I spend so much of my time around runners or people I’ve bullied into being runners (or at least running regularly) that I sometimes forget that it’s not standard to run every day or to run for at least an hour every time you lace up. Asking me if I’m running today is akin to asking me if I brushed my teeth; almost guaranteed that I did or will on both. I was reminded of my relative eccentricity today when some of the residents and other medical students asked me if I wanted to join them for dinner. When I asked about time frame, they said 5 pm. In moments like these, I always have a rapid, painful internal struggle not unlike a middle school kid. Of course I want to go to dinner with my colleagues and be part of the club. Of course I want to destress and eat delicious food. But here in Lewiston, I run at 5 pm for at least an hour or until the light fades.
When I responded “Oh, I’d love to but I am planning on running this afternoon,” I was met with the familiar “But you can run tomorrow and dinner is way more fun!” This always puts me in an odd position. Of course I can run tomorrow (and I will) but I also need to run today because I have crazy goals and it’s all about the miles run…and no normal person gives a shit about this answer. And as I’ve done a hundred times, I thanked them so much for the invite and said I hoped I could make it next time. I do legitimately hope this, but the invite has to fall on a rest day or a day when I’ve run in the morning.
As I was running (and not socializing) this afternoon, I started to wonder about the repercussions of always saying no to such things. In my life at home, almost everyone assumes I’ll show up to things after my workout or doesn’t bother inviting me to things that are in direct conflict. What happens, however, in two short years when I’m out in a Residency trying to build important bonds with colleagues and Attendings? Am I hurting my career and networking by skipping out on these things? Will I miss out on the personal bonds that are so critical to sanity and survival in medicine?
Anyone have any experiences (positive or negative) with situations like these? How do you balance running and other social obligations?