The Search for Balance

Balance. An important part of anything we do in life. Too much of any one thing can have negative results in another area of our lives. Sometimes it is seemingly impossible to find the right mix to keep everything running on an even keel. Any exercise program will require balance in our lives. I don’t mean balance between different target areas or groups of muscles but rather the balance in our daily lives between family, work and THE WORKOUT.

It was easy for me at first. 30 minutes a day, tops. Easy to squeeze that amount of time in. Diet? That too was easy for me. Just cut back on the junk and go to smaller portions. The scale was a friend as the weight came off. I had goals and everyone understood and was supportive. But all that soon changed. I started running more and more, always passed on the dessert and stepped on the scale every time I walked by. The time it took to work out or run increased and if a planned run had to be skipped because “life” got in the way, well, I got more than a little irritated. Grumpy would actually be a better way to describe it.

I would love to say that all of that has changed but it would be a lie. I have learned a few things though. The scale is still a friend but like a “true friend” it tells me when I get out of line. There is no real panic now because I know what I need to do to get my friend to be nice again. I have discovered that dessert is not the devil and it is possible to enjoy a PIECE of cake without eating the entire cake. Balance… those areas at least.

My wife really does support my running. She thinks I’m out of my mind sometimes for putting my body through the punishment of a 20 mile training run or a 50k trail race but she is still supportive. Where she gets upset is when I have to plan everything we do around getting a run in. “Weekend plans? Sure, I would love to do that with you and the kids. What time do we leave? Will I have time to run for 2 hours before we leave or do we need to cut it short so I can have time when we get back?” It would be easy for me to just write it off as her not understanding that I HAVE to do these runs in order to be able to finish my next event. The truth, well that is not as easy. She may not understand all the crazy thoughts in my head but the fact remains that the time I NEED to set aside is very intrusive in our family’s life. It does take away from family time.

I try to get as many “invisible” miles in as I can. Invisible in the sense that it does not intrude on time I need to spend with the ones that I love. Running on my lunch break at work or scheduling a long run early on a Sunday morning helps. Missing a planned run does not grind on me as much as it use to but can still put me in a foul mood. I have caught myself becoming very snappy with everybody if I can see that my run is not going to happen that day. I know that it is selfish and sometimes I can convince myself that it is fine, make it up tomorrow and that a rest day is just what I needed. But the other times…….I am a jerk. To everybody. Not really fair to my family and not really fair to me as far as the kind of husband and father that I strive to be.

Balance? NOPE. I will continue working on it by getting those “invisible” miles in and attempting to become more aware of the fact that it is okay and, at times, necessary to rearrange MY running schedule to enjoy the IMPORTANT things in life. It is very easy for me to lose focus on many “real life” things when tunnel vision takes over and running gets to high on the priority list. Running is an important part of my life but it does have it’s place. That place HAS to be lower on the ladder than the ones that mean more to me and most of the time it is but, regrettably, not always. I don’t think that I am the only one to ever have this issue but who knows? I am kind of in my own little world most of the time.

The search for BALANCE will continue. Maybe I will find it one day…….on a long run.

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