Final Answer

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.

50 Comments on Final Answer

  1. Kathy @ newlywedindc
    October 4, 2011 at 8:43 am (9 years ago)

    Good for you. It really sounds like you made the right decision; there is no point in forcing yourself to do something if you’re not in the right place for it now. Running should be fun, after all! And it’s great to do a variety of activities and not just focus on the 26.2.

    Since you mentioned you are looking for a half-marathon, there is the Annapolis Half on Nov 19 which I am pretty sure I’m going to sign up for.

  2. Kerry
    October 4, 2011 at 8:55 am (9 years ago)

    This was a great post. Sometimes we just keep marching on auto-pilot towards something without stopping to reassess. You had the courage to reflect, and come up with your final answer. Hope you have a fantastic race!

  3. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    October 4, 2011 at 8:56 am (9 years ago)

    I think you made the right choice. It is a massive time commitment!

    I honestly don’t think I’d be ready to train for one any time soon. Or if I even want to do one…. because, in all honesty, after training for a half for 12 weeks, I’m exhausted of running. And once it stops being fun, why bother?

  4. kena
    October 4, 2011 at 9:06 am (9 years ago)

    Hi! I came across your blog a while ago. It is very inspirational! Congrats on all you success! I think you are making the best choice for YOU and that is what matters. I am not sure if I will ever run a marathon (it just seems so far!). I have run 1 half marathon and my 2nd half marathon is this weekend. I wanted to ask you about your spin class…did you like it? Was it intimidating? I have wanted to go to a spin class and they offer them at my rec center but they just seem intimidating….I just wanted to ask how you felt at your first class? Have a happy day!

  5. Jennifer
    October 4, 2011 at 9:11 am (9 years ago)

    Making a decision based on what you feel comfortable doing is never the wrong answer!

  6. Jenny
    October 4, 2011 at 9:21 am (9 years ago)

    Sounds like a great plan! I’m a big fan of 10 milers and half-marys. Those distances are enough to keep me challenged but they don’t overwhelm me like a 26.2 would.

    You’re so smart to do what’s best for you. I wish I was doing the Army 10M but I didn’t register in time. Are you running the Parkway Classic or Cherry Blossom 10M in the spring? I did the Parkway Classic last year and I hope to get into the Cherry Blossom this year.

  7. Heather
    October 4, 2011 at 9:22 am (9 years ago)

    Love that you made this decision for yourself. It’s always the hardest kind of decision to make! You have to do what makes you happy!
    Good for you, Beth. Isn’t spinning so fun??!

  8. Taylor @ Delish World
    October 4, 2011 at 9:23 am (9 years ago)

    Props to you for having the guts to drop down to the 10k. If you’re heart isn’t in it, then it kinda defeats the purpose. Running is supposed to be something you enjoy, right? Which 10ks are you running? I’m in the DC area too and trying to find something smaller for the rest of Oct/Nov.

  9. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    October 4, 2011 at 9:27 am (9 years ago)

    You definitely made the right choice! If you can’t think of a reason why you’re doing something that should be making you happy (and it’s not) why do it? No one’s making you!
    But, wow- that’s a lot of races you have coming up! Good for you!

    Hope you liked spin class!!

  10. Lynne
    October 4, 2011 at 9:36 am (9 years ago)

    Oh, my gosh, you’ve done what I dream about doing everyday! What strikes me is you made the decision based on what’s right for you right now. I really want to drop down to the 10k, but have made commitments to my training partner and others that I feel I should follow through on. I’m so worried about letting other people down, and I know this is the wrong reason to run the MCM.

    Yay for spin class – glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Gwen
    October 4, 2011 at 9:38 am (9 years ago)

    I so relate to everything you say 🙂 Love feeling like someone else gets it. I think you made the smart decision for yourself at this time in your life. And if 2012 is the time to try MCM again (cough cough) then I know it will be great! AND a blogger who’d love to train with you. I backed out of ATM this weekend because I’m not ready right now. I will be out there cheering though! HOPE I see you!

    Do you ever step back and ask, “When did I get so wise?!” <3

  12. BrandonA
    October 4, 2011 at 9:48 am (9 years ago)

    Kudos. There is never any shame in evaluating priorities and adjusting accordingly. It is sometimes the hardest thing for people to do. I struggle with it everyday!

    I’m in the opposite situation as you – I’m doing the same 10k, but this will be my longest!

  13. Emily
    October 4, 2011 at 9:52 am (9 years ago)

    Congratulations on your decision! I know how hard it is to make a decision when you feel like people might think you are quitting. It sounds like you made the perfect decision for yourself. I think you are very courageous!

  14. Katie
    October 4, 2011 at 10:19 am (9 years ago)

    Good for you Beth. You’ve come so far, and you’ve proved time and again what an amazing, strong person you are. Recognizing that this isn’t the right time for a full marathon is just a different level of strength. You have to do what makes you happy!

  15. Theresa @ActiveEggplant
    October 4, 2011 at 10:31 am (9 years ago)

    Good for you Beth! I think you made the best decision for you right now. And recognizing that you were likely doing more harm than good by forcing it is certainly something to be proud of!

    I’ve completed one marathon – and I don’t know if I’ll ever do another. It was cool to cross that finish line, but frankly, my heart wasn’t in it at all. The whole process of training was life consuming and I don’t think it was worth it – for me.

  16. Christine
    October 4, 2011 at 10:33 am (9 years ago)

    I know exactly what you mean about feeling like you’re running because you want to and not because you have to! I really agonized over whether or not to run for the last month and it was really stressful! When the time is right, you’ll know it. Like you, I do not consider myself a runner so I only do the runs I think are important and I forget about the rest because hey, I’m not a runner. Also allowing myself to replace some runs with croastraining helps with training burnout and is easier on my body. We’ll see how things turn out next week…

  17. Darla
    October 4, 2011 at 10:33 am (9 years ago)

    Beth — I’ve been feeling your pain in the past few posts. You know you made the right decision. You’ve proved yourself in the past 3 years; don’t torture yourself!

  18. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt
    October 4, 2011 at 10:35 am (9 years ago)

    I think you are making the best decision possible for yourself. Isn’t that what you will be teaching as a leader in WW? Make the right decisions for you when the time is right?! You did good kid. I’ll virtually be cheering you on!

  19. Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
    October 4, 2011 at 10:52 am (9 years ago)

    I totally support this decision. I feel like as bloggers, we are inadvertently put under a lot pressure that tells us that we need to always be working towards a marathon (I mean, not for me, OBVIOUSLY, but you know what I mean, ahaha.) I think that you should continue to run because you enjoy it, and race distances that you already know are fun.

    Keep an eye out for my sister and brother-in-law at the 10 miler this weekend! 🙂

  20. Lauren
    October 4, 2011 at 10:53 am (9 years ago)

    This is EXACTLY how I feel about training for my half-marathon. I’ve come to realize that it makes me dread running, not just enjoy it. Mine is in 2 weeks and I still plan on finishing it, but after that I’m sticking to 5 and 10ks for awhile.

    Good for you for realizing that you don’t HAVE to do things if you don’t enjoy them. Running is supposed to be fun!

  21. Sara, Food Blogger on a Diet / Ms. Adventures in Italy
    October 4, 2011 at 11:33 am (9 years ago)

    I’ve only ever run a half marathon, and maybe some day I’ll run a full but just to get the checkmark on my list. I really feel a half marathon is a perfect distance – even the long run prior to tapering will only take about 2 hours, leaving you plenty of time and energy for the rest of the day (your life outside of running!)

    I think you did what felt right and that’s what’s important 🙂

  22. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    October 4, 2011 at 11:47 am (9 years ago)

    Beth I’m glad you made the right decision for you! I know you’ll run a marathon one day, but you are so right that you need to have the time to train.

  23. Heather
    October 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm (9 years ago)

    Great post, and good for you for being honest with yourself and your feelings about the marathon. No shame in running the 10K instead! I have that same feeling about marathons right now; while I’d love to be able to check it off the list, running longer than 13.1 miles is just not appealing to me. Maybe someday it will be, but right now I’m sticking with 5Ks, 10Ks and halfs.

    It is supposed to be fun after all, not something we dread.

  24. Jamie
    October 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm (9 years ago)

    Good for you! I honestly never want to run a marathon and I don’t feel bad about it. Granted, I just started running less than a year ago, and so far my farthest distance has been a 10K but it just sounds miserable. Reading about people training for them sounds awful too- I just don’t want to spend 3-4 hours running every Sunday.

    I do want to do a half though- I hope to achieve this goal next spring!

  25. alison
    October 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm (9 years ago)

    The only reason anyone should ever run a marathon is because they want to. Maybe one day you will? Maybe not? As long as you’re doing what makes you happy, then go for it.

    I’m running the Army 10 Miler, too. It’s probably my favorite race ever…both the distance and the actual organized race. Good luck!

  26. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas
    October 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m really happy you switched to the 10K Beth! I think timing is so important in training for races and sometimes it’s just not right. I think you definitely made the right choice if you’re enjoying getting out and running shorter distances. 🙂

  27. Lauren
    October 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm (9 years ago)

    I am so proud of you for making this decision! I think there is so much pressure (especially on the blog world) to be a “marathoner” and you know what, that is just silly. I love to run but I have no desire to run a marathon and I’m 100% okay with that. You are going to be amazing in this 10K and that is what matters. <3 you girl!

  28. Jennifer
    October 4, 2011 at 12:38 pm (9 years ago)

    I think it’s a great decision and very wise that you made it! If your heart isn’t in the training, it just won’t be worth it. So far, my heart is in it…but I haven’t gotten to the REALLY long runs yet. So far it’s like I’m still training for a half again, so we’ll see if I continue on with the full in Feb. or if I drop back to the half.

  29. Lisa
    October 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m sorry. 🙁 But honestly running should be FUN. If it’s not, don’t do it.

  30. Alexa
    October 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm (9 years ago)

    Good for you Beth, we have ONE life, and you must live it for you. Plus, now maybe we can find an awesome half marathon to do together. Or, you can join me for the Veteran’s Day 10K in November?! =)

  31. Jen@FoodFamilyFitness
    October 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm (9 years ago)

    Good for you! Why push yourself to do something you really don’t want to do?
    How is your training going for weight watcher leader? I joined on Saturday and went to my first meeting, I finally feel like I have made a good decision and will be successful this time 🙂

  32. Aly
    October 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm (9 years ago)

    I think this is amazing, It takes a lot of guts to be able to do what you did. The guilt is what always gets me when it comes to something like this, don’t let yourself feel guilty, you are doing what is right for you right now. Bravo!

  33. Liz
    October 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm (9 years ago)

    The feeling of relief is a sign that you made the right decision! I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but in the end you won’t regret it. I’m planning on doing a bunch of shorter races in November, so maybe we can do one together.

  34. Hilary
    October 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm (9 years ago)

    I SO get it! I just finished a 25 km race on the weekend and was so glad to be done with it….and it is so nice to be running because I want to and not because I have to…and I’m all about variety in workouts too! Training for big races is great, but it can just take up so much of your life!!!

  35. Maria
    October 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm (9 years ago)

    Good for you Beth! Glad you made a decision that was right for you!

  36. Lea
    October 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth!
    I have been reading your blog for 3 weeks now and all your posts are so inspiring! I have been on ww for 9 months now but still have 60 pounds to loose before goal. I was looking for weight watcher friendly breakfast ideas and that how I found you. It’s so good to know their are others out there with similar experiences. I have also thought about running because of all your posts! I’ll let ya know when that happens!

    Don’t worry about feeling like your giving up, I definitely think you made the right decision for this time in your life! Good luck on the 10k! A marathon will be in your future when the time is right 🙂

    Thanks again for all the inspiration!!

  37. Sarah
    October 4, 2011 at 6:53 pm (9 years ago)

    Great post 🙂 You need to do what’s best for your body!

  38. Lisa @ experiencelifewithme
    October 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm (9 years ago)

    I think you made the right decision. There is no point in doing it if you feel like you “have” to. Running should be fun and something you enjoy. I am training for my first Half right now and loving it. If this continues, I am planning on training for a Full, but I love seeing that there are people out there who struggle just like I do sometimes. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Amy @ Amy Starts to Run
    October 4, 2011 at 8:30 pm (9 years ago)

    Hooray for feeling better after a tough decision! You’ve already proved you can do anything you put your mind too, so why not have fun with what you’re doing?

  40. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    October 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm (9 years ago)

    That definitely sounds like it was the right decision and I’m glad you went with it. You don’t need that mental stress.

  41. cristina
    October 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm (9 years ago)

    It sounds like you have made a great decission! Running is suppossed to be fun. When it becomes a chore you really need to reassess the situation. Good for you for doing what is best for you and not going through with it just because you had comitted to it. Life is all about being flexible and being able to change our minds. You are going to kick a$$ at the 10K that day!!

  42. Lorinda @ Waisting Away
    October 5, 2011 at 12:31 am (9 years ago)

    Good for you for listening to your body and your heart. I’d say that’s another great step in your journey. Wishing you all the best for the 10K!!

  43. Heather @ Dietitian on the Run
    October 5, 2011 at 8:48 am (9 years ago)

    Its so hard to listen to the gut-feeling on these things sometimes, especially when we feel “accountable” to people or things (i.e. ahem, blogs). Obviously you did the right thing for You, and I’m so happy to hear you feel relief! Marathon training is a *huge* commitment, taking a lot of time out of your life and a lot of physical and emotional energy. No need to justify your own choice to tackle the 10K instead, you’ll have fun with it and that’s what matters 🙂

  44. jacqui
    October 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm (9 years ago)

    I think you were smart in making your decision. Afterall, you have many years to complete a full. Right now enjoy improving your 10K and 10 mile times; and you are getting faster! After all the dust of the past few months settles down, you will still be amazed by all you did this year! Keep up the good work!

  45. Heidi
    October 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm (9 years ago)

    If you’re looking for a half this fall:


    I decided to take a break from marathons when they weren’t fun for me anymore. My training for VT City in 2010 was awful and my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to destroy the fact that i love running and training for races so I just stopped. Kudos to you for knowing yourself and just…stepping back. Why ruin something you’re passionate about like running by training for a race that your heart just isn’t in. Big props 🙂

  46. Caitlin
    October 7, 2011 at 11:01 am (9 years ago)

    Congrats Beth – I think it’s awesome that you are not doing something just to do it but really asking yourself if you actually WANT to – the whole point of running a marathon for me is if it’s fun and if I’m enjoying myself – if not, so not worth it! 🙂

  47. Jen
    July 10, 2012 at 9:46 am (8 years ago)

    Thank you so much for your insights. What I am most struck by is your mature decision to back out of the marathon when you were not feeling it. I think so often we can get stuck in, “I Have to do it because I said I would.” Especially those of us who have had significant weight issues because we don’t want people to think we are just making excuses. You do a beautiful job of highlighting your choices for not doing the marathon and how you handled it. Well done and thank you.


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