You just can’t make them all happy: trying to balance marathon training and family life

by Rebecca on February 3, 2013

Through some strange combination of marathon-training fatigue and fighting off a cold, I suddenly and completely lost my drive.

I deflated a bit this weekend, due to my high expectations of myself and the struggle with keeping the balls in the air family-wise. 

I can tell you this:  if your family is not 100 percent committed and behind you on your marathoning nonsense, it will break you down.  You will start to skip miles to keep the peace.  You will shorten your long runs to make it home sooner.  You will run slower because you will be exhausted from trying to make everybody happy, including yourself.

You will begin to wonder what is driving your insane habit, whether it is the chicken or the egg.  Are you running from something?  Or maybe if you weren’t running, life would be easier.

Sometimes you want to give in, give up, put off these silly personal goals later in life when there will be nothing but time to fill.

But sometimes you are more determined to get out there, because you know that the run is what saves you.

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The first few weeks that MFP worked nights were interesting.  I found that having the boys on my own at night wasn’t as difficult as having MFP here all day long.

We are sorting through it, but boy, it is hard.  I suppose that is why the struggle is amplified in my running. 

You tend to notice things about a person when you are forced to spend every single day with them.  I see in MFP the inability to relax, to sit down and read or even just to stare at the wall. 

I live my life in fits and starts.  I get a few things done and then I need a break to think, to sort things through.  And then I am rejuvenated for the next task.  I function best this way;  I am more patient and kind when I have had time to reflect between tasks.  These are short breaks, sometimes only a few minutes, but for me, they are necessary.

MFP, on the other hand, puts pressure on himself to get everything done before he allows himself to relax even for a second.  Which is why he stays up late at night.  Because that is when he feels he can finally have a break. 

“Watch a movie in the middle of the day!  Get crazy.  You need to chill out a bit.  You can’t go full speed ahead 24/7!”

And so he is able to mark more things off of his to-do list.  On the other hand, he gets FUSSY!

So the jury is out on whose style is right or whose is wrong.  We are all learning, but like I said, it is not easy to be putting in a lot of miles and then need to sit down for a bit.  Not when the person you spend your time with does not allow himself to sit down at all.

The reason I write this is because I am often baffled by how easily others seem to balance their relationships with their running.  For me, it is not easy.  I admit that having a husband who works unusual hours in the film industry is not the best-case scenario, but it is also not worth complaining about. 

And I suppose doing all of the parenting alone Monday through Friday isn’t ideal either, but plenty of people manage to do it well.

So, in the end, there are no real answers, but what is left is the pursuit.  And that is something, that after a week of struggle, that needs to be kicked back into high gear.

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