Single Parenting

I have so much respect for single moms and dads.  I function fine with the boys during the day but I start counting down the minutes until my husband walks in the door after he finishes work.  Kind of unfair to him because he just returned from a full day of work too.  But, even if I just occupy myself with one little guy while he gets the other, it’s a huge break. Especially when the littlest is now doing things like this:


I’ve had to single parent twice in the last week.  It’s exhausting. Straight from work on Friday, my husband headed up to Boston for a wedding and returned late Sunday afternoon.  And then late Tuesday night, he went down to DC for work and returns tonight.  It’s tough to have no break. No help at dinner. Bath time. Cleanup. Bedtime. It doesn’t help either that my youngest has been waking up 1-2x a night lately and the oldest is up for the day just after 5.  So there hasn’t been much sleep for me.  But who needs sleep when you have these two little nuggets?


And throw in that this is essentially “peak week” for me.  I begin taper after a couple of long days this weekend.  So getting in the workouts have been SO important.  PS. We are heading up to Lake Placid Friday night!! My husband and I have been throwing around the idea for a while and we finally made the decision.  Plan is to ride the full course and do a short run (30 min) on Saturday and swim + run long on Sunday.  And then it’s taper.  So I’ve been in the just put your head down and pound away mode this week.  I’ve been exhausted from lack of sleep as well as the hard workouts but I tell myself that every workout completed makes me that much more ready for the big day.


Bike: 105 miles / 5:56 / 17.7mph  Long, hot ride. 6 hours of anything is long.  I forced myself to ride in an easier gear from the get-go.  I was expecting a slower pace, but I actually rode faster in the easier gear. And felt 100x more comfortable and relaxed. Biked 5 miles more than the last bike ride and rode .3 mph faster.  Huge improvement.  I know – .3 measly mph faster doesn’t seem like much…but it makes a big distance when you are biking 100 or 112 miles (7 minutes for the ironman bike distance).

105 miles

Lost a lot of salt on the ride

During last week’s long ride, things got really tough at mile 80.  This weekend was mile 91.  So I guess that is progress.  I changed my nutrition plan (as per the race recap for Mossman) and felt a bit better.  Ate mostly Cliff bars with some energy blasts while drank Perpetuem and Cytomax.  I think I’m still lacking something during the ride (maybe salt tablets?) because I felt a bit woozy and nauseous immediately post-bike.  But that could have also been the 90+ degree day with 85% humidity.

Oh – I also fell on the bike – twice. The first time was because my camelbak tube got caught in the front tire (I will not be using it on race day).  The 2nd time happened at mile 93 for no real reason. I saw my niece and sister outside their house and stopped for a quick hi and fell when I tried to start riding again. Awesome.

105 miles2

My mom was babysitting the boys and I was so grateful that she stayed for a bit when I returned so that I could take a quick ice bath and shower.  I felt pretty good for the next few hours but by 4pm was crashing. Hard. Physically, I felt okay.  But I was so incredibly sleepy.  And the hours of 4pm until bedtime are often the hardest with the boys.  I would have paid an obscene amount of money to have someone babysit the boys for an hour that afternoon.


Run: 18.15 miles / 2:37 / 8:20 pace  My youngest sister agreed to come over for a few hours on Saturday so that I could get my long run in. I was technically supposed to do a long swim then run but that would have taken upwards of 6 hours, so I decided to postpone the swim and focus on the run (since I needed a long run on tired legs).

I started at 11am.  I wanted to do some running in the heat and humidity in case Lake Placid gets some crazy weather (I will be starting the run portion around 3pm).  The heat index was hovering around 100 when I got back from 12 miles. My goal was simple: run as long as I could outside and then finish up on the treadmill.   I ran with a handheld water bottle and had to refill by mile 3. It was that hot out.  My legs didn’t feel awful but heat/humidity made it really hard to run anything less than an 8:25 pace. 12.14 miles at 8:27 pace.

I returned home and ran another 6 on the treadmill at an 8:09 pace.  I felt 100x better to be indoors and cool. Which was good because after the hard and slow 12 miles outside, I needed a confidence booster.

brick run

Sunday – Day Off


Open Water Swim: This was scheduled to be my long swim (2.5 miles) but cut it way short.  I had the bright idea that my husband and I swim off the coast of Staten Island.  There are open beaches (with lifeguards) along certain parts of the coast, so I assumed that we would be able to just jump in by our home (we live 1/2 mile from the coast) even though there is no beach (it’s just a rocky coast).  The water was fine but there was a ton of seaweed and slippery, slimy rocks along the floor.  I was so incredibly spooked out. I’ve done two open water swims – both of which have been during triathlons.  Being alone in the water really freaked me out.  When I put my head in the water, it was a greenish/yellow and I kept my eyes closed because I was too worried about seeing something.  I don’t even know what I was expecting to see.  The final straw was getting grazed by a root or weeds (I think).  So we stopped and headed back in.  

open water swim


Swim: 2.5 miles / 1:33:17 So although I really didn’t want to, I was forced to do my long swim in the YMCA pool.  The only thing that kept me going was that this is the last long swim in the pool before the Ironman (I am doing an open water one this weekend).  Running 20 miles on the treadmill is tough, but this is a whole ‘nother ballgame.  80 laps. 160 lengths.  I focused on getting through two – 20 lap sets.  Then counted to 55 then began the countdown.


Run: 8 miles / 57:46 / 7:12 pace.  My in-laws were still in town (they flew out yesterday AM).  I was scheduled to do a 90 min ride and 30 min run, but didn’t want to leave the boys with them for that long, so opted to do a steady state run outside (and try to get the brick in at night).  First 3 miles were 8:10, 7:31, 7:22.  Then I decided to pick up the pace for the remainder.  Last 5: 7:05, 6:44, 6:46, 7:09, 6:59.  There was nothing fun or enjoyable about this run – except that I did it and it’s over.  I almost puked during the last mile.  I felt like I was running a sub-6 mile the last mile.  But, the moment I finished, the pain of the run faded and I was smiling ear-to-ear.  This makes me excited for fall marathon training.  My focus since May has been on bricks and running long and slow – not runs that burn my lungs and push me to my anaerobic limit.

Bike: 90 min (trainer) + Run: 4 miles / 31:28 / 7:52 pace. After I got both boys to sleep (close to 9 pm – UGH), I got on the trainer for the 90 min session.  Biked easy for 30 minutes, did a 45-minute spinerval DVD, and then biked easy for the remaining 15 min.  I followed that up with an easy 4 miles on the treadmill.  I wanted nothing more than to get in bed after the boys fell asleep, but I knew I would regret it.  It’s crunch time.

I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

Open water swim? Love ’em or hate ’em?

Have you had to single parent before? 

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    18 thoughts on “Single Parenting

    1. Pingback: Life Lessons Learned From My First Ironman

    2. How do you fit in time for all of that training? You are hardcore – awesome job! I fit my training runs in early in the morning while my husband and our son are still sleeping. My husband leaves at 5:30 or 6 am most mornings and sometimes the early mornings really wear on me! How do you do it?!

      My husband was away for a 2-week annual training for the army; that was my longest stint as a “single parent”. My son and I spent a lot of quality time together, put on quite a few jogging stroller miles, and really appreciated when dad came home again!
      Amy @ {Life to the Full} recently posted..Weekend on PostMy Profile

    3. Wow Michelle..That’s about all I can say. To do what you’re doing right now is crazy and you’re handling it like a champ. My husband is out of town this weekend so I’ll get to experience single parenting with a 3 month old and 2.5 year old. We will make it through but I know I’ll be happy to see my husband on Sunday.

      You are so close to reaching an amazing goal and I have learned so much following your journey.
      katie recently posted..Swim Workout, Triathlon Training, and Protein PopsiclesMy Profile

    4. Single parenting is tough, especially when they’re young! My husband travels frequently and we don’t have any family nearby. The early years of this were so, so hard. Now it’s not really an issue, other than figuring out carpools for the kids’ activities when I don’t have a partner at home. Lots of bonuses come with them getting older!

      Have so much fun in LP! You’ll love your time there and you’ll have lots of company up there…tons of people go up to practice. Can’t believe it is so soon!
      misszippy1 recently posted..The games I play while MAF trainingMy Profile

    5. I know what it’s like to be a single parent…mymhusvand went back to school when our first was 15 months old and he was living in another Province. Now that we have two girls aged 3 and 7 months, he just stared a job back in that same Province. So I am a single Mom 4-10 days in a row. I love my girls but love when we are a family of four. It’s hard to balance it all, I want to run more but sometimes sleep is more important so I can be a good mom. Good for you and awesome job on all of your training, can’t wait to hear how it goes.
      Anna – Piper’sRun recently posted..Thirty-three.My Profile

    6. I’m very fortunate to have an understanding hubby. He’s usually the one on the other end of things when I’m gone for hours running or doing some form of workout. I have no idea how those with who are single parents 24/7 do it. I look at them in awe!
      Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Chocolate Coconut Energy BarsMy Profile

    7. But i love how you two work together as a team to parent to go for goals! YOu are amazing. I wish i could come baby sit for you. ANd yay for lake placid course preview, good call!

      rest those knees. ouch!

    8. Glad that you had your mom’s help at least some of the time.
      I’ve done the single parent thing many times for long chunks of time (my husband is a military pilot) – never easy but part of what I signed up for when we got married. It was really hard when the boys were little – we have never lived around family so it was just me. Thankfully I had good friends I could call when I really got desperate!!
      And – I don’t like to swim at all so an open water swim would terrify me!!
      Km recently posted..Are you Scared of the Dentist?My Profile

    9. My husband is SUCH a rockstar and when he’s not around I FEEL 100x more stressed, tired, and irritable. It’s such a different kind of “help” even when you have people to help you out – you know? My college roommate has twins and is raising them by herself and I just admire her so, so much.

      Awesome job hitting your training even though you were single parenting it!
      Michelle recently posted..Aquaphor Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    10. You are awesome!!

      My husband is finishing up grad school and usually takes classes Wednesday nights, so I am a single parent. For me, Wednesday and Thursday pretty much blend into one long day. It’s tough and I don’t know how single parents do it every single day.
      Natalie recently posted..ABCs of ME!!My Profile

    11. I couldn’t imagine being a single parent and I don’t even have any kids so I really wouldn’t begin to understand. Can’t wait to hear about this weekend’s training in Lake Placid. I’m debating between signing up for Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman Canada and although I want to do Canada more the thought of somewhat easily being able to go to LP to train is swaying me that way
      Shannon @ Mon Amour recently posted..Progress In the PoolMy Profile

    12. I totally understand what you are saying – funny that the daytime is just fine alone, but the minute it’s close to 6pm, I get antsy for my husband to get home and give me some reprieve. It’s so hard when they are away! My husband is out for work a a lot as well, and it can be draining. So amazing that you are still pushing through all of it and getting your workouts in! Just keep looking at the light at the end of the tunnel! :)
      Ashley recently posted..Rylan 16 Month SummaryMy Profile

    13. You are doing so awesome with you training, I think its great that you are going up to placid to ride the course and get some good workouts in before taper… extremely smart! Be careful on some of those downhills, I’ve heard stories gallore! (my fiance did placid 2 years ago).

      For my 70.3 (this weekend), I did a few OWS but not as many as I’d like. I like OWS better than the pool because you have to think more. You can’t get bored going back and forth like in the pool. And I feel like it’s much more of a workout in the OW.
      Laura recently posted..I’m cheating on my Kinvara’s with the A5’sMy Profile

    14. I single parent every week for 3-4 days. It is so hard especially tryin to cook, clean, go to the bathroom. Those days my son pretty much comes on all my workouts with me, or I wait til nap time. The days where he wakes up super early are the most painful.

      Good job sticking with your workouts!!
      Jen recently posted..Week 4 Best Body BootcampMy Profile

    15. I was a solo parent for six months when my girl was tiny.
      I always tell single moms—strangers or non :) — how much they rock.
      Miz recently posted..Am I sleep deprived?My Profile

    16. I know exactly what you mean. I am a “single parent” almost M-F every week since Chris is in command right now … we walked in the door around 10PM last night. It’s exhausting! I was raised by a single mom and I can’t say how many times I have told her she must have been a super star.
      Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..Old Wives Tales and Baby GenderMy Profile