Put up or shut up

And I chose… shut up. Thus, I will tell you all about it.

I was training for a marathon (26.2 miles) and was really excited about the training schedule I had and about the duration of my motivation — I was on schedule for almost 6 months.

Then I tried to cure my aching arches with Dr. Scholls inserts… and everything went downhill from there (except not the pleasant, “whee” kind of downhill that gives energy on long runs…). I ran 1 mile in the insoles and had to take them off and lay them by the side of the road because of the blisters they were giving me. (not necessarily the Dr. Scholls inserts’ fault… maybe just my persnickity feet’s fault…)

Then I went to visit mom and dad. I was so excited that I was actually able to, more or less, keep up with dad on his 5 mile run that I neglected to notice my blister, which was open and not doing well. We got back to the house and I looked down to find a full half of my right shoe had turned red with blood soaked all the way through to the outside.

So I stopped running for two weeks to allow it to heal. Then, because my momentum was gone, I didn’t get back the motivation to run for another week. And, as my track coach used to say, it takes two weeks to gain back what you lose in one week of not running…

So the last two weeks, my vacation weeks, were my self-dubbed “put up or shut up” weeks. I gave it a good effort, I think… And I had the heat of Iowa as a bit of an all-too-easy excuse not to run, but I also had the extra time of vacation as a good reason to run my little heart out. But in the end, I just couldn’t do it. I’m still able to run fairly impressive distances, but there’s no way for me to get back on schedule for any marathons this year.

But never fear… I haven’t given up that easily. I’m hoping to find a mini to run (or, failing that, create my own mini-mini just for me), commit to running over the winter, register for smaller races along the way, and try again next year. Perhaps there will be a marathon in my grad school town that I can enter…

I have learned much from my attempt. One — my personality makes it much easier for me to run (or do other things like that) when I have a specific goal in mind (like a race or performance or deadline). Two — I love being a runner and need exercise in my life to keep me sane. Three — going from no running to marathon in 10 months is possible but darn hard. Four — it’s really hot in Iowa. Five — carrying your own water in a pack is convenient but pretty heavy. Six — always buy shoes that fit and have removable insoles. Seven — running, for me, increases my pain tolerance to the point that I sometimes don’t notice pains I really should notice… always pay attention to what your body is saying through your pain. And there’s more, but you get the idea.

It’s been good. And I’m sorry I have had to revise my original goal, but I’m not sorry I tried. Next year I’ll try again. And perhaps next year will be my marathon year.

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