Monday, October 30, 2023

Work / life balance

 Well, it is a waiting game.  My co-worker and I met with the board president for our nonprofit and outlined how we have been feeling - the last two years have been extremely stressful since we have expanded the number of families we are helping (more than doubled), but have stayed with the same small staff.  We did add a part time person in Baton Rouge a few months back who is AMAZING, but her only role is to manage events there. That is a huge help, but we are still left with all of the managerial, fundraising and family services aspects of the organization with just two of us. (We now cover 19 parishes across south Louisiana and help over 400 families annually.)

So we will see.  We made clear that we need support staff if we are going to be able to continue to fulfill our mission.  I know that our board president listened, she has a heart of gold and is tremendously grateful for how hard we work, but in the end, the decision is up to the board on staffing.  If the decision is made not to hire new staff, or not to hire full time, which we desperately need, I will have no choice but to look for another job.  I love where I am, but the last two years of high stress is taking its toll on my health - especially my training, and my ability to compete in the sport I love - ultra running. 

I need to find a work / life balance that I have not had in a few years now with this job, and if it can't be found here, I will have to look elsewhere.  Either way, 2024 will look drastically different than the last 2 - 3 years has.  I am hopeful, but I am resigned to do what is right for me for a change.  That is the biggest struggle with working for a nonprofit when you believe in its mission.  It is hard to create boundaries, and easy to neglect your own life for the "greater good". 

Fingers crossed.  BUT - I am so excited to have Cowboy 200 to look forward to.  I am enjoying training and trying to figure out the right kind of strength training to prepare me for the event.  I mean, I have a weighted running vest on its way, lol.  Never would have believed it :-).  

In the next week or so, I will share a post summing up my training so far, and what the next phase of training in the New Year will look like.

Happy Running! 


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Next challenge

 Well, it is official.  I am signed up for the Cowboy 200 from Norfolk to Valentine, Nebraska, in September of 2024 and I could not be more exited.  

I has been a tough two years at my job.  High stress and long hours with a very short staff, and it has taken its toll. Many of the races I have signed up for over the last two years I have not been able to complete either because there was no room in my overcrowded schedule to fit the training in, or when it was coming time to travel to the race, I couldn't leave work.  

I said last year that I was going to have a better work/life balance and didn't.  This year it is settled.  We should have approval soon to hire additional staff which should free me up considerably. Or I will have to consider other options, but I am taking my life back one way or another.  I think it is okay to be out of balance for a bit - sometimes it is necessary - but at some point, you have to either slow the train down, or jump off entirely.

So Cowboy 200 it is. I began "pre-training" in September, focusing mainly on building a running base with lots of strength work thrown in.  Through the end of the year, I will stick with a 30 mile per week running average, and creep it up early next year to be around 40 per week once the 20 week training plan for the race kicks in in April.  

The training plan I am following is basically a 100 mile training plan.  I may throw in more days where I either do doubles or some back to back longish runs to simulate the race conditions later in the cycle as well.  

The main difference for this particular training is strength work.  I am focusing on areas that will definitely be fatigued during the 200 - back and shoulders from carrying a pack.  Arms just from regular running arm motion, etc.  Cowboy is pretty flat, so I know that my legs will take a beating just from repetitive motion.  For the Great Mississippi Levee run, doing 130 miles on the levee from BR to NO, the flat was a challenge, especially with feet swelling, which I understand runners have an issue with at this race as well.  

I am trying to expect everything and formulate plans where possible to deal with it.  Otherwise, I will just have to adapt in the moment, which I am usually pretty good at.  

So, that was a ton of words to say that I am super excited about this new challenge!!  Will it be tough?  Yes.  Will it be uncomfortable, likely painful?  Yes.  Will it be an incredible adventure and will there be life lessons learned?  YES!  

More on training as it goes along, meanwhile, happy running!