Change and Adaptation

My entire existence as a “real” runner — i.e., someone who trains consistently from week to week — has been a relatively new phenomenon, dating back to the beginning of 2012.  It coincided with 2 other big changes in my life: moving to downtown Oakland and transitioning to a part-time job.   The move to Oakland gave me access to Lake Merritt and its perfect-for-beginners flat, 3-mile loop.  The part-time job provided enough flexibility to let me figure out when I like to run (mornings, to my surprise) and gave me the freedom to embark on marathon training without overwhelming my schedule.

While I really like many aspects of my job – nice location/setting, friendly coworkers, low stress, and flexibility, there are also downsides, the biggest of which is I don’t enjoy what I do.  There are a lot of reasons for that, but we won’t get into it here.  As the weeks went on, I came to dislike my job more and more, to the point where I was expending a lot of negative energy thinking about how much I hated it.  I kept thinking in the back of my mind, “It’s time to move on.”  So here’s my confession: I hung on as long as I could partially because this job doesn’t interfere with my running.  (I was also lazy, confused, and a little scared about finding a new job.)

What spun me out of my negative energy cycle was a friend’s suggestion that I apply for an opening at his company.  Visualizing that scenario empowered me to decide to actively go on the job hunt.  After a couple of months of networking and applications, I got 2 interviews and one offer — which I’ve accepted, pending contract negotiations.  I think the new job is an excellent fit for me and my future supervisor seems great.  The one thing I’m anxious about is the full-time schedule, plus the 1.5 hours of commuting I’ll be doing each day (at least it’ll be by public transit, thankfully).  This will have a huge impact on my running and, more importantly, on my weekly household routine with the Gypsy Runner.  It’s time to get serious about meal planning!

So, while I’m excited about the new job, I’m also a little anxious about how this is all going to work.  I’m confident that I will figure it out (I’ll have to!), but I know that the first couple of weeks will probably be pretty rocky and exhausting.  However, I also think I’ll be spending so much less energy hating my job that the transition will be worth it.  Here’s hoping!

Question for you: Any tips on balancing training with a full-time job and other obligations?


This week in training:

Mon – rest
Tues – 1 hour MAF run: 5.4 mi at 11:06 pace
Wed – 1200 yd swim
Thurs – 1 hour MAF run (trails): 5.03 mi at 11:55 pace
Fri – rest.  Bought a new pair of running shoes, which is always exciting.
Sat – hard but fun hike at Huckleberry and Sibley (great write-up and photos on Cathryn’s blog): 4.7 mi, ~1400′ elevation gain
Sun – 2 hour MAF run: 10.17 mi at 11:47 pace.  This run didn’t feel great due to a bad night’s sleep.  My legs were also probably pretty beat from Saturday’s hike, now that I think about it!  On the bright side, my average pace dropped by almost 45 seconds compared to my long run from 2 weeks ago, so maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought. 😉

From Sunday's run

From Sunday’s run

This coming week, I’ll be resting my legs for RAGNAR(!) Napa Friday and Saturday.  We’re down 2 runners, so if you’d like to run with Team “You’re the Wine that I Want”, please email me at willblog4food [at] gmail [dot] com.

Have a great week everyone!


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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12 comments on “Change and Adaptation
  1. Congrats!! One tip: Even though I try to be intentional about getting my runs in, I like keeping one weekend day free as a backup in case something comes up during the week and I need to shuffle runs around.

  2. Amy says:

    First and foremost, congratulations on getting a job that you will hopefully enjoy! About a year ago we also went through some small changes (we moved so my commute changed from 5 minutes one way to 20 minutes, which is kind of a big deal around here, and Aaron’s schedule changed from a non-traditional shift to an 8-5 which threw me off so much). I also started volunteering in a big way with two organizations. In that time, we’ve only trained for one race, so it has cut down on our running, but basically, it came down to spending less time on the internet. Luckily, I’ve had some wonderful internet friends who stick with me even though I pay almost no attention to the blog (thank you!), but that was the big thing that I had to really cut down.

    Good luck figuring out your new groove! I promise to stick with you even if you do fall off the face of the internet! ALSO, are you ok with me putting your request for runners on my facebook? I have no idea if you’ll get any takers, but maybe! Is it an all female team?

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Amy! Great point about spending less time on the internet. Probably a lot less Netflix watching too, huh? 😉 That will probably be good for me in the long run (pun not intended).

  3. Jan says:

    Yay for a new job!! Congrats! That’s so exciting. I can’t imagine not loving what you do…I hope this new job is life changing in a good way.

    I do work full time (teacher) and run. I just get creative with the times. I often run at 8 p.m., which is the kids’ bedtime. I put them to bed and go.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Jan. My career took a detour about 3 years ago. I took a chance to try something new, but it turns out that my heart belongs to biology. 🙂

      I wish I could run in the evening but I get really wired and have a hard time falling asleep. Once I figure out my work schedule, I might do some lunchtime runs.

  4. Devon says:

    Congrats on your new job! I sometimes run home instead of taking public transportation. It’s about 4 miles and only takes a bit longer to get home that way. There are a lot of traffic lights so in a way it’s like forced intervals.

    Also, like Amy, my blog has been neglected for quite awhile.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Devon! I wish I could run-commute, but it’s ~ 20 miles away each way. I used to bike commute and that was a great way to fit in some exercise. I might be able to fit in lunch time runs, especially if I can locate a shower in my building!

  5. Grace says:

    Good luck! A 1.5h total daily commute sounds pretty punishing, on top of a full-time job. Just figure out your own personal patterns – are you a morning runner, a lunchtime runner, an evening runner? And then carve out time that works with your schedule. Say if you have slightly flexible hours and can come in and leave an hour later, do that.

    When I worked a full-time newsroom job I was never sure what time I’d get off work in the evening – anytime from 6.30pm to 11.30pm depending on what happened that day. So I’d run in the AM (and still do) because that’s the only time I KNOW for certain I’m free.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Grace! I agree that mornings are the best time for me to run because I don’t have anything going on, and it also doesn’t cut into my social life/time spent with my boyfriend. I think that my boss is going to be more flexible about mornings – I’ll be working at a university where people tend to roll in mid-morning and work later, so it will more important for me to be around in the afternoon anyway. I just don’t want to be eating dinner at 8:30 pm every night!

  6. Sherry says:

    Congrats on your new job! I’m sure you’ll feel busy at first but will settle into a routine. I moved from a stay at home mum to a part time job, which evolved into full time. Each step meant prioritising what was important to me – and yes meal planning really helps! Just don’t give up running!

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4/28/19: London Marathon

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