So, I have this neighbor upstairs…Correction: I have three neighbors directly upstairs, but the inspiration for this post is from just one of those three. Okay, maybe two, and only because their beautiful two year old, E, probably inspires the world to continue existing.
E. One of the reasons we won’t be moving anytime soon.
So the dad’s name is Lance and he first started running about 10 years ago. He enjoyed it as exercise and as a way to decompress from work, but it was about six years ago when he returned from injury and began to run more regularly again. But things happen in life that disrupt even the greatest of pleasures (at least to me running is a pleasure), but Lance has been able to bounce back again; for the past couple of months he has really gotten back into running. As some of you may know and others can understand, having a 2 year old probably makes keeping up with many things, especially with running and exercising, a bit more difficult to do. I mean…How in the world I’ll be able to fit in 4-5 hour training runs for ultramarathons when Val and I are in the beginning years of parenting is beyond me, but I’ll probably still try to make it happen somehow! Go ahead, parents. Get your laughs in. I understand…or at least, one day I will.
But seriously, things as important and desired as exercise are often thought as not a priority in these early years of a child’s life and the time dedicated for them are frequently reduced until “Yeah, I exercise” is regarding the 5 push-ups you did Wednesday (and it’s Sunday) or the first weekend jog in two months that you ran before you met a friend in town for brunch. I’m not knocking you if this describes your reality. I’m just acknowledging how difficult it is for most people to keep up with their healthy routines when they need to care for another individual or when other priorities keep them extremely busy. So it’s that much more incredible to me when I actually know a person who cares so much about keeping fit and keeping his body healthy, that he goes to greater than average lengths to do so.
So, let’s get back to that person: Lance. Lance and Carrie’s toddler, E, certainly comes first for both parents, but Lance has snatched back the reigns of his running routine and is seemingly holding onto them with a death grip. Even though he likes to report to work by 6 or 7AM, this early start time hasn’t prevented him from getting his morning run in.
The man has been waking up around 4AM several days a week so that he’s out the door and back in time to get ready for work. And I thought my 5:45-6AM runs were early? It doesn’t even matter what the mileage is like either, although I have to really praise him for his couple of recent 10 mile weekend runs that he completed before most people’s coffee was even done perking. What matters most is that he has admirably committed himself to taking care of and nourishing his body with running even though a large majority of the city is still sleeping when he steps through the threshold and is greeted by the brisk morning air of pre-sunrise Pacific Northwest.
I’m so inspired by people who take such measures to keep doing what they love to do when the act isn’t easy…and getting out the door to run? It’s definitely not always easy. Some people skip lunch outings with colleagues to instead get a quick workout because they know that is their only time to exercise. Some people finally run or workout after they tuck their children in at night. Others take their weekend mornings–such precious time to catch up on sleep or spend making breakfast for the family before they rise–to finally feed the body’s craving to move and sweat. I’m fortunate right now as I have many windows of opportunity to run and workout, and I’m grateful because it makes Lance’s experience and others of people like him so much more awing to me.
I realize that Lance is deeply and doubly motivated by his desire to run and his desire to fully devote his evenings after work to his family. And with the beautiful family above our apartment, I really, really can’t blame him.
Who wouldn’t want to spend all the hours of the day with this kid?
Exercising before work or even after work is not an easy thing to do. I do it because I love it and I know I’m not the same person when I don’t run. I don’t enjoy things as much such as food or talking. I’m not the easiest partner or person to be around as well and I know I’m not treating my body right when I don’t give it the exercise it deserves. Exercise is an activity that supports mental health and physical health. I know that getting out your front door may not be an easy task, but it is one that your body will be grateful you did, even during tomorrow’s soreness.
So this all leaves me curious to know: What motivates you? Why do you work out when you do or at all? What obstacles do you overcome to fit in your exercise?