No Marathon for Me: giving up on one dream to focus on the others

At times when I think about this, I feel like a quitter. But that’s the emotional side of me. The rational side knows better. The rational side knows that my body just can’t handle it. This is not a cop-out, but a realization of the facts.

This was to be my first week of 22 miles overall. Now, I bike back and forth to work most days, which is about 10 mile round trip.  Granted, it is on a motor-assist bike that I do these miles, but my legs are still pumping — I’ve realized my bike won’t move that far without my giving it an assist. (Or, is it the bike giving me an assist. Anyway, I digress….) So, my legs are getting a bit of  a workout before I even step foot on the ground.

Tuesday was to be a 4 mile run with two miles of “tempo” put in there in the middle. For those of you who are not runners, a tempo run is supposed to be “comfortably hard.” It pushes you to the next level, essentially, and helps to increase your anaerobic capacity. To me, the word “tempo” has always struck fear (or is it stress) to my heart. I just have a mental block with them. Needless to say, a tempo run it was not. In fact, my left hip and SI joint hurt for most of the run so I didn’t push it. Then, I took Wednesday off, which was supposed to be a 5 mile run. It was pouring rain and I just didn’t think it would help, since I woke up in pain.

Thursday, I did the 5 mile run. Again, the hip felt wonky and a bit painful for most of the run. Friday, I tried to step foot on the treadmill at the gym, and I could tell that even at a slow 5.0 pace, it was going to be painful, so I stopped and did other things.

Today was supposed to be a 6 mile run. I decided I would set my alarm for 5:30 and see how I felt when my alarm went off. Yep, not happening. Went back to sleep, and while I ate my breakfast, I sat against a bag of frozen mixed berries. (Frozen fruit and veggies really are the best ice packs, aren’t they?) It’s the only reason I now think I can work out with my friend who I’m also training, later this morning.)

Now, I’ve run a marathon before. I know the mileage I was doing right now would be low compared to what it would get to be toward the end of training. I know if my body is having problems now, it’s only going to get worse. (This is not me being defeatist or pessimistic, but being realistic.)  I’ve seen what happens when you keep on pushing through an injury. Hell, I’ve done it and it’s part of why I’m in this spot now.

When I first mentioned on FB that I questioned whether I could train for a marathon given these problems, a very good runner friend commented that you “run for life.”  And that is exactly what I needed to hear. Another friend (who isn’t a runner) astutely said that maybe the shorter distances were more my “er, speed…” (LOL). Both were right.

If I want to be a trainer, and be a good one, I can’t be hobbling around with my clients. What kind of an example would that set? Who wants to work with a trainer who can’t even take care of themself? So…I’m stopping with the marathon training. Maybe I’ll do a half-marathon instead, but the jury is still out on that one. If I run regularly (which I have loved about this training, getting back into it), I can feel like myself. It doesn’t need to be 10 mile run to get that effect. A shorter run of 3-5 miles will work just fine. I still get the endorphins and mental clarity that I love about running.

Finally,while this is not the deciding factor, every runner knows that when you train for marathons, the cost can add up. Whether it be the clothes, the fuels (i.e. gels, etc.), the race entry fees, etc., it can get expensive. So, in essence, by deciding to not run one, I am also focusing on my motorhome/tiny house goal and saving enough money/pay down debt, to allow me to change careers to one that does not pay as well as the one in which I am currently.

I felt the need to put this out there today. I am at peace with my decision, although I do feel sad to have disappointed my younger brother who was my coach and who is an awesome marathon runner. He was very good at coaching, by the way – always checking in with me on my progress and modifying my schedule as needed. Plus, he was always (and continues to be) extremely supportive. I love him for that.

And with that last paragraph, I’ll be logging off and getting more of my freelance work done so I can work out with my friend in a few hours this morning. I hope you will all have a wonderful weekend. It’s supposed to be glorious here in New England today. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “No Marathon for Me: giving up on one dream to focus on the others

    • I know you’re right….but it’s hard for runners to realize their limitations. I know you are getting back into running, so you will soon see what I mean. 🙂

  • Terri,
    Sometimes what you decided is the best you can do. It comes down to listening to your body and spirit. Good for you. Tough decisions are not always easy. Best to you as always.

    • Thank you so much, Troy. (By the way, I may not have been commenting on google plus lately but I’ve been keeping up with your downsizing journey and continue to be impressed at how well you stick to it!) I think my decision was mainly listening to my body, and feeling again, like I was an 80 year old woman trapped in a 41 year old woman’s body. I was so earnest to get out there and do the mileage that I have not done enough of my therapeutic exercises, and well, it shows in how my body has felt.

    • Thank you, Lisa. I know you understand how much I wanted to do this, and how much I really wanted to prove something to myself. I know I can’t be superwoman though. And I know this doesn’t make me any less of a runner. 🙂

  • Hi Terri, Moving forward, you may want to try running outside more and running on the treadmill less. I have had similar pains, and my physical therapist thinks it is from the treadmill and its unforgiving, consistent pace. Allowing your body to micro-adjust as you run might help the miles (however many you choose to do) to be more enjoyable.

    • Hi Patty, sorry for such a delay in my responding. I absolutely love running outside so every chance I get, I have been. Just been using the treadmill when I can’t run really early in the morning (I don’t do well with heat…) I definitely prefer the scenery and being able to go at my own pace over the monotony of being on a treadmill, staring at the construction that is now Brighton Landing. 🙂 I’m sorry you also deal with this crap!

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