Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Full That Became a Half

In December, I signed up for the Go! St. Louis race again, this time to run the full marathon (I ran the half last year). I was a smidge late getting started on training, but things started out okay. Then it got super cold. Work life turned insane. Then I got sick. Then it stayed super cold. Let's just say, 10 miles is the most I've finished in one session. Every weekend would roll around and I'd be unable to fathom spending 2 or 3 hours out in the frigid temps. What about the gym, you ask? Let me tell you...The gym I go to has 10 treadmills. 10...And, to use them, you sign up for a 30 minute time slot, one 30 minute session at a time. So, after 30 minutes you have to get off the treadmill and go see if you can sign up again for that machine, or if you need to switch machines, or worse yet, do something else while you wait for another chance to use one. Then there's the fact that 8 miles on a treadmill is all I can manage before I'm so bored I could die. All these factors were turning running into a chore, not a joy. I hated feeling like a failure b/c I couldn't seem to get my miles in. I  hated getting my miles in but dreading every second of it. So, I made a decision: I'm going to run the half in April instead of the full. 

I won't lie. It was a tough decision. There's the knee-jerk part of me that thinks "Don't be a quitter!" (I'm pretty sure this is actually my dad's voice in my head). But, running is supposed to be fun. And, for me, running on a treadmill just isn't fun. It's misery. I don't want the exercise I love to become a dreaded chore. Running when I can (including the occasional treadmill speed workout) until it gets warm is the best choice I can make to keep from burning myself out on my favorite activity. Once that's over, I'll think about the possibility of signing up for a full in the fall. But, I make no promises...my professional life is undergoing a major period of growth/change, and that's got to be the focus of most of my energies for now.

I felt immediately relieved after I made my decision. In fact, I had the best run I'd had in a long time on Saturday. It was in the 30s, so I went for a snowy run. It was a little like running on the beach in the places where the snow was still loose over the sidewalk and like an obstacle course people had walked and the snow had frozen in hills and valleys around the footprints. It was a great time. Just like a run should be.