Writing has always been therapeutic for me. I’ve been struggling with a decision, and I’ve gone back and forth on it for a couple weeks now. I’m hoping that writing it out for the world to see will help get some clarity! Or at least maybe some of your comments will help.
As you know, I signed up for the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon (which takes place Memorial Day weekend) after a particularly wonderful long run during my New York Marathon training. I was having runner’s high and I decided I want to try to push myself to see if it were possible to PR/BQ at Mountains 2 Beach, a course known to be fast. I knew that I wouldn’t be close at New York, but I knew with 6 more months of dedicated training that it could be possible to regain my old fitness and then some.
And then the New York Marathon happened. It was hard. It was honestly quite miserable. It made me question why I ever run marathons. I have that thought during a lot of races but this was different – I had a sense of apathy about the race. I knew I had to finish the New York Marathon but I questioned if I wanted to ever finish another one, at least anytime soon.
Training for a marathon isn’t what it used to be before we had a child. During training I spend several hours away from my family on Saturday morning, which means that Mike is on baby duty and can’t do anything himself. He spends his weeks working and then spends his Saturday morning without me. I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been a source of contention for us. In the old days, we’d both go out for a training run and then come home and eat a big breakfast and possibly take a nap. Now, I’m away and when I get home he wants to spend time with me. We aren’t napping because we have too much to do and/or have some event to get off to. I’m not recovering like I did before because I’m on my feet chasing an active toddler for the majority of the day and can’t catch up on sleep, even with a baby who sleeps though the night.
And then there’s the case of whether or not I truly believe I have what it takes to PR/BQ at Mountains 2 Beach. Honestly, I am not sure. I think it could happen but a part of me also thinks I may put in six months of hard training and sacrifice just to be disappointed and in pain again on race day again (and honestly I’m not even sure if I qualify I will even be able/want to run the 2018 Boston Marathon because we plan to have another child at some point). Of course, no races are guaranteed, ever. That’s a given. Marathons are about the journey, not the destination and that is why I don’t regret running the New York Marathon – I truly did enjoy the training. I’m at a point right now though, that the training doesn’t excite me. I’ve been enjoying doing my 21 Day Fix workouts and not having to run on a schedule. Yesterday I kind of forced myself to go out for a stroller run because if I didn’t, I would have not run for 4 days in a row.
On the flip side, I ran a marathon 4 weeks ago and I’m probably still recovering. I know that a period of downtime is probably needed for me to get excited about racing/training again. But then I fear if I take too much time off that I won’t be able to maintain the base I built training for New York and I’ll be starting from scratch again and then definitely won’t be ready for a PR effort at Mountains 2 Beach. When I met with the coach of the Seaside Striders he recommended I keep a base of 4 runs a week including a 2 hour long run on the weekends until training starts in January. That’s still a significant amount of running!
The question here isn’t whether or not I’ll stop running. The questions is, do I commit to running a marathon or do I train for some shorter distance races? Will the pleasure I get from training for a shorter race be enough to satisfy that craving? Despite being away from my family on Saturday mornings, I really do enjoy that “me” time. Another consideration I’m having is that I was planning to join the Seaside Striders for their marathon training program, and if I don’t do the marathon, it doesn’t make financial sense for me to pay for the coaching and program. I was looking forward to joining this group, pushing myself to get faster and making new friends. On the flip side, I don’t have any good friends training for spring marathons so I’ll be sacrificing time with my family to run with people who aren’t friends (but likely will become friends!). However, if I don’t train for the marathon, and instead just do a half marathon, who will I run with!? My three best long run buddies are abroad, pregnant or injured.
Still reading after that list of First World problems!? I’m pretty sure everyone is going to say exactly what I’m thinking after spewing out my thoughts- I need more time to decide.
Thoughts? Have you ever signed up for a race and then realized it may not be the best idea?