Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chicago? Or no Chicago?

So, I’ve been struggling if I should share this information for a little while now, but I figure, that in order to move forward, I need to be open and honest. Here goes…

I don’t like running anymore.

I don’t know what it is. I can’t pin point to any one event or run, but something broke in my brain. It sorta switched off.

How long has it been like this? Since February…my last half marathon actually. I don’t know if that’s the reason why or if something else happened, but it’s not fun and hasn’t been for over 4 months.

Thinking this was going to be just a phase (it happens!) I signed up for my first marathon. in Chicago. Yep, I signed up, booked plane tickets, and reserved hotel rooms…that’s how confident I was that I would be back to normal and loving running again.

Well, that was 4 months ago, and I still don’t like it.

Sure, there are days where I enjoy my run, but that doesn’t mean that I’m looking forward to the next run.

I was so envious of all of you who do race after race after race. You’re always training, so I thought I needed to be like that too. I figure there were two types of runners.

1 – the runner who runs a few miles here and there to stay healthy. They aren’t so much concerned with pace or distance really. They get their 2 miles in 3 times a week so they can enjoy beer and the occasional bowl of ice cream.

2 – the runner who is always training for a big race. They often consume the month or two between a marathon with 10ks just for kicks. They plan their life around the long run and are constantly concerned with their pace.

I didn’t want to be the first runner. Don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with the first runner, but I wanted more. I wanted the thrill of the race. I wanted the plan. I wanted the consistency of knowing I’d log a certain number of miles each week because I was training.

Well, I’ve also proven that I no longer want the second runner either. I don’t know how some of you do it. Especially people who have kids…geez!

I’ve burned myself out.

Since I started running in October 2008 I’ve always been training for a race. I’ve never once been able to go out and run just to run. I’ve always been concerned with pace. It is a mental battle just to allow myself to stop and walk.

I had breakdown last night and almost called Chicago off. How could I do it? How could I possibly run 26.2 miles in 16 weeks when the longest run I’ve run since February was 4 miles? I wanted to do it. I wanted to be able to say “Yeah, I ran a marathon”, but I had absolutely no desire or will to do what it took to get there.

My fiancé and I had a really good discussion about it. (Have I mentioned that I’d be lost without him?) He assured me that I could do this. He actually said “I have no doubt that you can do a marathon!” He went on to say, but you have to be willing to do what it takes to get there. You have to decide if this is something you want to continue to pursue, and move forward.

Well, you’ll be glad to know, that this is something I want to do. I’m not a quitter, and I will be running the Chicago Marathon in October.

I’m sure I’ll need you’re help along the way, but I’m doing this! It’s sink or swim time, and I’m one who thrives on pressure, so, I’m sure I’ll be great! I'm hoping that if I stick to this plan the love for running will come back to me!

Below is my training plan. Please note that this summer is crazy for me with trips and work meetings planned, so some of my long runs are jumbled around.

Edit: I’ve made an adjustment since I posted this (yes, just 2 hours ago). Two of my favorite girls (also running Chicago) Bananas and Toast and Psychobabbles of a Running Fool suggested I plan for some "rest weeks" so my body can properly recover from the extra miles. Below is the new plan...including the link in case you want to view it in a spreadsheet -- Thanks ladies! :) (PS - this was modified from the Chicago Marathon Training Program)
Any other suggestions you have, let me know! I’m all ears!

You can view the excel spreadsheet version here.

So today, I will be running 4 miles, like it or not!


  1. Hey :) I'm glad you decided to do it. I think whether or not you like it, you signed up for it and you paid for it and you know PHYSICALLY you can do it. Plus, it's going to be great to tell people that you did it afterward :D. If you were still debating whether or not to sign up I might say something different but you're committed so do this!

    If nothing else just look at it as; "I have 16 more weeks of running, and then I can decide whether or not i ever want to again". That might help :D. You're not looking at a lifetime here, just a little less than 4 months that might make you miserable but damn you're going to have such bragging rights afterward!

    Good luck and you know i'll be here cheering you on along the way! (and on 10-10-10 :D)

  2. p.s. maybe instead of going 3 weeks with 16,17,then 18 mile long runs maybe do 16, 10, and then 18 so you have a few cutback weeks in there! The plan does worry me a little since there's no "rest weeks".

  3. Hang in there girl, I know the feeling. I was in the doldrums for months and even considered calling Chicago off [re:lost mojo] but the thrill will come back to you. It always does and we're here to support you all the way! That said, I'm glad that you decided to continue training. Try to find a middle ground between runner #1 and #2. Do what works best for you. This is your first marathon and it is supposed to be fun so I'll tell you what the gurus told me when I was training for my first: train, be patient, train, have more patience and through it all HAVE FUN and FORGET TIME! Challenges will come along the way, but you will overcome and reign supreme come 10.10.10. You got this girlie :)
    p.s. I second Lauren's advice about the cutback week. I'd recommend a 10 miler for week 10 or 11.

  4. Great choice :) my two cents would be to take out the first 16 miler too... so you go 14, cutback, 16, cutback, 18 (and ideally cutback before 20 but since you don't have another week here I guess that's not an option :D).

    Just 2 more cents here on my already comment-heavy post :D

  5. Great job in staying with Chicago. I too get bored and hate running time to time. I've just taken about 4 months off with very little running and will now be training for a winter 100 miler. Every year I take about 2-4 months off with very little running or I would be burned out and never run again. I live my life, drink my beer and eat lots of food when I'm off. Good luck with your training.

  6. Toucan totallydo this in 16 weeks! Looking forward to a full can be so overwhelming, especially with wedding planning in your future!
    Watch a few Ironmans on US, watch Spirit of the Marathon...you'll find your love again soon!

  7. I had the exact same thing happen to me after the L.A. Marathon back in March. It has taken me until now to get back into the swing of training. With me it was just plain old burnout that got to me. I had a substandard performace at the marathon, coupled with all of the time and effort to train, and my brain decided that enough was enough!

    The other thing that I have done is I've not signed up for anythong longer than a Half Marathon - anything longer would probably trigger a reflex action!

  8. I think your training for a marathon is very inspirational! I have that little spark of a thought in the back of my mind that someday....I'll do one.
    In the meantime, I have a problem with exercise boredom and not doing it at all (which is why I have a bit of weight to lose) and so I find my race of choice is a triathlon. There's no boredom there! Biking and swimming really break up the thump thump of running.
    I have two sprint tri's this summer and CAN'T WAIT!
    Maybe if you have cross training days on your schedule - throw in some biking or swimming or some of my other new fitness crush - Zumba :)

  9. I hope you find that "lovely feeling" for running again. :)


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