There is an incredible difference in my life from when I started running three years go to the past six months; something happened that altered not only my entire lifestyle, but that actually had serious repercussions on my running, my swimming, and my biking (and every other aspect of my life, too, I suppose): I wound up with a boyfriend.
Having been single for my entire running career, I didn’t realize what difficulties in the running realm lay ahead of me when I changed my status from “single” to “in a relationship” on my Facebook relationship status. Sure, I have married and might-as-well be friends who cited “just not having enough time” to exercise, but that excuse did not make sense in my single days. I was working 80 hour weeks and still swimming a mile every day and running five days a week; if I had the time, didn’t everyone?
My wising up process was a slow one; it started with giving up one day a week of swimming when my boyfriend was noticeably irked that I was slagging my way out of bed at 5:00am every day. That was followed by a sudden lack of bicycling unless he was coming with me –it was something we both liked to do, so I felt like I was multi-tasking, and then only playing on two instead of three soccer leagues, and then only one instead of two. And then, we both transitioned from being partially employed people to being full-fledged employees; he puts in at least 40 hour weeks, and my work is relentless—I usually put in at least 50 hours, and I definitely need to put in more. With the latest change, I noticed it even harder to run, and for awhile, I couldn’t figure out why. I had worked this sort of schedule before. What was different?
Oh right; the boyfriend thing.
Instead of coming home from work and motivating myself out the door, I come home from work and find someone sitting on the couch who is super happy to see me, and says “what do you want to do?” I have learned he is not asking me what I want to do solo, but rather, what do we want to do – what are my ideas for us. Strangely, he does not want to go for a one hour run the second he comes home from work. Everything I do has become everything we do, and with that comes the responsibility of not functioning as a completely selfish being. With the sharing of all the fun stuff comes the sharing of everything from laundry, to bookcases, to time.
Oh time, you flighty bat.
I now all too well understand that feeling of “just not having enough time.” With a full time job and a boyfriend, slipping swimming and running every day has become more impossible than Mission Impossible (because um, MI was totally possible—anyone else annoyed by that?), and that is without mentioning that I lack any sort of social life. What’s a runner to do?
Finding balance between my priorities, my incredible need to run, and just making it through every day life is a challenge I did not expect to face, but since I want happiness for me, my boyfriend, and me and my boyfriend, it is one I am taking on.
I should note that I’m whining that I don’t get to run and swim every day, but that does not mean I’m not doing one or the other. My friend Sean actually pointed out I might be healthier since I’m not asking so much of my body physically, and I’m typically only doing one physical thing a day. I still aim for two or more.
I’m still figuring out how to figure all this out – I know I usually advise others on the art of running, but I’m curious how other people in long-term relationships, especially at the front of those relationships, managed to incorporate fitness into their lives.