Saturday, May 1, 2010

Finding the Balance

With due respect to the common blog themes of Adam Wende and Luke Nelson, I am once again re-discovering the challenge of balancing the many demands and desires of life. This happens each year as my mileage ramps up into the 80-100 miles per week range. There are certain demands that cannot be avoided, such as work (55 hours/week for me, including commute). Sleep is also a necessity, though it often shrinks to 5-6 hours a night for long stretches. And there are other necessities of life, such as shopping for food (which I hardly ever do thanks to a wonderful wife), eating, church, housework, etc. Generally, I am left with 3 things which I enjoy that I have to balance- family, running, and any other leisure activities. The third one is not too painful to cut- I don't watch much tv (since NFL football is not in season), and only watch 3-4 shows most weeks. My computer time remains relatively constant (to Marci's chagrin).

Running 90 miles per week takes 15-20 hours, once I include the preparation time, driving to the mountains, showering after, etc. Not a minor commitment. Trail running adds more time than road running, of course, due to longer drives and slower pace. But it is infinitely more enjoyable for me. The remainder of the time goes to family. Some days I can spend many hours with them, but there is the occasional day where I hardly see my daughters at all.

On occasion, I read certain blogs with a bit of envy- for example, Tony Krupicka has run 2209 miles in 330 hours already this year. While he is probably the highest mileage runner around, I wouldn't mind having the 40 hours per week to run in the mountains like he does. But it just isn't a possibility with my life. And I imagine I am in much better company than someone like Tony when it comes to having to balancing life with running- there are many more working dads who try to sneak in running than there our people running 200 miles a week at will.

And you know what? I wouldn't change it for a second. I love running in the mountains- the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, birds and squirrels chirping, amazing vistas, the feel of mud underfoot, the freedom and isolation, and the occasional sound of Cody crashing through the underbrush. But that pales in comparison to one hug from my 21 month old daughter, Aspen, or when my 3 1/2 year old, McKinley, asks me to color a book with her, or when my wife thanks me for washing the dishes. Those are infinitely better. And I love all of them. Isn't life great! Finding the balance is what makes us better and helps us realize what is really the most important. And that's what life is all about.

Which would you rather have?

Or This?

How about both!