When I started marathon training, I felt guilty. I’m an active, involved Mom and wife, friend and daughter, writer, blogger, and Alpha to my dog. For the past four years I’ve managed to run 4-5 hours a week because it fit into my schedule and I still had plenty of energy to run around during the day getting a bazillion things accomplished. Essentially, my running schedule didn’t detract from my daily life.
Now that I’m six weeks into a sixteen week Marathon training program, I can still run around with plenty of energy during the week, but the Long Run on Sunday wipes me out for the rest of the day. This past month I’ve done a fair share of feeling guilty for being tired after a Long Run. I felt selfish for burning so much energy first thing on Sunday morning that I couldn’t be part of bike rides with the family, weekly chores around the house that had been put off all weekend, large-scale yard work, endurance hikes… because of my selfish desire to run a Marathon, the family dynamic had to do a sudden about-face. I couldn’t drive the train on Sundays.
I mentioned to Bill that I felt guilty about how useless I am on Sundays now, and I was shocked by his reply. He said that he actually LIKES that I’m tired and mellow on Sundays, because it means that there is always one day a week when he’s guaranteed an at-home day where nothing is planned. He can play with our kids, take someone to the hobby store, work on his billing, or sit in front of the TV and watch a game without feeling his wife’s pent-up energy telling him to get off his hiney and DO something!
Methinks I might have just revealed one of my character flaws (there are many, just so ya know)… I don’t like sitting around. I like to be moving and doing, thinking and playing, contemplating and searching, carrying and moving forward. If I’m sitting, it better be because I just did something huge (like run 17 miles) or because I’m sharing time and beverage with a loved one. Or writing. Or reading. But that’s it. Any other sitting around seems like wasted time in the trajectory of a lifetime.
So I’m realizing, not everyone thinks this way. My husband, for one, does not consider it “wasted time” to rest. He thinks it’s perfectly fine for me to mentally check out for a few hours in the middle of the day while I lay on the floor stretching, watching an episode of Friday Night Lights. Were it not for Marathon Training, there is NO WAY you would ever catch me laying on the floor at 11 AM on a beautiful Sunday morning. But here I am.
The conversation we had on Monday has me re-thinking the entire dynamic of Marathon Training. The person who does the actual training is working off a ton of energy and calories, but the people who support the runner are getting a little gift too. If Runner Person has so much pent-up energy to expend, Family People get the gift of being around Mellow Runner Person, instead of Crazy Runner Person who wants to keep everyone busy because that’s what THEY need to do.
I feel like a Puppy whose energy has to be expended so the rest of the family can be mellow. Puppy needs attention, needs to be entertained and busy so she doesn’t chew on the furniture and mess on the carpet. After a good long romp, Puppy is sleepy and people can turn their attention away from Puppy.
Can it be that I always needed a Marathon Training Plan to expend my excess energy, and didn’t know it? Is it possible that I’ll be a more mellow, relaxed and HAPPY person when my pent-up energy has been purged?
It appears that Mellow Sunday is a happy, accidental by-product of Marathon Training, something that actually benefits the entire family. There is one day a week that is completely and amazingly un-scheduled. No chores, shopping, running around, planning for the upcoming week, entertaining… nothing. Nada. Zip. In the grand scheme of things, we didn’t just take it from a 10 to a 5… we took it to a 2. That’s some serious re-charging of mental, emotional and physical batteries.