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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Full Schedule, Empty Miles

What does it take to be truly committed to a lifestyle?

Every morning, as my alarm goes off, this question floats through my head. If I want to be a runner (and I think I do), then why am I not able to focus myself enough to actually get out there and do it?

It's been a month since the Marine Corps Marathon, and in that time I have done a grand total of three runs: two 5Ks around the neighborhood, and a 5-mile race on Thanksgiving. That's 11 miles for the month of November, which is hardly an inspiring number, and certainly not what I have come to expect of myself as a marathon personality.

I have lots of excuses and very few reasons for this lack of consistency, but the biggest of the excuses is just that: my life has been incredibly inconsistent. There were birthdays and holidays and plane rides and new dogs and old jobs and moving and setting up a house and at least one instance of lawn-mowing. November was quite a month overall.

But now it's over, and I'm facing a lot in the next few months. Work on my next show starts next week. Travel plans for the holidays are set. I've got a lot of exciting prospects looming, with alarmingly low levels of certainty. I've got dogs to train, songs to write, blogs to revisit, and money to bank, and amid all of this, somehow, I'm supposed to stay in shape. With everything else competing for my attention, how can I possibly say that I'm committed to running, when that's the one thing that is entirely for me?

Easy. Because it's the one thing that's entirely for me.

As of right now, I am not signed up for any races. I was going to do the Eisenhower in Kansas next April, but it appears I may have to work that weekend, so I'm not sure that I can make the decision yet. Another consideration was the possibility of doing the Austin Half in February, but for that one, I can't really spend the money right now. For a free hobby, it sure seems to cost me a lot.

I went on a run yesterday morning, and I took our new dog, who is much better as a running buddy than the first one. Where she will stop and refuse to go on, he simply keeps moving, and manages to stay out from under my feet (for the most part). I even forgot he was with me for about half a mile of the run, which in many ways is exactly what needs to happen. And since I'm not timing myself right now, it doesn't really matter if we're a little slower because he's along. As long as I can still keep the run about me (and not about my struggle with the pup), then I've got a fighting chance.

We have reached December, which means that I am almost at the one-year anniversary of returning to running, and I have done a whole lot in that year, but I'm just getting started. Maybe, just maybe, if I can keep myself on the pavement, then I'll be able to keep myself sane through whatever is coming over the horizon.

Just maybe.

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