(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.