The Balancing Act

I spent the past 6 months achieving balance in my life. Somehow, I magically discovered how to juggle work and family and find time to run. This is mostly due to setting goals, making a conscience effort to achieve them, and having the support of my family and friends. Last month, though, when I somehow came down with pneumonia (and I still can’t figure out how that happened when I was running well just days before), I dropped one of the balls; running and racing was out of the picture.

Almost as quickly as I went down, though, I bounced back. I headed back to work a week later and felt ready to run, but I resisted. I waited for another week, but life got in the way and that one week became two. And, then, panic set in.

The rule of thumb for recovering from an illness or an injury is that it will take half the time to get back to where you were when you stopped. So how long, I worried, would it take me to get back to the 13 mile distance again? How much slower had I become? Can I be ready for an 11 mile race on Boxing Day? What about the marathon I want to run this spring? These questions made me realize that I was definitely ready to run.

All I needed now was time. Between busy days at work, #1’s homework and activities outside of school, and #2 often falling asleep before 6:00, weekday runs were beginning to feel impossible to achieve. But there are 24 hours in a day; I just had to find 6 hours out of 168 (in a week). The will was there and, with a bit of creativity, I found a way.

Run #1: Evening run, when Daddy is home, #2 is asleep and I can escape without tears – 10K
Run #2: Lunch run at work – 6K to 8K (and, if I get my run in at lunch, nothing can go wrong for the rest of the day).
Run #3: Lunch run at work or after school – 6K to 8K (we’re still trying to get that second lunch run in)
Run #4: Weekend run – building mileage

As of last night, I am feeling back. I’ve had a few recent strong runs and am ready to push again; I’ve planned my race schedule for the rest of the fall. I really know I’m back, though, because those same little things that drove me crazy a few weeks ago just don’t matter anymore. Running has let me escape from them; I have found balance again.

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