This is a post in two parts.

Part One: September 25, 2011

Watch out.  I’m going to whine.

Today was the 12th Annual Flutie Foundation 5K.  It’s a race I ran last year.  My first 5K ever.

It was also the last time my running shoes were on my feet.

I have a lot of friends who ran today.  Friends I ran with last year and some friends running it for the first time today.  When they signed up for the race, my name was included on the e-mails about registration, carpooling, etc.

Each time I wrote back that I wouldn’t be there.

My friends were awesome, even threatening to kidnap me out of the house and train with me.  I laughed, knowing that they were only partly kidding.  I want to, I’d say, but I just can’t.

I had a million excuses.  It was too hot or too cold.  I had no childcare.  I had no sleep.

Truth is, I just couldn’t get myself out of the house.  I was stuck.  Paralyzed again by everything that had happened this year.  Strapping on my running shoes just didn’t seem like the answer.  I was just too tired.

I struggled with this every time they would run by the house or saw their daily run times posts on Facebook.  These were autism moms too.  How are they not tired like me?  What is getting them up and out to run when it’s all I can do to just get up and out of bed?

As the race date got closer and closer, I got more and more depressed.  Here was a foundation I believed in – an organization founded by Doug Flutie in honor of his son – doing amazing work in our community.  They give out grants to school districts and organizations to help kids just like mine.  I had even planned to approach our school to help apply for one of those grants to get a social skills group in our community.

I couldn’t even find time to work on that grant.  I couldn’t find the time to do anything this year.

Running that race last October was the last thing I remember doing just for me.  It was my accomplishment and mine alone.  I trained for that run alone.  My kids were proud of me, and still talk about it. Like “Remember when Mom ran that race and didn’t win?  She still got a T-shirt!” It was my Hopeful Parents post for October 2010.

What have I done since then?  For me?

Yes, I know I have been taking care of three amazing children, each with their own demands on my time.  Since that race, we received one more autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, transitioned one kid to kindergarten, and discovered new anxieties and worries in our fourth grader.  I’ve walked the dog several hundred times, cleaned up the same Hot Wheels cars a thousand times, and stared at piles of laundry for days.

But the only accomplishment that I can point to that was just for me was completing all the levels on Angry Birds.  And even that, Tim helped me.

Seeing the race photos today from my friends hit me harder than I thought it would.  On each of them I wrote: YAY!  Good for you!  and So sad I wasn’t there with you today.

I need to get back the “something just for me”.  It may not be running at this point.  But it has to be something.  This “nothing”…just isn’t working.

Part Two: September 26, 2011

I put two kids on their buses.  Took one kid to preschool.

I went to the closet and pulled out my running shoes, grabbed my iPod and headphones, and headed out the door.

The air was thick with heat and humidity already.  I clicked through to my running playlist.

The opening notes to “Hannah Jane” by Hootie and the Blowfish filled my ears.  And off I went.

A jog.  A slow slow jog.  Down the sidewalk, avoiding the cracks and the acorns and the fallen branches.  Behind me, toilets that needed to be cleaned, a floor that hasn’t been washed in weeks, and dishes that needed to be put away.

In front of me, nothing.

I was alone, just me and my music.  Together again for the first time in a year.

It’s not the solution to my problems.  But it’s a start.

If you’ll excuse me, I have sore feet to soak.  And a bruised self-esteem to fix.

**********

Click HERE to learn more about the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism and all the great work they do.  They are involved in this cool project called “Hacking Autism“, working together with Autism Speaks and Hewlett-Packard to create new apps for people living with autism. You can send in your ideas for apps right to them.

And definitely click HERE for the most amazing video made by my incredible friend.  She’s running in the NYC marathon this November in honor of her kids, my kids, and the thousands of other people with autism spectrum disorder.  You may recognize a few incredible cute faces in the video.  She is a true inspiration to me and someday I hope to be like her.

“Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride
Nobody’s gonna slow me down, oh-no
I got to keep on moving
Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride
I’m running and I won’t touch ground
Oh-no, I got to keep on moving” – Break My Stride by Matthew Wilder

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