Thursday, January 6, 2011

At the Bottom of the Pyramid

The New Year's Day Half Marathon went really well, and I think a lot of people enjoyed kicking off the new year doing it as much as I enjoyed kicking off the new year producing it.  But making that race happen was a lot of work and once it was over, I felt reduced down to trying to just "get by". I realized I was pretty crazy/stupid to produce a new race with a 4 week old - there's a reason many moms don't go back to work for at least 6-8 weeks.  It took a lot physically out of me, my 3 year old was feeling the effects of several days of missing her mommy, laundry was piling up, etc.  I couldn't shake this feeling that I was pushed back to the bottom level of a pyramid of needs I remembered learning about in some required class in high school or college.  This isn't helped my the fact that my husband had most of December off of work, we had the holidays, Marissa had a two week winter break from school, and I produced an inaugural half marathon - no chance to establish a real daily routine.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs was the pyramid I was remembering.  My family's at the bottom right now, where we're focused on basics like food, water, sleep, and excretion (baby's make a lot of dirty diapers).  Sophie's still been trying to get back to her birth weight, and I'm having to constantly be on this 3 hour cycle of eat and drink in order to then turn around and pump, so that we're not completely feeding her formula and trying to give Sophie some immune system boost while I've struggled to produce enough milk.

So while all this is going on, those higher pyramid levels of love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization remain unattainable.  My friend Michelle had the perfect comment to sum up the diagram above:
My college wind ensemble director used to reference it when we weren't playing well--as in "how can I expect these college kids to care about producing beautiful music--at the top of the pyramid--when they are worried about eating ramen noodles for dinner."
So I want to start putting in some miles (because I can start walking miles now but can't start running again until mid-January) and want to start making running and race plans for the year, but can't as long as I'm at the bottom of the pyramid.  I look forward to it, but need to just hunker down and "get by" until I get used to the routines needed to manage two children and still maintain my sanity.  Hopefully, the next blog post will be about my return to starting to accumulate some miles again!

Happy Running!


  1. Yay! I made the blog! Seriously, I think of ole Maslow and his pyramid a lot because it applies to my work with children who have special needs (and I also see it applying to myself and my family quite frequently too). I am certain that you will find your "groove" soon. Then you will look back and go "wow! I can survive anything!"

  2. feeling you on this one. training for NYC, holidays, gall bladder surgery, Minnesota hockey trip all combined into a perfect storm of pushing us down to bottom of pyramid. I'm just trying to make it through each day right now. Soon enough we'll claw up to the top!! Hang in there!