“Do you love running those long miles?” she asked me in an ongoing text conversation. We do swelfies (sweaty selfies = swelfies) with each other as an accountability check for both of us. It’s what battle buddies do! It was a question that hit me like a ton of bricks.
I thought to myself, “Wow. I hadn’t even considered if I love it or not, I just do it because that’s what the training schedule I mapped out says to do.” If I want to be prepared for this race, I need to do the training so it won’t end up being like last time where my legs give up at mile 14 and give me the finger. “I just want to improve my time,” I texted back. Which was true, but it got me thinking deeper.
I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago, (and after a 2 week break) have since been running, but it’s still not 100%. It gets aggravated by longer distances. During this busy fall season, adding in long runs in addition to work schedules has been proving more and more challenging while maintaining sanity and time spent as a family. (Not to mention what not ever being home does to laundry piles, kitchen floors and dogs denied their usual overflow of attention!) Do I love running those longer miles? Honestly? I love the way I feel when I’m done. I like knowing I can do it. This time around, the training and the timing has sucked the fun right out of the whole thing.
I gave myself the weekend. A weekend to mull it over and really contemplate whether training for and running this marathon would be worth it. Do I love it? Am I having fun? Aren’t these extra things supposed to be fun? We went to the movies as a family. We went to church. We played outside. What kept running through my mind was, “If I decide not to run, doesn’t that make me a quitter?”
I took the training runs off of my calendar and felt physically lighter. I had no idea I was feeling pressure at all. Isn’t what I tell clients applicable to myself? Find something you love to do…
Is one race worth it?
Is it worth being crabby and tired and overextended time-wise? Is it worth the time away from family? Is it worth risking a more serious injury to this ankle? Is one race worth risking not being able to run over the long term? My gut reactions came back fast and furious; no.
There will be other races. There will be another marathon in my future. The timing just isn’t right yet. Sometimes the best we can do is exercise good judgement and evaluate just why we do what we do. I wouldn’t call myself a quitter. A postponer, perhaps, but not a quitter.
I want to continue to love running. For a very long time.
What about you? Ever have to cancel a race due to injury or other circumstances? How did you wrestle with the question of whether or not to continue?