I’ve had issues the past two years. Issues with illness. Injuries. Crazy schedules. Inconsistency at it’s finest. And it’s been ok. I’ve been ok with all of it, because I knew(I know) that running and racing isn’t who I am. It’s something I love to do, but I love to do a lot of things.
After running the Chicago Marathon in 2015, I lost my love of running. It was like I just fell from the sky. It all went away. I’m the dreamy type. The goals and dream chasing suite me. I love knowing I’m working towards a goal. But suddenly, after 3 full marathons, it all went away, and I wasn’t ready for that. It was too soon. I decided not to push it, to enjoy my season of less running and no racing. To cheer on Rob as he trained for his first full ironman. To be the cheerleader. I became ok with that. Until I wasn’t.
So I’ve been waiting. Waiting to fall in love with running again. Waiting to have a season where training fits. Waiting to desire to train and race again, knowing that if it never came back, this love of the sport, that I’d be ok too. I can workout and be fit and still run and stay healthy without all of that. I don’t need the attention or affirmation that comes with distance sports. I don’t need the Instagram account of the runner that races every weekend and overcomes adversity and juggles marriage and motherhood and qualifies for Boston while doing it. If that’s you, I think you are amazing, truly. But this just hasn’t been my story. I was ok with not being that girl. I could do less and be content. But I still wondered. What could be next for me? And did I need something “big” to be ok.
The answer is no, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it. Desire it. Seek it. Wait for it to return and be ready to roll if and when it does come back.
I had registered last Spring for the RRCA runners coach coarse in Dallas for this December, and it was the same weekend as the Dallas marathon. I registered for the half thinking this would do it, this running weekend would get me back. How could it not? And yet.
To train for the half, I started running with a couple of friends on the weekends, and I grew to love it, after 11 years of solo running. We built some mileage and I found a rhythm during the week while the kids were in school. I found a bit of myself again. I wrote, still do when it fits, cared for my home and found plenty of purpose in that. It’s my best purpose actually, to care for my family and our home. But I also found myself falling back in love with running. I found desire and motivation. I found a need to do more. I found a new kind of contentment in it as well. That because I had gone without it, I knew I could. I knew it wasn’t my everything and that some amazing things happened during my season of less running.
I knew I could say now is the time, the time to set my sights on something bigger and yet, hold it with just enough perspective that I could stay open to life happening. Because life has a way of changing when we least expect it. God reminds us we are not in control, and that his purposes are far bigger than ours. That he will shift and turn and alter our course as he sees fit. And I knew, going into whatever goal I decided to set, that this perspective was key. It is not mine to control.
The half was my temporary goal. My training aid. And it did just that, for the most part. I battled injuries and sinus infections all Fall, so I only got my mileage up to a few 8 mile runs. I found my mind saying “only” so often when I’d think of it. Until I realized I hadn’t run more than 4-5 miles in 2 years. I realized I had found the joy. I was loving those 8 miles, and that deserves to be celebrated.
Through it all, my body has put up a bit of a fight, and I’ve decided I’m too old to be stupid. So, with some nagging issues and not enough training, I’ve decided not to run the Dallas half this weekend, and I feel so good about it. I’m just getting started, and I have goals and things I want to do. It’s ok to say no. To lay it down. To say it’s not worth it. To say I don’t need it. To walk away knowing it’s for the best. Knowing, at least for now, that I have some perspective, which I don’t always hold onto the way I should.
It’s so easy to get discouraged. To see what everyone else is doing and think we somehow have something to prove. That we can push through. That we can do hard things. But there is a difference between pursuing the hard and pushing through adversity, and asking your body to do something that it is simply not prepared for or able to do, or pushing through a season where other things deserve your focus. And I know my body, and it’s saying no, again. Which in all honesty, is slightly infuriating.
I have to be patient and trust that my mind and body will land on the same page. In the meantime, I’ll try to be wise. It’s so hard isn’t it? To chill out and try to be an actual adult about things? Sometimes adulting is just stupid. Sometimes running is stupid. I think I say that to my very patient PT every time I go in with an issue ha!
I’ll go back to the drawing board and train a bit smarter. I’ll do my best to choose goals that make sense, and have fun doing it. It’s ok to lay things down, because often we pick up something else that’s even better. So that’s the plan!
How bout you? Have you had goals or races that just didn’t pan out? Wether if for injury or life circumstances? I know it’s hard and frustrating, but this too shall pass. There will be a season where it make sense. Or, where your priorities shift and you realize you can in fact do without it. Life is rich and sweet for so many reasons other than this running thing. Let’s enjoy it shall we?