How we trained for a marathon, raised $20K, and kept our house from imploding

buckwheat, eggs, greens

What I eat when left to fend for myself while training.

It seems likely (kenahora) that next Monday Jesse & I will run the Boston Marathon with our marriage and our kids sill intact, and our house looking good enough to have Grammy stay over. Also, since we have less that $500 left to meet our goal of raising $20,000 for Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, I’m feeling pretty positive about that. So, what lessons do we have to share with others who might undertake similar philanthropic insanity?

  1. Kids are always nicer for other people than they are for their parents. Thanks to all of the people who have taken care of one or both of our guys so that we could run and attend fundraising events. We are glad that they have not (mostly) trashed your houses or left you in tears.
  2. It don’t have to be fancy, just nutritious. I’m not sure how Jesse has managed to meet his caloric requirements, other than having earned the nickname “feedbag” at work, but my standards are pretty low. I keep fresh greens, cottage cheese, and sunbutter on hand, and add them liberally to whatever is left of what the boys consented to eat the night before. Also, microwaved scrambled eggs are a life saver. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!
  3. There is no substitute for sleep. This was the missing ingredient in some of our past training cycles. Contrary to what we like to think, coffee is not, in fact, “liquid sleep”. We are nicer spouses and parents when we get 8-9 hours.
  4. Schedule down time. Because it ain’t gonna happen otherwise! We set aside time weekly both individually and as a couple to intentionally not train, fundraise, work, or think about training, fundraising, and work. Again, nicer people.
  5. Entertain often. It forces you to clean on a regular basis, entertains the kids, and gives you other things to talk about than running, being hungry and sore, and how to keep your Gu from freezing.
  6. We’re only human. Overtraining — getting worn down, unmotivated, and ultimately sick or injured — is a real hazard of marathon training when you have an “intense” personality. (Some might say “type-A” or “perfectionistic”.) We both reminded each other to take much-needed rest days more often than we kicked each other’s butts out the door for runs. Toddler decided that 3 a.m. was time to party? Have to train 300 case managers in one week? It’s ok to reevaluate that tough hill workout you had scheduled.

Actually, looking back at this list, it seems like pretty good advice for any parent. So, here’s to you! Lower your standards and give yourself some love for that workout called life.


2 responses to “How we trained for a marathon, raised $20K, and kept our house from imploding

  1. You guys are amazing! I saw your car out front yesterday, Carolyn, and was asking Peter, “just how do they DO that–the intense training and fundraising–and WITH two small kids?”

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