Sorry for disappearing for a few days. My social life got a little hectic and I knew I really wanted to write this post but it needed a nice chunk of my time. Anyways, here is what I wanted to share with you…
It’s a few days after May 29th. Any guesses as to why May 29th is of significance? Don’t worry, I’ll won’t make you guess for too long. It was the date of the run to remember half marathon I was signed up for and chose not to run.
No, I was not injured. No, I was not out of town. I chose to sleep in and spend an amazing day with my husband. (We even went on a 3-mile run together. And it was hot. And I was very happy I didn’t have to do another 10 miles in addition to it).
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know this is not typical Elina behavior. In fact, I was signed up for the same half marathon last year and despite giving it up earlier in the training season, still ran it. I couldn’t let myself give up.
[Me last year, swearing I’d never run another half again… only to sign up for the exact race 6 months later!]
I’m in a different place this year though. With the decision to stop dieting and put an end to emotional eating, came the necessary work (in progress) of body acceptance, feeling my feelings (instead of eating them) and digging deeper. Questioning my actions. Pursuing only goals that feel truly right and abandoning those that are made for the wrong reasons.
And it relates to so much more than just food (mostly because most of this journey is really not about the food at all… food is the effect, not the cause). It has… IS… impacting my whole life. And running is part of it.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with running for a while. It’s given me the highest highs and the lowest lows. I signed up for this half because I really liked to have a goal and seriously started enjoying running again (I took some time off after last year’s half… I swore off all running for a while, not just half marathon racing). And I promised I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t going to make me happy. And eventually it stopped making me happy but I still could not let go. I’m not a person that just gives up.
With the deeper work I was doing on the food-front, I started to realize a somewhat dysfunctional relationship with running, though. Just like in the old days I would classify a day as good or bad based on whether I stayed within my calorie range, I started classifying days/weeks as good or bad based on how far/how fast I completed my planned runs. The entire week I’d fear the upcoming long run (would it be great or miserable?) and right after finishing (regardless of how I did) I started fearing the one coming up next week (Will I finish? Will I drive myself insane?). I was constantly on an emotional roller coaster and I didn’t like it.
Eventually I realized that it was not about the actual race (surprise surprise). I was clearly not happy but went back and forth about “just sucking it up for a few more weeks” or “stopping while I was ahead.” It was about my inability to give up on my goal. Which is noble unless than goal was no longer important to me (the idea of finishing gave me no joy, just anxiety because of all the work left to make it happen).
I had a defining run with my sister during which I decided that enough was enough and I promised her to really accept my decision and stick to it (she made me do it… she’s wise like that 😉 ). There was no reason in going back and forth about something, making a choice that felt right only to go through the same motions again. It’s most likely you’ll make the same choice again but you’ll be miserable (re)figuring it out (again and again).
This felt so right. I realized that I was not giving up at all. This was a learning experience for me. I kept forcing racing on myself. I liked the idea of it. I liked how it measured me against my previous self and others. Except it wasn’t for me. And now I really knew it. I no longer care to know how fast I could finish a half marathon “if I trained hard enough” because for the first time in my life I realize that it’s someone else’s dream/goal, not my own.
It feels good to listen to my body+mind. Highly recommended!
Have you ever stopped training for a race you signed up for because it no longer felt right?
Running – love it or hate it?