a change of course

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Change of Plan Street sign

Truth be told, I like to plan, probably a little too much. I’ve very comfortable with creating a schedule and following it (even to the detriment of other things), so when life deviates from my schedule, it makes for an unhappy and frustrated Stephanie. A big change in relation to running and training happened this week. I will not be running the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon on May 17; I will be running the half marathon instead.

I have been wrestling with the decision for a while, and I had to make a choice between training and personal life. In the end, personal life won. Without going into a ton of details, there are things going on with my family that require more time from me. Marathon training is huge commitment and one that I proudly stated I was able to make as a single mom, but now, 26.2 miles has to take a backseat.

I’m going to be honest; I was really upset with myself when the decision was first made. There may have even been a few tears shed (I know, crying over running is silly, but it happens). Even though I know it is the right one, I felt like I was letting myself down and disappointing my readers, the Marathon staff (especially Jack and Joan), and others who commended me for doing it all. At this point, I just can’t do it all. And that doesn’t make me a failure; it makes me human.

Monday was the day I decided the marathon would have to wait, and the half would be the best choice for me. I took a few hours off from work that afternoon and did what I always do when I am upset or need to find clarity – I ran. And I ran far. And for me, I ran fast. It was my first outside long run since I ran the Santa Hustle in December. The weather was perfect (tank top, shorts, arm sleeves, and my fabulous new Mizuno Wave Inspire 11s), and I was motivated. It took me a good four miles to adjust from treadmill to the road, and although the run wasn’t easy, it was just what I needed. Fifteen miles and 2 hours and 16 minutes later, I felt better and completely at peace with my decision. I needed to push myself and prove that even though I may not be running the full marathon, I am more than capable of longer distances. I was starting to doubt myself.

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So where do I go from here? As was my original goal of setting another PR in the marathon, the goal for my race in May is to set a half marathon PR, which I set back in October 2013 when I went on a crazy half marathon rampage and ran four in less than a month. I know I can already run 13.1 miles and have done it at few times already during the course of training, so the plan is to get faster and more efficient by adding more speed training. Now that I am not focused on adding miles, I can focus on speed, something I haven’t done in a while. Ideally, I would love to run the race without the use of my hydration belt, so that is something I need to incorporate into my training. I love the thing for the marathon, but it can be a nuisance when it moves around my waist, especially when I go faster.

One thing I promise as I move forward with training is I will not say, “I am ONLY running a half.” There is no only. A half marathon is a great achievement, and I commend anyone who has taken on that distance. Like a marathon, it requires months of training and dedication, and it is what you make of it. If your goal is to cross the finish line, that is great. If your goal is to run the whole thing without walking, great, too. If your goal is to run it in less than 1:30, fabulous. We all have goals we are working toward. My goal happens to be a PR, and I know I will achieve it.

Thanks again, everyone, for your support; it is greatly appreciated! I look forward to sharing this new training journey with you.

Side note: Some things are serendipitous. After I finished writing this post, I saw a fabulous post from my favorite blogger, Rachel from Finding Joy. You can read it here: http://findingjoy.net/no-more-how-do-you-it-all/. It addresses the dreaded mom question, “How do you do it all?” Fantastic read and just what I needed. Thank you, Rachel.

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6 responses »

  1. Good for you! I just made the same decision (and blogged about it lol) regarding PIttsburgh. I learned the hard way that 26.2 is a LOT to train for.

  2. Changing up when special races are involved can be very difficult. I remember last year when I tried to figure out what to do after I stepped on Butters’ bone and hurt my foot\ankle during the peak mileage weeks of marathon training. I had my heart set on running the Towpath Marathon and running it in under 4 hours, and when my dream was jeopardized, I was devastated. I tried to get caught up in my training, and when it was obvious I couldn’t do it without reinjuring myself, I almost had a huge breakdown at work because I felt like I was quitting and because I was disappointed at having to again postpone Towpath. We had a lot going on and the idea of training while worrying about injuries seemed so overwhelming, but for awhile I felt like my pride would force me to go through with it. However, in time, it became clear that was the right decision, and when I decided to postpone Towpath and to do Inland Trail instead a few weeks later, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Such a great feeling! I know you are going to crush the half marathon and have another May to remember in Cleveland!

  3. I totally understand how that was a tough decision. It’s almost easier when you are sick or injured, because then the decision is out of your hands. But it sounds like you were really smart about this and didn’t take on more than you can handle. You have your priorities straight, and that’s what makes you YOU. I know you will rock that half marathon.

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