I’m Happy Being an Average Runner

My boys help celebrate the Eugene Marathon

Like most runners, I’ve spent plenty of time focused on PR’s, age divisions and just being frustrated. Frustrated when I don’t hit the goals I’ve set, frustrated with injuries and probably a little jealous of my running friends who never seem to have a bad run. I’ve finally realized I’ve been wasting time being frustrated and envious. Running is a stress release, it shouldn’t be adding to my stress level. I have three busy boys and with soccer, band and homework, there isn’t a lot of down time at our house, let alone time for extra workouts.

I was telling another mom at the gym that I just don’t have the time to properly train, or at least train like I should for the distances I do. She has four kids and wants to do some Crossfit competitions, so she can totally relate. I explained to her that I wanted to an IronMan triathlon before I turned 40, and that 40 came and went several years ago, without the 140.6 mile challenge. With kids and their activities on top of my commitments, I just haven’t been able to check it off my bucket list.

Her reply was so simple, but will forever change my attitude, ‘you can only be so selfish.’ She wasn’t being rude or trying to make me feel guilty, actually quite the opposite. Training time is ‘me’ time. It honestly makes me a better person for my boys and everyone around me, but there is a limited amount of ‘me’ time. Soccer games on Saturdays and Sundays limit my long runs. Shuttling to and from practices requires a spreadsheet at times. It’s a challenge to have enough time AND be organized enough to have a workout planned. I would love to pack my bike and sit on a trainer during a soccer game, but until I find another mom to join me, I’m not going to be ‘that’ mom (my children have also stated they would disown me if I did that). I know athletes who are willing to get up at 4 AM to get a workout checked off, but that’s not an option for me. I sleep in until 5 AM.

So my choices are simple, either ignore my kids and get the training time in for a better performance, or do what I can with where I’m at right now and be thankful. My boys are more important to me than any run or triathlon so I can participate and pull in the rear or not race at all. I definitely choose to participate and be just selfish enough to do something for me. Yes, it means I may be at the back of the pack and I’ve decided I’m just fine with that. Part of trying to have it all means making some compromises. My boys give me the time to get some training in and I’m content with being an average runner and mediocre triathlete. I have other priorities right now, at least I’m still out there. I’m happy with being at the back of the pack, it’s proof I’m maintaining some balance.