Balancing Career and Fitness Goals – Weekly Recap – 1.26.20

This was a hectic week for me. I had work events all week starting Tuesday. Which once again meant I hit my peopling quota by mid-week. I also had a couple of short work trips during the week, which meant a lot of packing and repacking. Not exactly my favorite hobby, but there are worse things. This week was a whole lot of balancing career and fitness goals.

Luckily, I ended the weekend with an amazing bang.  One of my friends is moving out of the state next week, so we decided to have a short girly vacation in San Antonio.  We met up after my work trip on Friday for dinner, and went for a nice long run Saturday on the Leon Creek Greenway (a part of the Howard Peak Greenway system).  We were able to run on a middle section of the trail that I hadn’t ever run previously, which was a lot of fun.

Related Post: Howard Peak Greenway Trail System Review

I’m still so amazed by greenways and trail systems that are so accessible in urban areas.  Running trails are not a feature in my hometown, which sucks.  It also sucks that my friend is abandoning me just to live with her fiancé (selfish, right?).  I’m mostly happy for her, but still salty that more of my runs will be solo.  I am now accepting applications for lady running buddies in south Texas.

balancing work and career obligations
Last long run in Texas

A few weeks ago, after a work trip, I got a question about how I “balance” work obligations with marathon training.  This week had me really reflecting on this question, because it’s not something I’ve thought about a lot, to be honest.  Trying to get everything in has always been more of a given for me.  Marathon training is important to me, and I’m not willing to let my career be the only thing I put effort into.

But I know so many women put a lot of pressure on themselves to be “perfect” moms, and partners, and employers.  And it’s all exhausting.  So I wanted to share my thoughts on being successful in the office and in fitness goals at the same time.

Balancing Career and Fitness Goals

I’ve talked in the past about how I refuse to screw around with mom guilt.  I think it’s BS, and it robs mothers everywhere of happiness and satisfaction, so I don’t subscribe to the belief that I need to be a perfect mom.  Before having my son, I did put a lot of pressure on myself to be “perfect” at a lot of other things.

I put pressure on myself to get perfect grades, to finish grad school, to get an amazing internship, to be a perfect friend, and to work three different jobs so I could live on my own when I had every opportunity to ask for help instead.  Stubborn.  And prideful if I’m honest.

After experiencing a lot of anxiety, I realized that no matter how much pressure I put on myself, I was still not living up to the expectations I had set.  I was frustrated with myself and what was going on in my life, and I wasn’t telling anyone about it.

These two help me let go of perfectionism every day

At that point, I had a therapy client who was pretty much doing all of those same things, and talking to me about how exhausted and let down she was feeling.  All of a sudden, out of my mouth comes “These are expectations that you created for yourself.  There is no one else thinking that you need to do all of these things.  And if you’re sick of holding yourself to these unrealistic expectations, you have the ability to just change the expectationsYou’re the boss, and you get to change the job description if it’s not working out.”

Why couldn’t I tell myself all of that sage freaking knowledge?  Because even therapists can’t figure out their own shit sometimes.  But you get sent the exact experiences you need to learn at the exact right time.  And that day, I knew I had to just let go of these expectations I had put on myself.  I wasn’t meeting them anyways, so why keep holding on to them and making myself miserable?

Related Post: Exercise and Anxiety

This is a very long way of saying that when it comes to “balancing” career obligations and my fitness goals, I don’t really do it.  I have huge goals in my career, my running, and my CrossFitting.  And there are times that I just have to focus on one more than the others, and then re-shift later.  Right now, my main focus is on the marathon, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have days where I temporarily shift my focus to work or to CrossFit or to family life or to my own mental health (because there’s still a lot of crazy I’m working on over here).

Amazing podcasts for running - best podcasts for runners - podcasts to listen to during runs
Busy travel weeks = treadmill weeks

I’m the first to acknowledge that I do a lot of tetris with my schedule to try and work everything in, but sometimes the pieces just don’t all fit together.  Sometimes when I travel for work, I have some function that I begrudgingly attend outside of working hours.  And sometimes that means I have to re-order my running workouts in a way that’s not super ideal for training, or get in a 20 minute dumbbell workout in the hotel gym instead of CrossFit.

Other times, I schedule my time at work, and walk away from my laptop when I say I need to.  Even if the work keeps coming.  Because I know I have to make it to a drop-in class, or get to a trail before the sun sets.  And realistically, work is always going to keep coming.  So what’s the point in planting myself in my seat, chaining myself to my computer, and feeling resentful and cranky?

The real message here is that all you can do is try to maximize your calendar to the best of your ability, and then hold that shit loosely.  Because you don’t know what’s going to come up and throw your schedule off.  So, when you plan on getting all of your runs in, but corporate announces a surprise visit that means working an extra 6 hours you hadn’t planned on, you can do what I do.  Whine and complain like the queen you are.  For 7 minutes.  Then just accept that you (unfortunately) don’t control the universe, and you just have to play the game sometimes.

But never, ever fall into the trap of thinking that you have to be a perfect anything.  You are worth chasing big dreams.  And if that means you have be firm in your boundaries and leave work at a reasonable time, even if all of the work isn’t done, remember that it all comes out in the wash.  There will be times that you give more to work.  There will be times that you give more to family.  There will be times that you give more to fitness.

Related Post: My B+ Mom Week

And as long as you are mindful and conscientious about how you manage your time, it is possible to be everything you want to be. Just not all the time, and not all at the same time. Life is all about averages, and if you are consistent with taking small steps towards your goals, you’ll make the progress you want in the long run. Patience isn’t exactly my strong suit, but I’m learning more and more that I can just trust that if I keep showing up I will get to where I want to go. And the rest is just noise.

So, let yourself off the hook.  Do your best, and recognize that “balance” isn’t really achievable, no matter how much Susan in the PTA tries to convince you she’s figured out how to do it.  She’s lying to you and herself.  Life is incredibly unbalanced, and we’ve all gotta play the game the way it was written.  Here’s your permission slip to be pretty good, and not perfect.

This Weeks Workouts

Total Miles: 55.43
Hansons Marathon Method, Week 8
How the Runs FeltThis week was a solid training training week.  I’m getting back up into higher mileage, and I’m hitting that halfway point in the program again.  Sunday runs have been 6 miles up to this point, and for the rest of the training will alternate between 6 and 8 mile runs.  I took my son out for our ride together, and he got 8 miles done without issue.  I’m pretty amazed to tell the truth, and it was a great afternoon together.

Sunday Runday!

Monday’s track workout felt pretty strong.  The last two repeats were fairly tough on the legs, and my stomach was cranky for a while afterwards.  I was able to get in all of the repeats within my goal range, and I was finally able to get back on a track.  I’ve been on sidewalks and treadmills for my track workouts lately, and it felt nice to have a little more cushion under my feet this week.

My tempo run was unfortunately done on the treadmill again this week because of work travel.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated that so many of my key workouts have been happening on the treadmill this block, but I have to take my own damn advice and remember that it will all come out in the wash as long as I stay consistent.

This weeks track workout

My long run this weekend was pretty glorious.  Like I mentioned earlier, Maddie and I explored some of the Leon Creek Greenway, which is a segment of the Howard Peak Greenway system.  We warmed up for a few miles, and then decided to do some 30 second pick-ups every mile to practice my race strategy.  I felt really strong throughout the run, but my stomach was definitely not thrilled afterwards.  I was able to eat an egg sandwich from Einstein’s (rejoice), but I had some GI distress for the rest of the day.  Running is a highly glamorous sport.

Related Post: Long Runs with Speed Workouts

Overall, the workouts were all executed, and I didn’t have any issues with my easy runs.  I don’t appreciate that my running bff is so rudely abandoning me, but I’m glad that we were able to get in a fun last long run weekend.

What I’ve Been Listening To
The Officer’s Wife took an amazing turn this week, and I have been LOVING this series.  It’s so interesting, and it’s definitely a story that needs to be told. 

I’ve also been into the Jasmine Star show lately.  Anyone who is interested in growing their business through social media NEEDS to listen to this podcast.  She recently interviewed one of my favorite women, Cathy Heller.  I love when they do episodes together.  I also got hooked into the new Party of Five series on Hulu during some of my treadmill runs this week.

How the WODs felt
Let me just say, the WODs lately have been SPICY.  I originally thought that I would adjust the rx weight on Monday’s WOD, since 105 is a little heavy overhead for 10 reps for me.  But I gave it a shot, and it wasn’t as bad I thought, thankfully.  I love when I just go for it and it works out.

Wednesday’s WOD made me a little nervous for my tempo run the next day.  All of those walking lunges had my legs pretty pooped and immediately sore, but somehow I recovered by the next morning (blessed be).  Friday’s WOD was a nice little breather for me with the lighter weight.

What Went Well
This was another strong week for me.  At this point in my previous blocks, I’d been really struggling with fatigue on and off.  So I’m hoping that this consistency means that I’ve made some strength gains.  I know the fatigue is coming, but I’m enjoying feeling good so far.

Related Post: Weekly Recap: 11.17.19 – Cumulative Fatigue

I’ve had a consistent couple of weeks with my stretching and core work.  I haven’t noticed much improvement with my mobility in all honesty, but I do think it will come if I keep up with it.  Here’s hoping.  I’d like to be able to pick things up off the floor without having to squat in the near future.

balancing career and fitness goals
Casual core workout

What Went Shitty
My stomach has been pretty irritable lately.  I don’t know if the travel and takeout food has contributed.  I eat fairly healthy even while I’m traveling, but takeout food is still takeout food.  Next week is not looking super promising in the travel department, but I’m considering doing some food prep to limit my takeout.  We’ll see.

Plans to Improve Next Week  
Next week I want to increase my water intake, as I’ve had some cramping and I know I haven’t been hydrating enough.  It’s easy when the weather is cooler to neglect this, and I haven’t been doing a great job lately. 

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