Sunday, November 8, 2009

Balancing Act

So I've never really thought of myself as a runner. And in comparison to real runners, I still probably don't. But in preparation for the Disney World Half-Marathon coming up in January, I've adopted a training plan that is just user-friendly enough to stick with. And I'm almost having fun with it. Almost.

Yesterday's plan called for a 6-mile tempo run. This, of course, after a 7-mile run on Wednesday. Rude! Even though the temperature was barely out of the 30's at 9am, I knew College GameDay was coming on at 10am, and that's pretty strong motivation for me this time of year. And I had already mapped out a nice neighborhood route using my new favorite tool, MapMyRun, so I knew I could finish the 6.2 mile course on a downhill with just enough time to cool off before reaching the driveway. So for whatever reason, the crisp November morning suited me, and I was back home before I knew it in world-record time. In my own world, that is. But mission accomplished!

Then the training plan gets really nasty and sticks a 2-mile easy run right in the middle of my Sunday, normally a rest day. Such an insult! So after sleeping later this morning, I decided to get my run over with and then reward myself with a nice brunch with my favorite guy. Now, granted, I started off an hour later than yesterday morning, but there was a 20-degree temperature difference. So for a short, easy run, it sure felt hot and hilly. But check it off the list, right?

On to brunch. I knew my bagel sandwich would be tasty. What I didn't count on was the option to have a frappe! One cup of Mint Chip frozen coffee yumminess later, the balance was in full swing. Where's the balance in that, you might ask? Well, somehow I've managed to get in 17 miles of running this week. And while that might serve as one easy run for Kara Goucher, it's not too shabby for me! So the reward in the form of a Mint Chip frappe was, in my mind, a no-brainer.

But it made me think more about balance. Truly, it's nothing short of essential. I mean, 1 Mint Chip frappe and 17 miles of running is certainly not tipping the scales dangerously in one direction or the other. But 17 Mint Chip frappes in exchange for 1 mile of running may not be such a fair trade. And the balancing act carries over into nearly every other aspect of life. Whether it's working too many long hours (or not enough), the heart's response to a high potassium level (or low, low, low), or even compromising on holiday travel plans (yikes)'s all about balance. And if you can't achieve that sense of balance in your life, it becomes difficult to survive...much less, to thrive.

So did 1 little (okay, medium-sized) Mint Chip frappe really require that much introspection? Probably not. But for me, the lesson is clear - if you can manage the balancing act, life is pretty flippin' sweet.

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