This post has been several weeks in the making. After the disaster that was the Vermont City Marathon 2016, I knew I needed to take some time to decide what I really wanted to do. I shared with you all that I was feeling a lot of pressure to sign up for a redemption race and try again, and I have been resisting that pressure and sorting through my feelings ever since.
As you’ve probably deduced from the title of this post, I will not be making another marathon attempt this year. I haven’t totally ruled it out of the realm of possibility at another time in my life, but the time is not now. I researched various fall marathons. I read race recaps and stalked race websites and talked to a bunch of people, but when the chips were down, I just couldn’t hit the “register” button.
I always intended the marathon to be a “one and done.” After I signed up for VCM, and all through my training, I maintained my gut feeling that I didn’t want to do this again. True, I didn’t actually finish a marathon, but I did the training. I felt all the feelings and all the physical impacts and it just didn’t work out. Not finishing the last 7 miles of the Vermont City Marathon sucked, hard, and while I still feel robbed of having the title of “marathon finisher,” it doesn’t really change the fact that I’m simply not ready to put myself through that again.
Marathon training is friggin’ hard, and I just don’t have the grit to do it again right now. I look back, and I don’t like the person I was this spring. I was exhausted. I was moody. I was emotional. All I did was eat, sleep, run, and stress about running. I ate too much and gained a bunch of weight because I was too stressed to manage my fueling properly. I don’t want another four months of stress. Another four months of early wake up calls and hours slogging through double-digit long runs and watching the weight on the scale creep up and up because I can’t eat like a normal human when I’m running that much. Another four months of blisters and panic over every ache or pain and a constantly chafed butt.
I have done a lot of soul-searching. A lot of back and forth. And when it came right down to it, the only reasons I could think of for making another marathon attempt were the “shoulds.” I should do it to make up for VCM. I should do it so my blog readers don’t think I’m a weenie. I should do it so that when my friends ask me if I’m going to try again, I don’t have to say that I chickened out. And I’m sure you can all appreciate that deciding to do a marathon because you think you should and not because you want to is a really bad idea.
So there it is. I won’t be running a marathon this fall. And I may not ever decide to train for one again. It’s just too hard for me, and that’s ok. Some people aren’t meant to run multiple marathons. Some people aren’t meant to run even one. Achieving a certain pace or distance goal has no bearing whatsoever on my status as a runner, and I refuse to feel bad about myself or that I’ve failed somehow because I’ve recognized my own limitations.
Instead of dragging myself through another round of marathon training (and in the summer heat, no less), I will be focusing on a half marathon PR attempt in early October. My half marathon PR was set two years ago, and I’m ready for a new one. Training for a half is much more manageable, and dare I say, enjoyable, than marathon training. It won’t take up as much time, it’s less fraught on the eating and fueling front, and my recovery time will be much faster. I already have a training plan ready to roll (thank you, Hal Higdon (plus my bazillion edits)), and I’m ready to get back to regular, enjoyable running.