Conflicting priorities – how do you decide?
I’ll be the first to admit that making decisions is not my strong point. I don’t think many people would refer to me as ‘opinionated’. I tend to see all sides of an argument or story, even when I’m actually trying to pick a side. When forced to make a decision, I first do a lot of listening, gather information, mull it over (usually throughout a few runs), chat about it, do a gut check, and then finally make a choice. I know life moves faster than that, so I can and do make quicker decisions, I’m just not that invested in them. I see this as a strength as I can change directions easily and with little fuss. As the wind blows…
However I do think about how I am supposed to make the “right” decision, especially when it comes to conflicting priorities, like work, family, and my own athletic pursuits. Here is an example I’m struggling with; I find longer tempo workouts particularly challenging on my own, and therefore I don’t do them as often or as well as I should if I want to realize my best results in races. I do however have a coach and group of runners to run with and push me on the exact day I need to do my tempos – Saturday mornings. But these workouts are across town and what I could get done on my own in an hour if I just stepped out my door could take me three hours if I meet the group. So then I’m stuck deciding… is it worth it? Three hours away from my kids and family on a Saturday for a better quality workout? I play it out over the long run – what could these workouts possibly lead to? Maybe 10-15 seconds faster in a 5K, 30 seconds to a minute in a Half Marathon? Do I care about that more than say going for a family bike ride or hike or library visit which we love doing together? But then, what if my kids are being ungrateful brats who are whiny and refuse to do anything (it sometimes happens) and I’m stuck with them for an extra two hours vs. doing something rewarding and energizing for myself? See what I mean? There is no clear answer as to what the “right” decision is. If I were completely invested in my running and results I would do the workouts. And if I didn’t care at all about running results I’d invest the time with my kids. My reality is somewhere in the middle.
I guess like most things in my life, I’ll probably just compromise. I’ll go to the workouts sometimes and do family time sometimes. I won’t be the best, most present parent, and I won’t be the fastest runner I can be. That’s just how it’ll be for now. Until the wind changes direction again and a new option pops up.