Training on an Island

To my shock, life has not slowed or stopped to accommodate my training for a half Ironman. The days have not gotten any longer; no hours have been tacked on to the end of the day to allow me to make sure my home doesn't go to hell in a hand basket. Work hasn't allowed me to come in any later or leave any earlier. My commute hasn't magically shortened. The people in my life haven't stopped having celebratory dinners or happy hours or going to concerts or movies. They haven't stopped extending invitations for me to join them.

Just when I though I've maxed out, when I've squeezed as much time out of the day that I humanly can, I realize I need more time. Which puts me here, at 5:07am, up for an hour already and heading about soon to go run for an hour, then race to get ready for work, then work all day before racing out the door to get on bike for another hour, before scrambling to make myself look like a presentable human being who has not been awake for 14 hours and spent 1/7 of that time working out, so that I can go out to the dinner that I requested be rescheduled to a time that would be good for me. Because, you know, the definition of "a good time" has been drastically altered to basically be, "the one hour of the day when I don't have anything training-related planned, which could either be used for something useful like laundry or doing dishes or for pretending I actually have some semblance of a life, before I have to go to sleep so I can wake up and do it all over again."

This training island is a lonely place. I know of at least 3 people training for the same race that I am, and I am almost certain none of them are heading out to run right now. I'm not sure what that says about me, or what it says about them. I pride myself on my discipline and my preparedness; it's gotten me over huge hurdles before, to finish lines I didn't think I would or could cross. This time, I'm just not sure. I keep asking myself, "To what end?" On the other hand, I know that this week is my biggest week yet, my last build-up week in my 2nd 4-week training cycle, before a step-back week next week. And I know that just a couple weeks after that, I won't be on the 8-5, M-F grind anymore and will have some flexibility back in my schedule. I may not have any less work to do, and will actually probably have more, but at least I'll be able to work around training when I need to instead of training around work. I also know that by that point, the end of summer will be in sight and so will decreasing temperatures; I won't always have to run at 5:30am to beat the heat.

In my head, I know all of that. But it doesn't stop me from putting my head in my hands when I finally get home at 8pm, with an hour to make dinner and relax before I have to get in bed. It doesn't stop tears from welling up when I decline invitations to go out and do something. It doesn't give me any more time to have a lazy day on the couch with my husband or to take advantage of summer beach living while I still have it. 

Anyway. Gotta run.

11 comments :

  1. Oh Tracy. I wish I could say something to help or give you more hours of the day. I know I cannot possibly understand your schedule or the stress that comes with it. For what it is worth, I think you handle everything amazingly. I hope things get better / easier for you soon.

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  2. That seems rough. I know a lot of people who say they "don't have time" for even shorter workouts in a day, and I know how hard it is to realize you have to give up other things in order to do it. I can't even imagine setting aside the huge chunks of time you need to to train for your goals, but it'll be worth it. It won't last forever, and once the races have been run, biked, and swum, then you can decide if that's the lifestyle you want to live permanently, or if you'd rather have the free time back again.

    Keep going! You're kicking ass!!!

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  3. Oh my gosh girl, I remember when I was training for the Twin Cities Marathon back in 2010. It was like it ran my life! With work and commuting and just the time it takes to get good runs in, I was either up at 4am to do it before work (!!!) or I'd spend my Friday nights in so that I could get up at 6am to get the long runs in on Saturday mornings. And closer to the race, it was both. It felt like I ran and worked and ate.

    I so feel you on this!

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  4. I just told my husband last night that I felt like everything else in my life was at loose ends because my life right now is consumed by running. He said "I don't know about that, you seem to be pretty on top of things to me." So...maybe we're doing a really great jog at juggling it all? I think though, that maybe you should schedule some downtime. Which sounds dumb to schedule it, but that way it's there with no other commitments. I think I'm going to do this too!

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  5. Hang in there friend! I know I don't have the right words of encouragement, but please know that I think you are a rockstar. Seriously! Anytime life gets busy/chaotic, even with good things, I try to remind myself it's only temporary and it won't be that way forever! Your hard work will pay off friend! :)

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  6. Training for something so major is definitely a world of its own... but just think of the accomplishment at the end! Friends & dates & parties will always be there... do this while you can! Invite your friends for company while you train :) & maybe every now & then, take a break...

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  7. Girl, I don't know how you handle your schedule. I wish I could grant you more hours in the day but just hang in there! You are such an inspiration and proof that there is no excuse. Sending you some hugs and wishing for you a little down time!!!

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  8. I definitely had a "to what end?" moment today while running, and I'm *off work* this week. But though I don't load my schedule up with as much training as you do, I can totally relate because of all the projects I take on. This morning I was sucking wind on what should have been an easy run and trying to beat the clock so I could take a phone interview at 1 and then race to an in-person interview at 3:30 and I was running through the list of articles I have to edit, things I have to work on, design, edit, write, etc. for all the other projects I put on my plate, and I was thinking about this all while dying on a 6-miler thinking "why the hell am I training for a marathon?"
    I don't like to wish time away, and I don't want to advise it for you either, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I know you know that. It's not an easy tunnel to traverse and it certainly is a lonely one at that, but if anyone has the ability to make it through with grace and excellence, it's you. I know you can do it, and I know it won't take long for you to be presented with another confirmation of why you're choosing to do it. This is yours. The blood, sweat, and tears that will carry there make it more so. And every challenge you're defeating in the process is going to make that last step across that finish line even sweeter. Chin up, you're rocking this.

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  9. i thought about this post a few times today, mostly when i was just hanging around doing nothing wishing i could somehow donate some of my extra time to you. i am constantly amazed by your dedication to your sport and to yourself. you are kicking butt and i am constantly impressed. and remember..this is all just a season. i am working on realizing this about the tiny town i live in right now..it is a season and soon i will look back on this time and #1 be really proud of myself for doing it and #2 appreciating the "after life" of it a bit more.

    anyways. you can do it. and you are doing it. and you are doing it really dang well from my view here in minnesota. :)

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  10. Trace I feel you. I don't even know how to comment on this. I just feel you. Im not training for a thing and I feel wiped out with my new job (overtime everyday think 7am-5/6 daily) and then life as well ... with some exercise in there. I know the strain of feeling completely wiped out - you can tell from my lack of posts. Hang in there. I totally empathise and if you need an ear ... I have two - and I alway make time for friends :)

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  11. I feel you, girl! You put it to words what goes through my head a bajilion times of a day. I know my work is getting unpredictable I need to push to get my morning runs in.

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