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Training for a Marathon

Thoughts about training realities in a busy life

Now I get it.

Beth asked me to write something for the Vitality Treatment Centre website. Immediately my insecurities rose to the fore front. Write? I'm not a writer. What would I write about?

Beth suggested I could write about my training for my marathon. I do not have any new secrets for training harder, easier, faster; no news on fitness and nutrition; nothing new on technical gear. After much time thinking about it, I found an approach that sat well with me. I would write about the journey that brought me to my current endeavor and add an apology at the end.

An apology? Yes.

A little background information: My life B.C. otherwise known as life before children, I was selfish. I was oh so very selfish. I loved being active and my background helped me with the drive for getting the training done. I was a competitive swimmer for eighteen years of my life which then segued into triathlon and other multisport endeavors. These led me to massage therapy. In 1997 I graduated from Massage College and went travelling with triathlon gear for a few months then set up shop: working 5 days/week and the rest of the time was for training/playing and recovery from both.

In 1999 I met my husband on a blind date and within year got married, bought a house and adopted a dog and still had time for "me" time and sports. By 2005 our first baby had arrived and it was a huge 180 in my life style. I was now at home, feeling quite unprepared, neurotic and overwhelmed with my responsibilities for this new life.

2009 arrives and my husband and I have two boys under the age of 5 and I am struggling with my lack of fitness and dreaming of my fitness level back in my life B.C. I had attempted a few participatory events since my children arrived (does the annual Dave Smart Beer Mile count?) but nothing near the level of what I used to.

I was looking through races on the internet for inspiration. I thought if I could find somewhere exciting where the event happened during the early spring months before my husband entered his busy season, the location had to be relatively close and the event would need to be something that would make me scared enough to have a regular training schedule. I would scare myself back into fitness! Then I remembered a race my friend raved about back in 2003. Big Sur Marathon along the scenic coastal highway of southern California. It fit all the requirements.

Big Sur 2010 was to be their 25th anniversary and promised to be an entertaining party of an event. I was excited yet nervous. I now had a non-refundable commitment to get the exercise needed to get me across the finish line. I was stoked to get started.

I fit in my training in the mornings before everyone got up for the day. My running fitness was on track for the end of 2009. Then the dreaded holiday season hit and it was mid-January before I realized I had less than three months to get my act back on track. When my children decided to wake at all hours of the night, tag teaming me with their demands of drinks, need of hugs from dreamlike states and the odd coughing snoggy nose fit.

The early morning training hours were often forgotten in a fog like state of turning the alarm off, rolling over then shock of realization that is was 7:30 am no run to be had and my spouse would be running out the door in less than 30 minutes.

As the days and weeks went by, it became painfully obvious to me what had happened. I had become a WEEKEND WARRIOR. I was getting in all my training on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. My body was falling apart between the weekends. I needed to rely on my friends and fellow health professionals to help me get my body somewhat recovered in-between the weekends so I could go out and beat it up again with run training. I had become one of "those people" I used to nag. The weekend warriors I used to lecture and judge in my life B.C. about training smart so their bodies could recover and not get injured. The people who juggled work, family and their "me time" the best they could so they could pursue their love of sports.

Now I get it. The craziness of life. Now I get it. Having a family of my own, I now understand how time gets away on you and the unpredictability of children and their needs. I also see a near future of balancing work, family, school, children's pursuits and finding time for my sports endeavors. Now I get it.

I am on the last weeks of my journey towards my marathon. My goal has changed from a particular time finish to an injury free finish. I will finish the race and I will have to thank my massage therapists and chiropractor for aiding my body to the finish line. I also write this as an apology to all those I ever judged with their crazy training schedules and body mishaps. I am sorry. Now I get it. I hope this finds you with a smile on your face and out enjoying your "me time." Thank you.