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Community {step two in finding a better balance}

July 29, 2011

It’s been awhile since I posted last, so you might have forgotten, or maybe you haven’t even read, my first post. It was titled “Balancing Act” and I wrote about my first step (making a schedule) in trying to find a better balance between family, running, and work. Well here is my second step: Community.

In order to follow the schedule I created in my previous post, I need a lot of help. You are not allowed to leave your child alone at home to go on a run, even if they are sleeping, so someone needs to be around to watch them. Not that I would ever do that even if it was legal. However, I have thought about running laps around the house while holding the baby monitor, but that would require a lot of laps and the fence might pose a problem.

Anyway.

In order to have time to train I‘ve had to learn how to rely on other people for help.  And for those of you who know me well, you might understand that this was not an easy feat for me. I hate asking for favors. I hate feeling indebted to people. And I really hate feeling like I can’t do it on my own. But the reality is there is absolutely no way to be a mother and a world class runner without help. So here is where community comes in.

7:00am is game time around our house. It’s when I have to be at practice, when my husband has to be at work, and when our daughter wakes up. Well if you put two and two together you might be thinking that my daughter is waking up to an empty house. Don’t worry she’s not. I have an amazing mother who is around to help.

But being a professional runner requires more than just attending practice once a day. There is ancillary work, rehab, meetings and events to attend, all on top of working part-time. And since we cannot afford a nanny, I have to rely a lot on family and friends in order to get everything done.

But as I was saying above, getting to a place where I was willing to accept help was not easy. It took a few lots of break downs and occasionally some water works before I got to the point where I was able to let go and ask for help. And from this I’ve learned that surrounding myself with a community of family and friends is a must. There is no way, at least for me, to accomplish all of my goals and dreams without their help.

So whether you are trying to make an Olympic team or trying to run your first 5k, it’s important to have a community of family and friends. But also remember that just surrounding yourself won’t work; you also have to be willing to ask for and accept help when needed.

Now you probably thought this would be the end of the post, or maybe you looked ahead a saw some more text and figured out that it wasn’t. Either way I’d like to ask that you keep reading for just a little longer, because there is another aspect of community that I’d like to share: Support.

It’s true that in order to run I need help from my family and friends, but, maybe more importantly, I need their support. None of this would be possible if I didn’t have people cheering me on, people who believe in me, people who know I can do it even when I doubt myself, people like Ruth and Steve. They were there when I first found out I was pregnant, and they have been there ever since. Without their support, without their belief, I would not be where I am today, training for the Olympic Trials. I could go on and on about how awesome they are and about the necessity of support, but I know this post is getting way to long.

So my second step in finding a better balance is having a community. Not only do I need their help when things get tough, but I also need their support.

Step two to finding a better balance, check.

Step three, to be continued.

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