Monday, March 18, 2013

A Weight Has Been Lifted

A decision has been made. It was a difficult one that had me in tears more than once, but I whole-heartedly feel like I have made the right one. What is she talking about, you may be asking? Those closest to me, know what this is about, but since I've not been posting on a regular basis, the rest may have no clue.

Anyway, this is about the Sugarloaf Marathon. Ever since I finished the Maine Marathon in September, I had set my sights on running Sugarloaf in May 2013. Don't they say not to commit to another marathon right after finishing one? Well, I didn't listen. 

In the meantime, we bought at a major fixer-upper of a house that has pretty much consumed me. Maybe I'm being over-dramatic. The house is great and in livable condition. It's not a cardboard box and completely falling apart. But anyone that has gone through home improvement knows that it can kind-of consume you. Finally, after close to three months, I finished the first room. Eleven more to go. Yes, it's going to take years to finish, but I'm fine with that. Taking care of two kids during the day and working near full-time hours six nights a week doesn't leave a lot of time to work on the house. Or run. 

I've talked about this here many times before. I've been a little wishy-washy about running lately. About making excuses why I haven't been running. The weather sucks, I'm too tired to get up, the treadmill is at the old house (just sold her today), blah, blah, blah. I ran less than 20 miles in February. The only time I had a lower mileage month was February of 2011 - the month I started running again after having kids. Pitiful. 

It's not like I haven't wanted to run. I've had good intentions. Life gets in the way. So much of my focus has been on the house. Plans to demolish and how to put it back together, colors, designs, floor plans and the like are constantly swirling around in my head at warp speed. And I love it. When I'm passionate about something, I pour my heart into it. I love working on the house. The amount of pride I feel from completing a project and knowing I did it myself is amazing. I literally touched every square inch of the room I finished with my own two hands and made it beautiful.

Yay! It's done!

I've felt that way many, many times about running too. In high school and college, running was my whole world. I had a senior picture taken with my starting blocks (yes, I had my own personal blocks) and state champion jacket. 

Yes, I'm a runnerd.
When I started running in 2011, I ran year-round with the ultimate goal of a marathon in 2012. I ran smart. I trained for a 5K, then a 10K, then a half-marathon, gradually increasing mileage to successfully complete a marathon with no injuries. And I felt that same sense of pride when I crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles.

Then I took a break. While there were races on my schedule, I was looking to maintain my fitness until training for Sugarloaf started in January. But then we bought the house and I could not figure out how to balance two things I am so passionate about. The fact is, my family comes first. I want my children to live in a safe environment. I want to spend time with my husband talking about our future plans for our new abode. Running (and blogging) had to take a back seat, though every day I had an internal struggle going on. I had committed to Sugarloaf and I wanted to race it. The Maine Marathon was for finishing. I wanted to see an improvement for my second 26.2. But the mental stress of trying to train for a marathon and renovate a house on top of being a good mom, wife, and employee was really taking it's toll. I wasn't happy. I was disappointed in myself and worried that I was going to disappoint those around me.

Last Sunday I ran my first long run of my training plan. Yes, six weeks in. I had been running, albeit not very much, and I had never gotten in all the miles on any specific training day. Fourteen miles was what was on the schedule. I ran from my house to the bike path in Brunswick (exactly 6.2 miles) a little on the trail and then ran back. I missed a turn on the way out, so it ended up being 14.4 miles. And do you know what? It wasn't that bad. Actually, it was a really great run. The sun was shining, the route was wooded and the smell of pine and earth and spring was wonderful. I was tired at the end, but not all out exhausted and maintained a pace around 9:30. Pretty incredible for the lack of mileage in the last five-plus months. It was the longest run I've done since the marathon.

Somewhere on the way back I started thinking about dropping out of the marathon and doing the 15K race at Sugarloaf instead. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Not because I didn't think I could complete the marathon, but like I said above, I wanted/needed to see improvement. Why can't us runners ever be happy?

I put my idea out there as a Facebook status last week and I could not be more thankful for the responses I got. The conversation amongst my running friends included pros and cons. They called me a "badass" runner, but they also knew how I would feel if I didn't get the outcome I wanted at the marathon due to lack of proper training and voiced concern about the chance of injury. ALL of you are so wise and sweet and just plain AWESOME! Don't let that go to your heads! :-) 

There are two other positives that go with switching to the 15K. One, automatic PR! I've never raced a 15K. Two, the 15K starts 30 minutes after the marathon and is the last 9.3 miles of the marathon course. My three running gals are doing the marathon (which made it very hard at first to think about switching), but now I will be done before they come along and be able to see each one of them to the finish. 

I'm now working on a new training plan for the 15K to focus on upping my speed and strength. I would like to run a marathon this fall and am strongly considering running MDI in October. It's two days after my birthday and I can't think of a better way to celebrate turning 29...ahem...37? I don't know, I've lost count. 


So that is that. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Thanks for listening and understanding.

4 comments:

  1. MDI! MDI!! (I'm just joining the peer pressure I saw on Facebook). Mike and I are running it too :)

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  2. Great idea, carrie. If your heart isn't into it, then it isn't worth it.

    I'm glad you are blogging some, I've missed your blog.

    Your senior pic looks strangely like me......

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  3. Your room looks beautiful and I think it's great you've made such a tough decision. You have to do what feels right for you and if that's 15k then go out there and rock it! Yay for automatic PRs! Looking forward to hopefully seeing more of your house...

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  4. Carrie I think you did the right thing in changing to the 15K, doing a marathon under-trained is not fun and might be setting yourself up for an injury. Besides I am planning on the 15K too, so I will see you there :-). Life gets in the way, so we have to be flexible and do what is the right thing for us, not someone else :-)

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Thanks for your comments!