A runner who also ________? Or, a ________who also runs?

Several months ago I saw an advertisement in the free newspaper that sits on the counter at the post office. It’s the paper that tells you where the farmer’s markets are and what the politicians are really up to around town. A few days later my husband said, “I saw an Ad….” He had seen the same paper. He thought I should do this.

Last Thursday morning, I skipped my morning run and went to the new student orientation at the local community college.


By 11am, I had a student I.D., a parking sticker and an advisor helping me choose classes. My schedule includes three classes – one that ends with a 3-day backpacking trip in the mountains and another that teaches back country extended care and swift water rescue. After two years and a few more classes like rock climbing, water based activities and CPR, I will earn a certificate in Outdoor Leadership.

Classes are held in an old middle school. Labs are held outside!
Classes are held in an old middle school. Labs are held outside!

This semester there’s a 9-day course that lasts from 8am to 7pm for six days and noon to midnight for the last three. I didn’t ask why the class needed to last half the night or how we would handle two meals in one session.

In the auditorium I listened to various college dignitaries tell us how excited they were that we had chosen to attend their school. They explained that every professor would provide a syllabus and would know our name.

They encouraged us to get to class on time and told us that just because it was snowing at our house didn’t mean it was snowing on campus. Class will go on unless it’s snowing everywhere. Since home can be at 2,000 or 5,000 feet around here, it’s a fair rule….but that still doesn’t mean we can get down the drive.

They asked if we knew how long a semester was. I did not know. The answer popped up on the screen: 18 weeks. How about that. A semester is the same number of weeks as marathon training.

They asked how many students would be working full or part-time this semester. I assumed what they really meant was how many students would be bringing home a paycheck this semester, so I did not raise my hand.

They asked us what kind of person we were.

“There are people that work and also study. And, there are people who study and also work.”

The difference was how you approached learning, your priorities. Of course, I substituted “work” for “run” and worried all the way home about the 3-day backpacking trip, which would obviously interfere with a long-run weekend, and the 9-day intensive course that would leave no time for training.

Kayaks serve as art in front of the school.
Kayaks serve as art in front of the school.

I called my husband and told him I didn’t think I could go to school this semester. He was speechless. I explained the obvious. I had decided on a spring marathon. The day of the marathon is May 3rd – spring semester ends May 7th. How could I train and juggle this kind of school schedule? He said, “I think your priority should be school.”

So… I’ve spent the weekend figuring out how to run and study – or, is it study and run. Either way, I have come to the conclusion this will be a very busy semester indeed.

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