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With fewer daylight hours since we turned our clocks back earlier this month, the shorter days have had me thinking about the idea of balance. We talk about the concept a lot as a society: work-life balance, balance of power, balanced diet. Life is a never-ending balancing act. We try to fit all our tasks, dreams, needs and wants into a finite period of time. Some days it works out, some days it doesn’t. I’m not sure if there really is such a thing as balance, or if that contrived idea of perfection is even what we’re truly after. I’ve read some insightful articles lately that banish the idea of balance in favor of a life-fit, which is different for everyone (like this article from Flex Strategy Group, this interview with my friend Morra Aarons-Mele and this piece from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos). As a mom of a toddler, an entrepreneur and small business owner, a runner/coach and a normal human being who wants to have a clean house and a social life, being fully present in the moments that matter most is my highest priorty.

I’ve been especially reflective lately about what that means for my relationship with running. There was a period in my life when my focus on running was anything but balanced. If you asked my husband at the time (let’s say between 2010 and 2014), he would probably have described it as obsessive and overly-focused. It consumed my thoughts, schedule, vacation planning and social calendar. It was a wonderful, empowering, important time that enriched my life and my lifelong relationships immensely. But it is far from the relationship I want from running today. Currently, I’m not following a training plan nor do I have any long-distance races on the horizon. My last two races included a one-mile fun run and an unofficial 5K that was actually 3.5 miles, both while pushing a stroller and nearly forgetting to start my Garmin. My Saturday morning long runs consist of seven-mile strolls (aka slow runs that should feel a heck of a lot easier than they do) chatting with my fellow mother runners about everything and nothing. And to top it all off, I’ve got a nagging case of plantar facsitis that I’m not being nearly diligent enough about defeating.

The simple truth is this: in my head I want to train hard, run far and fly fast. In my heart, I don’t necessarily want to commit to the pain and sacrifice it takes to get there. I’m just not finding joy in it. Today. I believe that time will come again, but it just isn’t today. While finding balance may be like a dog chasing its tail, I know I’m completely imbalanced if I’m not moving my muscles, pounding the pavement and challening my mind and body. Although I may only be running about 15-20 miles per week these days, I’m still making time to work hard.

This week’s workouts look like this:

Monday: Ran 4 miles at 6 a.m. (9:20 pace) Tuesday: 45-minute spin class Wednesday: Ran 5.2 miles at 5:30 a.m. (9:07 pace) Thursday: 30-45-minute strength training session Friday: 50-minute circuit training class, including short bursts of running on the treadmill and/or yoga Saturday: 7-mile easy run Sunday: 1-hour barre or cardio sculpt class

I know it’s not the speed intervals or 50-mile workout weeks many of you long-time runladylike.com readers have stuck around for. It’s not the 12-hours of workouts in a week during half Ironman training I used to detail for you. It’s pushing myself in a way that adds joy and creates space to spend time with my daughter, plan fun family activities, stay up too late watching Netflix or Amazon shows with my husband and grow my business. It’s being fully present and faithfully committed to what really matters. It’s posting grainy, imperfect pictures on social media because that was the real moment, not the one that garners the most likes. It’s shutting off the noise and turning up the purpose and passion.

That, my friends, is balance for me in this moment.

Win a Brooks Running Beanie 

Speaking of running and time, our shorter days require us to run more miles in the dark. I do most of my running around 5:30-6 a.m. before the sun comes up. In honor of embracing our crazy, messy lives and finding balance in the moments we care about most, I’m giving away one Greenlight Beanie from Brooks Running’s Nightlife collection (a $20 retail value).

To enter, leave a comment below between now and Tuesday, December 4, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. ET sharing one thing that helps you juggle the never-ending balancing act of life (and running). Receive a second entry by following @rUnladylike on Instagram and leaving a second comment below (a completely new entry) stating that you followed me and what your Instagram name is so I can be sure to follow you back.

And, to mark the final days of National Running Safety Month (acknowledged every November), here are some helpful tips to stay safe while running in the dark. My favorite reflective Nightlife gear to run in during the early morning hours are the Brooks Distance Long Sleeve top and 5″ Chaser Shorts (of which I have three pairs). Happy, safe and balanced running, friends!

Giveaway Fine Print

No purchase is necessary to win. Must be 18 or older to enter. The sweepstakes is open from Wednesday, November 28, 2018, at 9 p.m. Eastern time until Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. To enter, you must leave a comment on this post sharing one thing that helps you juggle the never-ending balancing act of life/running. You may receive a second entry by leaving a separate comment stating that you follow @rUnaldylike on Instagram and sharing your Instagram name. One winner will be chosen at random and will receive one Brooks Running Greenlight Beanie as pictured above in the Nightlife yellow color, with an approximate retail value of $20. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. The winner will be selected by Thursday, December 6, 2018, and will be contacted via email. The winner will have 48 hours from the time and date of the email sent to claim their prize. The winner agrees to allow rUnladylike, LLC, to share the winner’s first name. Prizes will be mailed to the winner directly from rUnladylike. The winner and all sweepstakes entrants hold rUnladylike, LLC, and Brooks Running harmless in the event that the prize or sweepstakes in some way negatively impacts the winner, and the winner agrees to use the prizes at his or her own risk. This sweepstakes is hosted by rUnladylike, LLC, of Tampa, Florida, who can be contacted at [email protected] Void where prohibited by law.

Please note: I am a Brooks Running Run Happy Ambassador and received the apparel mentioned in this post for free from the Brooks team. There are also Brooks affiliate links contained in this post. I love Brooks, and run almost exclusively in their gear, but that never biases my opinions or reviews of any of their products. You will always get the honest, unladylike and uncensored truth here about everything I use and try. Thanks for your trust and for reading.

What is the one thing that helps you juggle the never-ending balancing act of life and running? Are we following each other on Instagram yet? If not, let’s make it happen!

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