One of the reasons it took me so long to begin running was that I was a pro at making excuses. “There isn’t enough time in the day.” “I’m too tired.” “There is still so much ____________ to do! (fill in the blank with any of the following: groceries, laundry, homework, cooking, cleaning).” “There is no way that, after working all day, I am going to miss out on any family time – plus, I am exhausted!”
And, then I had what some people may call a life transforming moment.
TRUTH: There is never enough time in the day so I might as well make the most of today! And, you can ALWAYS find the time to exercise. It just might mean hopping on the elliptical instead of channel surfing.
TRUTH: I usually fall into bed at night utterly spent. Instead of complaining, I realized that I am so lucky to be able to do all that I do. Especially after the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, I don’t take having the ability to run for granted. And, I was so very surprised to discover that daily exercise made me feel so much more energetic, happy and healthy. It’s the best medication out there!
TRUTH: There will ALWAYS be laundry, cooking, cleaning (etc) to do. But, it isn’t as if it is going anywhere! As I was able, I hired a cleaning lady to help and I became more efficient at weekly food planning and preparation. I also put away my superwoman cape. The effective management of our home is a team effort. Chores may take a wee bit longer, and may be even messier at times, but everyone realizes that they are personally invested in creating a happy, healthy and clean home environment.
TRUTH: I always prided myself on putting my children first and I never want to miss any of life’s special moments. I thought I was a “bad mother” (cue the mommy guilt) if I took ANY time for myself. And, then I realized that I don’t have to be there for EVERY moment. If I want to have strong, independent young women as daughters, I must allow them appropriate freedom. Having the girls spend time alone with their grandparents, or enjoy some “Daddy time”, or even a play date without Mommy there has been very healthy! If their Mommy isn’t healthy and happy, everything goes to pieces.
So, I made a change. The best $10 I ever spent was setting up a play date for my daughters and paying a babysitter for an hour. This allowed my fellow teacher colleagues to form a running group. During the school year, we run together twice each week immediately after school. Amazingly, this doesn’t affect the nightly routine too much as we keep our runs to 5-6 km and can still be home by dinner. On the weekend, my husband or family helps out with child care during my long run. And, sometimes my long run only happens every two weeks. I do what I can. And look where it has taken me!
Two half-marathons later, and training for my third at Disney’s TinkerBell Half-Marathon, I am so glad that I made the change. Yes, I put me first in terms of being healthy and happy. And, I am not apologizing. I want to prevent the type 2 Diabetes and Cardiac disease that runs in my family. My family is committing to an active lifestyle – in fact, my husband is desperately trying to convince me to do a Tough Mudder (he even promised to wear a tutu!).
Just the other day, I had someone ask me just how I find the time to run. When I told them my secret, I smiled to myself as they rambled off familiar excuses – they were similar to my own list, once upon a time. Looking back at my old self, I really didn’t think it was possible to make the necessary changes or even find the energy and support to do what was needed. I hope that this blog finds someone like my old self and she realizes that it is possible to dream big at any age and make your dreams come true, one stride at a time.
Tell us: How do you balance running with your family commitments?
Princess Alana (aka Rosetta-in-training)