And just like that – it’s already time for the Friday Five. Every week Friday sneaks up on me, and this week even more so than usual. It’s the last Friday of the month and Courtney, Mar, and I have a “Free Friday”. Since there’s no prescribed theme, I decided it’s time to get personal. No tips, no words of wisdom, just #reallife. I’m not going to delve into private details, but I wanted to relate my current life situation with the fitness and “fitting it in” aspect of the blog.
So here goes.
You may have noticed that I’ve been less regular in my posting this year. No predictable pattern of new posts other than the Friday Five. No guaranteed new post up every Monday morning. No regularity to my training recaps. A big hiatus for the Tri Talk Tuesday series. No posts for a few days, then a couple right in a row. Irregular responding to your amazing and thoughtful comments.
There’s a reason.
For most of 2016, I’ve been living a dual life. A life where 50% of the time I’m a single mom of three little kids, and the other 50% of the time I’m kid-free due to “personal life changes”, as I’ve referred to them here vaguely. So obviously this means that I’m separated/divorced. Don’t worry – everything is more than “amicable”, and in fact it’s all going really well. We’re good friends and the kids are doing great. I’m not writing this to get sympathy (none needed!) or to divulge details of my personal situation. But I decided that it’s important to me to talk about this in this space.
This blog has always been my space to write about running, triathlon, weight loss, fitness, kids, healthy living, and anything else related to my life and how it all fits together.
But when I take a step back and really think about what this blog is about, and why I started writing it and the reason for the blog — it’s about balance.
Balancing the running and triathlon training with kids, a career, international travel, and other commitments.
Balancing the desire to enjoy food with losing weight and maintaining it.
Balancing the need and desire to exercise with the need and desire to have a life, relax, or sleep.
Balancing the pressures of a culture where the predominant food options for busy people are unhealthy with the goal of living a healthy life.
Balancing the expectations of the role of mother with the need to carve out some time to work on my health and well being.
And my “new life” is all about balance. I have been training for two half Ironmans and also running races this year while in a totally new personal life situation. Moving, adjusting, and being a good mom to my kids have made life a bit of a whirlwind.
Since it’s the Friday Five, I’m going to share five thoughts on this balance.
1. The Blog. I had to step back a little from the pressure of blogging on a schedule. But I’m in a good groove now with life, and things are going well. I’m picking up the blogging, and you can expect more regularity. I need this outlet. I love writing, sharing, and connecting with people through this space. I’m not giving it up and I’m going to need it more than ever as I embark on Ironman Lake Placid training.
2. The Running. In some ways, running has been easier. On my kid-free days, I can go for a long run guilt-free. And on my single mom days, things really aren’t that different. I already ran in the morning before they were awake, or with a kid in a running stroller. But the challenge is that I can’t leave kids alone in the house on my single mom days to run outside.
I fixed this problem by buying a hand-me-down treadmill and it changed my life.
I can now run at any time – when they’re sleeping or when they’re playing alongside me in the basement. They think it’s cool.
3. The Triathlon Training. In a lot of ways, training in single mom life is not that different from when I had another adult in the house. I was always the parent on “morning duty”, so the kids are used to waking up and finding me on the bike trainer.
But just when I get into a groove, life throws a wrench in it. Work has been really busy. And single mom life when you’re working 12-14 hour days is tough. Add to it half Ironman training and it’s a tough balancing act, to say the least. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day some days.
So yeah, balance is key as I step it up to Ironman training. I have ideas on how to adapt, and I am confident that I will do it.
4. The Sleep. I don’t sleep enough, it’s true. I have to work on the sleep-life balance. My FitBit tells a horrifying tale. Lately I have a lot of nights when I cannot get to sleep. I used to be out cold when I hit the pillow. Now I lie in bed until 2am awake sometimes, which sabotages my morning workouts.
5. The Kids. This is the question I most often get – how are the kids? So let’s just state for the record, the kids are doing awesome. They’re great!
On my non-kid weekends, I’ve been fortunate to take some trips for races or for fun. That’s added a new dimension to my life, and some new opportunities.
So yeah, balance. I think the key to the single mom life-training balance is to not judge myself or put more pressure on myself than already exists. I’m energetic, hard working, and committed to everything I have going on, but I’m not a robot.
Everyone needs to balance the hamster-wheel type of days with an evening on the couch with a glass of wine, some time looking at the clouds, a hike in the woods, or an afternoon with a good book.
Thanks for listening, and for your support here on the blog these past two and a half years. It’s been a year of changes and new beginnings, and I feel truly amazing. Happy, energetic, and excited for new adventures.
(PS – I’m happy to chat privately if anyone has questions or is going through something similar, so please feel free to reach out!)
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