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Race Week Update: I’m Not Running VCM

It’s race week! Which means I should currently be in the throes of taper madness — obsessing over the weather, trying not to freak out about every new ache and pain, planning my race outfit/playlist, hydrating, and fighting all that taper-anxiety to make sure I get enough rest.

But I’m not doing any of those things. Because I’m not running VCM.

Now before you start to think that I just suffered some sort of traumatic injury or illness, let me assure you – I am fine. While the decision may seem sudden based on the blog, it’s actually something I’ve been mulling over for a long time. My silence on the issue isn’t because I’ve been trying to hide it from you. I’ve simply been in a bit of denial about the race, and have avoided thinking about it as much as possible over the past several weeks.

At this point, I think it’s probably best that I stop signing up for spring marathons. Because I kind of feel like after 2 springs in a row, this DNS thing might start to seem like a habit…obviously the last thing I want. It’s been a weird year of running for me. Like last year, my training for VCM all ended after a strong 20 mile run. Otherwise known as the last time I really mentioned training on the blog. And in case you were keeping track — that was over a month ago.

Okemo reservoir.jpgTotally irrelevant photo…but I needed something pretty to break up the depressing text.

So if I’m not seriously injured or ill, why am I not running? The simple answer is — training did not go as I had hoped/planned. Those of you who have been reading my blog may not even be all that surprised by this admission. It was pretty clear that training had been a bit of a roller coast for me this winter/spring. At times it felt okay, but for a good long while running was just hard. I didn’t feel like myself and I just couldn’t get in the groove, mentally or physically.

But then March came along and everything started falling into place. I had some great runs that finally made me excited to dive into the final weeks of training. …until I started experiencing some lower back/sciatic pain that I’m sure was exacerbated by the hills and my bad habit of not stretching/rolling enough. I took a little time off to keep things from getting worse, but that was the beginning of the end. Things just weren’t the same after that. I wasn’t able to hit the paces or the mileage I needed. My back pain went away, but I just couldn’t salvage the training.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now. Some of it (like the move) makes it onto the blog. Some doesn’t. One exciting update that I haven’t been able to share until now is that I recently started a new job — an exciting but also stressful change. I don’t talk about this much because, honestly, it was the source of a lot of embarrassment for me. But I haven’t been in an office for almost an entire year. 11 long months. Although a lot of that has been completely outside of my control, it’s not something I’m all that proud of.

When we first moved to Vermont, I kept busy with a pretty large consulting project. It made the transition easier, and I can’t say I missed going to work (at all!). But over the past few months, I realized that the freelance life isn’t for me. I finally focused 100% of my efforts into finding something more permanent, a search that as many of you know, can be a roller coaster of highs and depressing lows. After many many rejections, I’m so excited to finally be headed back to work — and to be involved in something that I’m incredibly passionate about. It’s been an adjustment, but I can’t even tell you how nice it is to get out of my own head and be a part of something that’s bigger than myself again. Sorry, but I don’t know how full time bloggers do it. Staying at home and thinking of nothing but myself and my blog day after day would drive me insane (which would explain the fact that even though I had more free time, I actually posted less).

woodstock wedding.jpg

There are seasons in running (and in life) where everything comes together. Your training clicks, your paces get faster, and you feel strong and unstoppable. I’m clearly not in one of those seasons right now. But I’m at peace with it. I plan to run until until my last day on this earth…or at least as long as I can manage. And if I want to do that, I need to accept the down times right along with the “I’m on top of the {running} world times.”

And finally, to tell you the complete honest truth, I’m really not all that interested in completing a marathon just to say I finished. I’ve been there, done that. While it can be a great motivator for many, it’s just not for me anymore. The joy, the challenge, of a marathon is in the work. I want to hurt. I want to push. I want to be brought to that dark place in the later miles and come out on the other side, smiling and victorious. The number of marathons I’ve completed has way less meaning to me than the time on the clock at the end. I know not everyone agrees with this way of thinking. But the reality is that I don’t really think marathons are all that fun. It’s this competition against the clock and myself that keeps me motivated through 26.2 miles of pain.

I wouldn’t get that with VCM. While I’m pretty sure I could technically finish the marathon (never underestimate the power of mental strength and determination), after running 3 marathons with almost the same exact time on the clock, I want more than that. I want my next marathon to be a testament to all my hard work. And I want more than a 3:18 (or slower).

So I’m not running. Instead, I’ll be playing the role of official chauffeur, cheerleader, and pacer for another gal gunning for a PR. I’m sure I’ll feel pangs of regret and sadness this weekend. Since I never technically deferred (you had to do so by April 22nd), there’s still a number waiting for me in Burlington. And I may be just a little tempted to toe that starting line, despite everything I just rambled on and on about.

But mostly, I feel at peace with the decision. Letting go of marathon training has allowed me to run for fun again, and to focus on all the other good and exciting changes that are happening right now. This past weekend, most of my family made the trip up to Vermont for a mini-vacation. It was the first time we have all been together for more than a day since my wedding last year, and it was absolutely wonderful. I got to relax with them, go on some great hikes with my favorite niece in all the world, and not stress about getting in my final marathon workouts.

family hike

This Saturday is the big Girls on the Run 5K that our girls have been training for all spring. Instead of stressing about spending too much time on my feet the day before I race, I can now go run and enjoy the festivities without worry. I can’t wait to feel their excitement and share in their joy of completing the run.

gotr logo

Life is funny. And timing doesn’t always work out quite the way we had planned. All we can do is keep moving forward. New, long-term goals are in the works. I will get that marathon PR someday. It just won’t be this weekend.



17 Responses to Race Week Update: I’m Not Running VCM

  1. I totally feel you on this. I too am going through a big move and new job all while my long term BF takes a job with a big move somewhere else. Life seems to be all over the place. But, I am looking forward to when it calms down, I get my feet back under me and I can focus on other things—like training. You have a great attitude about it.
    Kaitlyn´s last post ..Rockin’ the run

  2. Great post! Timing rarely works out the way I’ve planned… why is it so hard to remember that?!?! And trusting that everything does work out. So so hard to remember…
    Emily´s last post ..Two books to read: The Power of One and Mornings in Jenin

  3. It’s always good to listen to your heart and make decisions based on your training/body/whatever. I had ever intention of running the Cox Marathon in May this year, but when my wedding (way more important- yes) derailed three long runs, I decided it was time to focus on fall and have a little fun this spring. Instead- I ran Reach the Beach MA this weekend for Girls on the Run Boston! SO AWESOME that you’re a coach- what an amazing organization! I figure 1/12th of 200 miles in a tutu is WAY more fun than 26.2 half-assed trained miles.

  4. You are so sweet and so honest. This is a really lovely post. That friend of yours whom you are going to pace sure is lucky! Enjoy the atmosphere! It’ll get you amped up for your next one!
    Brennan´s last post ..How Does Your Garden Grow?

  5. Congrats on the new job! I understand, I only really enjoy things when I’ve committed 100% to them, and if I have emotional or personal things happening I’d rather wait until I’m ready to really get into it.
    outsidetime´s last post ..Running the Bloomingdale Trail

  6. It’s really hard to DNS (been there, done that…many times), but you know you don’t want to just run the marathon, you want to tear it apart and leave it at your mercy. (Okay, that was a little extreme.) It’s so hard with marathons because the training is long and you never know what running and life will present you with in those months.

    One day (sooner rather than later!) training and life will work out and that 3:18 will be just a memory! Would love to hear about the new job!
    Susan – Nurse on the Run´s last post ..2013 New Jersey Marathon Race Report

  7. I think you made the best decision, given the circumstances. If your heart isn’t in it, there’s no reason to make yourself go through the motions.

    And congrats on the new job! :)
    Amanda @ Peanut Butter & Adrenaline´s last post ..Lilac 10k Race Recap

  8. Wow! A lot going on in your world right now and I must say that I am on the same page when it comes to marathons. I definitely run them to compete against the clock. Otherwise, what’s the point of trudging through all those miles?? If you know you are not going to be able to give it 100% then pacing a friend, cheering for others, etc. all seems like like great options to me.

    Congrats on your new job! The right race will come a long and you will know when it feels right compete again.
    Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom´s last post ..It’s BACK….. hello humidity! -And my first speaking engagement…

  9. Well my dear Lauren….
    First congrats on the new job…we have been through the ups and down of looking for a new job recently and it was emotionally exhausting…
    I hope you will be happy with this new position

    The running,,,,I am on a bad cycle of it now….injury is the reason and I found this very frustrating …
    I struggle with not being able to just go for an easy short run….I have some DNS in my future I am ok with those …it’s the day to day part that is hard…

    It will come back to you when you are ready….you made the right choice fr you that is the most important
    Caroline´s last post ..Knee injury updates

  10. Sorry to hear that you won’t be running the marathon, but I am sure it is for the best. You will be back at it when life is more settled. Plus, it’s such a treat to just enjoy running without worrying about an upcoming race. You will catch the bug again soon enough.
    Rebecca´s last post ..Considering my next move

  11. Congratulations on the new job!
    I really love this post- thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Running takes us through literal highs and lows, and both teach us so many things in life! You really sound like you are in a really good place emotionally about the race- and I really respect your decision.
    Looking forward to your marathon PR in the future!
    Elizabeth´s last post ..Arizona 2013- Day 3!

  12. Congrats on the new job! I know exactly what you mean re: freelancing. Sigh. I’m very happy to hear that you found something more rewarding!
    Jen´s last post ..The picky eater: Making every bite count

  13. “The number of marathons I’ve completed has way less meaning to me than the time on the clock at the end.” +100 Next week I’ll be running my fourth marathon (Newport, OR) and first in a year and a half after injuries halted my training for the Houston Marathon in January. I’m in the minority in my large group of running friends and Houston in that they all run multiple marathons all year round, yet I race shorter distances while taking a year or so off between marathons. Marathons are hard no matter what time you finish in, even if you’re running “for fun.” So if I’m going to commit to racing 26.2, I want to give it my all and go for a best time every time (and hopefully still manage to have fun in the process!). So I support your decision. And congrats on the job! :)
    Emilia @ Run for Your Life´s last post ..Home stretch

  14. Congratulations on the new job – such great news.

    Don’t beat yourself up about not running the marathon. There is plenty of time, you did well to listen to your heart and your body!!
    Cathryn´s last post ..The World Premiere of our AMR Ragnar application!

  15. I love how you always make smart, informed, mature decisions. I think you made a great decision – quality over quantity and if its not making you over the moon happy, wait until the time it does! There will always be a marathon out there to run. I’m glad you’ll wait for the right one rather than trudging through.

    I always love your posts, thought processes, and blog!
    Meggie´s last post ..Apartment Makeover

  16. Congrats on the new job! And good for you for going with your gut on the marathon. I think it was a smart move. You’re so right about life clicking (magically) one moment and being sort of out-of-synch (just as magically) the next. It’s best to go with the flow and recognize what phase you’re in when you make big decisions.
    Liz @FitLizzy´s last post ..No Sugar Coating It

  17. […] HOTR wrote in her post about deciding against running VCM that […]

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