New home, full time job, three kids, including a 3 month old, coaching business and marathon training to BQ? How do you balance it all? Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I am asked this question, I would be able to scratch that full time job from the list. The truth is, most runners have lots going on. I know moms with more kids than me that do Ironmans, Lanni Marchand is a full time lawyer, and manages to be an Olympic athlete as well and countless others that have a full plate yet manage to make it work.
And there in lies the key, you work for it. Here’s what it looks like in my life…
First off, you have to determine your goals. Mine was that I wanted to qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon because that is the last year I am in the youngest age group and I wanted to qualify before I aged up.
Secondly, you have to determine if your goals and reality can work together. This is where it gets tricky. Marathon training can eat up a lot of time. For me, I did not want to steal away too much time from my family. As mentioned earlier, I have 3 kids, all 5 and under and I’m already gone for work most of the day, so I just wasn’t comfortable with taking more time for myself.
I am NOT a morning person, but here’s where the sacrifice came in. If I wanted to achieve my goals, that would mean running before everyone else is up in the morning. Most mornings the alarm goes off at 5:30am and my goal is to be done before 7am. If you would have told me I would be the type of person that gets up willingly at that time, or even the type of person that no longer needs an alarm to get up at that time of day, I would have laughed at you. But if that’s what it takes….
While I still lived in Sherbrooke, I joined a running group a lot of Saturdays for my long run. They met at 9am. This lasted for a few months but as my training ramped up, I didn’t like the feeling of being gone all Saturday morning for myself, so Saturday’s became earlier and lonelier as well. The same held true in Windsor, however I can usually find the odd person or two that wants to start earlier, so I’m thankful for that.
In that same vein, moving to Windsor mid training cycle for Ottawa was a big challenge. I had to learn all new running routes, I had minimal elevation options and my whole routine changed. For the last 8 years of my life, I worked as a pastor. This involved very little physical activity. It’s part of the reason I got into running. It was a way to be a bit more active with a job that wasn’t physically demanding. It was also a way to meet people when I moved to Sherbrooke and practice my French with locals.
Long story short, funding was cut for my position and I had to make a decision for my family, so we decided to move back closer to family. This also means I would no longer be pastoring and now I work a full time construction job. I went from training being my only form of physical activity, to it being a snipped of my daily exercise.
Now I train for an hour in the morning, work a physically demanding job for 9 hours a day, come home to spend about 2 hours with my kids before they’re off to bed, and spend the rest of the night, working on other business ventures, like my run coaching business. I manage to squeeze in about 6 hours of sleep each night and am ready for another day. People tell you to get more rest during marathon week, but when your job demands your energy, you don’t have a choice. You do what you have to do.
I could easily use this as an excuse to not qualify for Boston. I could easily say it’s too much and have a very valid reason for it. But I set out to achieve a goal and that’s exactly what I was going to do. I didn’t plan for it to play out with 3 marathons in 29 days on top of all this, but that’s how it came to be and in the end, I reached my goal.
There’s a reason all that emotion came out at the finish line in Charlevoix. I had worked so hard. I sacrificed a lot of things. Ottawa seemed to say that I worked that hard for nothing. But Charlevoix validated every minute of it.
There are plenty of people that have to work way harder than I do. There are numerous others that have physical barriers that I don’t have to face. Work, family, health, all of these things are different for each individual. Some people should chose work over training. Others need to be more present with their family. I get that, I respect that. And I hope you do too. Whether it’s the decision you want to make or not, feeling bad about it doesn’t help any. We all need to accept the season we’re in. If there’s something you can do about it, great, do it. If not, that’s fine too.
There are a thousand things that could happen that would force me to hang up my running shoes, and I would do it in a second. However, right now I know that with a little bit of sacrifice, I can achieve my goals. I know, that right now, the only thing that would be stopping me, is me, and I won’t let that happen.
Choose what you want. Make a plan to make it happen. And don’t let anything, especially yourself, stand in the way.