It’s a little after 5 am and I’m part way into my first set of burpees. As I go down into my push-up, I watch a dust bunny scutter further back into the space between the bookshelf and the tub that holds various pieces of workout equipment for the family. From this vantage point I can also see crumbs under the table from one of the boys’ recent meals. “We’ll clean the floors this weekend” I think, pushing myself back up into a plank, but deep down I know I’m lying to myself. With two boys and a husband, all four of us active, any spare time is more likely to be filled with athletics than cleaning.
Neither my husband nor I were involved in any typical team sports in school, but I was on the cross country team and track team from middle school through college, and continued running afterwards. My husband lifted and worked out, and still does. I ran through both my pregnancies, until the final trimester when my front-heaviness made me nervous enough to slow to a daily walk. I was back running, pushing a jogging stroller, within 2 weeks of delivery. So, both our boys had the influence of movement from the very beginning. Now my boys are 7 and 9, and are active in basketball, soccer and flag football. I’ve become involved in the ultra and trail running community. All four of us compete in various levels of Spartan races.
I personally love being a mom in an active family. The kids often get up early before school to do mini workouts with me after I finish my own. They go to the gym with my husband and then come home and brag about how much weight they were able to lift. This past Memorial Day we all did the 21 Guns workout together, a 21 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workout with 21 reps of each move meant to signify a 21-gun salute to the branches of military. It was a great workout and a teachable moment about service and sacrifice. It’s fun to cheer for my kids at their races, and to have them and my husband at the finish line of my races.
We inspire one another. I had always played with the idea of running ultra trail races, ever since high-school when I read about Ann Trason winning a 100 mile trail race with a detached quad muscle. I love the woods, I like the challenge of a long race, and I’m not afraid to put in work, so it seemed like a good fit. As with so many things, life happens and things slip away, but when my then-6-year-old looked at me and said, “Mommy, you should do a hundred mile race, I know you could!” it rekindled the awe I had felt as a young girl and I began planning for my first ultra race. My husband and I did his first Spartan together and encouraged each other through each one of the obstacles. Medals and trophies outnumber knickknacks and pictures in our house, and they have way better stories behind them.
That is not to say our lifestyle is without struggles and drawbacks; I already mentioned the dust bunnies. Oftentimes I feel like our housekeeping is more an exercise in balancing on the brink of anarchy than actually achieving cleanliness. While we get to work out together, we rarely achieve the coveted family sit-down dinner. Most nights are carefully planned in advance in order to fit in workouts and practices.
However, I believe that movement is an essential part of being human. I also believe that athletics teaches us lots of lessons that apply to life, and I’m grateful every day to be able to share that with my family. And the good news is, in the event of a dust bunny uprising, we’ll be well equipped to fend them off.