As training progresses for Western States, the question I keep getting asked is, "How do you find the time?" I have tried to answer that here in both the literal and the abstract, but the bottom line is fairly straightforward: Make it a priority and stick to a schedule. At least that is what is working for me to the point that it doesn't seem that difficult to find the time.
The real question that I need answered is: Where can I find the energy?
For the first six weeks I got all my runs in, maybe a mile or two short on some days, but I accomplished the essence of every workout. That is not to say I ran every day; I had scheduled days off, but those were part of the plan, too.
The result is that I think I am in the best shape of my life. I hit all my paces as expected for workouts, and I am running strong, but the rest of my life seems exhausting. Like I can go for a 12 mile run without breathing hard, but then it seems so burdensome to take the stairs up to my office instead of the elevator. And washing my hair after a run is hard because my arms just feel so heavy. At work I catch myself staring off into space. And some days I am even wondering why my kids have so much energy, like can't they just go watch TV instead of wanting to play tag or dance another round to "I Gotta Feeling." And forget eight hours of sleep; I want ten!
The last two weeks, though, things have slipped even on the running front. First I missed a speed workout due to an unexpected evening call at work. I know perfectly well that running has to be flexible for life, and some days things like that happen. But the string of X's was broken. Of course, the world didn't come to an end, but that silly gimmick had been a powerful motivator nonetheless. That Saturday I had a great run, getting in a "double" Mary's Peak for 28 miles with A LOT of climbing. I was supposed to follow it up with a couple of easy hours the next day, but wasn't 1:30 good enough? The string was already broken and I wasn't going to hit my mileage goal for the week anyway.
This week I had an awesome tempo on Wednesday. Thursday should have been fairly easy but I was racing daylight and really started running FAST those last 2.5 miles. Friday, I was sleep deprived for both logical and stupid reasons (getting up at 4:30 to catch a plane and staying up late to watch old episodes of LOST), but got in 11 miles. But Saturday I had nothing mentally or physically. I aborted a hill workout for only 8.5 miles on my "long" day and decided that afternoon I wasn't running on Sunday. My 90 mile week became 60.
Time to regroup and get back on track this week. I did my workout today with no problems, but still it makes me a little scared to think of what is in store for the next couple of months. Finding the time won't be too much of a problem, but where am I going to find the energy??