Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Running vs. ?

I recently read an article about Kara Goucher and her up and coming plans for the next racing season.  It's a short article, not a lot of detail, but it does give us insight into what she has been up to and where her head is at.  As you may or may not know, Kara decided last year that she would take some time off to start a family and then get ready for the 2012 Olympics in hopes of landing on the podium.  What most of us didn't know was that she gave herself a very small window in which to work that into.  She tells San Diego Tribune that if she isn't pregnant by the end of April that they will give up trying because anything after that would impede on her ability to recover fully for the Olympics.  Wow.  I was shocked, but at the same time, I really understood where she was coming from.

I am by no means a professional runner.  All of my goals and pressures are self inflicted.  But right now I am really enjoying where I am at with my running.  I am finally getting speedier.  I know how my body reacts with certain distances.  I know what I need to do in terms of training, eating, sleeping, etc to get to where I want with a key race.  I am really enjoying it.  But for the first time I am hearing a fellow runner (yes, I am going to caller her my fellow runner!) say that her running is important enough to her that she is willing to sacrifice being a mother for the time being.  I know I have talked about this before and many of you assured me that being a runner and a mother don't have to be separate.  In a way though, they do.  You can't run fast while pregnant.  You can't run right away after birth.  And quite frankly, you are going to have to do a lot of work to get back to your pre-prego running self.  Am I ready for that right now?  I don't know.  Will I ever be?  I don't know.  But I do know that I am not getting younger, and like Kara, I have other goals in my life with my career and running that I am unsure if a baby would be the right plan at the moment. 

The article really got me thinking in other ways though, too.  What else in our lives do we put on the scale to weigh against running?  Are there things that we are waiting to do before we hit a goal race?  A goal time?  A goal weight?  Are we wanting to run Boston first?  Putting a heavy importance on one thing can be a double edged sword.  But as runners, we do this every day.  We make running a priority, so much so that we give up late nights with friends.  We give up eating certain foods or drinking certain adult beverages :) Is it healthy?  Who knows...but I do know that I have given a lot to running and sometimes it does come down to running vs. ?

I'm not going to solve my own dilemma here.  I have plenty of time to make up my own mind about certain decisions.  I do know though, like Kara, we all must weigh the importance of our running.  Yes, she is a paid athlete.  It's her job to run, and only a dream job for most of us.  But her decision on certain life choices isn't any less important then our own.  Is there anything in your life that you are weighing running vs. ?  Or are you like me, where it's a constant balancing act.  You can share here in the comment section or you can use this opportunity to think it over for yourself.  I do lots of self checks in my life to make sure that I am living it to the fullest.  Life is short, and I don't ever want to miss out on important things because I chose a different path.

Running is going great this week.  I am exhausted and hungry alllll the time!  I love it!  Monday I got in 9 miles on my treadmill at home while I watched Breakfast at Tiffany' favorite!
9 miles  1:111:10  7:54/mi

Then yesterday I hit up the dreadmill for a quick recovery run and to finish off my movie :)
6 miles  48:12  8:01/mi

I have a half marathon in San Francisco this weekend that I am really excited about.  I love racing in the City and the course looks to be challenging.  It races all the way through Golden Gate Park.  If you've never been there, it's quite hilly but very, very pretty.  I haven't decided on any goals yet as it it's my first road race of the year.  Come back Friday and I'll fill you all in!

Yes, this post was a little deeper than usual, but sometimes it's nice not to just scratch the surface of our running.  I am constantly doing pro and con lists, it really can help me see the big picture and help me prioritize.
Happy Running Peeps and Happy Wednesday!!
P.S.  Go on over to Tall Mom's page and check out the Recovery Sock Giveaway!  But don't enter too many times, I REALLY, REALLY want to win! :)


Heather said...

Great post - so true!

Staci Dombroski said...

There are always a lot to think about before making your decision. You will do what is best for you and your family :-) I hope you have a wonderful day!

L.B. said...

A lot of times I think to myself "It's too bad I wasn't into running before I had kids." Having a family does restrict me a lot in terms of having the freedom to run when I want, where I want and to run the races I want to race. My family's going with me to Sunday's race but the other marathon I'm looking at is also down in Orange County, and I don't know that they would want to do the whole spend-the-weekend-in-a-hotel-while-Dad-runs thing. Maybe, but maybe not. And not to mention the 20-milers that thwart all plans... heck, the shorter weekend runs too are somewhat restricting.

I gave up a lot to be a parent, my wife and I both did. Mainly freedom. There are just things you can't do, places you can't go and activities you can't partake in when you have children. At least, that's been my experience.

But I've never once regretted the decision to have children. I know I am a better person for having my girls in my life. I got a lot of things out of my system before having kids just because I knew I wouldn't have the chance to do things like that in the future, as a parent. It just would be nice to be able to go to a movie on the spur of the moment like we used to.

Jo Lynn said...

First - DAMN, you're speedy girl!

Second - A friend of mine, an avid runner, very fast, has had two babies in the past four years. She ran until right before giving birth (even a very slow jog) and got right back at it afterwards. She did a trail marathon when her son was three months old. Her hubbie and son met her at an aid station mid-point so she could nurse him! She's still SO fast too, and she pushes a double stroller. ;)


So I am not telling you what is right for you, but I do want to share what I did.

Keep in mind, I am not as fast as you. I had been running a little less than a year when I got pregnant with Natalie. I wanted to keep running and racing. So I talked to my doctor and she was OK with it as long as I listened to my body. I ran 12 races while pregnant, including a half. Yes, I got progressively slower throughout, but I also got stronger. Running carrying 30 extra pounds will do that. Anyway, I ran 8 miles three days before delivery and was back running in 3 weeks. I ran my first race back when Natalie was 24 days old. I had 1/28 and by May, I was setting PRs. I know everyone is different, but I am just saying it can be done.

Hope you find what is right for you!

Jill said...

Good Morning, Chica!
I think that juggling family and running is a very delicate balancing act. It's easier now that my kiddos are older but I ran my first marathon when my twins were barely 2; I just didn't become a maniac about racing until they were older. There's a huge cost consideration, too, as those races add up...lots of diapers there :).

Very exciting for your race this weekend. I still hope to run S.F. marathon this summer, but I will run it for fun and enjoy the experience! So you'll have to tell me all about those hills :p. I'm doing lots of hill repeats in preps for Boston! I'm constantly hungry - but I think it's more boredom at work and so am trying to live by your email and eat better!! You're the best!!!!!
Hugs to you!!

Jamoosh said...

Admittedly I am a tad jealous. I love, love, love running in San Francisco!

Sarah said...

I wasn't a runner before I became a mom, but I do know that I wouldn't want any of my goals to have stopped me from having Braedyn. It may make running more of a balancing act, but life is so much more fun when it's got some chaos mixed in! :) I know you will figure out what's right for you and go for it with your whole heart.

Anonymous said...

I love love love this post!

I hear (more times than I can stand) about how old I am getting and I often get questioned about when I will have kids. The first problem, I suppose, is that I do not feel old (I am 29!!!) and the second is, that right now motherhood is not for me.

I want more than anything to be a mother. Someday. But yes, my life right now is about me and I like it that way. Bringing a child into the world would be unfair right now because I enjoy my life too much currently and do not feel rushed into motherhood.

Working in a middle school I see situations every day in regards to how parents are with or about their children, and all too often they act as though they are a burden. When I am ready, when I know it is right, I will have them. And then my life will be less about me.

Seriously, I just hijacked your comments, but I really like the post. Kara has something bigger going on right now...I appreciate her honestly and love how real she is with runners.

Yeah, I think I need to dedicate my own post to this!

Teamarcia said...

I'm a lot like LB above. I wonder what would have been had I been more serious about running before I had kids, but certainly I have no regrets.
Having children is funny that way. It's something we don't always have 'control' over.
Great running week! Have a blast at the 1/2! I'll be trotting the tundra in spirit with you all to honor my friend in SF who is running to celebrate her bday.

Tara said...

Balancing family, work, and running is a constant balancing act. I do it because I love every minute of it.
It's easier now that my kiddo is older, it was really hard when she was young because I was basically a single mom.

My hubbie and I have been going back and forth on whether or not to have kids. He doesn't have any. We would be happy either way, but I'm not getting any younger! If I'm going to have kids, I should probably start sooner then later. On that same note, I don't want to be running my first marathon at 40 either! Why can't men carry the kids?!?!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

hot dang you got really deep on this article, I just thought damn I want her abs and wow I think I love her. :)

I do think running causes me to make choices, but it also makes me better at managing time so I swear I get more in than others!

Jess said...

Well, I know a lot about this subject, and I can tell you several imporant things:

1. In this day and age, children are a choice. I don't think a couple or, especially, a woman needs to have children in order to lead a happy, fulfilling life, and it is certainly no longer a societal expectation that you must procreate. So, if you decide that having children will not add to you and your husband's happiness, don't have them. Simple as that. I think it's a falsehood that people say "you'll regret it if you don't have kids." Not always true. Lots of people are childless and enjoy the choice they've made.

2. If you want to have them, but just "not now." You have time. It may not seem like much will change in a matter of 2-3 years, but it may, and you have that window. Risks for certain birth defects only significantly increase if a woman is 35 or older, so you still have lots of years to mull it over.

3. Having children does change things, of course, but life doesn't have to end just because you have children. If you're flexible, and you have a modern husband who believes that parenting is a two person task, you can carve out room for a child while still maintaining essential elements of your life that you love. That doesn't mean that you don't still sacrifice, but it doesn't mean that you have to entirely give up who you are or what you enjoy now.

Anonymous said...

I think you just have to decide where running is on your list of priorities. For me it is
And so it's not really a choice. If I choose between career advancement adn running, I choose career. If it's my family, I choose them. It can be hard and it isn't always easy, but if your priorities are clear, the choice itself isn't hard. So just think about where your priorities are and how much your running really is a part of your life.

Morgan said...

Granted I am nowhere near ready to start a family but I still think, what if a year from now, 2 years from now, etc... I am married and thinking about kids? By that point I will be close to or in my 30's, generally a woman's peak running years, what will I do? Having a family means so much to me but what if I'm headed towards a BQ by that point, could I really walk away from that and start trying for kids knowing I might not get it back? I honestly don't know.

ajh said...

Thought provoking post! One is often balancing running against other obligations. When I take a long run on Sunday that is it for major family time when you build in recovery and all that go with it. My kids were pretty much grown before I started running so it is not the same for me.
I want those recovery socks too!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

YOu will go back and forth and back and forth.. My advice, you will know when you are ready and until then do EVERYTHING you want to do and achieve your goals. And can find your speed and Running again after giving birth, take the top 4 women at the NYC Marathon this year for example :)

Thanks for the link love!!

I HOPE Kara gets prego, that would be precious...

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

You are such a great deep thinker. I like that you share a bit more of yourself than just running. It's nice to "know" you a little bit as a human. Thanks.

Babies. You are young. You don't have to have children tomorrow. When I had my first I liked the idea of being my age now and having my kids grown and heading out into the world. Well life didn't work that way and now I have a grown child, an 8 year old and a 17 month old. Not exactly what I planned BUT. If I am gone tomorrow none of my running shoes will say nice words about me, my races won't wonder where I am, my treadmill will not call out for me BUT my children will take every thing I gave to them through the examples I set (good and bad) and they will move forward making their little worlds better in some part due to the things I did/said/taught them.

I like that thought.

So I might not ever crack 3:30 in a marathon. I might not get to have enough training to do my 50 miler this fall. But I will do everything that I prioritize to do! Whatever you chose just remember you can have it all, it's just what is included in your "all."

Teamarcia said...

Katie 1-1/2C Beets = I boiled 2 big maybe fist-sized beets and used about 3/4 of them. : )

Tricia said...

Good luck this weekend!

N.D. said...

I read this article and thought it was GREAT. And I can assure you that I felt the same way as you do now before getting pregnant with Nick, and even while pregnant with Nick (feeling resentful) but I can also tell you that running was a huge priority in my life pre-Nick (and my fitness/weight, etc) and the second he arrived everything moved down one step. I can still run, I still enjoy it, and I know one day I will be back to my speed, just not right now, and it gives me a challenge to get there. Running took a back seat but to something totally better! It's really tough and an identity change - if you read my posts starting AUgust 2008 you can see how I was feeling!

N.D. said...

and, P.S. running while pregnant isn't the same but it's another challenge. I ran up until the day I went into labor 5.5 miles and 30 miles / week and I started running one week after Nick was born and did Boston 10 weeks after...Look at Paula Radcliffe and many other mamas that come back even stronger and faster than pre-preg!