I didn’t want to write this post.
I didn’t want to admit that I took on a challenge too big, that I couldn’t do something it seems everyone and their mother has done or will do in the upcoming months. I hate failure more than anything, especially when it comes from myself. Past experiences have led me to an obsession with achievement and winning, never failure.
I’ve been training to run the IronGirl Half-Marathon for a few weeks now. At first, I was incredibly excited. What an amazing accomplishment this will be! I told myself to enjoy the process, not worry about how long a distance of thirteen miles is. This was for the experience, not for any sort of time goal. The important part was to enjoy it.
At first, I was shooting to finish within 3 hours. If I could make it within that time frame, I would be incredibly happy with myself. Then I started to realize how hard it would be to keep up that pace, when I’m walking a good portion of it. I’m not a fast runner by any means and neither am I a fast walker. (Darn short legs.) I began to tell myself to forget about finishing within 3 hours. Instead, focus on finishing my miles and preparing my mind for race day. Enjoy the experience.
I wasn’t enjoying anything. My runs were painful and almost every long run made me cry and beat myself up in frustration. Every run made me question why I was doing this. Why did I shoot for such a lofty goal when it’s still hard to run just a mile? Is this something I want to do or am I doing this for other people? Am I doing this to fit in to this crazy blogging world where everyone seems to love running and training for marathons? (At least in the healthy-living world. And not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
I stressed myself out to the point of shingles. My body had to physically let me know I was under major stress and needed to make serious changes before things got worse. My low immune system also played a role in this, but so did stress. Stress about training, about the race, about how others would view me as a quitter if I dropped out of the half-marathon.
To be completely honest, I didn’t want to admit on this blog that I was quitting again. I didn’t want to let everyone down. I had so many people rooting for me, telling me I could do this. I hate the connotation of being a quitter, but I guess it’s a label I have to take on. Because I am. I’m quitting. I’m dropping down to the 5K, from 13 miles to 3.
When I made the decision, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt free. I felt as if I could finally breathe again. But it also sucks. I know I’m going to feel awful come race day with all the half-marathon runners and me – still running baby 5K races. But I also know it’s the best decision. My body – physically or mentally – isn’t prepared for 13 miles. As much as I pushed myself, my body finally pushed back and told me enough is enough. This isn’t a decision I made lightly or in the heat of the moment. It’s a decision that feels right.
My plan is to keep running, but keep the distances small. Build up my stamina and endurance so my body will be ready to tackle a half-marathon some day in the future. Start with one-mile runs and gradually increase, as I feel my body getting stronger. I want to give this running thing its fair shot because I so badly want to be a runner. I want to be one of you guys.
April 10th doesn’t feel like Doomsday anymore. It feels like a normal day where I will go out and try to kill my previous PR of 42:32. So maybe it’s not quitting. Maybe it’s just being smart.