Ok, seriously. I don't know how polygamists do this!
Running is my significant other. For the purposes of this analogy, consider it to be my husband or wife. I think wife may work better. Running has my heart, and always will. The medals on my wall and callouses on my feet are our eternal bound.
Karate is my dirty mistress. My little somethin' somethin' on the side to keep things interesting. Running knows about karate and that it's mostly a physical thing. Running is fine with that because it makes me a better runner. I spend time with karate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and do my running thing on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Sunday, we rest. All parties involved have been happy with this arrangement until recently.
I've been spending more time with karate than running lately and a lot of that is weather and time related. It doesn't mean I love running any less, it's just cold. I feel bad but again running doesn't mind. It understands that it takes up a lot of time and can be rough on me. We appreciate our time apart because we just have that much more fun when we're together. Running and I are tight like that.
Lately, my mistress is getting a bit needy. Karate wants me to leave running! Well, it never actually said that but I know what it's thinking.
For a few months, the conversation between karate and I went like this:
Karate: We need to get you sparring gear.
Me: But I don't wanna spar.
Karate: It's fun.
Me: I do not want to spar.
Karate: For me, please? Just come watch. I'll be your best friend.
Me: I don't wanna spar. Look, change of subject.
I approached karate about this. I said I needed new gloves because I lost mine. Karate seems to think "I need new gloves" means "I want to be here more and therefore need new stuff." Next thing I know, I'm buying a car payment's worth of sparring gear .I'm fairly sure this is the equivalent of getting pregnant to keep a guy. Seriously. I can't leave karate now, I'm an orange belt and I have a giant bag full of new clothes to wear. Clothes = padded vests and knee pads.
Starting in January, I'll be going back to graduate school, increasing my already stressful work load at my full-time job and attempting to train for a pretty intense challenge in Florida with aspirations for a marathon(!) in the fall. Tell me, when am I going to be able to raise this sparring baby with karate? When? Karate tried the old, 'but other people have full schedules and sparring babies too," and "but running is so old and doesn't get you like I do" and "you promised me you'd get your black belt."
I'm sorry, karate, I never said I wanted a black belt. I wanted to be a ninja. I made my intentions clear from the beginning. I feel torn because I do enjoy karate. I don't want to quit or walk away.
I need to reason with karate and find a way to build on my skills while maintaining a balanced schedule and achieving all the goals I have. I also need to evaluate our relationship. I need to reaffirm and spend more time with running. It's definitely being neglected lately.
There is a physical, tangible release that comes from actually getting to punch and kick things (safely and without fear of human resources or police interference) that cannot be found with running. There are very few people in my life whose face has not appeared on that punching bag or kicking paddle. Karate is loud. It's in your face, it's fun. It's anger management in it's purest form.
Running is quiet. Running is long stretches of a determined silence. Running is just me, my thoughts and my feet. There is also a release that comes in thinking through the stress, in plotting, rationalizing and strategizeing and telling people off in your head.
This is hard! I love them both but want the long-term commitment with running and short-term with karate. Pimpin' ain't easy. Fo' real.