The other day someone asked on Instagram if I have balance in my life in reference to all of my training. I use my Instagram account as a running account, and it’s full of training pictures, but it still made me feel a little defensive. I read the post right before I went to bed, so I went through various stages of answering this question in my head throughout the night (made possible when your baby wakes you up in the night and starts the thought process over again).
I woke up clear headed with my answer. No, I don’t have balance. That’s not my goal. If we’re honest, not many people have balance, whether they are training for crazy goals, or just trying to survive motherhood in a world that has traffic and work and grocery shopping and housework and relationships to attend to.
I don’t think there have been many stages in my life where I lived a balanced life. I’ve always lived in extremes. I finished first in my class in high school, skipping my senior year and going to college early. I didn’t drink before I turned 21. I was not good at math growing up, so I majored in engineering and ended up getting my masters degree in it. I finished the masters degree in 1.5 years, while my peers took 3+ years to finish. I married the first person who I ever went on more than three dates with. I never missed a workout until I hired a coach and she made me so tired that I finally took rest days seriously.
Like most runners, I’m a bit A type, and I also really love to train and get stronger and faster. So this past year of running postpartum has been a lot of work, but it has also been extremely rewarding. I compared my Boston Marathon experience to Disney for adults. In that case, training for my first 100 mile race and completing it was heaven. And the feeling of satisfaction in training a little harder to get my sub-3 marathon was the icing on the cake. While I can do it, I’m going to keep going. I have a supportive husband and a baby who fits right in to the schedule. It’s hard work, and I have to make sacrifices, but that’s where I am in life right now. Unbalanced. 🙂
My husband and I took a road trip this past weekend for a fun weekend of hiking and hanging out with friends. On the way, I asked him what upcoming goals he has for the future. (Sidenote: they say the best marriages are those where the couple talks about the future together.) My husband’s response was like any normal person related to his hobbies and his career; mine however, are all running related. Haha. (No, but really, there are always goals about being a good mom and wife, finally making it to work on time, and organizing my house.)
First, my big goal for this next training cycle is to run a sub 3 hour road marathon. It gives me a knot in my stomach to even write that, but my coach believes in me, and I’ve gotten faster by running through pregnancy and now running post-partum, especially after training with my coach for my 100 mile race. So, now I’ve put it in writing, and I can start chipping away at my big goal!
I’ve got my big goal, but in order to give myself the best chance of a successful training cycle, here are my three sub goals:
Nutrition: reduce the processed food that I eat and reduce the sugar in my diet. I am a chocolate bar-oholic. I do pretty good throughout the day, but at night I eat a lot of candy. Sugars increase inflammation, and I am already stressing my body enough with all of my running and strength training. I’m kicking off this goal with the 7 day challenge to eat real food proposed by mskatieblaze here.
Sleep: I have said this for a year now, but really, this time I mean it. My (one year old) baby is still waking up several times in the night. That means that I really need to get to bed earlier to get a semblance of good rest. It’s a shame to not give my body time to repair and get stronger after all of my strength work and running.
Stretching/foam rolling: This should be a no-brainer, but I know that I’m not alone in this struggle. We’d all rather get in just one more mile than cut the run short to do some foam rolling and stretching. I just signed up for a program that sends me a new range of motion activity every day. I’m excited to see how much it helps my performance and recovery.