I didn’t do it for myself. Well I kind of did. But when people ask why I started running marathons I tell them 1 of 2 reasons. The first one was, I was bored. I won’t go into the second, but it was to prove myself to someone who wasn’t even in my life anymore. That I was good enough, but it didn’t matter.
But mostly, I was bored. I was in a slump. I needed a challenge.
So I signed up for Marine Corps Marathon in 2007.
Then I signed up for Hartford in 2008 because I wanted to do better.
Then Vermont City in 2009 because, well it gave me a reason to go see my family. One a year didn’t seem so bad. ‘Til I moved, became depressed, got a job, and then stopped having time to train properly. Life happened, and yesterday? Well it hurt. A lot. And around mile 13 I thought about calling it quits. I kept running…but I kept thinking about that. Just stopping. How bad would a DNF look though? How disappointed in myself would I be? How disappointed would everyone else be in me? They wouldn’t be, they’d understand ultimately, but I wouldn’t let myself live it down. That was the problem.
I wasn’t dedicated. But before I knew it, I was signed up to run Marine Corps again in 2010, because well, a friend wanted to do it and I didn’t get into NYC this year. So, why not? Right?
Yesterday, my body protested. It protested very strongly the idea of running another marathon in less than 6 months. I wasn’t excited. I wasn’t even all that excited to be running it yesterday despite the fact that I knew those streets oh so well – they were the roads I learned to drive on, the roads I laughed on as a teenager. It was my home.
But I’m breaking up with marathoning. At least for the time being. We’re on a break. I joined the NYRR earlier this year to hope to get into the NYC marathon this year, or do it next year at the very least. And I will. But it’ll be marathon number 5, and the last one, at least until I have the time to fully dedicate myself to running. Which I haven’t yet been able to do the way I want to.
But I’ve run a half marathon, I enjoyed it, and it’s not nearly as much as a time commitment as training for a full is and so, I’ll focus on running those for a while. They’re just as fun and you still get the bad ass medals.
I’m going to end my marathoning for now, not for good, definitely not, but definitely for now.
I was talking to a woman around mile 17 and it was her fifth. She was getting frustrated because she wasn’t “getting any better” and I had to nod, I knew where she was coming from, but I also knew it was my fault for not training as well as I should have.
My frustration with my time management, and dedication was my own fault, but she also said, she wanted to end on a high note, while she still enjoyed running.
I took those words, through my last 9 miles, she chugged along ahead of me, and I thought about what she had said. I wanted to be happy to run. I want to enjoy slow runs where I can de-stress and not worry about injuring myself. I want to lead the run club at work and not dread it. I don’t want to injure myself permanently. I want to keep calling myself a runner. Eventually, I fear if I kept on marathoning, none of those would be true anymore, except for maybe a bad injury to my knees. And no one wants that.
Because more than anything, I’ve always considered myself a runner – since the age of 14 when I hurdled my first hurdle at the high school track. Four years later, I earned three varsity letters in cross country running, track and field, and nordic skiing. Almost six years later, I registered for my first marathon, thrusting myself back into the world of running, and three years after that, I don’t want to call it quits.
Marathoning has been an adventure, but there are other adventures that I might be more adept at – half marathons, and other such short distances are all tons of fun, and I do still want to register for and complete a triathlon.
And I will. I know this. And in 2011, I will complete the NYC marathon in under 5:00:00. For now though, I’ve completed four marathons, and various other road races including a half marathon, a ten miler, a 10k, a couple 5k’s, an 8k, and a 4 miler. Others may have done more, but I can’t compare myself to them, because ultimately, runners run for themselves. And I? Am still a runner.