As a wife, mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, daughter, relative, friend and business partner with my daughters, I have about 76,543 things to do every single day.
If you are reading this, you too have 76, 543 things to do as well… and taking the time to read this just upped your day to 76,544 things.
SO. People ask me all the time how I squeeze in exercise and training for events like 5K’s, longer distance races, sprint triathlons, a Half Ironman and now the focus of all of my training energy on the Clearwater, FL 70.3 World Championships in November. Most times, people are genuinely interested in my answer and hope to find some secret for more time for their own fitness endeavors. Very rarely (but it does happen), someone will respond to my answer to their question with how many more responsibilities they have than I do and how focusing on themselves would be… um… (they can’t seem to get the word out… but the meaning is clear)… selfish; i.e., I am selfish.
And then there’s the one person (OK, maybe two) who have had no problem berating me for wasting my time on nonsense.
I am of the opinion that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, so I don’t get too riled up about opinions anymore. (Barry may disagree with me here because when I get on a roll, he still jokes with me by saying, “Tell me how you really feel, Honey.”)
But back to my 76,543 things to do every day. Yes, I am busy. But I am retired after 30 years of teaching. This gives me more flexible time. This doesn’t mean that I have any more time than anyone else in the world (we’re all given the same 24 hours per day), but I can better choose the times to do certain things. For example, when I was teaching, I left my home each morning at 6:30 am and got home at around 3:30 pm. Now, I may be running or biking swimming at 6:30 am or noon or 2:30 pm. But when I was teaching, I didn’t have 9 grandchildren, I wasn’t the sole caretaker of my Mom, and MomGenerations.com did not exist. I didn’t have daytime appointments to plan for my Mom, any writing to do, or any grandchildren activities. Same amount of time… different things to do.
Squeezing in training is just one of the thousands of things to do. But it’s something I love. Each time I head out on my bike or for a run, it’s a poetic journey. The clouds are never the same as yesterday. The sky is always a different shade of blue. The shadows leap from one side of the street to the other. Rocks and boulders are sometimes whales, sometimes dinosaurs, sometimes bears or leopards. Tree stumps are reminders of people from another time, people who perhaps sat under that tree with a lover or a newborn baby or a grandparent with stories to tell. The water in the harbor is blue or gray or blueish-gray depending upon the time of day, and it too tells of the journeys of thousands seafaring folks who sailed on those ripples and waves. Flowers unlock the secrets of their seeds and foretell another season with their colors. Trees dance and even sing. Gates swing open in welcome and sometimes are locked shut for reasons we cannot know. Meadows sway in the wind and freshly cut grass fills noses with summer or fall or spring. The sun is often yellow, sometimes orange, and even white hot. Colors and sounds and textures and aromas combine in kaleidoscope fashion, blending light and design in a constant changing pattern.
This is why I get outside as often as I can. This is why training for a running race or a triathlon is so important to me. It’s the poetry. It’s the poetry of nature that makes me so happy and peaceful and fulfilled. It’s why I squeeze it in… even when there are 76,542 things left to do in my little corner of the world.
And every once-in-a-while, I stumble upon a sight so extraordinarily lovely and POETIC that I must stop… and accept the loveliness as the gift that it is. Nature’s poetry. And then return later with my camera…
This is why I squeeze training into my days of 76,543 things to do.