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December 21, 2011 / fionarwbl

When Things Fall Out of Balance

I have not had a lot of balance in my life for the last couple of weeks. For two weeks I have been working 16 hour days or longer, and the only time I have been in my apartment is to brush my teeth and fall into bed to sleep for 4 hours. Running on weekdays has been out of the question, and I’ve barely seen my dog. This is definitely the “work” part of this blog. Of course, what I’m trying to do is find that balance between work and everything else.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve only managed to fit in two runs a week – a Friday night decompression run with the dog, and a Saturday or Sunday longer run. And by long run, I mean maybe over 6 miles. Maybe. So, not really that long. But whatever, my legs are moving.

I just want to put in a couple of disclaimers here about my job. 1. I really like it, despite the hours. I cannot imagine spending half this amount of time at my old job. 2. It’s not normally 16hr days. This is incredibly unusual and unlikely to continue. 3. I have been given some serious time off over the holidays to rest up by the partners, in recognition of crazy time. Hence my blogging at 10am on a Wednesday morning.

Friday night runs are becoming my savior. I do an easy 4m run after I come home from work with the dog. It’s really dark out and there is usually no one around, so the dog can run around without bothering anyone. He is gradually becoming better at the whole running thing. He is pretty funny about it; he watches me with great ambivalence as I put on my running gear, and as soon as he hears the chink of the lead against the hook, he jumps off the bed and is by the door in less than 2 seconds. So cute. He used to go all out for the first mile, and then be exhausted for the next 3 which made for less than stellar running, but either he’s getting fitter, or he’s figuring out how to pace himself, but the last couple of runs he’s done the whole thing just fine. And when he gets tired or needs a breather, he just trots beside me for a couple of hundred yards, before dashing off again into the distance to investigate whatever squirrel scent he’s discovered. Having the dog run beside me puts a massive smile on my face, and doing a short and slow run is the perfect break between work week and weekend. It’s habit I’ll be sad to drop when it starts getting lighter and there are more people around.

I’ll come running just as soon as I escape my fort.

I have done some other runs as well – a remarkably speedy (for me!) 11 miles around the park at a 9:14 pace, and a 6.5m run with my husband at 9:01 pace. That’s not very many miles for 2 weeks. At the same time, without doing many miles during the week, I am loathe to go crazy on the weekends and throw down a 13 miler or some speedy tempo work. It just feels like asking for injury. I know that my schedule leaves a lot to be desired right now, but pushing myself will only make things worse. I’ve felt a nagging dull pain in my IT band towards the end of my longer or tougher runs, which is a sure sign I need to be careful while I don’t have that baseline to push from.Perhaps the most important element of destressing is the breathe part, and so I’ve welcomed yoga back into my life in a much more committed way. I’ve been 4 times in the last couple of weeks, and I can literally feel my hamstrings sigh as they stretch out.

I must be the only person who is using the holiday period to catch up on running and working out. At least I’ll be burning off the cookies.

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