I am going into my last week in Texas, and my time here has been glorious. I have seen friends, business partners, and I have had a great deal of time with family. I have worked on setting up my business, and I have gone to a few professional development events. I have checked out a lot of real estate, and I have also been making my ultramarathon training a priority.
For over 2 decades, I have tried to balance running, physical fitness, and fun. The balance becomes most challenging when I travel. Thoughts like these creep into my head: I need to carve out 20-30 minutes to workout. I may miss something fun while I am out running. The biggie is: I better not have too much to drink because tomorrow’s workout is going to be painful. (Yes, I have been known to have one too many beers or to enjoy that extra glass of wine.) Creating the harmony between the fun and the running has never been easy.
Some vacations I simply state, “I am not running during this short trip.” Other times, I say, “Just get in 3 runs over the course of the next 7 days.” However, this extended trip home will be a total of 5 weeks. There is no way, I can go 5 weeks without running, and “just” be on vacation. By the end of the 5 weeks, my clothes would not fit, and I would feel GROSS. Having a fall race to prepare for was the perfect solution to keep me on track.
I came here with a loose training plan. The goal was to log miles without being totally tied to a strict training plan. It would allow me the time freedom to have long, leisurely coffee dates with my mother-in-law in the mornings, and if I decided to have 1 too many glasses of wine with my sister or best friend, I could adjust the training schedule. (I ended up having 1 too many glasses of wine with my mother-in-law and 1 too many glasses of wine with my best friend too. My sister and I did a great job cutting ourselves off.) I also had a lot of time to spend with my nieces before they went back to school and had a number of lunch dates with my mom.
My first week of running was rough. I painfully ran 12 miles, and it was at 12 to 13 minutes + per miles. My second week improved. I was able to run 24 miles at 11:30 per mile. By the third week, I found my groove. I logged 30 miles and was back into my 10:30 pace. Last week was my 4th week to be back in Texas, and I finally broke the 40-miles-in-a-week goal. In preparation for a fall ultra, getting to this benchmark sure felt good. (Note: I do not recommend making a jump from 30 miles to 40 miles within one week for most runners. It should be in smaller increments.)
Running back in Texas gave me the opportunity to house-hunt on foot. It gave me the opportunity to see the Texas Tech campus from a different perspective. It gave me the opportunity to see the beautiful lakes that you surprisingly find in Lubbock. Most importantly, it gave me much-needed time in fresh air. The weather in August has been fabulous, and I was reminded of how beautiful my hometown really is. The mornings are fabulous, and we even experienced rain and moderate temperatures which made mid-day runs enjoyable.
As we think about physical activity, maybe we should view it as an opportunity. It is an opportunity to get fresh air, to explore, to spend time with people who may not have a lot of extra time. For me, it was also a way for me to not over-indulge too many times. (There were times over the past month that I needed the next morning’s run to help me say “no” to that extra glass of wine, which in the long run meant that I felt exceptionally better.) At the end of the day, creating time for physical activity reminds us that it can be part of the vacation and not a deterrent from the fun. Let the ACTIVITY BE the FUN.
Happy Running. Happy Walking. Happy Hiking. Happy Cycling. Whatever your activity may be, have some fun moving your body…even if you are on vacation.