Smart or slacker?

Howdy, friends.

I was out running with my friends Christine and Kristen this morning, friends I’ve probably logged a thousand miles with, and we were discussing our strategies for this year.

Christine has decided to just do one marathon — Grandma’s, in Duluth — instead of her normal two. But she did say she would do all the long runs with me while I get ready for Twin Cities just because she loves to run long.

Kristen is going to do the half in Brookings in May — looks like I couldn’t convince her to do the marathon with me — and New York in November.

Me? I still don’t know what I’m doing. I’m in for Twin Cities and am training like I will run Brookings. Though I haven’t registered for it yet.

We were discussing our various injuries — stress-fractures, hip problems, piriformis issues, achilles issues, you name it — and if any of us feel competitive this year. I wish I could honestly say that I don’t, that I just want to run and be healthy … but you know how it goes. You get a few good runs in, a few in the double digits, and all of a sudden your thoughts go haywire. “Maybe I’ll do two marathons this year, the year I was going to take it easy with a newborn and a toddler.” And of course, the first thought is, well, I’ll run them easy … and then the next is, “And by easy I mean bust my ass out there and see what happens.”

Christine mentioned that she is always the happiest on a Saturday after a long run with friends — that good feeling stays around all day, much more so than after a marathon or other race, when self-doubt creeps in and you wonder if you REALLY gave it everything you had out there. That’s so true. I love being out there with my girlfriends, ticking away the miles early in the morning.

But I love standing at the starting line, too. I love it the most when I’m in shape and belong there, obviously. And I guess I hate it, too, around mile whatever when I am dying and crabby and wondering what the hell I was thinking. That feeling usually passes, thankfully.

I don’t know. I don’t have to decide today what I’m doing this year. I don’t have to decide any time soon about a spring race. Just keep plugging away and see what happens, right?

In the meantime, it felt good to hear the snow crunching under my feet this morning, to laugh with the girls, to come home to a happy baby and toddler and husband a big old cup of coffee.

We all talked that maybe it’s not just vanity or competition or any of that that keeps us going — that it’s really because running is our social time. That might be more of it than anything. Thank god I’ve fallen in with this bad crowd — I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Though, let’s be honest, vanity plays a part. I took Jack to this awful indoor “family fun” place this weekend and realized, sweet jesus, is the whole country hugely obese? Christ. Put down the cookies. That alone makes me haul my ass out and run.)

So, I guess we’ll see what 2011 holds. Though if I don’t stop with these freakin’ Girl Scout cookies (hello, shortbread), I’m going to have to trade in my running shoes for fat pants.

And because I know you want baby photos, here are a few.

Jack and I this winter (man, I need to wear lip gloss, good lord).

Genevieve on her blankie. "I'm almost 4 months old! I'm a big girl now!"

Happy running.

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