When I first started this blog, I was thinking a lot about the concept of time. People were always “so impressed” with my ability to manage my toddler, my infant, my freelancing and my running.
As I result, I became pretty impressed with myself, too.
How wrong I was. Because here I am, almost a year to the day after I started this blog and am living a new definition of busy.
The infant became a busy toddler, his sister grew into a headstrong pre-schooler, I continued freelancing (and had it pick up after the recession) and I took a full-time job. Add to that the usual running of the household business (laundry, cooking, cleaning up after two whirling dervishes), a marriage that requires attention, a semblance of a social life (my friends keep having babies and I want to be there for them!) and I am to the wall in a way I never imagined possible.
For the first time in my life, I truly do not have time. I do not have time to think straight. I wake up at 6 a.m. and I fall into bed at 1 a.m. and the in between hours are almost all filled with insanity. I very often forget to eat because I am literally too engrossed in an article or a phone call or something that comes up to get up and microwave a burrito.
This is a kind of busy I never even imagined was possible. And now, I am supposed to somehow squeeze marathon training into all this when I can barely even find the time to eek out my measly four-mile runs a few times a week.
I honestly don’t know if I can do it. Before I had a full life, sure. But it was not a busy life. Now, my husband and I often just look at our to-do lists with dismay at the end of each day wondering why there are not 30 hours in the day (I am submitting a memo in support of the 30-hour day, just FYI).
People always talk about home-life balance and I get it, I really do. But how can I balance it all when the work is there and needs to be done?
I’d be lying if I said I did not love it. Sure, I don’t love every second of it, but I am happier with a job that takes me outside the home and away from my kids. I am happy with the intellectual stimulation and the fun of doing all the things I went to school for years to do.
But it is hard. My life is really, really hard right now in ways I never could have imagined a year ago. My first long run yesterday was not pretty. It was hot and humid (never good for me). It was late afternoon by the time I finally got going (not the best time to run) and I am really about five weeks out from my last serious, decent run. I went out to do 8, I actually did 6 and they were painful, long, uncomfortable and slow miles.
I was mad at myself at first, my perfectionist side was winning. But soon it dawned on me that I can’t do it all. Something has to give and the fact that I was even able to eek out a six-miler in the midst of the insanity that is my life? Well, that is something to be proud of if nothing else.
I may have to surrender a bit to the time gods, at least for now. Maybe I will defer the marathon until I have found more of that elusive “balance.” Or, maybe I will surrender my time goal and be more realistic about the kind of training I can do. But I doubt it. After all, running a slower marathon?
Well, that takes more time than I have.
If I can pull this marathon off this fall? Then I will feel I earn the right to congratulate myself no matter if I qualify for Boston or not. This is going to be much harder than last year, but maybe it is just the challenge I need.
Sasha Brown-Worsham is a writer, a mother and an unabashed, unashamed runaholic. Check her progress each week as she trains to qualify for the Boston Marathon.