It All

I have gotten asked a few times in the last couple weeks is how I do it all… whatever ‘”it all” is. 

For this post, I will assume “it all” means:

  • Run
  • Work a full time job (and commute!)
  • Keep up on house chores (cleaning, laundry, etc)
  • Cook (hah)
  • Be a good wife
  • Be a good pet mom (being a “real” mom is a whole other story… not sure how you all do it!)
  • Have a social life

I sat back and thought about this for a little bit, trying to figure out how to answer that question, but my answer is pretty simple: I don’t.

While I wish I could say I have the cleanest house, I cook amazing meals, and my dogs get walked and brushed on a daily basis, that would be a big fat lie.

I don’t try to be the best at all those things because I know that isn’t realistic.  There isn’t enough time in the day and I don’t have enough energy.  But just because I know it isn’t possible to do “it all” doesn’t mean I don’t try to do the best that I can at the things important to me by doing a few things.

I wake up really early.     

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I am not a morning person, but I make myself be one.  I see the number 4 at the front of the clock when I wake up during the week more days than I don’t.  It has gotten easier, but it can be rough.  I just know I won’t get my run done after sitting in an hour of traffic on my way home.  I don’t even think about it anymore, I just get up, and get my run done. 

It does help that nothing feels better than a morning run.

I try to be efficient.

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A common phrase you will hear out of my mouth during the week is “packing, unpacking, packing, unpacking” sung to a little tune of course. 

I am very lucky that I can get ready at work after a run, and typically do at least 4 days a week.  This does mean that I have to pack my clothes for the next morning’s run as well as clothes for work and everything I might need to get ready there and hope that I don’t forget anything.  I have gotten very efficient at this process and it really works out great, but there are definitely those mornings I miss eating my breakfast at home with a cup of coffee watching the news.  It’s worth it to get my run in and to make it to work on time.

I try to make the most of my runs.

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I am very lucky that so many of my friends are runners and that Chris runs as well.  I am able to socialize, catch up on the week, and spend quality time with both my friends and husband while running.  This is definitely a great perk.

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I try to take Kylie and Emma on short runs with me when I run from home, but those aren’t happening that often lately.  I am really going to try to work on this more, because one area I definitely feel a lot of guilt is that I don’t spend enough time with them.

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They are definitely good helpers when I am in rest/recover mode though!

I have help.

I am lucky that Chris is helpful and helps out with house chores when need be.  I am also not ashamed to admit I have a housecleaner who saves me so much time and is worth every penny. 

I say no.

One of the biggest things I have had to learn is to say no to things.  While I would love to be everywhere, go to every social event, be involved with every running group in the Bay Area, run in every race, be at every group dinner, and go to every weekend getaway, I just can’t. 

With my intense weekends of running right now, I know it’s not realistic to commit to too much else while my sanity, not being a zombie and simply staying healthy.   All of those things are more important to me right now than saying yes to everything.  I also know that it’s not forever and in a few months, I will have more free time again to say yes to things. 

I prioritize and plan.

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My running is a priority on the weekends right now and I have definitely planned to make it that way.  In addition to running, I plan for resting and recovery, especially in between long runs. 

I also try to make sure I have a day at home with Chris and the pups.  I try to make sure I have a few hours where I can do laundry and go to the grocery store.  I try to make sure that I blog when Chris is studying so I am not taking away time from us.  I try to make sure I have time to recover from my long runs so I don’t get injured, burned out or sick.  The key word in all those sentences being try and prioritizing what is most important for that day

I accept it.

I think accepting that I can’t do everything, that nothing will ever be perfect, that my house might be a mess for a few days, while making the most of each situation and day is the most important thing to me. 

I do have things I want to work on being better at, but I also try and not set myself up for failure by putting too many expectations on myself.  If I am constantly letting myself down, then I know that will flow into everything else I do.  I just try to be the best I can be at what I need to do that day, in that moment, and am happy with that. 

How do you balance everything going on in your life?  Do you try to do “it all”?  I would love to hear tips on how you fit everything in… there is always room for improvement.  

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23 Responses to It All

  1. Beth (i run like a girl) February 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I was wondering this very thing myself today as I was vacuuming the dining room on my “lunch break” (for the first time in more than a week…) Housework is definitely the first thing that gets cut when my schedule gets busy. Thanks for being honest about this!

  2. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef February 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    i love your honesty… my philosophy is that we make time for what is important, and what isn’t as vital gets cut. the problems begin when nothing gets cut…but like you said, it’s impossible to do it all (and do it all well). i appreciate your explanation of balance… for you, since it looks different for everyone. :)

  3. The Blonde February 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Prioritizing is key. It’s knowing/understanding what you need to accomplish at that particular moment. (i.e. If I’m spending time with Nick, it’s that relationship that I’m am investing time into and other things may fall along the wayside.). I think it takes time to figure out and love from those around you too!

  4. Emily February 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    Ha, I remember “packing, unpacking … ” from my bike commute days. Always bags of clothes everywhere in various states of cleanliness.

    For me, I do what I enjoy and that gives me the drive to do “it all”. People will comment how busy/crazy my life is, but I guess I don’t see it they way they do because it’s just they way I like to live. If I don’t enjoy it or get some satisfaction from it, I will spend my time elsewhere.

  5. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy February 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    Blargh, why can’t we have more hours in the day?! :) I wrote a bit about this last Fri in a random stressed post. I definitely feel like it’s hard to do “it all” when you are working full time, training and trying to eat well. Some things just have to fall to the wayside. Sounds like you’re doing a good job with what you can. I figure in a few years when I have kids I will slow down in some aspects and speed up other aspects of my life.

  6. abbi February 3, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    I wonder how people fit it all in as well. I’m definitely a believer in the whole concept of if something is important to you, you can find a way to make it work and I think that’s what we all do. Sure, there are some areas that may slack a little!

  7. Kristen February 3, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    I had to get up just before 5 yesterday to catch and early train. I don’t know how you do it almost every day…Then again, I was getting up knowing I wouldn’t be back home until close to 11pm. I guess if I had known I could go to bed early it would have helped :)

    I am doing a poor job of fitting some things in right now because I haven’t placed enough importance on them- good reminder to re-prioritize! Thank you.

  8. lindsay February 3, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    umm i am glad you don’t do “it all”. because i would be really depressed about myself if you did! haha. i’m not even working out as we all know and i still can’t find (make?) the time to keep the house clean. and cooking? psssh.

    we want to get a housecleaner but i have issues with trusting them in the house while we are not… lame i know. does yours come while you/chris is at home? or do you just trust them not to be shady. haha.

    you are not kidding about how the ‘real’ mom’s do it… i cannot imagine.

  9. Cate February 3, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    I was really nervous about fitting in running, being a mom, blogging, and working full time… but it just kind of happens. It helps a LOT that Mike runs too, and of course running with you guys is fantastic also. I’m so impressed you get up so early! I get up at 5 and feel like that’s insanely early.

    I love the quote “if you really want to do it, you’ll find a way; if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” I’ve definitely let some things slide since going back to work, but running and cooking are non-negotiable!

  10. katie February 3, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    I needed to read this right now. IM training is starting to make me feel like I’m drowning.

  11. Page February 3, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    I love this. We can’t do it all and it’s totally ok. Have a great weekend!

  12. XLMIC February 3, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Do it all? No, I don’t do that. I do what I love, what I can, and what I must. And I try to make it as enjoyable as possible :)

  13. TNTCoachKen February 3, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    I wonder if my clock has a four as the first number??????? NOT!

  14. Debbie February 3, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Love this post and love your blog Aron! I don’t get a chance to read it consistently, but when I do, I really enjoy it. You have some true words of wisdom!!!

  15. Audrey February 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    This is a great post, Aron. Man oh man I should not be complaining about my 5:25 a.m. wake up to run . . the 4′s is just a whole other story. I’ve found that my social life revolves around running, meaning I see my running friends the most out of anyone. I’m trying to work on my non-running life but, I agree, it is hard and sometimes you just have to say no.

  16. runner26 February 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    such a good question!! i feel like i am the type who wants to do a million things in a day – now that i have a baby, i can’t operate that way anymore. i have to seriously prioritize and be creative about how i can get things done (i.e. run errands with the baby in the BOB, etc). but i also realize that sometimes just doing “nothing’ and hanging out with my baby is excellent use of time and something to be treasured. I think we all are challenged by life and finding a way to balance the “work” and the “play” is the real key. I think you’re doing a GREAT job doing “it all”! i cannot believe you get up in the fours!! you go!

  17. Ricole Runs February 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Really great post. I certainly dont know how people with real kids do it! I’ve been feeling guilty because in the winter my dog never gets to come on runs with me and barely gets any exercise! And I would really love a house cleaner. Way to keep up with it all!

  18. Amanda - RunToTheFinish February 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    soooo true, plan, pack, prioritize :) having friends that run is huge. fingers crossed my next move brings them in droves to me

  19. Michelle February 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Yes to all of this! I don’t do it all. Maybe I give the impression I do though because people seem to think I do. I plan, I do what’s important, I do what I love. I guess in that way I DO do it all. Just don’t ask me if my house is clean :)

  20. Marlene February 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Great post! I can relate to so much of this. I feel like I am constantly packing and unpacking bags and it often feels like I have zero time to sit down during the week ESPECIALLY with instructing this clinic now.

    I’m also lucky that I get to do most of my socializing during runs… and on swim nights now too, except it’s a lot hardet to talk in the pool. haha

  21. Sarah February 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Loved reading this and glad I’m not alone in feeling that I can’t do everything. Priorities are so important and sometimes my non-runner friends don’t seem to understand that I while I too would love a clean house at all times, sometimes it is better to “run now, clean later”. The world will not end if I do not vaccuum today. But if today is a good day for a run there isn’t any way I am going to pass it up. Life is to short to not do what we love.

    I thought the idea of a 50 Miler was a bit scary until I read the part about you getting up with a 4 staring you down. But you do what you gotta do to get yours runs in. You go girl!

  22. Liz February 5, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    You say “Cook (hah)” but mention how much you need to eat to fuel the ultra training. How do you manage to get/prepare enough food and stay fueled throughout the day, especially at work? I only recently started a new job and I’m still trying to figure out how to find enough time to prepare lunches and dinners that are somewhat healthy, but I’m not training for an event right now and I have no idea how someone who runs as much as you can stay on top of shopping and preparing meals! I’m tired of resorting to takeout from my local store as much as I do. Any tips or tricks for balancing a full schedule/running with shopping and making good meals?

    • Aron February 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

      Chris and I pretty much cook our own meals, so that really helps with time, and most things I “cook” are really fast/easy meals like rice bowls with vegetables, etc. I have done a number of posts in this category: http://www.runnersrambles.com/category/foodie-friday

      During the day, I eat at the cafe at work a lot (great healthy options for cheap = spoiled), bring yogurt/granola for breakfast, fruit for snacks and eat more Clif/Luna bars than you want to imagine :)

      It’s definitely a constant work in progress and I get lazy with it during big weeks and which makes me eat less healthy than I would like, but thats ok. I have definitely been known eat a box of Annie’s mac and cheese when I am lazy and nothing else sounds good. Which is a whole other topic in itself… the whole “nothing sounds good” when I need to eat an insane amount of calories :) pretty much I am constantly shoving any sort of food in my mouth.

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