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Sitting on the Sidelines

This year, I’ll probably end up watching the Chicago Marathon - again.

Let me get this out of the way: I’m not running in the Chicago Marathon this year.

Yet again, I broken a promise to myself that I’d run a marathon because, yet again, my body has different plans than what I’d like it to do. This time, it’s not a baby, but a hamstring with a nagging injury that has kept me back from running the race.

I had to stop running for several weeks in August, right about when I was supposed to be running well into the double-digits on my long runs. I first felt the pain in the midst of a long run, and I did that “Ignoring the pain will make it go away” thing that doesn’t actually work. I limped my way home, my tears not from the pain, but from the realization that I couldn’t run the marathon again.

The other hard part is that I’ve told just about everyone that I’m running the race. I’d proudly brag about my mileage on Facebook and Twitter, and I even started a blog where I chronicled my training. , “untelling” people is probably one of the cruddiest feelings — the big thing you were hoping to accomplish just isn’t in the cards at this time.

I wasn’t thrilled to come to the decision, but deep down, I was also secretly relieved, if only a tiny bit. The long runs meant I was running something like 40 miles a week, which is difficult to plan in between working and family time. I felt like my training went like this: Get up. Eat breakfast and make to-do list for the day. Find the time to schedule a run, then realize it won’t happen, anyway. Lose a day of training. Repeat every day this summer.

To really prepare for the marathon, I knew I’d have to treat training like I would a job. The time spent on running and cross-training would be non-negotiable, in the same way that you know you need to be at the office by 8 a.m. every day. It just wasn’t in the cards, at least not now with Gracie and Liam being so little.

While I’m still running (I ran the ), it’s at a more relaxed pace. I’m not trying to fit in a huge number of miles, and I can adjust my schedule accordingly. Will I attempt to run the marathon again? You bet. But I think I need to approach it from a different angle and build up to the 26.2 miles; I plan to run more 5K and 10K races, and end up with the half-marathon next year. I’ll probably do that for a few years, and then go for the big one.

I do miss the solitude and comfort of the long runs, though. I would have an hour or two to myself, where I could sort of meditate and just let my mind wander, something I don’t get to do too often. Despite the distance of my workouts, I was often more relaxed after a long run. I’ll miss that contemplation and that “me” time. (I also missed bragging about mileage.)

I will not, however, miss the sweaty socks. I have standards, you know.

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