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With ruthless prioritization, sometimes running loses

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Ruthless Prioritization. This is a phrase coined by my sister and I love it. Actually, I live by it.

I have a life filled with many people, dreams and goals and I want each part to do well. Unfortunately, having priorities means that at some point you have to choose something over another. If you asked me, I would say that I prioritize my running and training. And I do. Running comes first before many things. But when it comes to crunch time, I do have other more pressing needs that come first.

Over the last few weekends I’ve had to choose between getting in the long runs in (or even running at all) and spending time skiing with my family. I realized that I would actually rather spend the time with my husband and kids and didn’t even begrudge the fact that I couldn’t train.

I’ve also been quite busy with my independent business and when it has come down to either getting in an extra run or gym session or working on business, I’ve had no problem choosing work first. I don’t make these decisions because I have to – I pick whatever is more rewarding. Running simply never wins over my kids’ needs or my drive to build a successful business. If the choice was running or getting my hair done, I would go running– no contest.

Running often wins over sleep, shopping, and maybe a bit of housekeeping (OK, all of it). I’m actually quite a master at fitting my training in because I really do care about performing my best. I haven’t vocalized this before but I’m realizing that training has taken the back seat more than a few times over the past few years.

When I was in my twenties, I never had an excuse not to do as much training as my body could handle. I ran a lot and rested a lot. I worked as well, and had a social life. It’s not like I had nothing going on outside of running, but it would be rare for training to ever not come first.

I look back at those days when there were such fewer demands on my time, but I am not wistful. Running is still important to me, but I now also have other areas to which I want to devote as much energy. That’s why prioritization becomes so ruthless. Even some of the best things have to get cut.

I often think of that classic children’s story plot line when the main character grows up and leaves their imaginary friends behind. Maybe my running is a bit like that. I’ve grown up and try as I might, I just don’t care about it quite as much as I once did. It’s not really so sad– I would probably be more disappointed if I still devoted everything to my training and excluded other areas of life. We grow up, and with new experiences come new priorities. The only really sad part is that my race results reflect my current priorities. Ruthlessly.