April 25, 2012

Life In Motion

Life In Motion

Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.
~ Chuang Tzu

I chose running as an exercise in part because my life is crazy. As a busy single working mom, exercise is a thing that – if I want to do it regularly – has to be adaptable to any number of situations and environments. It has to be flexible, spontaneous, and ready when I am.

I travel a lot for work – and I work a lot. Once in a while I am lucky enough to get a vacation. Recently, I had the interesting fortune of being able to combine the two.

I was invited faculty at the meeting of the Obesity Surgery Society of Australia and New Zealand (OSSANZ), which took place in Darwin, Northern Territory. The dates of the conference happened to coincide with Spring Break for my children (who thought it was funny that they were going to have Spring Break someplace where it was Fall), so I took them along. The deal was that they had to put up with mom working for 3 days and then they got vacation in Australia. They enthusiastically agreed that this was worth it.

I could tell lots of stories about our trip. The kids were great. They had a wonderful time – we had a wonderful time. However what I want to tell you about is running. I thought I might show you what it looks like to run when you are on a working vacation in a foreign country with two kids in tow.

  • Day 1: Run for 45 minutes on Saturday afternoon before departing to the airport. Fly LA to Sydney. Have 3 hour layover in Sydney. Take 5 hour flight to Darwin. Swim in the wave pool, eat dinner, collapse.
  • Day 2: Wake at 5:30. Kids are both snoring. Put on running gear. Whisper to kids that I am going running and not to leave the room. No idea if they hear me. Go to front desk and get directions to the Darwin Esplanade. It happens to be a 5k round trip – perfect! Oh my god why is is 90 degrees before the sun is up?? At least it is beautiful. Return to hotel before 6:30. Kids have not moved. Take very cold shower.
  • Day 3: Wake at 5:30 and repeat run from Tuesday. Stunning sunrise. Yay!
  • Day 4: Have to be at conference early. Miss morning run. Contemplate run around 5pm but it is at least 95 degrees and the sun is like a fireball. Recall seeing treadmill in air conditioned room by the pool. Bring kids to pool and jump on treadmill. Treadmill is only sort of workable – it reboots 3 times before letting me run about 2.5 miles – then it reboots again and I am done. Collect kids, shower. Drink very cold beer before going to dinner.
  • Day 5: Wake extra early. Definitely want to run the Esplanade and not the busted treadmill.Coming back just as the sun is rising. Shower, get kids breakfast and still make the conference by 7. Phew.
  • Day 6: Head to the Darwin airport at 6am. Fly to Sydney. Go to hotel, check in, walk around Circular Quay. No Run.
  • Day 7: Head to Bondi Beach. Walk the trail between Bondi and Bronte. Also manage a small swim. Later we climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. No Run.
  • Day 8: Wake early to take a quick run on the hotel treadmill before heading to the Blue Mountains.
  • Day 9: Up very early to run the Sydney waterfront before heading to the airport to go home. This is the first and only day it rains. And boy does in rain. A mile out from my hotel and It is pouring and I can’t even see. Take a little slip and definitely pull a muscle in my leg – but I am having way too much fun to stop. Run about 3 miles and end up back at the hotel thoroughly soaked and kind of cold. Take a hot shower, pack everyone up and head out.

My schedule – vacation or not – is pretty much always crazy. I think that when you have a full life this might always be true. Figuring out how to fit running into the the spaces before, after, and in-between everything else has been a unique challenge – but it generally seems to work.

I used to always tell myself that I didn’t have time to work out because my life was to full and to hectic. But what I have learned in the past 9 months is that when you pick an activity that fits your lifestyle you actually can do it. My problem in the past has been waiting to have enough time to get to a yoga class or meet with a personal trainer – and sometimes it would be months between classes because it didn’t fit. These days, “have shoes, will travel” is sort of my motto and it’s almost funny how well it works.

There’s another thing too. I used to think that to get the most out of my life that everything had to be planned, everything had to be scheduled, everything had to have it’s place. But the truth is that never left room for things to just happen. When you life is very full, you actually need that flexibility – if you don’t have it, if you don’t allow some things to just happen as they arise, you miss out on a lot of things you want to do. I am not saying that you don’t have to plan for the important things – for the things that have to get done – you need to do that. But you also have to have space to let life flow a little in between the schedules and the obligations. If I didn’t do that, I would only do the things on the schedule and nothing more. I’d also have no friends, my kids might forget who I am, and I would surely never run.

With my schedule, I might also go crazy.

Barely rested from Australia and I am off to Europe again this week. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Next run in Spain.




Leave a comment
  1. Sarah
    April 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    I am loving your blog. Your life is even crazier than mine! Another thing I love about running and traveling is how you get to see a new city in a different way. I am just back from Antwerp where I enjoyed three runs, squeezed in around the edges, and I didn’t even have my kids with me.

    So, I thought of you when packing for Antwerp. Can you talk about packing running clothes for a business trip? I shoved in enough running gear that I didn’t need to wash anything, but it was tricky. I have a standard rolling case that I’d rather not check if I can avoid it.

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      May 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Hi Sarah – thank you! And sorry for the delayed reply, I have been just a little bit busy. It’s a great idea to write about packing – I’m actually a much better packer and traveler than runner! Definitely a post on this coming soon.