Running takes up a lot of my time.
The more I progressed as a runner, the more time it took up. And when I got into the Lopers and into marathon running, the time commitment grew even more.
I bring this to light because one of my awesome blog readers commented on here recently with the following statement/question:
"My family, besides my husband, is so UN-supportive of this marathon thing it makes me sad and distant. The question I get the most is "why"? I want to say, "because I can and you can't" but I really have had no comeback. Same when we ran the Mud Run on vacation...why would you want to do something like that on vacation?
"How much has running interrupted your daily routine? Do you cancel or change plans because you have a long run planned the following morning? I like that I am disciplined enough to get a run in at 4:30am and then put in a full day of work, but I hate making (excuses) for NOT doing activities because of running. How do you balance this?"
I have quite a few thoughts on the first part, the un-supportive family, but I will answer that in a separate post. For now, I want to tackle her questions about the routine and discipline.
Now, I think I am in a unique situation. I work from home - most of the time anyway - so I have the flexibility many don't. I can (and do) plan runs at 8 a.m. on weekdays for instance. I can (and do) spend 60-90 minutes at the gym on a Thursday. Now that Kennedy and Yvie are both in school, I've started filling up my mornings with runs and cardio and resistance training.
So I definitely take advantage of my schedule to run and work out and have for a while. I think it often, that if I would have had a 9-to-5 job these last four years, I'd still weigh 300 pounds and I wouldn't be running marathons.
I definitely have a lot of respect for runners who work a full-time job and carve out time to knock out mid-week 6-mile runs, 10-mile runs, whatever kinds of runs.
As far as canceling plans or changing up my social life... well, since I have children I don't have much of a social life. Now, I do work on Saturday nights a lot, at least from March through November, so a lot of times I am getting 5-6 hours of sleep on Saturday and then running 10-plus miles on Sunday morning. I can actually get a lot done on little sleep that way. I know it's not the healthiest thing in the world but I have to adjust.
I think the biggest thing that I've had to be disciplined about is alcohol. I don't drink much anymore but have had that problem arise too. On New Year's Eve, for instance, I'd decided that I was going to run 10 miles the next day, on Jan. 1, but actually went to a New Year's Eve party. We'd hardly ever had the chance to go out on Dec. 31 but we did, and of course there was alcohol. I had said beforehand that I would not drink because I didn't want to miss my run but in the end I gave in and drank some beers. I had about two or three I think, but always made it a point to keep at least some beer in my bottle, so I would be able to say 'Oh, I'm still working on this one.'
I've been there, where if you aren't holding a beer in your hand, you get one thrust in there whether you want one or not. I did not want to let myself go and get plastered and miss my run. I know a missed run doesn't seem like a big deal but to me it's more than that, it's a reflection of my own discipline and commitment.
I guess what it boils down to is that. I like to think that I'm disciplined enough to put running ahead of a lot of things. I suppose that's why runners tend to gravitate towards one another, because there are few people who are willing to get out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to go on a run, who are willing to bypass open bars and nights out on the town because it will disrupt the next morning's run, who are willing to plan vacations around races. And when one of us comes across another person crazy enough to do the same, it's only natural to create a bond.
Of course, I don't think it's necessarily good to stifle yourself all the time either. It's just a matter of moderation, like most things.