My family is awesome. They allow me to indulge my crazy running habit, and as a result, they experience the lucky side effect of sometimes traveling to the various states with me. Last year, we took our summer vacation to Washington and Oregon. I ran in both states, and we visited with friends and family while we were out there. It was a great trip for all of us.
This year, summer vacation again included races for me. I love having my family at the finish line of my half marathons, cheering me on, but these “running vacations” are not without their difficulties. First, there is the responsibility of packing for an entire family for the trip. I need to make sure everyone has their clothes, shoes, bathing suits, hair necessities, creature comforts, books, art supplies, coats, socks, etc. It isn’t just making sure I pack my GU and Rock Tape and running gear (which is hard enough on its own).
Next, there is the issue of getting a good night's sleep prior to the race. I hardly ever sleep well the night before a race, but with the whole family in the room, it is even more difficult. I worry about waking them up early in the morning as I leave, I get hyper-sensitive to everyone’s breathing/snoring (although my ear plugs help with that), I tiptoe through my trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night hoping no one hears me and wakes up, and as much as I adore snuggling with my little ones, a tiny little body smushed up against me for the night isn’t exactly conducive to a sound sleep.
Family vacations, of course, involve all kinds of activities…swimming, sight-seeing, walking, hiking and lots of eating out. All of that stuff is loads of fun, but sometimes it is really tiring (when two races bookend the trip) and all the good restaurant food makes me feel heavy, not exactly the best way to feel before a race.
But the family running vacations come with great benefits, too. Having my spouse and kids there with me rids me of loneliness unlike when I am on my own for a race. They are silly and happy and cuddly and energetic which is all really good for mental fortitude. They get to experience the same cool places that I do, and we make fabulous memories. We laugh and relive our favorite moments “on the road.” It is pretty terrific to have a gang to do that with. Most of all, it is so lovely at the end of the day to have a hug and an “I love you.” It is like being at home even when you are far away from home. Bring on the running vacation!