Houston’s big marathon weekend is coming up, and even though I am signed up for the half marathon, I finally decided a week ago to bail on it…again. I ran in this event — usually the half but once the full — every year from 2004-2011 but haven’t done it since.
In 2012, I didn’t get in via the lottery. I was upset, but it turned out to be ok since by the time the race rolled around, I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy with Emma.
In 2013, I signed up with a group of friends and coworkers but quickly discovered that I had totally overestimated my ability to train with a newborn. I didn’t train, and therefore didn’t run.
In 2014, I was signed up and doing well, but in November I pulled a calf muscle near the end of a run. That put me off schedule, I never got back on track, and I didn’t run.
In 2015, my training was going GREAT for the first time in years! I was already up to 9 miles by the end of November! And then I discovered in December 2014 that I was pregnant with Charlotte and sat it out.
In 2016, I learned from my 2013 mistake and didn’t sign up at all, knowing I wouldn’t be ready after having Charlotte in September. Race day came and went with me feeling motivated to make a return the next year…
And that of course brings me to 2017. In order to get in to the race, you have to sign up well in advance — months or even the full year before. That far ahead of time, I always have the best of intentions! Fall rolled around and I started training and bam — I sprained my foot. That should have been a temporary setback, but instead I let it sap all motivation for any significant training just like my minor calf injury did 3 years ago. Even after my foot healed, I kept coming up with reasons (legitimate and not) to avoid doing anything longer than ~6 miles. And on December 30, instead of seizing my last chance to put in 8-9 miles at least, I decided that what I really wanted to do was take a walk with my mom.
So I did.
I’m 38 years old and I’ve been running pretty consistently since I was 23. There have been periods where I ran a lot and also some big lulls — particularly in the last 5 years that featured two pregnancies and the resulting small children — but overall I’ve been “a runner” for more than 15 years now. My reaction to each of the half marathons I’ve backed out of has been to dutifully sign up again for the following year. “This year it’s gonna happen!” I say confidently.
A smarter person would argue that there’s another takeaway: training for a long distance race is not a priority in this phase of my life. I’m typically a goal-oriented person, and I’ve run a LOT of races over the years. Admitting that my interest in them waned is tough, for reasons I don’t even fully understand. But I think it’s true. Races aren’t the motivator they once were.
As 2017 gets underway, I’ve decided to (hopefully) wisen up a bit. Focus on fun, easy runs around the neighborhood instead of long slogs. Keep going to Orange Theory, which I’m really enjoying. Try to work in some yoga, which I tried for the first time on Saturday and liked. (My friend is more than halfway done with her yoga instructor certification and will be teaching for the next couple months as part of her training.)
Even if I don’t cross many (or any) finish lines in 2017, I’m hoping to end the year stronger and leaner than I’m starting!