Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Life Happens

Long time no post! Thank you for all the comments and e-mails about the last post…most of you agree that if working out is that important to you, you will find a way to get it done. However, my recent increase in work hours had me thinking about the opposite end of the spectrum - when life gets in the way. Sometimes it seems that no matter how badly we want to accomplish something, life happens. Or in my case, work happens.

In December of 2010, I set my sights on the 2011 Ironman 70.3 Texas. However, I had not been in my job for more than a few months and I had heard about how hellish the month of February could be due to several projects that would be underway…many with very short turnaround time and tight deadlines. This proved to be true – it was a super busy time, plus I had to travel for work a couple of times. After missing crucial workouts, I decided that 2011 would not be my year for this race. There were other 70.3 distance races later in the year, but I wanted to focus on the NYCM. And, I’m glad I did – a 23-minute PR was well worth it!

In 2011, I decided that 2012 would be my year for the 70.3 in Galveston! NYC would be behind me, I had been through the “busy season” once and knew what to expect, I didn’t forsee any business travel – I could do it! Of course then I had my injury. But over the past month or so, I couldn’t help asking myself whether or not I really could have trained for this race. If you remember, this is what it has been looking like when I leave work for the day:

Luckily, with the time change it's not quite this dark when I leave now!

Would I have been committed enough to leave work at night, then go to the pool and swim? I would have missed all the spin classes - would I have been driven enough to sit on a spin bike, in a dark spin room, alone at 9 pm for 1 1/2 hours? Only to wake up at 4 am to either run…or work on spreadsheets? And, if I needed to work on spreadsheets, when would I fit in that run? Maybe during lunch? If I could get away. Would I have had the energy to run and bike long on the weekends, only to repeat the same work schedule again the following week?

I’d like to say absolutely, without a doubt, I would have been in “find a way, make a way” mode. But, let’s be honest…training for a 70.3 is time consuming when you do it right. When you add a full-time job, it’s hard. When you add a full-time job with crazy-ass hours, it’s really hard. Add family and well…

Point of all this rambling?

Sometimes no matter how hard you want something, life makes it extremely difficult. It’s not that you’re any less driven or don’t want it badly enough. Life happens. Sometimes it’s work. Sometimes it’s a sick parent, spouse or child. Sometimes it’s all of the above all happening at the same time. (Hopefully, it's only temporary)  You have to fit the training in where you can, but be realistic about your goals and priorities. Let's face it, to excel in one area usually means a decline in other areas.

For example, when I was in grad school (and working full-time with a hubby and the Kiddo), I knew that I did not want to give up running completely. I also knew that there was no way I would have time to successfully train for a marathon and still do well at school and work.  I continued to run when I could – mostly for stress relief and fitness, and I still ran some 5k races and a ½ marathon here and there. That’s the most I could do with the time I had available. Family, work and school were higher on the priority list. Kinda like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs…work allows us to put a roof over our heads, feed and clothe the family, give us a sense of security, start a savings, pay for the kid's college...and then we can focus on training.

Back to Pysch 101...so glad I took those classes back in undergrad, lol!

The time you spend training is directly proportionate to the results you get. The time I would have been able to spend training during busy season at work might have been enough to get me successfully through a half marathon race or a sprint distance triathlon. Could I have completed the 70.3? Maybe. But it would not have been pretty. Or fun.

So maybe in some weird way this injury saved me (or at least my sanity). I know I would have been going insane trying to balance workouts and this work schedule, all the while feeling guilty about the lack of time with the family.  I have come to realize that this particular role at work will never be different in February/March and I might need to pick a different 70.3 to aim for. At the same time, not being able to run at all during busy season has been difficult – I have no way to relieve the stress that comes with this time!

Has life gotten in the way of you reaching your race goals? How do you adjust?


Tara @ texasrunnergirl.com said...

OMG... I'm in the same boat. My work life gets crazy between November - February. I have the hardest time trying to stay on top of an exercise schedule or a training schedule during these times. And it's unfortunate that those months I'm busy are probably some of the best times to be outside and running. I feel some relief now that my schooling is finally over BUT now the kids have events... I think I finally just realized that I need to aim for events/races that are during my less busy time, summer... or early fall.

Lisa said...

I juggle just to train for a marathon. I cannot imagine if I had to spend time in a pool or on a bike with what my "every day" life is like...kudos to those who can do it.