Monday, August 19, 2013

Making the Decision

I kept on with my marathon training schedule this morning.  It calls for four miles today, seven tomorrow, four on Thursday, and 16 on Saturday.  Yesterday I made a firm decision about what to do with marathon training.  It took way less time than I thought it would, considering how long I've been working toward this goal.  It's been ten weeks of "real" training and probably as long doing pre-training.  The investment in time, physical effort, and motivation has been considerable.  Aside from what I put into it, there is also the contribution of support from my wonderful husband and my outstanding running buddies.  Without their help, encouragement, and other efforts I'd never have been able to train at all.  I have an incredible support system and I appreciate them more than I can say.  I really feel that I owe my success to them.

Oh, I said I'd made a decision, didn't I?  All I've mentioned above went into consideration.  Thoughts of everyone else who has helped me was the hardest (and easiest) part of realizing that training for the marathon will actually be training for the half marathon.  Everything I've worked up to will culminate in me being awesome on Sept.7 at the half marathon I signed up for last week.  I feel really great about ending my training here.  I feel peaceful about it.  The only part I don't like is telling people I'm not running the full marathon.  My vanity makes me feel that I have to defend my decision because I worry that others will look down on me or be disappointed in me.  The only person who would really carry any disappointment is me, and I'm not disappointed with myself.  I was able to set aside the fear of others looking down on me by remembering that the only people this would affect are my husband and my running buddies.  No one else matters.  In the end, I've trained to run a half marathon and that is crazy good.

Now for the why behind finishing with a half marathon.  I'll try to keep the story short.  It began with me feeling miserable on the toilet and wondering why people choose to run marathons at all when it makes you feel so cruddy.  I thought of my own reason: so I can say I've done it.  Basically it's a bucket list item from a list I've never cared enough to write.  I had no other reason to run a marathon and I realized that reason isn't good enough anymore.  The time I spend running and recovering (ugh, the recovery is a thousand times worse than the running) has started to take over other aspects of my life.  When those "other aspects" include my family and my spiritual development, I need to reevaluate how I'm spending my time.  I've felt that for a while, but tried to ignore it because I had a goal in place.  It's time for a revamp and the heavy training simply doesn't get to keep its place on the priority list.  It is, however, very important to me that I finish with the half marathon rather than just stopping right now.  Thankfully, the load gets considerably lighter by the end of this week and there are only two more weeks to go after that.

This has been such a great decision.  Several times a day I discover a new reason to be pleased to stop with the half marathon.  I was so happy yesterday to read the next section in my marathon book.  I decided to read on a little bit more to make sure I really was happy to be done.  This is what I found, with my own emphasis in italics:
Running this marathon is not something you HAVE to do.  It is something you HAVE CHOSEN to do, something you WANT to do.  In the great scheme of things , it is not that important that it be THIS marathon...
As strange as it may sound, it will sometimes help to take your mind OFF the goal of running the marathon and to remind yourself that training is for you and your self-development and that it is contributing to your physical and mental health.  If, for whatever reason, you don't complete the whole program this time, it will still have contributed to your well-being and you can choose another marathon and restart the program later...You don't HAVE to do anything.  You are doing this because you chose to.
It was perfect.  The book is very encouraging and after reading through the chapters I always feel like I can do anything.  At this time I choose not to run a full marathon because other things are more important to me.  I really love that I can own this decision.  I am neither injured nor pregnant so I can't place blame on stopping anywhere but in my own mind.  There is nothing to feel wistful or bitter or disappointed about.  I've always been a bit sad that the other two times I've tried to do the training I've had to stop because I got pregnant.  This time it's all me...and I'm so happy about it.  No regrets here!  And I'm also excited to be nearing the end of the training.  :)

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