It's a bit depressing to admit that I had to announce on my personal Facebook page to friends and family that I am apologizing in advance for not being available. Some people might read that statement and think that I'm being a bit melodramatic; others relate exceptionally heavy to this sentiment.
I absolutely love and hate doing my marathon training. Today is a day that I'm dreading going outside to do my twenty mile run. I always do when it is so close to marathon day. The Chicago Marathon is a few days over a month away and peak week is approaching swiftly, which means my availability to the public is exceptionally minimal to zilch. Some of my friends and family members verbalize that they respect my lack of attendance, acknowledging that training is crucial during this period. Unfortunately, the actions after a few weeks show me something completely different.
Last year, I lost a handful of "friends" who felt as if I was blowing them off for not being around for them during their special events. Regardless of how thick my skin is, it's hard to be told by loved ones that you are a shit friend and family member. It doesn't help that I was already terrible at returning phone calls and I'm notorious for responding to a text message eight hours later if it's not in regards to business. The dreadful reality is that being in marathon training can make even the biggest people person like me seem like a loner.
Let me not sound like a Debbie Downer on this subject. I actually LOVE my solitude. As a mother, wife, family member and friend who tends to put everyone else's needs and concerns ahead of her own at times, it is refreshing to have 1 - 3 hours of STFU time. Sounds selfish? Well, I will not apologize for it. Without marathon training, most times that I am "alone", I am frequently contacted through messenger, by phone, cleaning something, wiping away tears from my nine year old's face or listening to a host of issues because I have been labeled as the "active listening" type. If I'm in front of you, know that we will talk forever and if I am really engulfed into a topic online, I type paragraphs of eternity vocalizing my opinion. To engulf myself into something that I truly love for a higher goal means the world to me.
Times like these make me exceptionally thankful for being a part of several running communities. If there's ever a moment that I want to link up with a group, I'll go to my Black Girls Run sisters for more than just a group run, but to relate. There are other times that I enjoy running with Runner's United NYC, which is a fairly new group full of badassery who links up with several groups in the area. Through running, I learned that I actually learned that I need that active silence and aside from yoga, running provides that for me.
I grew up being the kid that was very awkward, strange but sometimes intriguing. We could start talking about the constellation and end a conversation about life, lack of interest in celebrities and your nose hairs. As an adult, people tend to gravitate towards my eccentricity even more and it can be a bit overwhelming at moments. Being an explicit open book for over 3 years with the public has its plus and minuses. Without knowing it, I became an inspiration to many and a nuisance to others. All they heard about at one point was my running commitments, cycling adventures and something that the average joe would define as nothing short of neurotic. Simply put, you become the annoying running friend who has nothing else to talk about but your running obligations. Next thing you know, you are the unspoken pink elephant in the room that looks self absorbed. And guess what: You question if you are. I learned not to ask questions that I might not want the answer to at emotionally high times like these. Next thing I know, I'll be on a six hour verbal tangent about my passion and their lack of sensitivity. It's not worth it.
FINDING YOUR BALANCE
In efforts to not lose any folks of value to me, I made the decision to not be a fly by night fill in the blank here. When I say that I'm going to show up, I'm going to show up. Runners reading my blog might state that this is easier said than done. Yes and no, my dear friends. Here's what I suggest:
By now, if you are an over-sharer like me, people know running means the world to you. Just remember that these people mean the world to you too. Running is certainly a priority to me. My family and friends are higher on the food chain quite frankly. Finding that happy balance may take some time but it will come with consistency and practice. You may lose a few stragglers but the ones that you really want to hold onto will hopefully understand. All you can do is put your best foot forward to make a conscious, realistic effort on your part.