Monday, September 30, 2013

Mr. Marathon, my one and only.

Lots of people run marathons-- it's uncommon, but it's not as rare as you might think. Marathoners slip through the cracks of sanity into one of two different buckets; Team A. "marathons are amazing! que chronic marathon training and annual marathons." Team B. "I temporarily lost my mind and nothing could ever compel me to live through such torment ever again."
When I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, the pieces of my body were dumped equally into aforementioned buckets leaving me with the middle-of-the-road approach to marathons (please note the pun).

Running the marathon was one of the most amazing experiences in my entire life. It was a truly amazing accomplishment for me. My training plan fell apart, I struggled with crazy health issues and nearly gave up, but I crossed that finish line happy and healthy and insane!!

Post marathon I had a stress-fracture scare that kept my shoes unlaced for 3 straight weeks, allowing me plenty of time to think about where I wanted to take my running. I'm a planner, and every step I take is premeditated.
What am I going to do with running? 

Another marathon?

Crazy run a mile everyday streak?

Do I want to run a Boston Qualifier??

My 3 week recovery finished beautifully and I was back in motion. I ran free for a month (and dropped my pace by a full minute), ran in the middle of the night, and ran a 339 mile relay and kept running my little heart out all summer long. In the back of my mind I was planning to run another marathon this fall.........but I kept procrastinating on any sort of training plan. Some weeks I ran every day, other weeks I'd spend less than 20 minutes with my running shoes.

Subconsciously, I started feeling like I was failing at this whole running thing. Shouldn't I be training for another marathon? Speed work, tempo runs and buying stock with GU or Shotbloks? Running = racing, right? I'm a runner, but I don't own a garmin, a heart monitor and I don't have wireless ear buds.
There was this little mountain of pressure starting to grow within me.
 I'd run a quick 2 miler before work but as I untied my shoes, a little voice would chirp "that should have been 5."
I'd crawl into bed on a Saturday morning after a long night shift and my instagram flooded with post-long-run photos from my runner friends would make me horribly jealous and contemplate skipping sleep to go run.
A combination of poor nutrition and a significantly less regular running schedule made my mile pace slip from the low 8's back to the mid 9's.
I tried to plan for another marathon this fall, but my heart wasn't in it.
Running started to become a guilt-ridden and leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

Ahem, time to re access.

I really love running.
It's precious me time that I value for the wonders it works in my heart and mind. The mental and emotional value to me is far greater than the physical benefit.
When I run, I can forget the snarky comments from a coworker, the horror about how much my new tires will cost, the frustration with my blog HTML, the pressure that I put on myself when I look in the mirror. Running frees my soul in a way that few other things.
I don't run to compete, to push myself or get crazy fit.
I run to enjoy, to savor and to restore my mental clarity.

I don't want to take my running anywhere. 

I don't want to box it up, schedule it out and make it another check mark on my to-do list. I spend too much of my life bouncing from item to item on my to-do list --- the last thing I want to do is make running a requirement instead of a release.

I want running to take ME places. 
(just not the the fridge.)

I want to run another marathon.
Marathon training takes time, a heck of a lot of energy and a decided disinterest in your toenails.
I have a shortage of both time and energy and I'm already down two toenails (hello gym-fail).
There's another marathon on my horizon, but it won't be in 2013.
Somewhere, sometime down the road, I'll be running more and set my sights on another marathon.
Until then you'll find me enjoying the course, loving the miles and letting the pressure go.

When is your next race?

Do you run for pleasure or for purpose?

How many toenails do you have right now?


  1. I run for pleasure. I know I could get faster and stronger if I put in the effort, but I'm happy with my running right now. It's fun, not a chore or a mark off a checklist. As long as I can keep it like that, it's what I want to do!

  2. I run for my 'me' time and because I love it. I run for the mental clarity and the feeling of accomplishment. I have 9.5 toenails :)My next marathon is 3rd Nov - just over 4 weeks away... Eek!

  3. My first marathon is in 20 days! Aahhh! And I currently have 9 toenails. Eep!

  4. I've never run a marathon, and the idea is still so daunting I don't see it anytime in my near future!! As for running, I definitely ran for all the wrong reasons up until 6ish months ago. I would run for time, for bragging rights (ok sometimes I still run for that) and I would run to be able to race race race (and by race I mean run with hundreds of others, cause I don't really "race".) Now I try to ignore times (until the end) and I focus more on how I feel and if I feel "forced" to run I don't!! I only do it when I feel the desire (except right now because I am training for a half.) I can already feel myself preparing for a small break after my race in a couple weeks!! I will probably go back to just a few shorts runs a week!

  5. I admire you for doing one marathon! You will do a 2nd one for sure (I hope to do one at some point, fingers crossed!) Anyway, the fact that you are sticking with how you feel and not letting the pressures of life and other runners around you get to you is wonderful!
    Right now, I just run for pleasure. It's keeping me sane in a crazy time for sure.
    p.s. i love the "I want running to take me places...just not to the fridge" comment. Thank you thank you for the laugh!

  6. Hey there! Finally made it over after discovering you on instagram! I don't have a race on the books right now and I usually don't, gasp. I kind of am a spontaneous runner. Which is weird since I'm completely OCD in all other aspects of my life:). I run to burn off my sugars, I'm an addict and I know it. But I also run because I love it. Makes me feel like Wonder Woman:)