Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We run together

What do you do when you finish a really great book, or your TV show has a crazy surprise twist, or your kid says something hilarious? Me - I tell my running partner all about it on our run the next morning. It's amazing the range of topics covered on a simple 6-mile run at 6 in the morning.

I have been blessed enough to find some running partners in my own neighborhood. For years, my friend Sarah lived just around the corner from me. We would meet early in the mornings before work and run and chat and get a good start on the day. She's the one who got me started running with friends. In fact, we even went on a cruise together with our husbands and ran circle after circle after circle around the top deck together. Not the best running route, but we did run my very first Hospital Hill half marathon less than three months later, so it got the job done.

When Sarah told me she was moving out of our neighborhood, I was kind of heartbroken. What would I do? Well, it turns out another Sarah lived right across the street from me, and she was also a runner. What are the odds of that? Actually, the odds probably aren't that crazy. I don't think you can swing a cat without hitting a Sarah born between the years 1976-1985. Very popular name, that one.

We started running our weekday runs together. Even running while we were both pregnant (our girls were born a mere 6 weeks apart). Now when Sarah and I talk about the possibility of either of us moving, it is with the understood agreement that the other will be moving right next door.

I guess you could say I'm addicted to running with girlfriends.

I haven't always been this way. Years ago, I ran all my runs on my own. In fact, on the rare occasion my husband would run with me, I would get mad at him if he tried to talk to me. How dare you try to converse when I'm just trying to finish?!? I just didn't get how it could be done.

Talk about a 180. Now, even though I will run on my own if I need to, if I have an option, I will absolutely always choose running with someone. Even when running by myself, I like to listen to the podcasts by the ladies at Another Mother Runner. These two ladies chat back and forth about running things, so it's like I'm talking to my girlfriends. And, yes, you might have seen me laughing to myself as I'm running alone listening on my iPod. I'm sure I look much cooler than it sounds like I do.

Not quite two years ago, a good friend of mine decided to take up running. I couldn't have been happier for her. But, we lived quite a distance away from each other, so I didn't see how we could become running partners. Then, she introduced me to a whole new way of running. Running with a community.

I had been a runner for 13 years and had never really felt like I was part of the Kansas City running community. Then, my friend Anne starts running, and my eyes were opened. Sometimes you just don't know what you're missing because you've never tried anything different.

 I started meeting Anne on the weekends for long runs with SundayRunday, a group that runs on Sundays (duh), with every range of runner meeting together at the start, running the same course, and chatting as everyone finishes.

When we couldn't run on a certain Sunday, we tried out the Saturday run at Ultramax. Then, we met a guy at SundayRunday who also runs with the Olathe Running Club. His group runs on Saturdays, too. Turns out, there are all these different communities of running I never knew existed.

Through Anne, I met Kelli. We became a trio. Through Kelli, we met Ally. Then, there's Marsha and Stephanie and Malynda and Kelly and Megan and Pam and Libby. All incredible women met through running. Not to mention all the time I get to spend with old friends, Anne or Sarah or Katie or Kay, in a new way: running.

I'm not saying there aren't great guys out there running, too, because there are. I'm just highlighting women because I typically run with women. Guys usually aren't as eager as girlfriends to discuss the latest episode of Downton Abbey on a 10-mile run.

In fact, myself and some of these awesome ladies I've been talking about actually made it onto the Hospital Hill 40th Anniversary poster this year.
Talk about a wonderful surprise. And, an awesome way to commemorate some of the amazing ladies running has brought into my life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

As different as day and night

Staying home has given me many advantages when it comes to scheduling class times for the girls. I feel like there are more options and availability for daytime classes. Between both girls' classes, we've done Kindermusik, dance, library story times, and gymnastics - all during the day.

I have always known it was nice, but didn't quite appreciate how nice it really was until we had to enroll Molly in a night class this fall. See, she's got this darn thing called Kindergarten that keeps getting in the way.

Molly's been taking dance since she was 3. She's by no means a prodigy, and she's not in competition or anything, just a simple dance class and recital at the end of the school year. This year, when we went from a morning class to a night one, my eyes were opened.

Her day class was taught by the owner of the school and had eight girls. Her nighttime class has more than double that amount of tiny dancers. The parking lot is always filled, and I can't just have the ear of the owner any time I want before or after class. It's definitely a different experience.

The one advantage to a night class is that I scheduled Molly to be in the same class as my friend Terah's daughter Melese. This worked out perfectly so that Terah and I can hang out together while the girls dance. I have to admit that part is a vast improvement over the different ways I used to have to attempt to occupy Charlotte for 50 minutes in the middle of the day.

Did you know you can just go into Petsmart and wander around for 40 minutes looking at the fish, cats, dogs, birds and hamsters? I drew the line at watching mice, though, because although she loved watching them, they totally creep me out.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An exercise in treadmill frustration

Welcome to my first post as a member of the Hospital Hill Blogging team! I'm very excited to have been chosen to be a part of this team and am looking forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences about running in general and training for the 40th Hospital Hill Run.

To those new readers: My name is Amy Lafferty (thus the Laff in the title of my blog. I promise I can spell.) I'm a 32-year-old stay-at-home mom training for my 4th running of Hospital Hill Run half marathon. I've been a runner for almost 15 years. I'm married to Cory, and we have two girls, Molly, 5, and Charlotte, almost 3.

To my old readers (and don't you like being referred to that way?): Watch out for lots more running-related posts. You know you want 'em.

To everyone: I hope you enjoy and at least get one laugh at my expense. That's why I'm here.

This past week has been heaven for a runner like me. Every day this week, my runs have been in temps either right at or above freezing. In January. January?!?! Let's just call it what it is: A freakish warm weather system moving through the Midwest. Or, more commonly: A runner's miracle.

Like most other people, winter is the hardest time for me to get my mileage in. First, it is cold outside, and that always makes it difficult to get that first foot out of the door (or even out of bed). But when you actually do get out the door, you have to contend with the darkness and the snow and ice covering your normal paths and sidewalks.

Confession: I may or may not have an app on my phone that tracks the times of the sunrise and sunset. And, I may or may not check it with absolute obsessiveness in hopes that one day soon it will be light outside for my 6 am run.

The obvious answer to the issues of running outside is to run inside on a treadmill. I even have one in my basement. And, I used to run almost exclusively on it in my days before kids. Every day, without fail, I would get up at 5 am to run six miles on my treadmill while I watched an episode of General Hospital taped from the day before.

Yes, I did just admit that I watch a soap opera to all of cyberspace. I even taped it on a VHS tape if that makes it any worse. Judge me if you want. 

But, now, with two young children who are light sleepers and wake up very early anyway, getting my morning runs in on the treadmill is an absolute exercise in frustration. I'm not just talking about the frustration of running for six miles and not actually going anywhere. I'm talking the frustration stemming from the constant and unabated interruptions from my two "darling" children.

"Mom, can you turn on a TV show for me?"

"Mom, I need a Kleenex."

"Mom, I'm hungry."

"Mom, I'm thirsty."

"Mom, I wanted milk, not water."

"Mom, can you read a book to me?"

"Mom, can we play Candy Land?"

There's nothing better than that constant questioning and demanding first thing in the morning when all you want to do is get some miles in, right? Plus, it should be obvious, as I'm tripping along on a moving belt attached to a big machine in our basement and dripping sweat all over the place, that, of course, I can stop immediately to play a rousing game of Candy Land. Makes perfect sense to me.