Weekly training recap: How do people do it?
Balancing work, life, exercise and hobbies can be trying for everyone -- and this past week, I got a taste of just how difficult it can be for most people.
I work at WTOP, a 24-hour-a-day news station, where the newsroom can be just as bustling at 9 a.m. as it is at 9 p.m. In contract with many jobs with more conventional hours, our newsroom staffers maintain some odd shifts. While I don't work a particularly "odd" shift, I don't work a "normal" one either -- meaning I work afternoon hours into evening hours. I have just about all morning to do as I please.
This week, my hours were shifted from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to train some of WTOP.com's newest employees. It was a thrill to do something different and perhaps get to enjoy some of the luxuries of available evenings with family and friends. But with that, my usual slower-paced mornings where I typically spend an hour or so running or at the gym, were transformed into a full-tilt sprint to get up and out the door in time, only to face hoards of other commuters. In my normal shift, I saunter home in the evening and relax. The 5 p.m. rush-hour crowd is ... well ... cut throat.
Needless to say, my week of living like just about everyone else was eye-opening -- a wonderful, shocking and tiresome change. I really don't mean to be dramatic; I know people make sacrifices and make life work. I enjoyed working "normal" hours, but it's interesting to see how one minor change in life -- even in the short term -- can impact other parts of life.
So with that said, my workouts took a little bit of a hit -- I had to fight more crowds at the gym, more traffic on my outdoor runs and eke out any motivation to work out in the evening.
Here's a run down of how a this week's workouts went:
Monday: I set my alarm to get up to work out before heading to the office. When my alarm went off at 6:15 a.m., I hit snooze, of course, then turned it off. A back-up alarm rang at 6:30 a.m., which I promptly snoozed ... and then snoozed again, and once more for good measure. By the time I woke up, I barely had enough time to shower, inhale some breakfast and head out the door. Awesome. I managed to head to the gym in the evening, but I felt gross after dinner and had to wait in line to get a machine ... All. The. People.
I promised myself I wouldn't screw this up a second day: I woke up early ... like 6:15 a.m. (!) to do my track workout on the treadmill (because it was cold outside and we've already established I'm not a fan of freezing weather.
) When I got to the gym, all of the treadmills were taken. I paced, waited for a machine, stretched (to stop from tapping my toes) and contemplated bundling up and taking this run outside as the minutes ticked by. I kept thinking, "I better get a treadmill soon because if I wait any longer, I won't be able to do more than half of my workout and then it will all be worthless." So
dramatic, I know.
Finally, about 10 minutes later, someone finished using the treadmill and I was up next. I had enough time to knock out seven .50-mile repeats with a one-minute jog in between. I had wanted to do eight reps, but there just wasn't time. I had wanted to jog a little longer in between reps, but I couldn't budget that much time either. I could already tell I was going to be late to work.
Wednesday: OK, by Wednesday I had an idea. A way I could get in my workout, not have to get up super early, and hopefully avoid the nasty rush hour -- a run commute! So I packed my bag of clothes, took the Metro to work, and ran home in the evening, a roughly five-mile distance from my office. It was wonderful! It was one of those runs that made me love running as much as the fact that I was escaping traffic. I was feeling the love; it's no coincidence it was Valentine's Day too.
Read more about my tips to run commute here.
Thursday: It was my day off. But also, by this point I was in no mood to get up early or force an evening workout.
Friday: "OK, Sarah Beth. You will get up early and run, you will get up early and run." It was the phrase I repeated to myself late Thursday into Friday morning. I got up early, but not early enough. (Dang snooze button!) I was supposed to do between five and seven easy miles, and I had wanted to do seven. Time only allowed for five. It is what it is, I guess. How do you people do it????
Saturday: Another off day, but I spent it getting new running shoes at Potomac River Running! I'm so, so excited about the new shoes and I had the best experience ever. I had gone through the running analysis at specialty running stores before, but admittedly it had been years since my last one. It was awesome to have my gait and running style analyzed and pick shoes that fit my running form and foot. Bonus: my shoes (Brooks' Ghost 10) are what I like to call "cherry blossom" pink!
Sunday: It was time for the PR Running group run! I did 10 miles from Georgetown onto the mall and around Hains Point. It was a chilly morning, but a peaceful one. Overall, I felt great and it was an excellent cap to what had been a slightly more trying week.
I'm back to my regular work life Monday, so thanks, D.C. for allowing just one more commuter on the roads, one more runner on the sidewalks, one more body on the Metro and one more grumbler about routine order.