outwards and I know where this goes, it goes nowhere good, and I am trying to stop it but shh, shh, right now I just want to be still.

Shh I say shh baby I’ll play with you in a minute right now I have to finish my work and this is how it goes all morning long while the TV burbles and chirps and my son learns to amuse himself and the couch forms a deep curve under me as my laptop burns through my legs and the hours days weeks months pass tick tock tick tock.

Where are you going?

I am going nowhere.

Are you okay with that?

Not really.

What are you going to do about it?

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Jas
Jas
10 years ago

Begin at the beginning: do the couch to 5k plan and ease yourself back in. Your body will thank you for taking it one step at a time.

JennB
JennB
10 years ago

Right there with you – the lure of sleep is so much better than the potential for exercise, I fight that demon every morning and rue my decision all day long.
I need more hours in the day, please.

Ashley
Ashley
10 years ago

Oh, thank you for saying it. I just signed myself up for boot camp after 18 mths away and I am petrified. I did it for 2 years, before this last baby, so I know what it’s like and I know that I can do it. But I am so ashamed of where I will have to begin–walking around the track when I still have a 13.1 sticker on my car. I guess the problem is that we all think we have to begin where we left off and that’s impossible.

Next to my 13.1 sticker, there’s a sticker that says, “The miracle is not that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

NancyJ
NancyJ
10 years ago

You’ve got to start at the start…little by little….every day you will feel a little bit better.
When I fall off the track I always start back on my nordictrack my trusty old machine and I start slow and short and before I know it I’m huffing and puffing and kicking out 45 minutes and feel like a champ.
We’ve all been there….it’s no fun but it think sometimes it’s what really keeps us going.

Valerie
Valerie
10 years ago

I was in the same situation. I ran a marathon and 2 years later, a mile was impossible. But now, 1 year after that 2 year mark (3 years after my first marathon)I will be participating in my 2nd marathon on Saturday. I am so nervous. But when I think back to how hard those first few miles were and how easy they are now I’m extremely glad I’m doing it.

Have you tried running at night? I have 2 kids, a full time job and a husband who is studying for the CPA. I know how hard it is to find time to exercize, and I hate morning exercising. I go to the gym every-night at 10:00. It sucks, but the fact is that I’m getting there. Something that wasn’t happening when trying to do it in the morning. Maybe, give it a try.

Would you like to participate in the Salt Lake half in April with me? Then the Las Vegas full next December???

Amber
Amber
10 years ago

This is the boat I’ve been in for what feels like all summer. The last few weeks have been progressively worse, and I wonder if its not burn out from a crazily busy summer and the cozy feeling that fall is, well, basically here. …Such is my “fitness” cycle.

I signed up for another half marathon on the Spring in hopes that will motivate me…

Christina
10 years ago

‘Tis hard this parenting working being good to yourself bit. Start small and stay small if need be. Do what you can when you can without adding stress. The workout or massage or whatever is supposed to reduce the stress, not increase it.

I realized after going balls to the wall (is that acceptable statement coming from a woman?!) for two years with running that I needed a break. I took it for something like a 1/2 year or more. I did run here and there and rode on our recumbant bike from time to time and regularly mentally beat myself up for not running. I have been running again for about three weeks with some consistency and the dawning realization has been ‘wow I really needed a break!’

Next time I will spend less time feeling bad while taking a break as it is healthy and good, like a re-boot! My mind body and soul needed to time and now again running is fun!

Junni
Junni
10 years ago

This is 100% off-topic.

I finished Divergent last night and then I swear to god sat on my couch for 30 minutes and stressed about it.

So good. So, so good.

And I had to thank you for the recommendation because this is the second time you’ve done this to me — the first was The Hunger Games.

I guess I have no choice now but to read Patient Zero!

Sundry Book Recommendations FTW

Erin
10 years ago

You got this. We should start up the running blog again… Xoxox

Pallavi
Pallavi
10 years ago

Yes, yes, a million times yes. I am there. Summer beats the will to run right out of me, and the crispness makes me want to go again. But I cannot get my stupid, stupid brain to catch up. 5k in 3 weeks.

Once your feet hit the pavement though, and you remember the rush and pride/grateful-ness of it being over? It comes back faster than you think.

charissa
10 years ago

bodyrock.tv

It’s not so much for the running, as the “moving”. Because running is less of a scary challenge when you’re stronger (YOU know that way better than I do) and used to the ache and the mental hurdles.

: ) You can do this! You’ve done it before! You just need to remember how good it feels. Remember this? https://www.sundrymourning.com/2008/09/16/things-i-have-learned-about-diet-and-fitness/

It still inspires me every time I read it (which is, uh, pretty often because I’m a slacker). YOU wrote that, way back when. So let yourself be inspired by you. Because you were right. : )

Alondra
10 years ago

Where am I? I’m on the couch sitting right next to you. Want me to pass the brownies?

Thanks for this post. “I am pulling inwards while my body expands outwards and I know where this goes, it goes nowhere good, and I am trying to stop it but shh, shh, right now I just want to be still.” This will rattle around in my mind today.

June
10 years ago

Gotta start somewhere, right? Don’t get smothered by guilt – can you just pick something and do it?

Katie Mae
10 years ago

I don’t know if you really asked for input but…for me, I have to give up the idea that I’m going to exercise first thing in the morning. I’m just NOT, and planning and failing to do it just does bad things to my mind and motivation. I also try really hard not to think about the big things I’ve accomplished, running-wise, because it is very discouraging. I feel like I’m looking back on a different person, you know? Like, I *used* to be so awesome, but now I just *suck*. It takes a long time to get into shape, particularly marathon-running shape. I do best if I don’t think more than a week ahead or behind.

annie
annie
10 years ago

Find a gym with daycare and hop on the treadmill at whatever time of day you want. That was the only thing that got me going.

Nikki
Nikki
10 years ago

This speaks to me in bigger terms than just exercise — the working from home, pushing the small child away from you, cringing at the strains of ANOTHER Bubble Guppies, guilt. Ugh. It’s initially so gratifying to freelance, to control your career and days, but lately I’ve felt like I need more forward momentum and I don’t think I can do that without people around me, pushing.

Melissa
Melissa
10 years ago

I’m there. In spring of 2010 I set a personal best for a half marathon. Two months later, one of my kids got sick… and she still is. I stopped all forms of exercise and here we are, more than a year later, and I doubt I could run an entire mile, much less 13.1 of them. The hardest part is that I know I have to START OVER and all that sweat and time that I put into this before is GONE. I feel like I wasted all that effort.

I’m stressed so I don’t run, but if I ran I would be less stressed, but… but… but… And so it goes, while my ass gets bigger and bigger and bigger.

Becky Mochaface
10 years ago

Beautifully written, this hit so close to home.

Carla Hinkle
Carla Hinkle
10 years ago

I have tried, and failed, to keep my sanity while working from home without significant child care. You are pretty much promising yourself to do two things at once — take care of the kids AND work a full time job — and I have become convinced it really isn’t possible long-term.

I know there are budgetary constraints, but is there any way to get yourself some childcare? A babysitter some half-days, a few mornings of pre-school, maybe a co-op with friends?

You can’t expect yourself to work full time AND take care of the boys (even with one in school) AND exercise. You just can’t. Don’t beat yourself up for failing to meet an impossible standard.

Nolita
10 years ago

Give yourself a break. Maybe you can walk/run with Dylan so as not to “waste” a day’s activity and also clear your mind? Beating yourself up is no bueno.

You know what you are capable of and you know how busy you are too. Mentally, forgive yourself and physically, get up or out for a little bit. I think a little pivot or shift this way or that and things are better, more synergistic. Maybe yoga with Dylan would help. You can check out a DVD from the library next time.. just suggestions.

jamie
jamie
10 years ago

I feel the same damn way…

Archer's Mom
Archer's Mom
10 years ago

Modern life (but particularly for me, motherhood especially) reminds us what failures we can be millions of times a day already by not meeting our obligations.

Crossfit was great fitness and a cool communal moment for me, but it also gave me this sick intense need to weave it into my life – a dedication that I needed to have. Rules and constant striving to always be better and faster and more. It was precisely eighteen months ago I did my last CF workout that I went home crying because of the millionth time having to ‘mod’ and still finish last. I worked so hard for handstand pushups and still couldn’t get there. I quit and went home to eat a 20 ounces of pasta that day and stepped back.

Forty pounds later, I ultimately decided that thinking about exercising or thinking about not exercising every day was too much. The internal dialogue eroded my self esteem and made success seem so far off. I started recognizing my tiny efforts in the right direction (being active, simple restraint) and that got me off my ass (but not back to Crossfit) and into the gym.

Let yourself off the hook, and be nice to yourself and you’ll find your way back on your feet.

MRW
MRW
10 years ago

I want more than anything to work from home so I can be there when my son gets home from school and spend more time with my daughter (financially this is extremely unlikely to ever happen). This post, however, speaks to the whispering part of me that knows if I don’t work out at my workplace during my workday, it doesn’t happen. It’s like I need the structure and escape from the office to make it happen.

I wish I had some good advice other than there are times when I just don’t exercise and then the will comes back and I get back up on the treadmill or put the Turbo Jam DVD back on and start over.

dorrie
dorrie
10 years ago

Been right where you are now. Might still be there a little bit :). Deep breaths. This too shall pass.

Stacy
Stacy
10 years ago

I don’t know if this will help you or mean anything, but, you running the half and full marathon last year? … motivated me.
On Sunday I’m doing a half marathon in DC. I’ve never run more than 10.5 miles at one time. I’m so scared and so excited.

Liz
Liz
10 years ago

My kid recently learned to ride a two-wheeler. One time she decided to come with me on my run. She kicked my ass. I’m thinking this is a good way to get my times down. Plus, she always wants to do it again, so she nags me a lot to go running.

kendra!
10 years ago

No, Sundry! I come here for you to remind me that I need goals and ab muscles and a commitment to lean proteins and science project making. You’re not allowed to become static! And you’re surely not allowed to write about it! A WHOLE GENERATION OF WOMEN are counting on you!

In other news, be kind to yourself. And read that Anne Lamott chapter about listening to WFCK or whatever.

Faith
Faith
10 years ago

You’re good at this part. I think you’re better than most people at summoning up every last ounce of motivation you can find hiding in every nook and cranny of your brain in order to get yourself together and make change happen. Hell, you’ve done such a good job at motivating yourself in the past, that you’ve motivated ME to change my life, and it’s happening, and I love it, and I have you to thank. You can do this, and I know you will.

Taryn
Taryn
10 years ago

sounds familiar. i’m so impressed you did the marathon. if you can do that you can do anything. it’s so easy to get out of the habit & so hard to make yourself get back in it. in january i hit a # on the scale i DID NOT LIKE. i only needed to lose a modest amout but i feel so much better now. i just had to start back doing anything to get moving. now it’s walk 2x week and yoga 2x week. running not working for you? just walk. and the morning thing has NEVER worked for me. i am too sluggish. i do much better in the afternoon or evening. put JB on kid duty!

Taryn
Taryn
10 years ago

and also…sometimes i feel this way about life in general…not just exercise.

mlegreenberg
mlegreenberg
10 years ago

“What are you going to do about it?”
When you figur that one out please pass it on. I am so, so right there with you on this one. I am so deeply feeling that its all so useless. I have to fight and fight to loose the 70ish pounds I need to loose and get fit but what then? Then I have to fight and fight to keep it off – to stay in shape – to keep what I earned. It’s not like once I get there I can relax and the battle is won and it’s over. It seems so endless that overwhelms and depresses the hell out of me. It seems like a lifelong battle that I just do not even have the energy to begin, much less sustain. Right now I feel like I cannot even face it and I give up before I have even begun…the ass grove on the couch gets deeper.

mosted
mosted
10 years ago

What I find sometimes helps is the “buddy” system. Maybe you have a friend/acquaintance in the same situation. Partner up…I usually find that when one is’nt motivated, the other does it for you….and there’s always the guilt of letting someone else down, so you get off the couch for them, if for no other reason! Especially when you really don’t feel like it!!

Victoria
10 years ago

This is exactly where I am.

Danielle
Danielle
10 years ago

Don’t be so hard on yourself! One step at a time, literally. We all fall off track, but you know deep down inside that you can do anything at all. You can!

Julie
Julie
10 years ago

Just do it. Don’t even think about it, just go. I go by the 3 week rule (which is how long it takes to make, or break, a habit.) If after 3 weeks of getting out and doing whatever you can muster you still feel like crap, give yourself permission to surrender to the sofa. It won’t happen. You’ll be back and it will be good!

Amy N
Amy N
10 years ago

Hmmmm…read while laying in bed and trying to get up to do it all again for another day. I get it!

Stephanie
10 years ago

Saw this link this morning and thought of you:

“Change Your Boring Workout into a Zombie Story”

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/change-your-boring-workout-into-a-zombie-story_b39057

Lesley
10 years ago

DUDE. I’ve never commented before, but dude. You are WAY TOO HARD on yourself. You’ll get there. You’ll get to where you want to be. And when you do, you’ll wonder why you tortured yourself until you did.

adequatemom
10 years ago

I feel you, Linda. I feel you.

josefina
10 years ago

I want to encourage you to move SOMEHOW, even if it’s not the running. Just something.

I made the mistake of letting myself become too sedentary. When I fell, I injured myself. The results of the injury were far worse because my muscles were weak.

I never would have predicted I’d be in such a position, all because of the delicious, indoor sitting and then one stupid fall.

Now that I can exercise again, I have promised myself that I will become as strong as I can. Exercise felt unnatural and awful after so long out of the practice, but now it feels normal. I’m sure it’s the same with you, judging from what I’ve read on your blog.

I think you’re not a sitting still kind of person, Linda. I think you’ll be up and moving soon.

telegirl
telegirl
10 years ago

I am so glad I’m not the only one. I wasn’t running long distances like you but I was out there running every other day for 9 months and then we moved; things got hectic and I got out of the rhythm of it. And now, it’s so hard to get back into it. I understand so well what you are writing about but it sounds like lots of others feel the same, maybe we can motivate each other?

Tara
Tara
10 years ago

God, this resonates on many levels–the struggle to continue to do the right things to be fit and healthy, the struggle to spend quality time with my son because of work (particularly the “overtime” part of work), the wondering where I’m going and will I really want to be there when I arrive?

There is one thing I’ve done that has really helped me with two of these concerns. My 6-year-old son and I started taking Tae Kwon Do classes together a couple of months ago–a local school offers family classes for all experience levels. We both get good exercise three days a week, we spend time together, we are working on new skills all the time so it doesn’t get boring. And I have discovered that I LOVE it and I wonder why I never tried this before. We just earned our first belt promotions this week and it felt so amazing–I can’t wait for the next one. (I might also add that Turbo Jam was good preparation for TKD, as I had instructors coming up to me in the first class, asking if I’d done this before.)

Now, I still struggle with the working too many hours thing, and what that does to family time, but the dedicated time for TKD classes helps with that balance a bit. And hopefully the constant overtime will ease in the next couple of weeks and I can breathe, at least for a little while.

Good luck to you–you’re smart and you’re strong, and you’ll get through this. We all will.

jl
jl
10 years ago

I don’t think you’re just talking about exercise here…

Classic case of work-from-home mom blues. Not easy. At least you’re not stuck in traffic twice a day?

Kris
Kris
10 years ago

I walk my dogs every morning at 5:30. Every morning, I don’t want to. Every morning I have to talk myself into it, especially now that it is pitch fricking dark out there. And the dogs are always so thrilled! It is only the guilty thought of how disappointed they will be that makes me do it. (Although some days I just can’t, and I walk them after dinner instead. They’re not too picky.)I agree that getting it done in the morning gives you a satisfied feeling the rest of the day! Hey, maybe you can borrow a dog.

Sarah
Sarah
10 years ago

See, I don’t think it’s work from home blues or just about exercise. Life has changed so much for us; we’re pulled in so many directions by technology and connectivity that it’s hard to ever just focus for awhile on one thing. Like being present to a little person, or letting our minds roam and rest. I say this because I feel the same way, like life is rushing over me like a waterfall, ticking away faster and faster. It seems like being caught in the flow, when I want so badly to catch my breath and be intentional. This is when I want to live in the country, get no junk mail, and spend my days without a computer in sight. Gardening and lifting heavy objects and breathing fresh air and not feeling like my attention is split into billions of pieces.

Lana
Lana
10 years ago

Just read a quote this morning – “no matter how slow you are going, you are still lapping everyone sitting on the couch.”

baby steps i guess… i’m right there with you. so much nicer to be still sometimes, but then the noise in my head gets too damn loud.

lisa
lisa
10 years ago

I don’t know how much this helps, and I don’t remember how long ago you started working from home, but: being a stay at home mom can be so much tougher than being a full-time working/daycare mom. I know this because I am a teacher, so I do the 3 months at home, 9 months at work thing. My kids are each a year younger than yours. Summer vacation = ass grove on my couch. Summer vacation = “preschool on tv”. Summer vacation = Mikes Hard Lemonade on an I.V. drip (jk. maybe.)

There is just so little motivation to do otherwise. I don’t have a solution for you (my solution is for the school year rescue my kids and my body from myself). But you should realize that when you find your motivation and your routine, it may be very different than it was before.

Also, I almost hate myself for saying this, because I am totally anti-social and hate hanging out with “mommies”, but you might want to see if there are any moms you can hang out with. I just joined my Kindergarten daughter up for Girl Scouts. I was terrified because it meant talking to moms, and I was afraid they would be annoying, but they weren’t. I found a group I can chill with. Has Riley’s teacher sent out a contact list, or set up a website? You could send out a note that just says “Anybody else want to stop feeling lazy, and work out together once in a while?” I would totally respond to an email like that, now that I think of it. The worse that can happen is nobody responds, or you find out which parents you DON’T like.

lisa
lisa
10 years ago

Ugh, “just joined up for Girl Scouts” of course I mean “just signed up”.

I am a better teacher than blog commenter, I swear.

Kelli
Kelli
10 years ago

You’ve been my inspiration ever since you commented on the great dooce maytag debacle. I’m sorry you are feeling low just now. Read http://www.marksdailyapple.com if you don’t already. Ive been reading it for about 7 weeks and I find inspiration there too.

Chrissy
Chrissy
10 years ago

Thank you for your honesty. I think a lot of us feel the way you feel. Have you ever thought about purchasing a stationary bike? A friend of mine swears by it … says it’s the best investment ever. (Bonus that you can cycle whenever, you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn and run outside on dark streets.)

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