“For me, the challenge of middle age was not to stand still.” Jon Katz
Recently, I have been bombarded with running decisions. I’m still a newbie in this game. It’s really only been a year that I have become a more “serious” runner who has actively decided to invest more time in my running, mix up the type of runs that I do(tempo, hills, sprints, long runs), and also delve into this whole community of running groups, blogs, and websites.
Along with this new love affair, which is still in its teen crush exciting phase, has come the desire to participate in every running event out there. The more I get involved with the running community, both in person and online, the more I am presented with opportunities. I want to take advantage of all of them. While following runner’s blogs inspires and teaches me, it also feeds into my social media runner’s envy of not wanting to miss out on any run. That is really hard to do if I am still trying to remain a good enough mother, a good enough wife…and continue to do my day job the best that I can.
A few Saturdays ago, for my weekly long run with the L. A. Leggers group, my pace group was in charge of manning the mid-long-run water and fuel station. I volunteered to help out rather than go for a run. I know that these groups function because of volunteers, and I wanted to do my part. I walked into Target to buy some snacks for the fuel station, and immediately to my left upon entering the doors was the candy corn station.
There are two types of people, those who love candy corn and those who hate it. If you are not in the love category, we may need to reevaluate our relationship. When I was a kid, there was candy corn and there was autumn mix. On this day at Target, there was candy corn in many a flavors, some of which were: sea-salt chocolate, peanut butter, assorted fruit, caramel machiatto, and pumpkin spice. There was also the autumn mix, and pumpkin mellow creams… and right next to that, were some pumpkin spice M&M’s. I stood there frozen with indecision. I knew that taking all of the flavors home would result in eating them all in one sitting.
My kids’ post-halloween candy consumption is supervised by me. They have 2 small pieces a night. As an adult, I need to supervise myself. I can not have every flavor, and I certainly can’t have every flavor at once. I bought the sea-salt chocolate, the peanut butter, and the autumn mix. I passed on the M&M’s all together. Maybe next time I shouldn’t volunteer to buy “fuel” for the running group.
As for running, here are some of the opportunities I have been faced with just in the last month. I was asked if I want to do a 15K with an organization called Students Run LA, and blog about it. Students Run LA is a group that empowers LA middle and high schools students by training them to run the LA marathon. I love that! I used to want to do a fellowship in adolescent medicine. Actually liking teens is another of “my things.” When I was in college, I spent extended time volunteering at the inpatient Eating Disorders unit of the main psychiatric hospital in Pittsburgh. I was also a math tutor for the teens in the suicidal unit…(I strongly considered a career in adolescent psychiatry for a while.) But that 15K is in conflict with another event that I have committed to, and my inner type A never goes back on a commitment.
A person in my running group had an open spot for their Ragnar Relay in October. Doing a Ragnar is on my bucket-list. What if the opportunity doesn’t arise again. But that would require a weekend out of town, and I was already taking another 3 days weekend away to myself a couple of weeks after.
One of the head organizers for LA’s team from Every Mother Counts (EMC) told me she is trying to get together a group for the Santa Run 10K on December 5th. I love EMC–it is a charity I strongly believe in. I love the idea of doing a Santa Run…I love all things holiday. I am already scheduled to do a Spartan Sprint on Sunday Dec 6th, and I am supposed to do an 18 mile training run on Saturday December 5th with the Leggers… that will be my first 18 mile run ever. If I don’t do it with the group, I’ll have to make it up on my own; and from my post on Pain last week, we all know that is not a good idea. And every single one of you who just did the NYC marathon, I can’t even begin to tell you my level of jealousy….I’ve already walked, shopped, and alternately drank coffee and wine my way through that city multiple times…now I want to run it (preferably in a turquoise tutu.)
I can’t do everything in one year. And why do I feel the need to? Perhaps it’s because I waited so long to take care of me, that I am now like the girl who went to an all-girls school and has gotten thrown into a co-ed university. Or maybe, it’s because having unexpectedly lost someone very close to me, I know that we shouldn’t take a single day of this life for granted. I know that our bucket list shouldn’t be for some unknown future date but for now …. certainly unexpected loss is responsible for my attitude of not being afraid to tell people just what they mean to me…. I leave nothing unsaid…. Or maybe it really is as simple as still being in my teen crush phase with running…..
If I’m going to continue my involvement with the running community, I need to re-examine my goals. This year’s goals have all already been achieved or are already set in motion….. next year, there will be new ones….I can’t buy every flavor of candy corn….I can’t have every one every night….And if I spend my time lamenting about the runs I am missing out on, then I am not going to be fully enjoying and present for the ones I am able to do…I am going to negate some of my desire to live every day to the fullest. It’s time for me to be the responsible adult in charge of the giddy teen girl inside of me who wants to run off into forever land. This week I walked into Target, and immediately to my left that shelf of assorted candy corn had been replaced by various Christmas confections…. I didn’t pause for more than a second….I just continued in my own forward motion.