Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Running/Life Balance

I love running (obviously), but I've made a conscious effort to fit running into my already busy life and NOT build my life around running. It can be challenging, especially when training for a marathon, but running is part of my life. It isn't my entire life.

Take this past weekend as an example. My sister, brother-in-law and niece came to Michigan to visit. They don't get up here very often (as a matter of fact it was my BIL's first time here), and I needed to get in a 12 mile long run over the weekend. I started thinking about them arriving Friday evening and how stressed I would be knowing I needed to run Saturday morning. So I got up at the crack of dawn on Friday and ran 12 miles before work. I was exhausted by lunch time, but my long run was finished. That meant enjoying gin and tonics Friday evening, walking around Michigan State's campus and sleeping in on Saturday morning.

I did get up on Sunday morning and ran a quick three miles before we headed to Greenfield Village for the afternoon, but it was a relief to have my long run completed. This week I'm heading to DC VERY early on Friday morning, and I'll be doing my 14 mile long run on Thursday to get it out of the way.

On the 100 year old carousel at Greenfield Village. I always get the frog!

A gorgeous day

With my sister, brother-in-law and niece
The run/life balance is critical for me. When I trained for the Detroit Marathon in 2010 I was so stressed about getting all of the miles in that it wasn't fun. It was stressful and exhausting, and it really made me want to take some time away from running. I did end up taking a few months off, and I had to reevaluate the kind of runner I want to be.

I'm never going to win a race, but I love running. For me it's about fitting it in my life in a way that makes sense. I want to have a few glasses of wine on the weekends. I want to sleep in sometimes. I want to go out to dinner with my husband even if that means shifting around my running schedule to do it a different time. In order to do that I have to be flexible with my running and cross training schedules. If I miss a run or a day cross training, I just adjust and make it work. I work to fit it in somewhere else, and sometimes I don't fit it in at all. But I don't let myself stress about it.

The things I love most about running these towns are taking in a new city, challenging myself in each and every race, and finishing strong while still smiling. When it stops becoming fun or taking over my life in a way that doesn't work, it no longer becomes worth it. I've struck a perfect running/life balance, and it's helped me really focus on what's important to me. Remind me of this balance on Thursday when I'm knocking out 14 miles before the sun comes up. 

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