There’s running. And then there’s life
Or is it the other way round?
Which comes first, running or life?
Seriously, there are times when I marvel at just how complicated something as intrinsically uncomplicated as running can be.
It’s not the running itself that’s complicated.
Far from it.
Running is dead easy.
Lace up your shoes and head out.
End of story.
It’s the whole fitting your running into a busy schedule that includes so many moving parts. And other people. And other people’s demands. And work. And everything else.
That’s the complicated part.
Let me state my own case, to get the ball rolling.
I have life pretty easy, I’m the first to admit.
I’m old, so don’t have young dependent children.
I work from home, so am more mistress of my time than many people.
Getting the life-work-family-running balance sorted is not easy, and never more so than when I’m 6 weeks from a full marathon & totally under-trained. Carving out blocks of 3 and 4 and 5 hours to run is not simple.
And, as I said, I have life very easy.
For those of you who don’t know me, I live in New Delhi, India, a city which is currently cursed with the reputation of being one of the most polluted cities on the planet. It is therefore not a good idea to get up in the pre-dawn dark and try and get those miles in, because the early morning pollution levels are horrific.
One feels (whether it is true or not) that the sun “burns off” some of the pollution, so I tend to head out mid-morning to run in my local park. That’s an advantage office-goers don’t have, I fully appreciate, and I do love my solo runs.
But…we have house guests.
As one does in India at this time of the year.
And so what am I supposed to do, as I must get my long runs in, other than abandon them for 4 1/2 hours, which is what I did yesterday?
Yes, I did abandon them and, for the record, felt mighty guilty about it.
Now what I’m about to tell you next is such a first world problem, but one of the hazards of trying to train hard in Delhi in the winters is that social life takes over.
Yeah, such a problem, right? 😛
Fellow Delhi runners will understand – actually I think all my fellow Indian runners will understand – but this is full-on wedding season.
For those of you unfamiliar with Indian weddings, they are not a half-day affair, like most western Christian weddings. No sirree.
Your Big Fat Indian wedding lasts for days, has a cast of thousands, involves many different functions, is admittedly great fun, but is completely incompatible with pre-marathon early nights.
I have a dreadful reputation amongst my husband’s friends, whose children are all getting married and/or having babies (which involves equal amounts of partying). I routinely skip functions, because I have a race the next day, and the all-round perception of me is (I’m sure) of someone who is totally wrapped up in her own interests over those of whoever is celebrating.
However lovely it is to be invited out, if there’s a race on the horizon, or a major training session, these have to be prioritised.
After 5 years of running, I still have NO idea how to manage my life-work-running balance. Someone or something always seems to be offended.
I am bored witless by people telling me that I’m obsessive about my running.
Perhaps I am obsessed, but what of it?
Isn’t it better to be obsessed with trying to exercise and keep healthy in my dotage?
And since the “obsessive” monniker usually comes in the context of not wanting to party late/go out/have another drink, it’s always deeply ironic.
Yeah, perhaps I am obsessed, but at least it’s a healthy obsession, right?
Oh dear, I don’t want to sound grumpy, and I think that is how it sounds…
I run. I love it.
But it’s unfortunate that for so many people in my immediate world, the need to run, and train, and train some more is perceived as being a selfish pursuit.
I see that I have shared similar thoughts on the Running vs Life debate twice before, and I’m clearly no closer to getting it sorted than I was 3 years ago when I first discussed it & in July this year…