Runners Tell All Linkup #3

As I sat down to write this post, I thought back to all of the bad training runs I've had, and even a few bad races, and wondered how I was ever going to choose just one to share today.

I could tell you about the time that I ran my first half marathon and had an asthma attack (among other issues) right smack in the middle. I could tell you how disappointed yet totally proud of myself I was that day. I could tell you how I didn't train for that race properly, and how I learned to follow a training plan. I could tell you about the many places I've had to make emergency bathroom stops. I could tell you the number of times I've had my husband come pick me up because there were no bathrooms in sight. I could tell you how, despite all of these times, I still sometimes break my number one rule: Don't leave the house for a run without going to the bathroom first! I could tell you about running around a track in 100 degree heat, and how I learned to become a morning runner. 

But then it dawned on me that, while I've learned things from all of those experiences, I'm going through a bad training experience right now - and the lesson I need to learn from it might be the biggest (and hardest) of all. 

For me, running has always been like climbing a ladder. I love the Couch to 5k program and can say with 99% certainty that without it, I would never have become a runner, but I think it taught me to view running in this way. Ever since I started, I have always had two-fold goals: accomplishing the task at hand today, while looking ahead at what I can accomplish tomorrow. A 5k led to a 10k which led to a half marathon which led to a full marathon which led to turning right around for another full marathon...I'm finally starting to see what a slippery slope I've been going down. And it's going so fast now that I'm afraid I can't stop. 

This weekend it all came to a head and I had a little bit of a meltdown (I know, people in the world are starving, and I'm flipping out over running). I kept telling myself and everyone I knew that after I ran a marathon, I was going to do a half Ironman triathlon. So, after I ran my first marathon (and then a second), with about 12 weeks to get ready for the 70.3, I dove into yet another training plan. I'm 4 weeks into that plan and this weekend I finally had to admit to myself that my heart just isn't in it right now. Training right now feels like a burden. I don't want to spend 3 hours on a Sunday riding my bike and then swimming for an hour. I just don't. I want to be excited about the training process and working toward a new goal. I don't want to see it as just another wrung on the ladder.

I'm still a little uneasy about this revelation. It does feel freeing, knowing I haven't tied myself to a commitment I may or may not want to make. But it also feels like I've let myself down, like I've failed before I've even started. I haven't made any firm decision yet about what my plans are - but that's kind of the point. That's what I want to use this experience to work through. I pride myself on my ability to set a goal, work toward it, and reach it - but the downside of that is that I have no clue how to just be where I am. I have spent the last 3 years since I started running focusing on where I want to be, not where I am right now. I need to learn how to be where I am, right now, currently. I believe goals are important, but I also know that making them just for the sake of making them is unrealistic and unhealthy. I almost want don't want to do the race I planned on doing, just so I can prove to myself that I don't have to. That the world will continue to spin even if, for whatever reason, even if it's by choice, I don't complete a half Ironman on June 15.

For me, being at a crossroads like this, not knowing where to go or what to do next, that's the true hardship of running (and triathlon) for me. The hard runs, the bad runs, the downright awful runs...they come and go. More often than not, a good run can come in and erase all memory of a bad one. Sometimes all you need is to find a port-a-potty! It's that simple. Learning to find balance, though...that's not as easy of a fix. This time, rather than putting my head down and continuing to move forward, I'm committed to taking a step back and really evaluating what I want to do and why I want to do it. I know this probably wasn't the type of experience Amanda intended for today's topic, but it's where I'm at right now and I doubt I'm the only one who's ever been through this. It was more important to me to keep it real and hope someone can relate!



  1. Haha I'm probably the WORST person to comment on this post, given my recent resignation from running. :) I think that after your whirlwind spring (2 marathons? are you a crazy person?) you should take the summer and just do stuff for the sake of enjoying it. Go on a bike ride with Ben just to be outside and feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your arms, not because it's Tuesday and you have to go 10 miles. Just enjoy it! There will always be a half-Ironman to sign up for.

  2. How cool! You have accomplished so freaking much! I seriously only hope to one day accomplish that much in my running. I almost agree with the commenter above me. Enjoy the summer. That should be your next challenge. Just enjoying a run or bike ride just for the fun of it. =) You are awesome!

  3. I have experienced this too. It's hard to get out of the training mind frame, especially after a big race! Your body is so familiar with the day to day grind of running that taking a break seems ridiculous, but your mind wants time off. I've learned that breaks from running REALLY help me. Once my mind is ready, it is easy to get my body back in shape.

  4. I think there are a million runners out there that feel exactly the same where and are going through the same thing. I am one of them. I haven't signed up for a race in awhile because my heart wasn't in the training and I was seriously dreading every workout and that's just not how it's suppose to be. We are suppose to be doing these races and training because we want to and because we enjoy(of course we don't enjoy all of it but you get what I mean) it's been a little while for me but I am starting to get that excited feeling back and might find a race. I think you need to find that excitement again and that might mean taking a little break.

  5. I admire your honesty in this post and I think it fits perfectly with this month's theme. I've been where you are. You start small and just build and build and want to do more and more and then before you know it your heart just isn't in it anymore. I will tell you that eventually your heart will come back into it. When I lived in Korea I ran some and ended up doing a half marathon. After that I quit running and working out hard core and it was really nice to have a break. I actually didn't start back again until about 7 months later and now I'm doing crossfit and running again.

    Don't beat yourself up. If you heart isn't in it maybe that's your body telling you it needs a break.

    Thanks for linking up and for sharing your story with us today.

  6. I'm sort of going through this right now! I know I've talked about this on the blog. Last year was crazy for me. 2 marathons, 3 halfs, a 25k, and some 5k mud runs... by the end of the year I was feeling burned out. So far this year I've run 1 10k, and I have a 5k and then nothing else lined up so far! I really can't tell you how nice it's been to just go out there and run because I want to, not because I have a training plan to follow. I know exactly what you mean about wanting to always look to the next thing, but you could just try to get faster at the distances you've already done if you need new goals. I'm so glad you shared. I'm sure we can all relate to this in one way or another! Thanks for linking up :)

  7. although i signed up for tough mudder, i may have to drop out partially because of my knee but also because i'm not sure if i want to do that anymore! so my training is sort of up in the air at this point which is sort of driving me crazy so i know how you feel. don't beat yourself up though; perhaps this is a break that you need?

    Vodka and Soda

  8. I love reading about your running stuff girl :) You are so far along in your journey and it helps a lot to hear from a more experienced runner!

  9. Okay you might have just sold me on actually starting the C25K program. I've been thinking about it-- but embarrassingly I have zero space on my phone right now and have been too lazy to clear out some of my photos! I ran track in highschool but was a sprinter and I'm definitely not at all in any kind of shape right now, so I get so frustrated when I try and run and can make it like 45 seconds max before feeling like I'm ready to go back home, but I know it takes time to build up to being able to run further! I'm obviously not a runner, but if it's like so many other things in life I imagine your heart needs to be in it regardless of how capable you might be to actually run! I hope taking a step back gives you the clarity you need right now!