Sunday, February 20, 2011


is the title of a Frog and Toad story. It's a great one. A friend of mine gave Sam a set of Frog and Toad when he was born with a card reading, "Everything you need to know about life is in these books." And the more I read (and read, and read) them the more I think she might be right.

In this particular story Frog makes delicious chocolate chip cookies and, after eating most of them with Toad, throws them to the birds so he won't eat all of them and calls that willpower. (It's funnier when Arnold Lobel tells it.) I'm not quite sure why Kris always thinks of me when she reads it. Do I have funny ways of expressing my willpower? Do I have poor willpower around chocolate chip cookies? Hmmm.

So, willpower. Mine is spotty, at best. It shines when I'm hiking: alone with a mountain I want to climb, I just won't quit until I've finished it. (This has not always been a good thing, but I'm still alive, so it's successful on that level.) But for the rest of Life, I get easily distracted and poof! there goes my willpower. Unfortunately, motherhood has eroded it even more. Something about starting a project knowing that it is going to be interrupted makes me detach from the need to finish anything.

Running (which I've started doing again, BTW) requires willpower. Especially when you're out of shape and running on a treadmill - without a TV. Running is both the most empowering and the most humbling of activities. Humbling because it has taken serious pep talks to get me to stagger through 3 miles. ("3 miles?! Anyone can run 3 miles. Move. Don't stop. It's only 3 miles! NO, don't stop now either.")  And empowering because I am so freakin' excited for myself when I finish a run.

I feel as if developing my willpower has been harder and more important than getting my muscles back where they belong. I know I am strong and will be fit again, but I'm less confident that I can finish what I've set out to do. Whether that's today's run or the training for - and running of - a marathon.

But every day that I get out and run gives me another bit of confidence. And today, for the first time, once I was in my clothes I actually had a pleasant sensation of anticipation when contemplating my run instead of having to haul myself out by the scruff of my neck. So that's progress!

Now, where are those chocolate chip cookies?


  1. Thank you for writing this Jen. I check your blog every few days (often procrastinging a task I have to do), and eagerly look forward to new posts. I know all too well the struggle between a warm cookie and a workout...such a symbiotic relationship!

  2. Bravo! Once exercise becomes a habit, one feels uneasy when one doesn't.

    Aunt Joani

  3. I need to follow your lead and Aunt Joani's advice! :-) THose first 2-3 weeks are HARD!!