Monday, May 18, 2015

Knowing when it's time to back off

Over the course of the last few months I've really questioned what I'm doing and how much I want to keep doing it. Long runs seem to be getting longer. Every run has been a struggle. I have no joy. I spend pretty much every run thinking "how can I possibly run longer than this in June?" Every time I thought about running 100 miles I seriously wanted to cry. Every once in a while I'd get excited about it, but for the most part I had an overwhelming sense of dread. During Heartland 50 I kept asking myself why I was doing this. Why do I keep pushing myself? I talked to the ladies I was running with about it and they told me if I'm not enjoying it don't do it. Take a break. After the race I mentioned how I was feeling to someone and she said the same thing. If I need a break, take it. After the race I talked to Rick and told him how I felt. I was worried because I had already paid a lot of money to register for the 100 and if I didn't do it that money is just lost. He assured me that he doesn't care. He didn't think I should run if I didn't want to.

I've been going back and forth with myself since the 50. I finally convinced myself that it's really just a couple of hard weeks of training, then a taper, then the race. I can suck it up. I can take a break later. I powered on. I got a little bit excited again. Then Friday rolled around and I looked at my weekend miles and couldn't stand to even think about it. Saturday morning I got up crazy early and Rick and I headed to Iola. We did a 7 mile out and back and then Libby joined us. While we were running I started talking to Libby about how I felt. We kept talking. I went through everything I was feeling. All the reasons I should run the race and all the reasons I shouldn't. I really analyzed my feelings and the reasons for doing it and not doing it. In the end, there are so many more reasons to drop out than there are to go for it. By the end of the run my decision was made. I wasn't doing it. The relief I felt was tremendous.

I've really struggled with feeling like I would let myself down and let others down. I didn't want people to be disappointed in me. I don't want people to think I can't handle it. The truth is, right now I can't. Well, maybe I can. I just don't want to. I feel like that's a good enough reason. I cannot run 100 miles to please other people. That's absurd. It's too hard on me and my body and on my family. If people are disappointed in me that is their problem, not mine. If people think less of me, that's their problem. Am I failing? Maybe. I had a goal and I'm not going to accomplish it. I'm doing it on my own terms though. I'm saying enough is enough. I need to step back a little. I need to shift my focus and find my joy again. Right now my joy is not in running for hours and hours at a time.

I'm obviously not going to take a break from running completely. I'm just going to work on shorter distances right now. I'm currently considering a half marathon in October. Sounds about right to me at the moment. I can work on speed and strength and push myself and see what I can do. I want to take some fun classes at my gym and I want to get stronger. I need to step back from the huge mileage weeks to make that happen. After I analyzed my decision to death I have to say I'm so excited. I'm excited to work on other things besides running long. I'm excited to see what I can do. Mostly I'm excited to spend the summer with my family and not running.


  1. I've been facing the same battle on several levels for the past year or so. On the other hand, I love running for 24-30 hours at a time--but mostly it's the IDEA of doing it, and then the accomplishment of finishing. All the training runs and actually doing a 30 hour LONG race------sucks! I am just like what you describe--friends thinking "well I MUST be doing this race or that race." Even race directing has become a drudgery. I'm just not sure what I am going to actually do.

  2. I know this is an older post of yours but I came back to it today and I wanted to let you know a few things. I've been reading your blog as a lurker for a few years. I'm an on again/off again runner on my basement treadmill. Sometimes I've been pleased with my miles per week, sometimes not. Sometimes I've stopped completely (because of pain, tiredness or just life got in the way, whatever). I just started back- very slowly, but it's good for me right now. I want you have always been an inspiration to me and that it's okay for goals to change. You are still an inspiration to me. Thanks!