I’ve always had incredible balance. As a child I enjoyed seeing how many walk overs I could do on the curb outside of my house before falling off. And I excelled at the playground game of “spin as fast as you can for a minute and then run as fast as you can across the field.” As a young adult I was drawn to yoga, where I learned to touch my toes to my head while doing a headstand, balanced on my forearms. And I could do the standing splits with both hands wrapped around my ankle.
But in my full fledged adult years, my balance is slipping. Yes, I can still (almost) do the balance poses I could do 6 years ago. But I have lost so much…even in my yoga practice. I was telling my coach yesterday about my (lack of) training the last few months. My miles are low. I’ve been working crazy hours and trying to juggle a full time job, house work, laundry (no washer at my apartment), grocery shopping, training and time with my 3 kids (ages 11,9,8). Time with kids should NOT be juggled. My children need to know they are top of my list. I work so that I can have a place to live that has room for them. I keep that place clean to keep them comfortable. And I want them to have clean, well fitting cloths to wear. So I work. But when I get up at 6:30, make breakfast and get my kids to school at 7:35 I have less then 2hrs to be showered and at work. Getting to work takes 25mins….meaning running before work, when I have my kids, is not an option. Often, I get off work at 7:30. Standing on my feet for 10hrs makes those night runs suck. I’m slower. My feet hurt…my coach laughed. And I am glad he did. Welcome to the real world. Lots of people work 10hr days, 3 or 4 days a week, and their feet don’t want to put in 80+ mile weeks either. I need balance. And as anyone who does yoga knows, trying to do things that are past your current center will land you on the ground fast. There should be no pushing beyond where you are. Brahmacharya.
I’ve learned, the past few months, to let the miles go. 60 mile weeks. 55 mile weeks. Working and kids…and all the other things. It sucks. It’s frustrating. I want to train, because I love training. I love running. And yoga. I like feeling prepared when I stand on the starting line of a race. And now I can not. I do hope I can again, but the now is the now. Honestly, I have so much on my mind that the idea of putting energy into racing is laughable now. My motivation has shifted. Balance.
Me now isn’t me before or me to come. I am stretching for balance. I can’t train like I use to. But this doesn’t does not mean I can’t run the races I want to run. I run ultras. I want to. I want to show up and run. Hard, easy, who cares? Maybe I want to run thru some of my hurt and confusion with out giving a thought to who’s in front of me or behind me. Maybe I want to giggle like I did as a child when I sprinted across the fields at recess, just to enjoy the freedom and challenge of RUNNING. It’s my run to do with what I please. I have no delusions of running times I could have 12 months ago. But that is no reason to stop racing. So what if my front of the pack days are over?…though I do not think they are. I’m still going to be pushing my limits when I race. But I didn’t get into ultras to win or place well. And balance is much more important to me. Always has been. I will make sure it always is.