Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fitting It All In

Shelly posted a question asking for some guidance as to scheduling real life with running. This is a question that I am asked frequently so I will try to offer some tips.

When I first began to run Troy was 1 and Tyler was 5. I bought a treadmill and placed it right in front of the living room TV so that I could run on it when the boys were up or when they were napping. When I wanted to run outside it had to be very early in the morning, on weekends, when Steve was home. I wanted to be home by the time the boys woke up and I didn’t want any resentment while I was gone by giving all of the morning parenting duties to Steve. I would leave by 4 AM and run with a flashlight/headlamp, returning in time for them to awake. I didn't have Topaz at this time and I didn't know people ran on trails. All of my running was treadmill or asphalt. Mostly treadmill.

Now the boys are 13 and 17 and I just love to be home in the morning when they wake and I like to fix them breakfast, so I always leave early. When they were little my long run was probably 2-3 hours, not the 5-8 I am doing now.

With my much longer weekend runs that I am now completing I usually leave by 4 and return about 9, which is about the time they wake up these days. When I have a full day of hills I am usually not home until lunch and I let them know this the night before when we go to bed.

As for scheduling my regular week work days, well…it has become a smooth oiled machine over the years. Although, I must say that the change from AM runs to PM runs is not a change I have enjoyed. I truly love my summer vacation and my morning runs for that 10 week period. I am definitely more of a morning runner and I find my afternoon runs after work to be more difficult than running first thing in the morning.

Here is how I plan out my day currently:

Because it has been in the 80’s the last two weeks and that is too warm for Topaz to run in the afternoon with me, I’ve been getting up at 4 AM so that I can run 5 miles with him in the cool darkness of 50F where he can enjoy himself and not overheat. We get home by 515 and I can jump in the shower, I’m dressed, made up and downstairs by 600. I quickly put together my juice breakfast by juicing kale, spinach, lemons, apples, celery and ginger. I pull out the salad I made the night before for my lunch and put it into my cooler along with a couple pieces of fruit, some mixed nuts and dried fruits. This goes into the car along with my gym bag that I packed the night before with shorts, run shoes, run bra, hair tie and top.

At 615 I wake up Troy and Tyler and ask for their breakfast choices. Troy will usually say pancakes and Tyler will say bagel and peanut butter. Now, I realize they are old enough to wake themselves up and old enough to make their own breakfasts. They know this too but I am home and I enjoy doing it so I do. I won't always be able to do this, they will be out of the home before I know it. I begin their breakfast and my coffee. Both are ready by 640 which is when they are showered, dressed and downstairs. Boys don’t take very long to get ready! They eat, I drink and we talk about the day.

I usually prepare a few days worth of pancakes on evenings and then I can just reheat in the morning. No sweat.

Troy and I leave at 710 for the school and Tyler leaves a bit after us for his classes and work.

I work from 730-3. With my workday ending at 3 I have quite a bit of afternoon/evening time available. With the hot afternoons lately and with Troy playing football until 430 I have been changing into run clothes after work and running 5 miles around the lake in town since it has been too hot on the trail for Topaz. I then go to the gym for 30 minutes of lifting before I pick up Troy at 430.

At 500 we are eating dinner. Sometimes it is something that I placed into the crock pot at breakfast time, sometimes it is leftovers from the night before. I ALWAYS cook enough for two meals. ALWAYS. Maybe enough for three meals. The other night I made burritos. I browned 3 pounds of hamburger and a pound of refried beans. I was able to make 21 burritos. They ate them for two days. When I make lasagna or manicotti I prepare 3 pans. They usually eat a pan and a half during one meal and I have enough for another meal the next day. I add a fresh salad and homemade bread and everyone is happy. Nobody in my home ever complains about leftovers. They love leftovers as they warm up quickly and they are able eat right away. Steve doesn’t get home until near 7 so he has to eat alone. There is no way we could wait that long to eat dinner. We’d be snacking until dinner and that would not be good.

My evenings are pretty open. If I don’t have a meeting or if I’m not coaching a running class I am getting my house work finished, laundry, preparing tomorrow’s lunches and dinner, hanging out. I don’t mind 2 or 3 evenings without anything going on, but more than that, and I am looking for something to do.

I always have tomorrow’s work outfit, shoes and jewelry ready the night before. Everything is ironed and ready to wear. I always have my gym bag packed and ready to go. I may be able to fit in a run or a workout at the gym on the way to the grocery store, Troy may have a late practice so I can run a wide block around the schools while waiting for him. Before Tyler bought a car I was driving him back and forth to work, I would leave home 90 minutes early to pick him up so I could work out at the gym beforehand.

I go to bed early. I am in bed by 9 and I read until 930. Yes, weekends too as I get up at 4 on weekends as well.

Sunday I woke up at 4, ran 15 miles with Topaz, came home by 730, cleaned house. The boys woke up at 9 so I made them French toast. Steve and the roofing crew were working hard and I wanted to feed them dinner. I made sloppy joes and put them in the crock pot. I and the boys ate breakfast, I then went grocery shopping, hitting the gym on the way to the store. I had to buy ice cream and didn't want it melting in the car. After grocery shopping I did our laundry. I was back home at 2 and really didn’t have anything else to do. I went outside to ask Steve if I could help out by picking up shingles/tar paper that was all around the house. Of course I could. I got out the wheelbarrow and hauled over 20 loads of shingles and paper to the roll off container. The guys were impressed. I didn’t have anything to do Sunday afternoon so I was able to help out. It was beautiful outside, I couldn't swim at the pool as it is closed, I had already run enough and Troy didn't want to play croquett or bocce ball. By 730 they guys were done, the boys were doing their homework and Steve and I were relaxing on the couch…I was having my sore calves rubbed. Plenty of time for everything! We were all in bed by 9.

Some days get busy…I sit on the Orrock Township Board, the Sherburne Planning and Zoning Board, I’m a member of book club, I coach running classes, I work,, I go to the boys games..I just schedule everything out. It works. There is time enough for everything.

If the boys have a practice before their game I will drop them off and run during the practice, return for the game, and if it is cool I’ll bring a change of clothes while I sit and watch the game. I bring spare clothes everywhere.

Many times I grocery shop during my lunch hour. I only have 30 minutes, but the store is only a few minutes away. My sister and Mom are amazed at how quickly I can get through the grocery store. Even when I have more time I fly through because that is what I am used to and I really despise grocery shopping but I do it often. I have two growing teenage boys who are starving all of the time and I seem to need fresh fruits and veggies every three days!

I write my grocery list so that the items that I am going to purchase are in order as I get into the store. This helps for a quick shopping. Sometimes I may have to shop two days in a row if I need a lot of food, but if I don’t have time on the weekend then this is how I get it done. It works!

I run errands to the post office, the pharmacy, etc. during my lunch hour as well. I don’t like to sit at work during my lunch break, I like to get outside to feel the sunshine and air plus it is a good break from the office. If I have time I will then shovel my salad down my throat in my car after my errands or I will just eat at my desk but most of the time I am not running errands..I’m sitting at a picnic table enjoying the sun and fresh air..unless it is winter. Blech.

I do suffer during the winter months. I am going to look for one of those lamps before the days are dark at 5 PM.

In the winter I run on my treadmill for 3-4 miles each morning and then after work I snowshoe with Topaz from 330-5 or so. I don’t have any coaching classes during the winter months and only a few meetings; the boys don’t play winter sports so it is very boring for me on week night evenings. I am not gardening, I am not swimming in the pool. I get so tired of darkness at 5 PM and feeling like I should put on my pajamas and go to bed at 7 as there is nothing else going on. In fact, I am now negotiating with a retailer for a position within their ‘floater pool’. I will be able to schedule myself when I am available and will be on call when others call in sick. I would like to work a few evenings here and there and obtain a nice discount as well. I really don’t like having free nights upon free nights..I really do become bored and a girl can only run, bake and clean so much.

I do love a good portion of the weekend at home, however. We are all relaxed, low key, just enjoying home.

This is how I schedule my days and it seems to work. I never feel stressed or like I can’t get everything in that I want to. I feel as though I have plenty of time to do all that I want to do.


Helen said...

I hate to be the one to break it to you Julie - but your boys are never leaving home :)

Anonymous said...

I am suffering from majory frezied feeling, nothing getting done, want to hide in bed every evenin, every night, you make it sound and looks so darn easy. I know this isn't a routine you have developed overnight, but it is proof if you schedule, it works, thanksf or the insight and what ended up for me, a pep talk!!

Julie said...

Hi Julie,
I've been following your blog for a while now and look so forward to it. Reading this particular post was incredibly motivating to me. I have thought about it ever since reading and realize how much time I waste that could be better spent. I'm working on that! You must be like the Energizer Bunny.
: ) Have a great weekend and thanks for the great blog!