Thursday, May 6, 2010

Big Challenges

There are numerous runners I've come across, both in the blogging world and in my 3-D world, who do not have children.

It's really tough to say if it's the norm or not, but it seems that most runners I encounter are child-less. It's not a rarity to find runners with children, obviously, but it just seems the majority of runners have no little ones who depend on them for their every waking need. That's probably not entirely accurate but it sure seems like that to me.

Balancing parenting with running can be quite stressful. It's enough of a task sometimes to just be a parent and to try and find time to do the usual, day-to-day tasks with your child around. Loading or unloading the dishwasher, for instance, can be a major chore. So too can cleaning the toilets or making dinner.

How about doing all of that and trying to knock out a six-miler while you're at it?

Welcome to my life.

Now, one of the reasons why I run is because of my girls, because I want to set a good example for them. But it's a bit ironic then that they pose some of my biggest challenges. Of course, I hold nothing against them so don't take that the wrong way.

But it's true. I can't really stick to a rigid schedule because I can't just drop everything and go when the schedule demands. I've set aside Sunday mornings for the Lopers but that's about the only time I've really penciled in as taken strictly for running. I have been going to Mt. Rubidoux regularly every Thursday for a while now so that's a bit of a routine.

Mostly, though, it's just a matter of blocking out time on a week-by-week basis. Tuesdays and Thursdays, for instance, I know I will have three free hours. Tuesday is a busy work day, Thursday usually varies. So I can run Mt. Rubidoux on Thursday but not Tuesday. In fact, I can't run much at all on Tuesdays, hence the switch.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I have Kennedy with me, and Wednesadys Yvie gets out of school early. So I have to plan around that. While the weather is beautiful often times on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings throughout the year here, I can't exactly leave Kennedy and go running outside.

That's why I like the treadmill. I've become endeared to it for several reasons but mostly because it allows me to get in my mileage despite the challenge Kennedy presents.

Now, when she starts school that will change as I'll have every day open from 8 to 11:30, maybe a little longer on either end. That's a nice chunk of time that I will be able to use to get in more runs and different kinds of runs. But even still it's not going to be flawless. I volunteer at their school and next year I'll be able to volunteer in one class and then the other and then Kennedy's day will be out. So where does running fit in on those mornings?

I'm not trying to complain about a thing. I've managed to squeeze in more than 500 miles in 2010 thus far, so I do find ways. I've actually managed to run 4-5 times a week on average and get in more than 30 miles each week usually. But the only routine I have is that I have no routine. As my schedule changes weekly, I have to adjust on the fly.

Someday, though, I will be able to take the girls to the same school, drop them off at the same time and will have my schedule free after that. Whether I fill that time with household duties, work or running will be up to me, but just the thought of having that option at my disposal is exciting.


Kerrie T. said...

Amen. "Only schedule is no schedule."

This is why, if I decided to train for a marathon again, it won't be until T Junior goes to preschool or Kindergarten. Even then, I'm not sure how much time that leaves me, but it's more than I have now. :)

Katie A. said...

I really feel for you and I am in awe of how you do it. And, I think you're right. Most runners are either childless, or their children are grown enough that they don't have to worry about their needs when it comes to fitting in a time to run.
To be honest, that is one of the reasons my hubbs and I haven't take the plunge into parenthood. I want kids, but I don't want it to impose on my running right now. I love our freedom, I love my running body right now, and as selfish as that sounds, at least I know this about myself and I haven't taken the motherhood plunge to where I would resent myself or worse yet...the child.
Maybe, one day, I will feel ready. Hell, I'm 30 and I have been married for 7 years. But right now, I'm content and in the mean time I am inspired by runners like you that have so much going on in their lives an still make it out the door. My hat goes off to you LB - you're an awesome daddy and a great runner ;) I hope I will be able to find that balance one day when I find motherhood and running knocking on my door!

Whitney said...

Well, you're in inspiration to me with upcoming child (heard the heartbeat yesterday - it was incredible!). Only, I'll have to juggle a newborn, FULLTIME work, a house and a husband... and then find time for running. I think for Mother's Day I should ask for a treadmill because that would help a lot of my stresses.

Chicago Mom said...

No matter what your passion is we all need to find some time to squeeze it into our schedules. (For me it is yoga and reading books.) My daughter will be in 1st grade in the fall and I can't wait!
Ever see that office supply store commercial where the dad is skipping down the aisle pushing a shopping cart to the music "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" while his kids shuffle sadly behind him? Too funny - and true!

Michelle said...

Absolutely! That is why Dad Wonder has a say in whether or not I will be training for the marathon this year or next. BW is at the age where he is starting to be involved in sports as well (who knew WeeBall would take up so much of our weekly schedule), so the time pie is smaller and smaller!

Lauren said...

I can't sympathize since I don't have children but I think you're doing an amazing job. It's hard to fit running in with just school in my life and school isn't going to die if I don't go... I can't imagine having to plan running around something (someone) that depends on me for life... yikes!

Great job!