When Moms Take Flight


When I became first became a mother, I had the same experience that almost all first-time moms go through: all sense of self went completely out of the window. I was no longer a person in my own right, I was Somebody’s Mom, and I had to devote every waking hour – and pretty much all of my sleeping hours – to the care and well-being of that Somebody.

Two years later, I was Mom to not just one, but two Somebodies. A year after that, my firstborn was diagnosed with autism, and I joined the exclusive club of special needs parents.

As I became more and more immersed in my role as a parent, my world started to get smaller and smaller. I can honestly say that if it hadn’t been for my job and the friends I made on the Internet, I would have gone completely around the bend.

My world started to expand a little when I started running. That at least gave me some time to myself, even though a nagging sense of guilt always went running with me. For a short period of time, I even got some running friends, but that didn’t work out. It wasn’t because of them – they were absolutely lovely people – but I was never able to go running at the same time as them. So that was that.

A couple of years ago, someone – possibly a co-worker – asked me what my idea of ultimate luxury was. With no hesitation, I replied, “24 hours by myself in a hotel room with wine, a good book, a hot tub and a TV.” I had this dream of watching whatever shows I wanted, spending time in the hot tub with wine and a book, and then drifting into a deep contented sleep. I fantasized about sleeping through the night and staying in bed for as long as I wanted to in the morning.

I felt terrible about actually wanting this. I mean, my wildest dreams involved being away  from my family. What kind of mother was I? Of course, the idea of going away without my kids was out of the question. I did go on two solo trips to South Africa, but since they were both for deaths in the family, they didn’t really count as “me time”.

About five months ago, something really strange happened. I left my husband and kids at home and went away for a weekend. There was no emergency. No-one had died. I didn’t have to work. I went away for the bizarre reason that I wanted to.

For the whole weekend, I waited for the guilt to kick in. I expected a sudden onslaught of angst. I resigned myself to the fact that sooner or later, I was going to feel like the worst mother in the world for abandoning my family.

Except that this didn’t happen.

To put it bluntly, my weekend was bloody fabulous. It involved nice dinners, parties, and wine-tasting in Niagara. I didn’t catch up on my sleep deficit, because I was too busy meeting new friends and partying harder than I have in at least 20 years. I checked in with the home base a couple of times, and knowing that everyone was still alive and the house was still standing, I didn’t worry about a thing.

I  am not too sure exactly why I felt such freedom to just enjoy myself, but I suspect that I had reached a point of severe burnout. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, taking some time out for myself became a matter of survival. For several years, I had been burning the candle at both ends, working long hours at work, taking care of the family, helping my husband with his business, making sure the bills were paid. I was getting up at five in the morning because that was the only time I could go running. Frequently, I had to choose between sleep and exercise.

And I got to a point of critical mass, where I just couldn’t take any more without a break.

Here’s the incredible thing: the world kept on turning. When I got home at the end of the weekend, the kids were fed and happy and reasonably clean. The house was only marginally untidier than usual. Most importantly, everybody was happy. In retrospect, there is every possibility that my family had needed a break from me as much as I had needed a break from them. After all, when life starts to overwhelm me, I can get a little intense and difficult to live with.

Being away for that weekend gave me some much-needed perspective. I realized that yes, my husband and kids do need me and love me, but they can also survive without me from time to time. I came back with renewed energy, and frankly, my husband and kids benefited from having time together without me. This experience was good for all of us.

My next break is coming up in about a month, when I head out of town to go on a retreat for special needs moms. I cannot wait to go. And I cannot wait to come back, better and stronger for my family.

(Photo credit: Kirsten Doyle)


2012: Moments To Remember From Around The World

When I was a kid, New Years Eve was a family occasion. We would all gather – cousins, aunts, uncles and my grandmother – to ring in the New Year together. Everyone would get sparkling wine (even us kids were allowed a token amount) and beneath the stars in the warm South African summer, we would count down to The Big Moment. As the clock stuck midnight, we would toast each other with the sparkling wine, and then we would stand in a circle, link arms and sing Auld Lang Syne.

My mom always cried during these moments, and when I asked her about it once, she answered, “I don’t know why. I just hate New Years Eve.”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed a curious pattern that I suspect my mom unwittingly followed. As December 31st approaches each year, we tend to be tearfully nostalgic for the good things we are leaving behind, but in fear of the bad things we think will be carried forward.

What if we approached it the other way round? What if we decided to leave the bad stuff behind and bring the good stuff into the new year with us?

In that spirit, I recently asked people to tell me about their best moments of 2012.

Alison from Malaysia had a pretty good year as she gave birth to her second child. It doesn’t get much better than new life, does it? She describes her pregnancy as a race, and she got the best possible prize at the end of it.

Like me, Cheryl is a special needs mom living in Ontario. We share many of the same frustrations when it comes to getting services or funding for our kids. Cheryl hit a sweet spot in 2012 when she took on an insurance company and WON! She got a medication covered for her daughter, who has cerebral palsy, and she helped pave the way for thousands of other parents in a similar situation.

I can also relate to Melanie from Japan, who’s daughter has difficulty making friends. My son, who has autism, does not have any friends apart from his brother, and I know how hard it is to watch your child sitting alone in the playground simply because he doesn’t know how to make friends. Melanie had a lovely moment last year when her daughter made a new friend.

As parents, we bask in the accomplishments of our children, and Purnima from India shares her young son’s success as he played a key role in his school’s Annual Day Program.

My cousin Gillian (a.k.a. “Mug”), who lives in the back of beyond Tasmania, was given that all-too-rare commodity in 2012: the gift of time. She has a job AND a farm, and judging from some of her adventures, farm animals can sometimes be more wayward than children. So when she was able to start working four days a week instead of five, it was a welcome break for her.

(On a side note, I have a confession. Before Mug moved to Tasmania, I didn’t realize it was an actual place. I thought it was a mythical place with a mythical devil.)

Tania from Puerto Rico did a fair amount of traveling last year. When her husband had to go to Paris on business, she went with him. On the day of their arrival, they went to a live performance by their favourite band, Coldplay. Coldplay has never performed in Puerto Rico, so this was icing on the cake for Tania.

For some people, the best moments of 2012 arose from something bad. Margie from Arkansas had a great year that culminated in her obtaining a hard-earned Bachelors degree. As impressive as that was, it paled in comparison to the time she found out that her fiancee was alive and more or less in one piece after being hit by a car.

Karyn from New Zealand had one of those moments as well, when her eldest son had a surfing accident. All three of her boys handled the crisis remarkably well and made Karyn realize that she can enjoy parenting more, knowing that the groundwork has been laid.

My own year was a perfect example of good moments arising from bad events. In February, a beloved aunt died in a freak accident, and I flew to South Africa to be with family. My time there was bittersweet. There was sadness and shock as we all started the process of calibrating ourselves to a life without someone who had been very much loved. But there were also moments of joy and laughter, of peace and togetherness.

One moment in particular stands out for me.

My brother and I went to see a movie together. This in itself was a momentous occasion, not only because my brother and I hardly ever spend time together on account of living on different continents, but because it had been years since I had seen a movie made by someone other than Disney Pixar.

After the movie, we went to the rooftop bar of a nearby hotel for a drink. As we sat there talking and enjoying the last of the day’s sunlight together, I realized that this was one of those perfect moments in life – one of those moments that you want to capture and carry around with you forever.

What was your best moment of 2012? What good stuff are you bringing with you into 2013?

(Photo credit: This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)


Body for Life: Week 1

A week ago today, I started the Body for Life challenge. I completely revamped the way I eat, ditching the carb-heavy lunches from the cafeteria-style shop downstairs from my office in favour of meals brought from home, consisting primarily of lean proteins and salad. In the evenings, I started making more of an effort in the kitchen, selecting dinners based on nutritional value rather than convenience.

At the same time, I have started getting myself into something resembling an exercise routine, following my post-half-marathon hiatus.

So, how has this all gone? Has my week been a success?

Well, in terms of hard numbers, I haven’t seen as much of a change as I would have liked, but the change I have seen has been in the right direction. I have dropped two pounds, and I have lost an inch from my waist measurement. I am off to a start, so yay!

I have had a surprisingly easy time where discipline is concerned, and I believe this is the result of planning. Last Sunday night, I meticulously planned out and wrote down what the week’s meals would consist of. Once I have a written schedule, I tend to follow it quite rigourously. I have not been tempted by all of the Halloween candy in the house, nor by any of the processed junk food in grocery stores.

In fact, I have been having something approaching fun in the kitchen, as I have tried out new recipes. To my astonishment, none of my cooking experiments ended in disaster, although there are some that I clearly need to practice.

The thing that killed me was time, and this makes me realize that the obesity epidemic can, at least in part, be blamed on the fact that many people just do not have enough time to accomplish everything. I don’t care what you tell me, eating healthily is a lot more time-consuming than the alternative. When I’ve just worked a nine-hour day and spent an hour and a half commuting home, it is so tempting to just throw some processed crap into the microwave instead of taking the time to prepare something that’s actually good for you. It is so easy to blame people for the poor eating choices they make, but honestly, in this day and age it is not easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Lesson learned: do more prep on Sundays to save a bit of time during the week. Even if I do that, it may take a while for me to adjust and do things as efficiently as I need to.

With Week 1 done, I am looking ahead to Week 2. The menu is planned, and I have some specific goals with regard to runs and workouts.

Check this space for another report-back next Sunday.

(Photo credit: Andy Roberts. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)



Time to Jump in Puddles

From time to time, people who think they could raise my kids better than I do criticise me for not enrolling them in weekend activities, and from time to time, I wonder about that myself. I get this guilty feeling that I’m not exposing my kids to enough opportunities. From a logistical standpoint, it is so difficult, though. Even if you assume that I’m up to my neck in free time during weekends, which I so totally am not, my husband and I only have one car between the two of us. My husband usually goes to work on Saturdays, leaving me at home with the boys and a public transit system that is sporadic over weekends.

The real question is whether this is even an issue. Does it matter that the boys are home with me on Saturdays instead of being whisked off to baseball practice and karate class? It’s not like I get a lot of time with them during the week, and even when I am busy working on invoicing or household admin or laundry, I love having the boys around me. I listen to them play together, which they are doing more and more, and I let them watch movies like Ice Age and Cars 2. I break up their sibling rivalry spats, eat lunch with them, and occasionally bully them into picking up their toys. Sometimes we make “cake in a mug” or s’mores, or play intriguing variations of Scrabble. When I am doing my own thing, the kids will rush up to me at random times just to launch themselves at me and give me a hug.

If they were in weekend activities, none of that would happen. Someday, I know it will all change, and the boys will be off doing their own thing with their friends. But for now, I enjoy having that time with them.

And for the kids, it might not be a bad thing to have a bit of downtime. Their weeks are so busy, with school and homework and time with the respite worker and all the rest of it. I worry that overscheduling them would leave them no time to be kids.

After all, kids should always have the time to run around in the rain and jump in puddles.

Photo credit: Kirsten Doyle


The Good And The Bad

I am participating in the Health Activist Writers Month Challenge, in which I publish a post every day for the month of April, based on health-related prompts.

April 27 – 5 challenges, 5 small victories: Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going.

Autism can be a very complicated thing to live with. Its manifestations change from day to day. One day, my son will be able to tolerate loud noises but a small change in routine will send him into meltdown. The next, we’ll be able to turn his entire routine upside down but anything louder  than a whisper will set him off. Different strategies work for different kids on different days, and everyone you might see guidance from is convinced that their opinion is the right one.

The things I find most challenging about being an autism mom don’t really have to do with the autism itself. Whatever might be going on with my child on any particular day, I just deal with it. Sometimes it’s hard, but I always know that I’m doing my best, my son is doing his best, and at the end of the day we’ll all survive.

My challenges tend to come from sources other than my son and his autism. I list them in no particular order.

  1. The judgmental critics. It’s a moment every autism parent has lived through at least once. You and your child are in a grocery store, which let’s face it, is a mecca for sensory overload, and your child is getting more agitated by the second. You throw things into your cart at quickly as you can, but just as you get to the checkout, your child reaches his breaking point and explodes. As you are trying to calm him down, some snarky stranger loudly proclaims, “What that child needs is a good hiding.” I once heard someone say (referring to me), “If that mother was doing her job properly, this wouldn’t be happening.” Like I’m not already carrying around enough angst with me. With my social anxiety, I’m not great at the quick comeback, although I’m definitely better than I used to be.
  2. The third-person talker. These are the people who will talk about someone who is present as if that person were not in the room. The chances of this happening increase exponentially if the subject of conversation happens to have autism. I get it all the time. “Would George like a hamburger?” they will ask. My answer always seems to throw them a little: “Ask him,” I say. Yes, it is true that George is not the world’s greatest talker, and may not respond to everything that is said to him. But, you know. At least give the kid a chance to try. If he struggles to answer, I will help him.
  3. Guilt. I was educated at a girls-only Catholic school run by nuns, and I am married to an Irish Catholic man. I can therefore say with some authority that the Catholics turn guilt into an art form. And some of the guilt that I feel as a special needs parent (hell, forget special needs – just as a plain old parent) almost makes me think I should just convert. I feel guilty about everything. Did the Taco Bell I ate during pregnancy cause George’s autism? Did I give him enough affection as a baby? Am I paying enough attention to my other son? Did I get too mad at George when he tipped over the laundry basket?  The list goes on and on, and my guilt makes me constantly second-guess myself when I should just be following my parental instincts.
  4. Time. Time very often seems to be my enemy, so much so that I sometimes regard it as a person. Time with a capital T. No matter how much I try, Time seems to run away from me. At the end of each day, there is always something that remains undone. Parenting is my absolute number 1 priority, so my kids’ needs are always taken care of. But I tend to let other areas of my life slip occasionally, and that is detrimental to my physical and mental health.
  5. The Internet. When George was diagnosed with autism five years ago, the first thing I did when I got home was Google autism. I obsessively read web page after web page. Every link that I clicked on seemed to have some information that flatly contradicted something I’d read somewhere else, and in the end my brain was hurting from information overload. I was overwhelmed by not knowing what information to trust. Since then, I am wiser in my use of the Internet and I have learned, for the most part, how to tell the good information from the noise. But the Internet, with all of its gazillion theories about the causes of autism, can still hinder more than it helps a lot of the time.

In my house, there is no such thing as a “small victory”. Every single accomplishment, all of the positive things in our lives – are massive, big things. That’s the way it often is in special needs families. We tend to place extra stock in things that other families take for granted. And as hard as it can be to live with autism, there are many things that I am grateful for, that enable me to keep chugging along even at times when I just want to cry.

  1. Love. Love really does make the world go around. Out of all the challenges my son has, lack of affection is definitely not one of them. Both of my sons give the best hugs that I can carry around with me all day. My favourite moments are when my boys somehow manage to squeeze onto my lap together to give me a hug. I sit there, with my arms full of squirmy, giggling kid, and never want the moment to end.
  2. Running. Yes, running keeps me sane, and when something stops me from doing it – like illness or injury – depression starts to creep in. The fact that it keeps me in good physical health is almost a by-product of running. My prime reason for doing it, along with raising funds for autism, is to keep my mental health on an even keel. I struggle with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, and there’s no better way to combat my darker moments than a good long run. I am stubbornly resistant to using medication to deal with my issues, and running acts as a decent substitute for chemicals most of the time.
  3. Therapy. It has been said that running is cheaper than therapy, and while that is certainly true, I actually do need both. The therapist/client relationship is a very strange one. It involves the client placing complete trust in someone they actually know nothing about. I have been going to my therapist for a little over a year now, and it has taken me almost all of this time to build up my trust to a level where I can really open up during my sessions. Sometimes the sessions are very hard and they make me feel all weirded out for a while, but the truth is that once a week, I get the opportunity to talk without reservation in the sanctuary of my therapist’s office. I can say whatever I like and there will be no judgment or anger.
  4. Writing. I am somewhat inept as a verbal communicator, and I experience high levels of anxiety in social situations. When I am talking to other people, I hold back a lot, not only because of my natural shyness, but because my brain actually doesn’t work well during conversation. I can formulate a completely coherent thought in my mind, and even mentally phrase how I want to say it, but when it comes time for me to speak, my words get lost somewhere between my brain and my mouth. With writing, that doesn’t happen. I truly have a voice, and I treasure the opportunities to speak my mind on things that are important to me.
  5. The Internet. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. Despite the evils described in my “bad” list, the Internet is a haven of sorts. I belong to two Internet support groups – one for moms who have suffered pregnancy or infant loss, and one for parents of children with autism. Both of these groups are places where I can vent my concerns, ask for advice, or celebrate good news. Some of my best friends are people who I have known online for a long time, but have never met in person. Here’s the wonderful thing about the Internet: no matter what I am going through on any particular day, I will always be able to find someone who knows, at least to some extent, how I feel.

Time’s A Bitch, But I’m Gonna Beat It

I am having a battle with Time. This battle has been going on for a while, and I confess that for the most part, I have been letting Time win. I’ve decided that from now on, I’m going to stand tall, square my shoulders, hoist up my big girl panties, and KICK TIME IN THE ASS!

I am tired of the following statements being rules of my life:
– I don’t have time to run.
– I don’t have time to write.
– I don’t have time to cook nutritious meals.
– I don’t have time to get enough sleep.
– I don’t have time to relax with my family.

Basically, all I have time to do is commute, work, commute again, and then do a different kind of work when I get home.

This is no way to live. And I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m going to take the time to sort out the logistics of my life, so that going forward, I can do the stuff that matters.

I’m going to systematically go through the stuff in my house and throw crap away so that I can have the physical space to be organized. (I’ve already made a start on that – this weekend I cleaned out my kitchen cupboards and linen closet, and Freecycled three big garbage bags full of baby things).

I’m going to get all of my paperwork filed and up to date, and THEN I’m going to deal with things as they come in instead of waiting for a big fat pile of papers to be teetering over like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (I’ve made a start on that too).

I’m going to prepare kids’ clothing and lunches for the following day, and get my own stuff ready as well, as soon as I get home from work. That way it will be over and done with, and I won’t be dashing around at eleven at night looking for the kids’ socks or trying to find an apple to slice up for a lunch box.

I’m going to go to bed at a reasonable time.

That way, I will be able to get up early to RUN.

I will have time to write, time to cook real food, time to live my life the way it should be lived.

And with all of the crap and clutter out of my way (physical and mental clutter), I will have time for the most important stuff of all. My husband and children.

So that’s the plan, and I am publicly declaring it here.

Now, wish me luck. I think I’ll need it!

(Photo credit:


The Juggling Runner

Those who know me well know that I have the dual problem of (a) having way too much on my plate and (b) having crap time management skills. Juggling a full-time job with parenting a child with autism, parenting a child without autism, helping manage Gerard’s business, and everything else that I have going on, can really take it out of me. That is a lot of balls to have in the air, and dropping any one of them is not an option.

Despite all of this, though, I run. I am living proof that the excuse of not having time to exercise just doesn’t hold water. Anyone who wants to exercise badly enough – assuming they are medically and physically up for it – can find a way to make it work.

That being said, it is far from easy, and several people have asked me how I do it. And so, for people who are overtaxed, overworked, and overwhelmed and still want to exercise, I offer my words of wisdom (and thank you to the Running on Empty blogger for suggesting this as a blog topic).

1. Get your partner/spouse/significant other on board. I cannot stress this enough. I’m not saying you have to drag them out of bed to go running with you at five in the morning against their will, just ensure that you have their support. Explain to them what you want to do and why it’s important to you. Let them understand what impact, if any, it will have on them. I am very fortunate in this regard. Gerard occasionally grumbles and complains when I abandon him to the mercies of two lunatic children so I can go for a long run, but he understands that it is something I need to do. Come race day, he is always a rock of support for me, taking me to races at ungodly hours of the morning and cheering me on at the end.

2. Planning is essential for people pressed for time. At the beginning of each week, write down what days you are going to work out and how long each workout will be. Be sure to take into account the amount of time you will need to change into your workout clothes and get to wherever you need to be. Once you’ve done this, schedule the workouts in your calendar. Once they are in your calendar, don’t move them. Schedule other stuff around them.

3. Once the workout is scheduled, just do it. If your calendar says you’re getting up at five in the morning to go for a run, then get up at five in the morning to go for a run. There will be times when you just don’t think you’ll be able to drag yourself out the door, when all you want to do is go back to sleep. Your mind may even try to convince you that this would be healthier. If you give in, though, you will spend the rest of the day regretting it. If, on the other hand, you get up and do your workout, you will feel an amazing sense of accomplishment. As an added bonus, I frequently find that the runs I am really, really not in the mood for turn out to be some of the best ones ever.

4. As much as I’m going on about scheduling and planning, you have to be prepared for exceptions. Sometimes it won’t be possible for you to go running when you planned to. Your child will keep you awake all night, and you will genuinely need to catch up on sleep instead of running. Or your boss will call an emergency meeting that will cut into the time you had reserved for your lunchtime workout. Or you yourself will get sick and be forced to rest. This is all OK. Sometimes life gets in the way of running. If you’re not able to reschedule a missed workout, no problem. Just go for the next scheduled workout and life will continue to be good.

5. Remember that shorter workouts are still worthwhile. If you were planning to run for an hour and only find yourself with twenty minutes, it’s still worth running for those twenty minutes. From time to time, I’m not able to get out at all because I have no-one to watch the kids for me, but even on those days, I manage to do sprints up and down my road, checking on the kids between reps.

6. The key thing here is perseverance. Even when things get so overwhelming that you have to skip runs or take an extended break because you’re ill or injured, don’t give up. Remind yourself of why it is important to you, and think about how great it feels when you complete a great workout. When things get tough, don’t just give up and tell yourself it will not work. Ultimately, you are doing this for YOU, and you should never give up on yourself.


Running in the concrete jungle of life

I suffer from the age-old, clichéd, and frankly boring problem of being a woman with not enough hours in the day. I find myself going to bed ridiculously late and not getting enough sleep, and from time to time I wonder why this is. Am I really that busy or do my time management skills just suck? In analyzing this question, I decided to draw up a rough schedule of what happens in a typical day.

6:00 – 7:15    Wake up, get myself dressed and ready, get James dressed and ready.
7:15 – 7:30    Take James to daycare
7:30 – 8:45    Commute to work
8:45 – 4:45    Earn my keep
4:45 – 6:15    Commute home
6:15 – 7:30    Cook dinner, eat dinner, get kids to eat their dinner
7:30 – 8:00    Supervise George’s homework, read library books with both boys
8:00 – 9:00    Get kids bathed and into bed. Throw load of laundry into washing machine. Make sure car is locked. Make tea.
9:00 – 9:30    Get clothes ready for myself and kids for the following day. Make George’s lunch. Ensure kids’ backpacks contain homework, library books to be returned, forms to be returned to teachers, etc.
9:30 – 10:00    Clean up kitchen. Unload and load dishwasher. Turn dishwasher on and wash any dishes that don’t fit in dishwasher. Get coffee machine ready for the following morning.

What this means is that in the evenings, it’s around ten before I can even sit down at my computer and read emails. This is why I have given up on all of the Facebook games that end in “ville”. I just never have enough time to check on my farm, or my kitchen, or my pet. FarmVille – crops keep dying. FrontierVille – weeds keep growing. PetVille – pet keeps running away to the pound. You get the picture. So now, my Facebook games are the ones that I can spend five minutes or less on, where I won’t suffer penalties if I neglect them for five days.

Do you notice anything missing in the schedule above? Running. Where am I supposed to find time to run? If my daily timetable is anything to go by, my only options are (a) go running in time to be back by six in the morning, or (b) go running after ten at night. Option (b) isn’t really an option to me, because I would be worried about safety.  Something tells me that a woman running alone at that time of night would not be the smartest idea. So I’ve been going with option (a), getting up at 5:00 a.m., being out on the road by 5:15, and trotting back into my driveway by around 6:10 or so.

Except lately, this hasn’t been working out too well. George has been having issues sleeping – a phenomenon very common to children with autism. On any given night, there is roughly a fifty/fifty chance of him – and thereby me – actually getting a full night’s sleep. On the nights he wakes up, he crawls into bed next to me and plays with my hair. No matter how many times I gently move his hands away from my head, they always find their way back there, and he wraps it around his fingers, scrunches it up in his hands, sniffs it, strokes it, on and on and on until he drifts back to sleep. On the good nights, this lasts for half an hour or so. On the bad nights, it will go on for two or three hours.

It doesn’t matter how dedicated a runner you are. If you have a small child keeping you awake from 2:30 until 4:30, it is going to be near-impossible for you get up at 5:00, go running, and then put in a full day of work. It’s not even as if George’s nocturnal adventures are an occasional thing.  For the last month or so, it has been happening two or three nights a week.

It is hammering me, and I am increasingly stressed out by my inability to find time to run. Not running is not an option. Running late at night when I feel vulnerable is not an option. Running first thing in the morning when I’ve had no sleep is not an option.  So I have to get creative.

To solve the problem, I started by considering each run individually. I run five days a week, with Mondays and Fridays off. The weekend runs are not a problem: even if I have to get up early for those, I have the option of vegetating in front of the TV for the rest of the day (true, I’d have two kids jumping on me, but still). That takes care of four days of the week right there. On Wednesdays I go running with a group after work (kills my Wednesday evening schedule but I can live with that once a week), and I’ve worked out that I could do my Tuesday runs on a treadmill at the gym at lunchtime.

All of a sudden, the problem is a lot more manageable. Now, all I have to worry about are the Thursday runs. I’m still not too sure what I will do about those, but I’ll figure something out, either by just living with the early-mornings-after-no-sleep once a week or by doing some kind of creative reorganization to my schedule.

It just goes to show: when the running bug bites you, somehow you find a way to fit it all in.