No one said the right decisions were always going to be the easy decisions. In fact, I’m pretty sure they are usually some of the hardest.
They become even harder when our egos get involved. When friends and a million opinions get involved.
And even more so, when our hearts are involved.
Not only do I remember the days of gym class and the dreaded mile run, but I remember when I first started running and how I gradually built up my distance from walking & running intervals to a mile unbroken, to two, then three and just last year, 13.1…a half marathon.
As I finished that run, my hips hurting and my exhaustion high, I wasn’t sure I’d ever run another half marathon, let alone consider a full. But as to be expected and once the post-run high really set in, I not only ran a second but I also ran a third which was a huge PR.
When I was picked for the lottery for the Chicago Marathon, I took that as a sign. I took that to mean I was ready and that I could finally cross off this bucket list item that at one point, I was pretty sure was never possible. And honestly, I do believe I’m physically ready (read: capable with the proper training) but unfortunately, I’m not mentally ready.
I’ve been hinting for the last few weeks that I’ve been pretty stressed and that I’ve had a lot on my mind. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen some photos from the trail depicting some harder moments.
But the truth is, I haven’t been able to get past 2 miles of my long runs for the last 3 weeks. I made myself sick trying to handle some of the stress and pressure I was putting on myself and used that as an excuse. I ran 4 miles last Thursday that was the best, easiest and longest run I’ve had in weeks. I was hopeful that I was on the upswing and making my recovery. I skipped out on a show Saturday night to get plenty of sleep and woke up Sunday morning ready and excited for my 15 mile run (yes, excited). I told myself I was doing three 5-mile runs and that I could rest after each 5 miler. I grabbed all my gear, fueled up and hit the trail running. I felt good for a mere few minutes and before I could even hit 2 miles I was stopped and in tears. I pulled myself together and took off again for another ¼ mile until I saw a bench, sat down and started crying.
I was facing the reality of the situation and it hurt. After a few minutes, I decided just to run back to my car but once again after another ¼ mile, I was stopped and in tears. I sat myself down on the side of the trail and tried to just take a few minutes to breathe.
Running is a mental game. In fact, I’m sure most runners will tell you that it’s just as mental as it is physical and both pieces must be in place for success.
The mental piece isn’t in place for me right now. The mental pressure of training to run 26.2 miles is too much with everything else that’s going on. I have to take something off my plate; I have to ease my mind; I have to look out for myself.
And unfortunately that means I’m deferring my entry into the Chicago Marathon.
I’ll be totally honest, I’m heartbroken. It was not an easy decision to come to and it took a lot of back and forth for me to finally come to this decision. I’ve had a lot of people tell me “you can do it! I believe in you!” and while I love the support and while yes, I can physically do it (and do plan/hope to someday!), the mental puzzle piece isn’t in place and if I don’t cut myself some slack it’s going to affect my health. It’s not an easy decision but for right now it’s the right decision.
I’m out the entry costs for the marathon (bummer!) and while I’ll have to pay again next year (double bummer!), I won’t have to enter the lottery if I decide I’m in a better place to train.
The marathon weight has been lifted off my shoulders and while my ego may be struggling, I know that once I get past the initial hurt, I’ll be able to pick it off the floor, dust it off and carry on.
Have you had to make any tough decisions lately?
Joining in for Thinking Out Loud.