The High Holy days have come and gone, and even though things are pretty busy in work and life, I wanted to touch on a dilemma I faced this Yom Kippur.
I happened to be in North Carolina for the weekend, visiting my wifey (heterosexual life partner/former roommate/bestie) and her boo. We picked the weekend at random, and only shortly before the trip did we realize that we would be spending the majority of the time observing the holiest day of the year. Usually, I am a serious-observer of Y’K. I fast. I don’t drink water. I don’t even brush my teeth. But this year, as I’m in the final weeks of my half-marathon, I knew it was going to be a struggle to fast all day and then put in my long training run (12 miles) on Sunday morning. So what to do??
I ended up making a compromise. Instead of doing a long, 12 mile run on Sunday, I told myself that it would be ok to put in a solid 6 mile/1 hour run (knowing that the following week was also a 12-mile run so I’d have the opportunity to get that mileage in the following week). I also decided that it would be ok to drink a little bit of water, to ensure that I wasn’t completely dehydrated by Sunday. I probably drank less than a full water bottle of water throughout the day, but it definitely helped. And, unlike my usual trips to NC, we took it easy Saturday night and I only had 1 beer.
Sunday morning, wifey and I hit the road for our run. She had planned on doing 5 miles (as she’s recovering from a butt and muscle injury) and I ran a little before she started so that I could hit my 6. We ran around her neighborhood, up and down some small rolling hills, until we hit a cornfield (gotta love the South), and then turned around, weaving through some more residential areas. At one point, wifey pointed to a trail and we jumped into the woods for some trail-running. We only got mildly lost, and had to ask a couple of people which way was which. The best part was when two women were giving us directions and one said “It’ll take about 10 minutes to get to the bridge… well, for you two, more like 6 or 7 minutes.” She thought we were legit!
By the time we got out of the woods, we were about a mile or so from home. She ended up doing just over 5 and a half miles, and she encouraged me to keep running to 7. I was impressed at how good I felt at the end of the run – not only did I feel good, but I felt like I could have logged a few more miles, no problem.
How do other Jewish runners deal with this kind of scenario – balancing religious tradition and observance with training?