Holiday Running – You’d Think It Would Be Easier

I used to get excited about holidays because I would have more time off to get amazing runs in. I’d always do a long run on the morning of Thanksgiving specifically and the excitement about that being a definite in my future made me even happier. It was great to be able to plan like that and to have work schedules that permit that.

Cut to current years… the grad school, kid years. Time to run on Thanksgiving? HA! Are you kidding? That’s exam week for starters. And work situations with both my spouse and myself are not permitting much of anything during this holiday week. And by that I mean they permit absolutely nothing. The early sunset contributes to that of course. Gone is the season when you could head out the door at 7pm to get your 6 mile run in. Or when the spouse could go in later to accommodate a 3 hour morning run. It hasn’t been easy and I’m beyond frustrated.

So cut to yesterday… supposed to do a 16 mile run in the morning but spouse had an early obligation. So I had get out there quick and make it count. Not fun but I’ve done similar things before. Problem is, I didn’t anticipate one of my kids waking up every single hour that night. Brutal. When the alarm went off at 530 I felt like I had been hit by a train. Oh well, no pain no gain right? I got all my gear on, my sunblock (that I hate) for the 78-84 degree sunny run, and a couple espresso gu gel packs because it was going to be that kind of a morning. And then, after all of that, it still sucked.

My legs felt like lead. My whole body did. At mile 2 I was walking and eating espresso gu. It was crazy. I ran 14 miles last weekend like it was nothing. I’m doing my 6 mile mid week runs at good fast paces. I’ve started weight training. All has been good – except for this long run that is the most important run of the week of course.

I ended up just doing the 6 mile loop and going home. It was awful. I still don’t get it. Over training and under sleeping? Not enough carbs last night? That shouldn’t be it because I was dying at 2 miles not 20. Maybe if I had had coffee before I left? Maybe I need the damn run team after all. Would they have energized me? Was it all in my head? I was supposed to have a 36 mile week and instead I had a 20 mile week! I’m pissed. The holiday time was always my heavy mileage week!

And before the gym and the treadmill questions come, let me tell you, the gym where I live has really bad hours. I’m talking 12-5pm on weekends and even closes 6pm on Friday nights. Who can make those times during the week?? The rest of the hours aren’t any better. And the treadmills are pre programmed to shut off every 30 minutes, which is super fun when you have to do any long distances. I know it sounds like complaining but actually I’m trying to problem solve. Do I take up with another gym that has better hours but that requires a helluva commute? And I worry about how many miles to do on a treadmill before it’s bad for you. Do I join the run team? Thing is the run team now doesn’t have many marathoners so it could be just me doing long distances with the rest of the people just providing route support or doing their 5k training. It doesn’t really work. None of the options really work.

It’s frustrating. Finding time is frustrating. Finding ways is frustrating. Time management is frustrating. When you need a break from exam studying or kids screaming, a 16 mile run is not always the “break” you want. Sometimes it’s just switching one hard job for another hard job. And then knowing a long run requires more sleep to recover but just doing the long run means you’re taking hours away from your sleep… it’s counterproductive isn’t it?

I’m going to adjust my schedule, which just pisses me off. I’ll try and run when I can this week, around exams and kids and holiday stuff. If I can’t run, then so be it. I’ll start next week and the rest of December. You have to roll with it I suppose.

And just for fun…



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