Wednesday, January 24, 2018

WWU - It's the End of the Road For My Half Marathons

Several of you have asked how I came to the decision to be done with running half marathons.  Honestly, it's been brewing in my mind for a couple years now - yes, years.  And I really planned on stopping with an even 10 half marathons after last year, but the months between that race and when registration opened up for it again made me question that decision, so I decided to give it one more try, this time doing a shorter training season than I've ever done in the hopes that I wouldn't be completely burned out from running longer distances before race day.

Guess what?  That worked, and yet it didn't work.  Changing our training program from 24 weeks (which is all I've known, since I started training with USAFit back in 2010) to 16 weeks definitely helped, as there were fewer long distance runs to do.  And once the weather stopped being so brutally hot and humid, those runs got easier and I honestly can say that my last three out of four long runs felt good...for a long run, that is.  Truthfully, they were still hard, I still hurt, and I still was ready to be done by mile 7.  I kept running, to mile 9 or mile 10, and even to mile 12, but I wasn't enjoying it; however, it was the training necessary so that I could run a half marathon, which I was choosing to do.

Come last weekend, my race anxiety reared up again on Saturday.  I spent all day in dread of the race, which I know is silly, but there you go - anxiety is not logical.  By the time I went to bed, I decided this was it, for real - this was the last time I was going to do this to myself.  I don't like running long distances in training, I don't like the anxiety leading up to the race, I don't like the feeling of wanting to quit during the race, which weirdly didn't happen this time although of all times, it should have - and most of all, I don't like running so. damn. far.

I was never athletic, even when I was a normal-sized person, and for me to have taken up running - RUNNING - after I lost weight is still makes me laugh...I never would have guessed that I'd run, much less run half marathons.  I am very proud of myself for all of my 11 half marathons, but it is time to end that madness and concentrate on what I really enjoy, which is simply running.
My half marathon medals, displayed with pride.

You know what I'm looking forward to?  Running without being so cautious.  Because running so many miles was hard for me, I had to conserve my energy to make sure I could make it to the end.  Which, sure - that's necessary for a long run.  But I've been doing that with all of my runs, even my 2 and 3 milers; I've also played it super-safe for years out of fear of injuring myself again.

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to go all crazy with my running, but I am interested in seeing if I can get back to somewhat near to how I used to run back in 2010.  I realize that was eight years ago, I'm older, in less-good shape, and it's questionable as to how much effort I REALLY want to put into this, but I'd like to see if I can't become a stronger shorter-distance runner, at least.  And the time to try this is now, before the heat and humidity returns in full force.  So that's what I'll be working on, and I'm excited about it!

31 comments:

  1. I think you are wise to listen to yourself and to stop doing the long distance races if you were not enjoying doing them.

    Hopefully you will get some of the joy of running back from doing short distances that is my wish for you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do you hear me clapping over here? Not because you are retiring from the long distance of 13.1, but because you are making a decision that is good for you! I'm announcing on Friday that I am done with marathons (which should be no surprise to anyone). I'm not done with halfs yet, but I can imagine that will be coming down the road as I am really struggling with long distances. Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, and I'm glad to hear you're doing what feels right for you as well.

      Delete
  3. You’ve been hinting at giving up the longer distances for a while so I’m not shocked about this post! I’m excited to see you enjoy the process and not be so stressed about the distances!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I lasted longer, doing the half marathons, than I thought I would.

      Delete
  4. You have described, way better than I could, why I gave up racing any distance at all. Even when I did the Army 10-Miler in 2016, I sort of enjoyed the training, but didn't enjoy the race the way I should have. When you start to dread something, you need to stop it. Kudos and bravo to you! Of course, my one regret is that you and I never managed to run a half together.

    I have no doubt at all that you will successfully figure out a different way to train to be a better short distance runner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EXACTLY. And hey, I can guarantee that when we finally do run together, it'll be a lot more fun if we're not running a half marathon, LOL.

      Delete
  5. If it's causing you stress, then it's time to quit. It's time to enjoy what you do and do it on your own terms. Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree with everyone above. You've done amazing work at your running and it's something that you'll always have. Let go of the anxiety that goes along with the long races and just enjoy the run :) So proud of you!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Eleven half marathons!!! I am just amazed that you have accomplished that. But so happy for you that you have made this decision and that you are excited about the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, me too on eleven half marathons - that's something else, isn't it?!

      Delete
  8. I totally get this. Why force yourself to do something you don't really enjoy and that ultimately gives you anxiety?? None of us are professional runners, so if what you're doing isn't fun, do something else! I'm glad that you thought about that and are making a decision that works for YOU!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, when the shoe companies weren't knocking down my door, I knew my running career wasn't going to happen - HA! But yeah, it's time to get back to the happy part of running.

      Delete
  9. You should be totally proud of how many races you completed. That is a lot for anyone to do! I admire your dedication very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's taken me a while, but I am proud of every half, even the ones I struggled so much during.

      Delete
  10. Good call to do what you like and what makes your body feel good! There is no reason to run a distance you don't enjoy (or run at all)! I am excited to see your training in the shorter distances!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really looking forward to this year and seeing how my running might change. :)

      Delete
  11. I love your plan! I hope to still run half marathons but certainly not as often as I had been doing in the past and I'm not going to actively go looking for them. If there is one that interest me, than I'll consider it.

    I have since found that I am enjoying the shorter distances and I am loving doing the longer distances as a relay. I did the Baltimore marathon as a relay last fall and loved it. I loved the hoopla of a large race, I loved being on a team, and I loved that I only had to train for a shorter distance but still participate in a big event.
    Perhaps you and your Renagades can do some relay races!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've done a couple of relays, but that still gives me anxiety because I feel like everyone is waiting on me. They're fine, it's me...but that's another reason for me to just race and run shorter distances, and only for me.

      Delete
  12. This feels right for you and that makes it a good decision. I recognize a lot in your story. I lost a lot of my love for running because of races. I wasn't that nervous as you but my self confidence was always low: I never believed I could do it.

    I haven't ran in a year but want to start again between now and March and not more than 5K. It's to stay/get in shape. My real love is hiking.

    I think that this decision is good for you and makes you love running even more than you do already. Have fun at the shorter distances!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Fran - I know you understand this. :)

      Delete
  13. I am sad and happy. Sad because I love reading about your training and races. Happy because you sound like you will be happier. Running should make you happy or why do it? Hopefully, you will still train and race with the Renegades and maybe someday you'll take on the 13.1 challenge again ...or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, there will still be training and races, but the distances will be shorter. And running with the Renegades won't stop, but I will get to turn toward the clubhouse sooner than the rest on some runs, woohoo!

      Delete
  14. It all makes such good sense, doesn't it Shelley? If you're not liking it, don't do it! There are enough things in life we have to do though we may not want to (taxes, flossing...), no need to continue to run long races if it takes the joy out of it. If giving up the long ones is good enough for Meb, it's good enough for all of us! Here's to happy running :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Flossing, ugh. But you nailed it - if Meb can give up the longer distances, I can too. :)

      Delete
  15. Holy Lord! I just caught up on all things Houston! WHOA! What an insane experience! YIKES! BUT I am so proud of you for hanging your hat on the 1/2 and choosing to run distances you ENJOY! Ahhh! That’s wonderful! I’m sure it will be bittersweet once in a while, but your reasons are incredibly wise! ♥️ Again, super proud of you, friend! ~ Erica Maier

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and read each and every comment! Comments on older posts are moderated, so they won't show up right away - sorry to my real readers, but spammers love to hit old posts, so this is necessary.