A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

So now, I run.

“You’re fisting!” she snapped.

“Well, YOU’RE leaving skid marks,” I snapped back. “Pick up your feet!”

No, this is not boudoir dialogue.

This is what it sounds like when my 8 year old daughter Mini-Me and I go running together.

Okay, so we’ve only done it once. But that’s how it sounded, mixed with a lot of heavy breathing and the muffled slap-slap-slap of my ass cheeks on the backs of my thighs.

She’s part of a Girls on the Run program at her school and she’s training for her first 5K. Apparently, one of the tips she’s gleaned from her training is to not tighten your hands into fists while you run.

Guilty as charged. I was fisting. But I had my stop watch in one hand and my car key in the other.

And the fact that she calls it fisting makes me laugh, and I’m really not fit enough to waste so much of my precious oxygen cackling while I run.

What Mini-Me hasn’t yet learned is to pick up her damn feet so she doesn’t sound like a little old man shuff-shuff-shuffling off to Buffalo. Drives me nuts!

Not that I’m a pro or anything. I only ran my first 5K about 18 months ago right around the time I reluctantly turned 40. But I do know enough about running basics and physics in general to know that dragging her feet will slow her down, tire her out, and ruin her shoes.

Of course, she’d rather fist a hemorrhoidal honey badger than listen to her Mama, but whatever.

Her coaches suggested that at least one parent from each family train with the girls as their “running buddy.” They encouraged us to sign up for the 5K run too.

Our race is scheduled for November 12th. That’s less than 4 weeks away. So now I’m in training. I’m doing the Couch to 5K running plan because that’s what I did before and it worked for me.

This time though, I jumped in at training week #5 instead of starting from the beginning. Doing things half-assed and without adequate preparation is pretty much how I roll.

But I ain’t no quitter…  most   some of the   this time.

And I have really good motivation: I definitely don’t want to embarrass my kid next month and be the one rickety mom hyperventilating on the sidelines, needing medical support.

So now, I run.

I am a runner!

(photo source: http://www.facebook.com/HealthyBodyProject)

Aw yeah. Eye of the tiger, baby.

Maybe someday she’ll look back on this time together as she accepts her first Olympic Gold medal and she’ll think “That was pretty cool that my Mom trained for and ran my first race with me.” And then she’ll tell Bob Costas all about fisting and skid marks and the sound of my butt.

Hey, a gal can dream.

Got any great running (or parenting) tips for me? Leave me a comment and tell me what you know.

Born to run,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


  1. Lyn

    OMG Iris – you kill me!

    • The Bearded Iris

      It was the fisting, wasn’t it. I know. Fisting kills.

  2. Dawn

    I like to wear something flame retardant when walking (or attempting to run) so that the friction of my thighs rubbing together won’t start flames.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Great tip! I just enjoy using the word “retardant” whenever possible, so shopping for pants like this would be fun. Thanks Dawn!

  3. S.K. Epperson

    Hahaha! Hilarious! The what I feel like when I run vs what you’re pretty sure you look like photos had me nodding my head and laughing out loud! And good God now I know why I was getting sneered at by all those other runners. I’m a Fister!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Ha! Yay – I’m not the only one! I’m going to put “I enjoy fisting” as my Facebook status right now. Join me?

  4. Sandra

    I’d tell you to bring your iPod so you don’t have to have meaningful mother/daughter conversations while your ass cheeks are slapping together, but I’m guessing that’s defeating the purpose of making those memories she’ll later thank you for in life.
    Good for you though, you’re a great mom!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I’m going to print that out and put it in my “See, I told you I am a great mom!” file. Thanks Sandra!

  5. Pricilla - Famous SpokesGoat

    I just like to let my udder swing free when I run. Now that I am an old goat I don’t care any longer.

    But then again I don’t usually choose to run – I saunter like a goat queen should.

    • The Bearded Iris

      PRICILLA! Welcome! I love the vision of you sauntering, udder sashaying about, nary a care. You are an inspiration! And you make damn fine soap and cheese. Come back anytime! I would love to interview you for a piece I’m writing about deviant sex in the animal kingdom. Are you ga-a-a-a-a-me?

      • Pricilla - Famous SpokesGoat

        Aaaah, but I am truly a ladylike goat. I am not at all like that AbbyGoat. I behave…well, unless my studmuffin Luke the goat gets near then watch out!!

  6. Colleen M

    The super runner chick in the ‘what I feel like’ photo is fisting too so it can’t be that bad? Can it? I say fist if ya want to, whatever feels good baby, running is hard enough.

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG, you’re right! She’s a fister! She fists! I smell a new line of bumper stickers… “Fist if ya want to.” Those will go over really well here in Georgia.

      • Linda

        You can fist if you want to, you can leave your cares behind. Because your friends don’t fist, and if they don’t fist, well, they’re no friends of mine!

        • The Bearded Iris

          Okay, that made me snort. As a teen in the 80s, you know I loves me some Men with Hats! Now I’m going to be dancing the robot and singing this ALL FUCKING DAY. Hahahaha! Thank you!

  7. The Mother Freakin' Princess

    OMG…I love the picture and the ‘fisting’!

    • The Bearded Iris

      And I LOVE your name!

      Saw that you shared this post on FB. Thank you! We Runner Mothers need to stick together!

  8. Liza Martz

    Alas, I am unable to run due to, hmmm, well….anyway. I can walk at a goodly pace and I recently saw a video of me engaged in this activity and realized I have a lumbering gorilla-swagger complete with knuckle dragging fists. I’m a fista-sista. Yes!

    • The Bearded Iris

      “Fista-sista”!!!! OMG. I love you.

  9. JD

    Funny thing is, Bob Costas will probably still be alive in 20 years, looking exactly the same, when he interviews your daughter. His lack of aging is creepy, I tell you. Creepy.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Word! I’m so with you on that one, girl.

  10. JD

    PS – I recently got couch to 5k too – it works?

    • The Bearded Iris

      YES! For me, it totally worked. I had never run for even two straight minutes before and thought I would sure die when I started the program, but the gradual increase over time is so effective and motivating. And I loved having an exact checklist of what to do each of those three days a week. The only thing I would (will) do differently is to add in some strength training on the non-running days so that my legs get stronger.

      Yay! Do it! We can cheer each other on!

  11. Chris

    I LOVE that picture and that’s exactly how I feel/look when I run…I mean jog? Don’t ya love GOTR? My daughter ran that last year on what had to be one of the hottest days of the year dressed in long pants she insisted on wearing and I stupidly let her wear. Everytime I ran all summer and felt hot and tired, I had to remind myself of how horrible that experience must have been for her! Strangely, she wants to do it again so this year, I may have to run it with her. HELP…it’s going to be pretty embarrassing!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Embarrassing Moms, unite!!

      You know what else is embarrassing? When I bend over in the grocery store to put something under my cart and my daughter scrambles up behind me to cover my crack and love handles. That makes me feel really pretty.

  12. Kim at Let Me Start By Saying

    If I was running, it would be because a scary murderer was trying to steal my cheesecake.

    I bow to you, Oh Motivated One.

    • The Bearded Iris

      SNARF! I promise I’ll never try to steal your cheesecake. Wait, is that code for something dirty? If so, I take it back. No promises.

  13. Kelly

    Last Friday, my five-year-old challenged me to race up to the front door. I tripped, and fell into the freaking bushes. Needless to say, I have learned my lesson. Let the kid win. Hope your race goes better then mine. 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      So frickin’ awesome! I bet she’ll never forget the time she smoked you so bad that she left you in the dust…also known as the foundation shrubbery.

  14. Mary the Oinkteller

    Woot, woot! Run like the wind, Iris! Girls on the Run is a great program – I’m looking forward to the day my daughter can participate (she probably won’t just to spite me). Running tips: 1) No fiber before running. 2) No caffeine before running. 3) If running longer than 10 miles, imodium ad is a must. Obviously, I have some issues to explore…

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh CRAP, Mary! Really? Does that mean I have to stop putting Benefiber in my wine?

      Also, I had THREE cups of coffee yesterday before I ran 2 miles. Awesome. That’s probably why I was shaking afterwards.

      More please! Will you be my running mentor?

      • Mary the Oinkteller

        I’d be honored to be your running mentor! (I hope you turn out better than my kids.) 😉 Seriously, running is great exercise and mentally challenging to boot. Get out there and keep going – don’t give up! There’s guilt free wine waiting for you when you’re done! (That may just be me…)

  15. Alex aka Whoa Mumma

    Just found your blog and I’m going to pimp it on my facebook page.

    Be careful that running stuff can get bloody addictive.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Bloody addictive, eh? Oh I hope so! It would be such a pleasant change of pace for one of my addictions to actually be good for me.

      Glad you found me and thanks for the pimpin’! Whooot!

  16. Julie @ mamamash

    Couch to 5k was more like Couch to running twice then back on the couch because you’re too fucking fat to run and your knee is busted.

    I did manage to lose 5 lbs this weekend thanks to a stomach virus.

    Maybe I’ll get back out there this week, having been inspired by you to give up fisting and focus on form.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Yes, maybe when you “cut back on the fisting,” (sorry…I just ruined your clean google record) you’ll have more energy to devote to protecting that bum-knee.

      Love the “Couch to running twice to back on the couch” moniker! Funny shiz, girl.

      Gotta love that Roto Virus Diet! Send me a dirty tissue so I can get ready for my cousin’s wedding. I want to walk in there looking all heroin chic minus the heroin.

  17. Stacey H.

    I just wrote my blog entry on binging on Snickers and you are RUNNING? Fist this! Thanks for the ego boost, B!

    • The Bearded Iris

      HAHAHA! OMG, Stacey, that rocks. You are one bad mofo and I like it.

  18. Linda

    What the hell am I supposed to do with my hands if I’m not supposed to ball them up into fists? (This is all hypothetical, as Couch to 5K is just a pipe dream in my world.)

    • The Bearded Iris

      I vote for hamboning. Aka HAM-BONING!

      Click here for an example.

      Then click here so you can be talked out of it.

      • Michele

        Frakking. Brilliant. But I will never be able to run again without those clips going through my head. Do you know how hard it is to run while giggling?! Much less with an 8-yo rolling her eyes alongside!

  19. Heather

    According to my calculations, there are about 2 days a year when everything lines up perfectly enough for me to run – temperature, humidity, precipitation – and on those 2 days, coincidentally, I’m occupied doing other stuff… Now, if you are talking about chasing the ice cream truck, totally different story 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG, I can just see you in those new Levi’s skinnies chasing after that ice cream truck! “WAIT! COME BACK! I CAN’T RUN IN THESE DAMN SKINNY JEANS!”

  20. Fiveogrrl

    Run in Levi corduroy. Vitnvitvitvitvit……

  21. Lily

    Might I suggest taking photos of your jiggly bits on a regular basis so that you can see the progression to less-jiggly bits. Might I also suggest that you upload these photos from your camera *before* you show the cute photos of your kids on said camera to your friends…because no one but you should know whether you prefer pads with wings.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Eeeek! That is a brilliant idea… brilliant, but terrifying. I can barely take photos of myself fully dressed. Maybe I could crop my face out just in case the phone accidentally gets into the wrong hands.

      LOL about the pad with wings, girl! That must have been quite a shot! Hahaha!

  22. Mommy2¢

    OMG girl… I gotta get back here more often! I like your daughters definition of fisting — much better than the only one I was aware of. And you wouldn’t have to worry about being the only mom hyperventilating on the sidelines, needing medical support; because if I were running with you both and listening to that convo I’d be the one hyperventilating!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh yes, stick around! We’ve got all kinds of great vocabulary and feminine hygiene lessons here…sometimes simultaneously!

  23. Heather Novak

    OMG I am the same kind of runner and have written and radio’d about it several times, I will look for my links b/c I know you do not have anything better to do than read what I’m writing! My advice? JogFM lets you pick music according to your mph speed (or lack thereof) AND buy them easily through Itunes. Haven’t found any other sources making it SIMPLE. I need Simple. Running MORE OFTEN in a week even just one mile makes it MUCH easier. MUCH. Wear a rhinestone tiara, red nails and lips for the 5K, then no one will mistake your efforts for athleticism. I will never get the image of your ass slapping the back of your thighs out of my head. I might need to sue you for something like pain and suffering. I’ll have to get back to you. Here are NPR radio bits “”Running Music” and “Running is my Tantrum” http://www.mchron.net/ee/radio/authors/#Novak They are on my blog but oldies so it is easier to find ’em heah. ENJOY. GOOD FOR YOU for running.

    • The Bearded Iris

      STFU – you’re a famous radio personality? What the WHAT?! And you’re just telling me this NOW? Just a warning, I might have to stalk you harder now.

      LOVE the tiara and red nails idea. It always feels better to be laughed WITH than laughed AT (so they tell me… right!).

  24. Heather Novak

    Oh hardly famous unless you are in good ol Michiana! It is the local station but O LOVE IT! Hope you enjoy ’em. YES You LOVE making folks laugh so do it during the run…makes for great pics & stories too. After running for so long however horrible I don’t do it. I have to admit I am just a runner. I SO WISH we could go have drinks…that is what makes your blog so spellbinding. YOU.

  25. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF?

    I love that you’re running with your daughter. I started c25k once but thankfully got pregnant and sick and got to quit just as it got really hard for me. Maybe week 5? I should do it again. It’s a great program. That photo? Priceless!

  26. Leighann

    I do not run.
    There is chaffing and sweat.
    Heavy breathing and crying.
    The one time I did run I think I almost sprained my ankle.
    The risk is high in running Iris.

  27. Allysgrandma

    While you were running, I was at Costco trying out the cheesecakes at the roadshow. Ended up buying all 5 flavors after picking up my Valium prescription. Sorry I have asthma. No running for me. Not being diagnosed until I was age 26….I always wondered why I was the only kid who hated to run and felt like I was going to die each year during the President’s Physical Fitness Tests….do they still do those? I will be with you in spirit though while I do my 60 minutes on the treadmill at no faster than 2.7 MPH!

    • Allysgrandma

      Oh and my older sister did a triathalon when she was about 50! One triathalon, then I think she quit…..haha.

  28. Michele

    I have to take this opportunity to brag on my kidlet who was crowned “fastest 2nd grader” by her schoolyard peers today, due to her heroic act of tagging the prior crown-holder, who had never before been tagged. GoTR starts in 3rd grade at her school so I have 1 measly year to get my flabby cheeks in action if I’m going to train with her. Damn. That’s a lot of ass-thigh slapping in my future.

    • The Bearded Iris

      HOT TIP! I wore my Spanx yesterday and the ass-thigh slapping was completely minimized! There is hope for us! HOORAY. Now to just practice my hamboning so I can totally embarrass my child while we run together.

  29. Tracy @ Brain Chatter

    Girls On The Run….. BTDT with my daughter last year. Good luck keeping up with your daughter! Those kid’s legs might be short, but they sure are fast! I’ve been working on my speed lately (http://tracycompletesathought.blogspot.com/2011/10/consistencysucks.html), I need some ideas on how to get faster and I’d love to hear your suggestions!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Nah, I’m smokin’ her like a Cuban. She’s fast, but no endurance. I’m slow, but stubborn. We’ll probably be a perfect running team…she’ll be challenged by me to keep going and I’ll be challenged by her to pick up the pace in spurts.

      I have no earthly idea how to increase speed other than run more. The more I run, the better I get at it and the less it hurts/tires me out. Good luck!

  30. Adrienne S

    Just a note to your faithful (like me) readers. 5 days post surgery is NOT enough time to abstain from Iris if you don’t want to be snying (snorting so hard laughing/crying) while in incision pain. I had minor (wtf coined that phrase) surgery Tuesday, skipped your belly holding, laughter inducing posts for 5 days and, now I’m going to get a vicoden after just this one post and it’s comments.
    Running tips? Don’t do it post surgery. Fisting tips? Don’t do that post surgery either. It’s not good for you to be so … tense. I have more surgery tips for you, but not running, so I’ll just go back to holding my precious, aching tummy and huffing these pain killers for now.
    I <3 you Iris. If laughter is the best medicine … well, then I shouldn't have needed surgery.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh no, Adrienne! I’m so sorry about your sore tummy, but I’m really jealous about the painkillers. Lucky bitch! Please ease back into your running, fisting, blog reading schedule so you don’t tear anymore stitches. We’ll be here for 2/3rds of those activities when you are ready (any two, you pick!).

      I <3 you too! Thanks for being here!

  31. Jen Has A Pen

    I sometimes wonder if you just aren’t in the mood for funny some days. You are ALWAYS “on”. I love that about you. I crack up at e’rythang you say.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh LORD, honey, just ask my husband…he’ll tell you I’m “not in the mood” for funny or otherwise, A LOT. But this is my place to hone my craft as a comedy writer, so I try to keep it entertaining if I can. It doesn’t always work. But even if I’m writing about something serious, I have to sneak in a joke or two or I’ll fall asleep while I’m writing. (#short-attention-span) Thank you for enjoying it though and telling me so! 🙂 That helps me keep going on days when I don’t feel very “on”! I appreciate it, honey!

      • Jen Has A Pen

        Well, I’d read ya no matter. 🙂

  32. Sarah C.

    Blog-stalker here. I thought I’d de-lurk to tell you that my husband has sweetly asked that I read your blog before I go to bed. I often check my rss before turning out the lights and have now resorted to “Iris” as the explanation for why I am cackling uncontrollably just as he is drifting off to sleep.

    You are full of awesomeness, and hopefully your Mini-Me will mention that to Bob Costas as well.

    • The Bearded Iris

      That is awesome! I love delurkers! Cackling is a good thing, but yes, try not to do it in the bed or you might hurt your husband’s ego. Haha!

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