Summer break is a double-edged sword. On the bright side, I had total freedom of my schedule. I could run at 11pm if it suited me. I could run every day, because I wasn't spending energy elsewhere, and could easily fit it in. Even the heat served a purpose: now that my body has acclimated, my distance is back up and I know I'll only improve as cooler autumn weather sets in.
But there is a downside to the freedom of summer. Namely, the lack of discipline. Remember that goal I had to run in the mornings? Yeah, that never happened because I had no real reason to push myself to get up early. So I ran almost every day last week, usually extremely late at night, but my freedom so do that has been cut suddenly short. I went back to work Monday, and the students come back next Tuesday. With early-morning wake-ups and long, labor-intensive days comes total and complete physical exhaustion.
I think that if I could convince myself to go running in the high heat of 4pm, as soon as I get out of school, I could maybe still be running in the evenings. But by the time I get home and relax for half a second, I'm asleep. Literally napping against my will. So this forces me to revisit summer's goal: become a morning runner.
K and I met up at 6am Tuesday to run, and I was able to do almost 2.5 miles. (My body is so exhausted in the mornings that I usually can hardly get in 1.75.) Our plan is to run twice during the week and then on the weekends, but if that's all I do, I won't be able to hit my mileage goal. Especially if I struggle to reach 3 miles in the AM.
(Also, let me take a moment to say YAY MY RUNNING BUDDY IS BACK!!!!!)
On top of that, once the kids come back to school, we'll need to be running closer to 5am. And when K returns to school, we'll be running around 4:45am. So August is kind of a test, and with the weight of exhaustion already dragging me down, I'm definitely feeling doubtful.
Of course, running in the mornings keeps my evenings nice and open. I can cook a leisurely dinner and get planning/grading kind of things in. But I wonder how runners sustain this kind of schedule! How do you go about everyday life when your priority isn't the real world's priority?
My relationship with running has strengthened so much over the summer. I don't want to let it fall by the wayside just because I'm back at work. And I know that all of you who work throughout the year are probably rolling your eyes at me, but adjustment periods are never easy for anyone. I need to figure things out, because after this weekend, life is going to get a heck of a lot more stressful.
But hey, that's why I run, right? I guess I'm lucky that one of the things that causes my stress is also a really good stress reliever.