Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gaaaaaaa...I Need A New Job...Or Something

“My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight”  Robert Frost
Here's the problem: Working for a living is getting in the way of running. Of course, if I don't work then I can't afford to run (among other things, like paying the mortgage) - at least not as much as I want to run. Race fees aside (since I don't have to race to run), there's the never ending pursuit of the perfect running shoes, and don't even suggest going barefoot - I'm not doing it. Oh no, I'm not. Then there's all the bloody physical therapy (Yeah, there goes my retirement fund!).

So this little pastime of mine starts to adds up to a lot of time and money, never mind mental energy.

And now my sights seem to be moving to places far and wide. The problem is, that as a college instructor I'm sort of tied to an academic schedule - which most people may find conducive to a very good life - summers off, a long winter break, spring break, etc. But an academic calendar is not conducive to running marathons. I'm in the classroom during the spring and fall, the two preferable marathon seasons, and so if I travel to races I must fly in and fly out - no hanging out and enjoying a mini-vacation - it's a weekend affair, and then I'm back in the classroom, I'm back at work.

Now, don't get me wrong - I enjoy what I do - and sometimes I'm amazed that I get to spend my days talking about the stuff I enjoy talking about and arguing about the things I find important to argue about. I love talking and arguing about interesting and controversial stuff.  But I wish that the US could get on a different sort of academic schedule, perhaps more like much of Europe - where there are several longish breaks throughout the academic year, which runs year round, without the long summer break (which research clearly shows is not optimal for learning). But for now, I'm pretty much stuck with summers for longer vacations.

And sometime I feel just a bit like Clark Kent - not in the sense of having super powers (oh, I wish) but in the sense of living a double life. My colleagues at work and my students really don't get what I do in my 'spare' time.

Since the plan is to run Boston and New York City this year, the question often comes up: What next? What next indeed! And this question presents a problem, because there's so much I want to do.

To begin...

I want to run the Dingle Marathon, in Dingle, Ireland - but it's held at the beginning of September, and my semester begins in August.

I want to run The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town, South Africa - a big advantage here is that this is also a brilliant climbing destination. Hence, I might be able to convince the hubby ;)  But it's held at the beginning of April, smack in the middle of spring semester.


And then there's the Marathon de Provence Luberon in France, in October - Running and wine! Yes, there's wine at the aid stations. 

Need I say more? Non, je ne le pense pas.

And that's only the beginning. I have a list of marathons I want to run 26.2 miles long. 

Perhaps this is just a sign of addiction or of a stunted maturity - After all, aren't we supposed to grow-up and leave these childish things behind? Things like passions, and dreams - they are best suited for childish wonder?

"Philosophers are adults who persist in asking childish questions."  Isaiah Berlin

Well, I do teach philosophy. And the fact of the matter is, I have joined my avocations and my vocation in many complimentary ways. And yet..

To be continued...I'm sure.


  1. Who is to say that you can't EVER do them, just not in the time frame that you are hoping to do them in. I too wished I could quit my job and just train for races and be home with my kids, but the bills holler real loud and those race fees stack up (especially when there are 4 of us running most races). You always have substitute teachers?

  2. My mother always says to me, "A place and time for everything"- I believe that you will get your chance to run those AMAZING marathons- right now just might not be the time for it. I understand where you are coming from (in a teeny tiny way) as a stay at home Mom, who is now also a full-time working while at home- ALSO a stay-at-home-Mom. I feel my running time, slipping away from me :(. It's a constant struggle, that balance of what "MUST" be done, and what we "DESIRE" to get done. I truly hope you find the time to do your hearts wish!

  3. I'm not the best example, since I'm surreptitiously reading blogs at work (and I'm a librarian on a public desk, to make matters worse). My limit isn't my job (I can take vacations whenever I want as long as I've earned the time), but the money. It's always something, right?

  4. I'm a teacher in Boulder Valley and you summed it all up quite well. Perks to teaching, yes, but, I don't have heavy race plans or race hopes during those months off!!

    1. Oh, and I can add that my husband's spring break was last week, mine is this week, and my daughter's in next week. Okay, I get a 'break' sort of ;)

  5. Oh, you had me at "wine at the aid stations"! I share the addiction, can't seem to get enough. If only we got paid time off for hobbies and addictions, like running. I'd certainly need a full sabbatical!!

  6. While I'm not a teacher, I am a stay at home mom. Since all of my relatives work full time and we don't have available baby sitting, my running schedule is like yours, a weekend at time (and generally local).

    I guess the only solution is take vacation time and hope you don't feel too guilty for it!

    1. Oh, there's no guilt involved! This is primarily a money/keeping my job issue. I have no problem taking vacations ;)

  7. forgive me, the first letter of the lphbet key is broken on my computer. but i wnt to do 2 ocens too!!!! will write more when computer is fixed...

  8. Keep living as passionately as you are! You'll get where you belong.

  9. Don't forget the Swiss Alpine Marathon in July! And there's the Zermatt Marathon also in July, and the Sierre-ZInal trail run in August... summer is running season in Switzerland, at least.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I'll check these out.


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