Finding Time And Making Time

AJWs TaproomIt’s cliche to say these days but as the pace of life continues to increase exponentially and the impact of technology increases, time truly continues to be our most valuable commodity. In my job as a school administrator, I often say that if it were not for issues of time, space, or money, I might not be all that necessary. This quip, while trite, is also at the heart of my feelings about time and as runners we have a special relationship with time that few others do.

At this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, as days become shorter and air becomes colder, it becomes more difficult to find and make time for running. And it is in that context that our relationship with time becomes more pronounced. You see, for those of us with busy, full lives, we have much to balance. In my case, for example, I have a challenging full-time job, a very busy family of five, and a passion for running and the outdoors that quite simply sustains me. All three of those things, honestly, are at the heart of who I am.

Running and the outdoors, in particular, have, over the past 25 years, become a part of my identity that cannot be extricated from other parts of me. In short, running is not only what I do, it’s who I am. Therefore, as daylight wanes and the pace of life picks up, it is more important–not less–to keep my priorities straight, to be sure to maintain balance and to both find and make time for not only what I love to do but for what I need to be me.

Certainly over the years, I have had my moments when things have gone out of whack. Injury or illness have knocked me off my game, incredible fitness has caused me to ignore other parts of my life, and work and family challenges have undermined my equilibrium. All of these have been a part of my journey. That said, what the running life has taught me is that the centering component of a simple activity that I love so much can keep me going strong, even in these days of fleeting hours and increasing distractions. That is a gift I will never take for granted.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

Sugar Creek Brewing Company Pale AleEarlier this week, a work trip took me down to Charlotte, North Carolina where long-time iRunFar correspondent Andrew Swistak lives. I was able to get away for a couple hours with ‘Stack’ to go on a brewery tour and I was not disappointed. We visited three great local breweries, Sycamore Brewing, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, and Sugar Creek Brewing Company, and I must admit, the beer scene in Charlotte is outstanding. Of all the beers I tasted, Sugar Creek’s Pale Ale, a European fusion on the American Classic, was outstanding. Balanced and simple, it’s the kind of beer you can tell comes from a brewer who really knows what they are doing.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Boil your life down to its main priorities, as AJW did here. Can you list them for us?
  • How do you make sure to find and make time for your priorities? Do you consciously schedule time for them each day, week, or on another time scale? Do you have to intentionally arrange and rearrange your life so that your main priorities get adequate attention?
  • What happens when one or more of those priorities doesn’t get enough of your time? How does it make you feel and how do you realign?

There is one comment

  1. Elljay_See

    Well said, sir! Even without the busy family life (don't know how you do it), the need to maintain balance and those priorities is paramount. As always, a pithy nugget of wisdom, AJ-W.

  2. @shiningspeidel

    Interesting questions, Meghan. I started running ultras in 2002 when my kids were 4, 7, and 9. As my new fitness and love of the trails and trail community grew, it became more and more apparent that I couldn't say "yes" to every training run, post-run tailgate, or race. Over the years (and after a few soul searching discussions with my patient husband), I learned an interesting thing about time and priorities: the more balanced and mindful my life became with family time, training, and work, the faster my times became. Each training run had a purpose, so they were more effective; my family was happier that I was fully present while at home, so they became more supportive of my racing. I was more relaxed while racing and not feeling "mommy guilt" — and my running reflected that. I even stopped wearing a watch in certain races, and my times dramatically lowered. I'm a huge believer that the more time we make for things outside of running that nourish our souls, the more satisfying our running life will become.

  3. nelsonprater

    Running and baking and grandbabies are my top priorities right now. I head out at 4 a.m. on weekdays to get in my little solo off-road 6 mile sanity runs – watch-free, headphones-free. On Saturdays, sometimes I start earlier for long runs. Sundays are rest days. I love the quiet and solitude of the early morning. A lot of my baking happens before those runs. In North Texas, as long as there is no lightning and no ice, and lately no flooding, we run. As far as the grandbabies go, all other plans get pushed aside when we have the chance for a grandbaby visit.

  4. km_oregon

    I find that when I am running regularly I am more focused and more present during other activities in my life, including work and home life. So on the surface it may seem like running takes time away from my family, but I believe that the overall effect is positive in that it enhances the time spent with them. In other words even though the quantity of time spent decreases, I would argue that the quality increases for an overall net positive effect. I also have more energy and focus at work and feel more productive.

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