I’ve Got Some ‘Splainin’ to Do

(I never thought I’d borrow from I Love Lucy to get a blog title, but there’s a first time for everything.) There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to say it:

I am not going to run the half marathon.

Looking back, I think this decision has been a long time coming, but it was only until tonight that I gave myself permission to say the words out loud: “I’m not going to run the half marathon.” And the minute I said those words, I felt one thing: relief. Immense relief.

You see, I have been stressed out about this half marathon for weeks. I began dreading every long run. Yes, I had one glorious 11 mile run, but my other long runs? They were not glorious. Mostly they were hard and even painful. I can’t seem to run more than 5 miles without experiencing pain in my hips. Tonight I headed out, with the intention of knocking out one final 2 hour run before the half on April 17. However, not five minutes into my run, I got a cramp in my right side. Then a cramp in my left side. I ran a mile and a half with that cramp before walking. And I kept thinking, “What if the race is like this? Hip pain and side cramps. Do I really want to put myself through over two hours of discomfort?” I started thinking about why I wanted to run a half marathon. Deep down, I want to run it so I can say that I did it, but shouldn’t there be more to it than that?

Tears came to my eyes as I walked and thought about the race, and I realized how much stress–how much pressure–I’ve been putting on myself, and for what? So I can say I ran 13.1 miles? I stayed at the park for an hour before heading home, and I called my mom for advice. I asked her, “Mom, would you still love me if I didn’t run a half marathon?” Of course I knew the answer to that question, but the very fact that I asked it told my mom I’d been taking all of this way too seriously, and she helped me to see that I’ve made this race into such a huge thing that it threatened to swallow me up. I have always tended toward perfectionism, toward striving for the absolute best, and yet this striving often made me miserable. In school all I cared about was making an A, but I was often stressed and unhappy and dissatisfied. And here I am in a similar situation: striving so badly for something that I think I want and just making myself miserable in the process.

It’s silly and foolish, but the prideful part of me didn’t want to have to tell people I didn’t go through with the half marathon after I’ve spent so much time and energy writing about it and preparing for it. The prideful part of me also felt like I had to run this race so I wouldn’t let people down, so I wouldn’t disappoint those of you who read this blog and have been supporting me. Some of you may read this and think I am crazy for making this decision, and I am prepared for that. Or maybe some of you already thought I was crazy, to which I say, “Duh.” 🙂 At some point, though, I have to forget about what other people think. (How much easier my life would be if I could forget about what other people think!)

Ultimately, I decided not to run in the half marathon because I want a race like that to be done because I truly enjoy it, not because I feel like I have something to prove or some standard to live up to. The truth is, I enjoy shorter runs more than long ones, and that’s okay. I have to realize that just because other people have run a marathon or half marathon doesn’t mean I have to. It doesn’t negate the other things I’ve accomplished.

I am healthy. I am happy. I am LOVED. That is more than enough.

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16 thoughts on “I’ve Got Some ‘Splainin’ to Do

  1. In the words of Whitley from A Different World…”Relax, Relate and Release!” (hopefully you know the reference)

    I totally related to everything you were saying. You felt accountable because of how much of the preparation you shared with everyone. I can't speak for anyone else, but I have been proud of you for even being able to complete a 2 mile run! I have been trying to work up my endurance to just run beyond 2-3 minutes at a time. I often think about you and your regular runs for inspiration. So you definitely have my support NOT to complete it. It's not to say you will never ever do it, and even if you don't…then it doesn't mean you are any less fit or committed to being healthy. God bless.

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  2. It's definitely not a failure of any kind, Erin. I think you've showed remarkable maturity- not to mention humility and transparence- by writing about this. I'm here to cheer you on if you ever run any type of marathon- and even still if you don't run any type of marathon 🙂

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  3. ” The truth is, I enjoy shorter runs more than long ones, and that's okay. I have to realize that just because other people have run a marathon or half marathon doesn't mean I have to. It doesn't negate the other things I've accomplished.

    I am healthy. I am happy. I am LOVED. That is more than enough.”

    WELL SAID Erin. You don't have anything to prove, and your health and well-being are paramount. Do not feel bad whatsoever for not doing this race. We love you and want to support you in whatever goal you set out for yourself! We aren't here to judge, but to love and support.

    Enjoy your running and the beautiful spring weather. Congratulate yourself on your ability to see what was happening inside you and respond with love to yourself. All of these expectations we put on ourselves take lots of work to overcome… and we'll never be perfect. But we can keep trying.

    Love yourself like you would love a friend. And BIG HUGS to my brave Erin!

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  4. Erin, you've accomplished so much and your journey has been so inspiring to many people…who cares whether you run a race like that?
    I can remember us emailing about how hard the first 20 minute run on C25K was going to be. Look how far you've come since then! You are an accomplished runner, half marathon or not!

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  5. As a fellow perfectionist, I can completely relate! I think you said it all in that last sentence. I'm learning more and more that my priorities are almost always in the wrong place. What will matter in the end? That's what is worth investing time into. You have nothing to prove, friend. God is a good God. You're a beautiful person. Everything else is just fluff 😉

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  6. You know what? I am PROUD of you for making this decision! I think it take a lot more bravery sometimes to choose NOT to do something than to actually do it. And you have come to realize truths about yourself and can experience freedom in Christ and in your identity in Him and in making the right choice for you. HUGS!

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  7. I'm proud of you for doing what is best for YOU in spite of what others might think. That's one of the biggest lessons we all have to learn, and you're already there. Good job. I really enjoyed this post.

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  8. Way to Go Erin – you made the right decision – YOUR decision.
    Who you running this marathon for anyway? Certainly not us…
    You do for you!
    Your last sentence says it all.

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