Monday, November 4, 2013

The running mom's Christmas wish list

I really suck at making Christmas wish lists. My in-laws like to get their shopping done early and usually start asking for them as soon as the barest hint of yellow marks the first leaves of fall. I'm sure this level of preparedness means they never find themselves frantically scouring eBay or Amazon for the fastest possible shipping methods a week before the holiday, because they only just thought of the perfect gift that very morning. And then praying on the beard of Zeus it makes it by Christmas Eve because they really don't want to have to print out a picture of it and wrap that up instead of the actual gift, because it didn't arrive in time. Again.

Me either.

Besides the usual Chapters gift cards and the journal-I-swear-to-start-keeping-in-201X-but-probably-won't-past-January-4, I've got a few other things to add that I think are universal for the special woman in your life who schedules hill training between preschool dropoffs and pretending to fold laundry, while really trolling People online. Here are the gifts the running mom in your life really wants.

Noise-isolating headphones. After listening to a chorus of “Mommy, someone spilled juice in the kitchen!"/Can you tell me all the minions' names again?"/"He's looking at me! MAKE IT STOP!" on repeat, every single day, we don’t want to hear anything except Rihanna’s newest mix or maybe some Iron Maiden while we run. We don’t want to hear the neighbourhood dog, we definitely don’t want to hear your kid if we don’t have to listen to our own, and we’re even negotiable on hearing a potential abductor sneaking up behind us, in the event they want to take us somewhere quiet.

A good sports bra. Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel beast. You’d think she’d be a bit kinder because she's one of us, but unfortunately she changes everything after a woman gives birth. And if there's one thing more disheartening than the eternal post-baby belly pooch, it's realizing that sound you hear 2k into your run is not your feet hitting the pavement, but your formerly gravity-defying assets slapping against your ribcage.

Wine. Also fondly referred to as liquid motivation in our home. I might not be super-eager to run home to the chaos I left behind, but you can safely bet the promise of a glass of zinfandel puts a spring in my step and pushes me up the mild inclines.**

A technical shirt. It need not be anything fancy or special. It just needs to be there as back-up in the very likely scenario that the one we’re wearing is the victim of an explosive diaper or someone rubs a massive snot ball on it before we can make it to the front step.

A banana. Chances are we were saving the last one in the house as a pre-run snack, but cut it up for one of the kids instead. Chances are even greater said child didn’t eat it, but made sure to feed it to the dog so we couldn’t either.

A life-size cardboard cutout of herself. It's a scientific fact that as soon the ear warmer goes on and a child gets wind of the fact that their mother is about to enjoy some alone time, they will develop a stomach virus in 3.4 seconds and begin to violently retch up the few meals and snacks they deigned to eat in the prior 48 hours.*** For the record, there is no scientific explanation for how someone who eats so little can yield SO MUCH VOMIT. At any rate, a decoy is always useful.

A nap. If there’s anything that kills motivation faster than discovering a Gilmore Girls marathon on TV, it’s exhaustion. And if your spouse/daughter/friend is a mom, there’s a 98% chance she’s tired. The two per cent who say they aren’t are either lying or heavy drinkers, and the alcohol has numbed their senses.

**It is highly inadvisable to break into this gift pre-run. It will not boost your morale or numb you to the ache in your quads, as you hoped it might. Not that I know from experience.

***This phenomenon is not limited only to running, and is also true of girls' night out, a mongrel-free grocery shopping trip and any event that involves non-refundable tickets.

Note: This post has been modified slightly from the original version that appeared as part of iRun magazine's Blog Idol 2.0 in December 2012. This new version takes into account the variety of bodily fluids (none of which are my own) that have tried to interfere with my running life during the past year.


  1. So funny! So awesome! So true! :)

  2. I LLOL'd. Yes, two L's, one for "literally." And I might steal your wishlist in the event that I can legitimately call myself a running mum by Christmas. :)

  3. A banana and sports bra are perfect stocking stuffers! I love this. (stopping over from Robin F's mention)

  4. I don't run, but I do enjoy a glass of wine!

  5. I just Googled "cardboard cut out of myself where to buy" and found a tutorial. Because that is awesome. I love catching up on your blog!