I used to make excuses. I used to have the line ready.
"I have to get my run in."
It's a full fledged addiction, I'd admit, to feel the urge to put in the training, spend hours on the road, rushing life along so I could get some me time and put in the miles. Today I was asked after an event whether I had time for drinks. Another day, I see an evening event. A friend wanted to schedule in dinner.
How do other people do it, I wonder. How does the average person deal with their disposable time?
I love the concept of a disposable income, as if you have money to 'throw away' at housing, food, savings. It in a way devalues the meaning of this well earned cash.
My disposable time, I've found, is a beast to manage. After work (long hours) and sleep (in short supply), I'm often left with precious time. I don't know how my friends with kids and other obligations even manage, because it's hard enough for me to juggle rest, hobbies, catching up with friends, time with R. and training.
Last Sunday, I pounded out my first 20 miler in months. A few days later, after recounting my training, a co-worker (who has kids) said these exact words to me: "Do you know what you can do with three hours?!"
In truth, this winter my training has been lacking in the mileage I usually throw at a training program. My Daily Mile Update tells me I ran for 5 hours, 48 minutes last week. Add time for changing, warmups, cooldowns and traffic lights and you've got about 8 hours dedicated to training. I wonder about finding the balance, but realize that the bar for physical fitness is most definitely pretty low among others, that I'm spending an inordinate time on cardio exercise.
Today, running with a friend, we reminded ourselves of some of the more advanced training programs we've been though, ones that put me through mid-week 12 mile runs, 100km weeks when total training time tallied by sundown Sunday would easily reach seven to 10 hours.
These days, I'm giving back time to other things, like work and sleep and rest. I've even cut down on blogging and tweeting on running, but I just can't let go of the actual act of running. The miles don't tally up to the impressive numbers while I was in the hunt for faster times, but I feel utterly compelled to slip on the running shoes five or six times a week.
Out there, time gets lost. Out there, my mind that was once rushing through life finds the time to focus in the here and now. Out there, I give myself back something I lost -- ultimately, time. And although that epiphany sneaks up on me run after run, as if I get an ah-ha moment that melts away a busy day, calms my mind, steels my body and reminds me why I wanted to get that run in in the first place.
By the way, I'm back! Racing season (and longer evenings) and spring is here!