I gave myself permission to quit marathon training and it was the absolute best decision.
Two weeks ago, at the end of a 17-mile long run, I found myself yet again in the grass outside Starbucks laying there in pain. My calves had tightened up so badly that I couldn't move any farther. Hell, I couldn't even walk inside to get me a bold cup of coffee to wait it out. Stretching was useless. And this was the third week in a row that this problem had wrecked me. I had ruled out all the usual suspects - hydration, nutrition, stretching. But alas, one issue had constantly surfaced - I was only running once a week and my fitness level simply couldn't improve with only one weekly run. I had spent the past four weeks not being able to push beyond 15-17 miles. How on earth was I going to finish 26.2 miles if 17 was crippling? And, worst of all, running was no longer fun...and had become work...painful, long and lacking in smiles.
I registered for the Akron marathon early in February before some major life-changing events had crept into my schedule. And before I knew it, the last weekend in September was sneaking up on me. Between an unexpected promotion requiring additional hours of work and taking away from my usual lunchtime run, family commitments, the heat, and a myriad of excuses (some with merit, some just whiny), I finally decided that running the marathon was not a smart choice and would only result in continued misery and/or injury. Once I made the decision to quit, I cannot even describe the weight that lifted from my shoulders and how liberating it felt. And that's when I had my first enjoyable run in MONTHS. I ran pain-free, smiling, and with a pretty decent spring in my step.
I won't be toeing the line September 29 in Akron, but that's ok. It's more than ok! Since I am in good shape and my long runs have been in the 15 mile range, I decided to go ahead and knock out a half marathon in a state that I haven't checked off yet. And besides, I enjoy the half marathon distance. I've never enjoyed the marathon distance, and sadly, always thought that you needed to add marathons to your accomplishments to be considered a real runner. Screw that! I've run 22 half marathons, numerous 10ks and countless 5ks - I am a real runner. But I'm also a wife, mother, worker bee...and somewhere, in between it all, there must be balance.
Enjoy the weekend!