Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Challenges Of An Amateur Athlete

 BUZZZZZ!  4:30 a.m. My alarm goes off and my day begins. I meet my running group for the morning workout. Workout completed, I am usually back home before 7 a.m. as my husband is walking out the door to work. As I walk in the door my three kids awake and their morning routines have started. I hear all of them talking to me:  “What's for breakfast?”  “I can't find anything to wear!”   I proceed to take the dog out, unload dishwasher, get backpacks ready, and attend to anything else that comes up. At 8 a.m. my two Jr. High kids are out the door walking to school. I now have 40min to take my shower and get ready for the day. At 8:40 a.m. I drive my third grader to school. Returning to the house, I finish another cup of coffee before heading to work at 9:40. From 10 a.m.-3:20 p.m. I manage a local running store. At 3:20 p.m. I drive back to my son's school to pick him up. At 3:45 p.m. I transform into “Bus Driver Mom,” driving to that day’s after school activities; karate, swimming or basketball. Two evenings a week I work at a tutoring agency. At 6 p.m. my husband comes home. Then in the half an hour after the activities have finished we sit down and have dinner as a family. The rest of the evening is usually spent helping my third grader with his homework. We end the day with 25min of reading together.  It is 9 p.m. and all of us usually go to bed at the same time because we are all tired.  Whew!
     Trying to be a competitive runner with big goals almost seems impossible with a husband, three kids and a job. Not only are there time constraints but also the expenses. The costs of race entries, travel, shoes, massages, and nutrition really add up.  
      I do wonder what it would be like if I had all the extras the elites have at the camps they go to. What would it be like to just focus on running? How much would I improve?  They have a team of people that support them financially and overall.  Think of it, to wake up and have your coach at the workouts, someone riding the bike next to you with your fluids and nutrition. Then after the run to have the massages, strength coaches, nutrition advisors and everything you need available.
     Last year when I was training for the Chicago Marathon I was able to get a little hint of what it would be like to have a few extras. Since my coach is also a local chiropractor I was able to have training and workouts not just to make me faster but also injury free. He was able to see me at the track and notice how I felt and observe my running form. It made a world of difference.
     In the back of my mind I always wonder what potential I could reach if I did not have all the other responsibilities of being a mom; if I could train hard and not have to become “Bus Driver Mom” after my workout, and be able to put my feet up and take naps in the middle of the day. 
     Keeping everything in balance is hard. I know everything is not always the way it appears. I know that on the flipside the elite athletes give up a lot. They are not able to spend the time I do with my family and the women elites usually do not have kids and if they do they have to take time off. Their running is their job and maybe if it were to become a job it might not be as enjoyable.
    All of us can play the “what if” game and wonder what things could be like. I try to have the mindset that my daily juggling routine helps to make me a more competitive runner and a more complete person. I love being a mom and I would not trade that for anything. The other day, my son asked me if he could bring the Chicago Athlete magazine to karate to show his teacher and friends. I asked why and he said "Mom you are on the cover of the magazine, you are famous and fast!" The fact that my son is proud of his Mom is the stuff that matters the most.

1 comment:

  1. I have a wife and two kids and would not give it up for anything. It is often difficult balancing family, work, and training. Pushing everything to the limit, but that is what life is about. Getting everything out of it one can. Much better then sitting on a couch and wasting it.
    Comments from your son makes it all worth it. I get the same from my wife and kids, and it makes all the sacrificing worth it. And we get to run...