Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Wishing for a crystal ball

Our country house - March 2015
It's been a busy few weeks - with lots of changes at work and at home - added to which, I was sick with flu. I only went running a few times and even that felt like too much. I'm still recovering from an attempt to run 22k on Saturday. I covered the distance but walked most of the last 3k. I'd hoped to follow it up with a 8-10k recovery run on Sunday but felt too sore and tired to hit the road again. Instead, I did a little yoga, poured a glass of wine, and snuggled in by the fire to listen to the wind howling outside.

The big news is that we've decided not to sell the country house for the moment. We'd had quite a few showings since Christmas but, the more it seemed it might actually sell, the less we wanted to let it go. Things came to a head last weekend when we got a low-ball offer and I realized I had no interest in making a deal. After contemplating the offer for a couple of days, we rejected it and took the house off the market. Lots could change for me at work in the next while, so it seems best to keep our options open until things settle down a bit.

The fact is we both love the country house. It's not grand, by any means, but it's a comfy old place with high ceilings, lovely bright rooms, and plenty of privacy. It sits on about 4.5 acres (1.8 hectares) of forested land, complete with a brook and walking trail, and there are no neighbours close enough to bother us. One of the best things about it is its location - close to the river, our favourite beaches, and an assortment of walking trails. Whatever the season, there's never a shortage of beautiful places to run. And we enjoy being able to visit with family and friends who live in the area regularly.

Another big issue for me was giving up my current commute to work. The plan was to sell both houses and buy a new one in a rural community close enough to the city that I could commute by bus. In theory, that sounded like a great idea but the reality of trading my daily cruise across the harbour for an hour or more in traffic didn't excite me.

Of course, there are disadvantages to our current arrangement. For starters, there's the cost and effort of maintaining two houses. But, even with those, it didn't feel right to give up a home we like so much while my work situation is in flux. I don't expect to lose my job anytime soon but it could happen, in which case we'd likely move to the country and sell our wee city house instead.

We love these massive old trees but the middle one
leans towards the house and they're all quite decrepit
The interesting thing is how good both Husband and I feel about the decision now that it's made. Neither of us has had a moment of regret, which tells me it was the right one. Now that we know we're staying for awhile, our summer plans include starting a new veggie garden, shingling the barn roof, and dealing with the old white pines threatening to fall on the house. Of course, we'll try to spend plenty of time at the beach too.

Taking the house off the market also means I can focus on training for my next marathon without worrying I'll be side-tracked by a move. My preferred goal race - the Calgary Marathon - is a little less than 11 weeks away, which means I only have 8 or 9 weeks left to train intensively. A strong finish is still within reach so long as I avoid getting sick or injured again, but I don't have much wiggle room.

Truthfully, I'm not sure how much I want to run another marathon. I certainly wasn't feeling like it last Saturday. On the other hand, I've made good progress since the new year. The extra weight I put on last fall has mostly turned to muscle and running hills feels easier than it has in some time. With another 9 weeks of training, I should have no trouble going the distance, even if I can't manage a PB. The question is: Will that be enough? Do I want to put myself through another two months of hard training to run another relatively slow 42.2k?

Of course, just finishing a marathon is an accomplishment and I always enjoy the training even more than the race itself. Long slow runs are a perfect opportunity to meditate on life, the universe and everything. In addition, it would be nice to visit Calgary again. I haven't been in 15+ years and my sister and her family live there, as do several good friends, so I'm sure I'd enjoy it.

Unfortunately, given all the uncertainty and our decision to take the country house off the market, I doubt Husband will join me for the trip. We want to be cautious about spending too much on travel until we know what's happening with my work - hence my desire for a crystal ball. It would much easier to splurge a little if we knew what the future holds. Unfortunately, as we learned when Husband's sister died unexpectedly last year, there's no way to predict. (A reality underscored by the book I read last weekend, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Highly recommended.)

When all is said and done, all you can do is examine the options, then do what feels right and trust that things will work out for the best. If I train for the marathon and something goes awry, at least I'll have a nice visit with my sister and a few friends. And maybe I can run the half marathon instead.

There, I've just talked myself into booking a ticket - though I think I'll wait until after my long run this weekend to register for the race.

How about you, friends? How do you decide which races to run? Do you plan your events around your vacations or vice versa? How do you make decisions when common sense and your heart's desire are at odds?

1 comment:

  1. Events and vacation haven't had much overlap for me. I know some people like to travel to races, but I've only done that a few times, and never by air. I have a real problem putting my bike in a box. It's hard when head and heart are in conflict. Generally if it isn't much money, I go with my heart. It's easy enough to go earn a bit more money. There's lots of places where it's important to do what makes you happy, even if it isn't practical or common sense. You'll live longer and be far richer on the life scale if you are happy, even if you aren't earning as much money, or have a prestigious vocation like, say, lawyer. Other times, you fill out the xl sheet, give your head a shake, and go with the numbers.