Day 5 – The Shape of Parenthood

Last Saturday Merfman and I had a “fitness date.” Sounds cute, huh?

Like we took a stroll in the park or went for a long walk on the beach in our overpriced exercise apparel.

Let’s be real. It was NOT cute.

A few weeks ago I signed up for a Sprint Triathlon. It takes place the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Which is the same Sunday my family celebrates Turkey Day. It’s a tradition we’ve had for years. It allows us to invite extended family and friends that would have other commitments on Thanksgiving Thursday. So race + massive eating holiday = perfection. I could refuel with all of my Mom’s wonderful cooking, win!

Since I’m just a little over 2 months postpartum signing up for a race is giving me the motivation to get back into an exercise routine. My biggest challenge is baby juggling during exercise time.  Merfman is on a pretty serious schedule for his next movie project. It’s a mostly night shoot and a non Monday – Friday schedule. So I can’t count on him for much Merfbaby watching since he needs to work and make sleep/recovery a priority. No biggie. Weekends will becoming my main training days.

This past Saturday we had plans to celebrate some birthday festivities at my parent’s house, which is located less than 5min from the race course I’ll be doing in November. We could leave Merfbaby with Grandma and do a quick 7 mile loop on the bike course. On race day it’ll be 2 loops = 14 miles. But I wanted to get out and get familiar with my bike again since it’s been over a year since I’ve done a serious ride.

7 miles on “rolling hills” on a beautiful Southern California Fall day? Count me in!

We prepped the bikes, gathered our gear and I “topped-off” Merfbaby. We were on our way.

After a tip from the park ranger at the entrance where the course is located we skipped the entrance fee, and left our car at a Park N Ride up the road and biked in for free. Saving money = winning. This was already going better than planned!

I turned on my ‘tunes, adjusted my sunglasses and off we went! It was a glorious .75 miles down hill. We were flying. This was delightful. We should do 2 loops. I’ve got this. I’m in better shape than I thought!

Then, I saw it.

THE hill.

Ok, be cool. It’s fine. You’ve got good speed and you’re in a high gear. You have plenty of room to climb.

It got real hard, real fast. I was in 2 gear going 6mph up the hill. Merfman passes me. It’s ok, keep your head down and keep pushing. I move to 1 gear. 3mph. Ok, I could be walking faster. Be cool, you’re still making forward progress. Push. Pull. Push Pull. Look – I think it’s tapering off up ahead…uh, nope. Keep climbing. Keep climbing. I see Merfman stopped ahead in a shady spot on what appears to be the hill that will not end.

I finally crawl up next to him and we both look at each other.


We’re both hurting. My lungs are screaming. His legs are shaking. Who are these broken down people?!

Pre-Merfbaby I was at the gym Spinning 3x a week. Merfman was always an avid cyclist. We were fit and active people.

Now? Now, we’re parents.

Through heavy breathing I confess to Merfman that there’s no shame in walking up the rest of the hill. So we do. We walk the last 1/4 of the hill. Reach the summit and fear what the rest of the ride holds in store for us.

We remount and continue on.

Now, every other time of the year the public streets we’d be riding on would be deserted. But this time of year the County Fair is in town. And everyone in SoCal needs to get their fix of Fried Butter on a stick. Greeeeaat.

I do my best to ride the shoulder as cars appear to be creeping closer and closer to the gutter in stop and go traffic. I’m convinced someone’s going to fling open a door and send me flying.  We finally make it to an intersection and take a second to regroup. Ok, we’ve got to be like half way, right?

2.5 miles in. Dear baby Jesus, please let this get better.

It does. Praise the Lord.

We finally hit a rhythm and find our groove. I even wave to passing riders going the other direction. Ah, ok. This is what I had envisioned.

We get turned around on our route and a very nice pedestrian *tries* to explain where were are and how to get back on track. It was a painful conversation, but he means well and we start heading in the right direction.

A few more rolling hills and one final climb up a freeway overpass and we’re back to our car.

Sweaty. Breathless. We made it.

I was more determined than defeated, but it was a harsh reality check. I have a ways to go, but I know it’s possible.

That pumpkin pie at the finish line is going to taste SO good,

2 thoughts on “Day 5 – The Shape of Parenthood”

  1. Oh DJ you need to be a writer….you are awesome at it….Love the persistence of you both…and what awesome parents you are, even if you are exhausted…lob you

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