I’m about to do something that I have never done so far in my “career” as a runner.
I’m backing out of a race.
I was scheduled to run the Bear in July. For those who missed my blog about it, this is a 5-mile race straight up a mountain. When I signed up for this thing back in February, I knew it was going to be quite a challenge. I was prepared to put in the training and do what it took to be able to run this bear of a race and be able to say that I did it. Nothing was going to stop me.
Well. February was four months ago. A lot has happened since then.
I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses. But frankly, I am. Since February, I have
trained for and ran a half marathon. (Go me!)
My daughter has been cast as the lead in a local theatre production (and I have been cast as a chorus member), which means the theatre is our second home. It takes a great deal of our time and attention.
I have made the decision to move into a new home and have had to tackle the stresses that come along with any move.
I have hurt my foot in some phantom way (no clue how it happened – but it’s definitely getting better!), which has slowed my running down a great deal.
Oh, I could keep listing things, but honestly, it doesn’t matter. Because basically?
Well. Basically, I’m just tired.
I’ve noticed that ever since my half marathon has been over, my thoughts keep going back to this dreaded Bear race in July. It has been a constant worry in the back of my mind. Through everything else I’m doing in my life, there’s the undercurrent of, “I should be training for the Bear. I should be training for the Bear. I should be training for the Bear.” To be quite honest, it has become a nuisance. So, after some soul searching, I have decided to back out of the race.
For a while, I struggled with that decision. I called myself a quitter. Told myself that, whether I realize it or not, other people are watching me through this process because of my blog articles and my Facebook posts. By quitting, I am sending a message to my readers that giving up is ok. That running is not the awesome thing that it is and that you shouldn’t push yourself to try bigger and better things. I didn’t want this to be the message I conveyed.
But finally, I just decided to stop beating myself up.
I decided to look at it a different way.
Here’s what I want this decision to show you. No one is perfect. NO ONE. If you’re a beginner runner (or maybe even just someone thinking about running), I know how intimidating it is to see these “experienced” runners do all the things they’re doing – the half marathons, the 5Ks, the 10Ks, the mountain-climbs. Believe me, I know. I was you just a little over a year ago. I didn’t think that these runners were human. I thought they weren’t like me – they didn’t have life stresses that get in the way, or days when they just felt too tired to run. They were machines, not a flawed, tired human being like me. Well, guess what? I was wrong. They were just like me. And I’m just like you. We all need a break sometimes. We all need to go easy on ourselves and not push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion.
I mean, after all, when it ceases to be fun – then what’s the point?
I enjoy running. I enjoy appreciating the new, healthier person that I have become because of it. Nothing will ever stop me from being a runner. But for a little while, I think I might hold off on pushing myself to the next limit. I’m just going to enjoy where I am now, maybe enter a few local 5Ks here and there, and just relax for a while. No pressure, no training, no pushing – just running.
I’m taking a little break from the stress.
And that’s perfectly okay.
“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination. We have a better chance of seeing where we are when we stop trying to get somewhere else. We can enjoy every moment of movement, as long as where we are is as good as where we’d like to be. That’s not to say that you need to be satisfied forever with where you are today. But you need to honor what you’ve accomplished, rather than thinking of what’s left to be done.”
– John Bingham