Around this time three years ago, I was approaching 250 pounds (again), smoking almost a pack of cigarettes a day, eating greasy, fried food for almost every meal of the day, and just not in a good place. I went to my gyno for my annual appointment, when she asked me the question that would lead to me changing my life.
Fast forward to now, and I’ve done a complete 180. With this change, I’ve switched my unhealthy obsessions towards healthier activities like running and cooking. I’ve never considered myself a serious runner, just someone who runs because she can and because it helps with weight maintenance after making such a drastic change.
Running that first half marathon was such a significant mark on my life. I still vividly remember getting that first glimpse of the finish line, and thinking “Wow. I am almost there. I really have changed my life.” Though the training was difficult, I can say in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt challenged and proud with each long run.
Training for the marathon has not been bringing me that same sense of fulfillment. I’ve been struggling with each long run and have had trouble making and finding the time to fully commit to training.
On Saturday morning, I woke up later than planned with an 18 miler hanging over my head. I was trying to convince myself to get out the door and thinking about whether doing the run on Sunday was a possibility, when it came to me.
I just didn’t want to run 18 miles either day.
I didn’t want to then run 20 this coming weekend.
And I didn’t want to run 26.2 in 4 weeks.
And then I thought… if I don’t want to, then why am I doing this?
I am not making excuses, but I think trying to train for a marathon when I have so many major things going on in my life was not the smartest decision I’ve ever made. I went through a major breakup after a four year relationship and consequently moved, traveled for a few weeks for work during a very critical part of training, my grandmother is very sick, and I’m just going through a lot right now.
I went online to check and saw that I was able to change the marathon to a 10k that same day. I thought about it for a few more hours so that I could make sure it wasn’t a completely impulsive decision, and then later that night I went ahead and switched to the 10k.
I thought that when I pressed the confirmation button and no longer had the marathon on my schedule, I might feel a sense of loss and a lack of direction. But you know what I felt instead?
Freedom. Relief. Happiness. Like a huge weight had been lifted off my chest.
This isn’t to say I’m giving up anything beyond the marathon – in fact, I’m looking for another half marathon to sign up for soon, am running the Army 10 Miler this Sunday, and have signed up for two 10ks later this month as well. I also joined a gym yesterday AND took my first spinning class (!!), and am excited to having a more varied workout schedule and not having so much of my life revolve around training for the marathon.
And, I went on a glorious, super hilly run on Sunday with my friend Amy. I mapped the route out after the fact, and it was 4.54 miles, and based on the 40 minutes it took us to run it, I was running at sub 9:00 miles, which for me is extremely fast. The run was so awesome – it was challenging, but I was running because I wanted to, not because I “had” to.
And it’s because of how I’ve felt since I dropped out of the marathon that I know I’ve made the right choice. I’m not saying I will never run a marathon in my life, but right now is just not the time for me. I don’t think I’ve been getting enough miles during the week even outside of my long runs on the weekend, and I’m sure that’s largely contributed to feeling ill prepared/unenthusiastic about the marathon. So, long story short, I’m not running the marathon on October 30th and will instead be running the MMC10k. This is my final answer.