Tuesday, July 12, 2016

When One Door Closes

When one door closesanother opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.  Alexander Graham Bell 

I’ll be honest. When I first decided I was going to try to run, I could barely make it two miles without walking, and it wasn’t until I could run a 5K without pausing, I felt like a runner. 
Look a real 5K runner! 
RUNNERS don’t walk, right.
So when I really stated to work on four miles, then five, etc… I refused to stop unless I was having a near death experience because I felt like a failure if I stopped. Then, after I ran a few races, I noticed people actually walked through water stops, some just randomly walked a few seconds, and I began to realize I may just be a tick too crazy about this walking thing.
True story... It always bothered me during my first half marathon, I had to stop and use the port of potty. It was lack of experience and I drank too much before the race, but I didn’t know any better, I was worried about keeling over in the heat. I lost about 90 seconds stopping at the P-O-P and it made me crazy I had lost time due to a break. Finally a year later, I ran a half without a pause and I felt vindicated.
These days, my mindset is so different, I laugh when I look back.
The first summer I ran, I was crazy.  I would want to run seven miles, so I would make myself run to halfway point. I would stop my Garmin (LOL) and walk about 5 minutes, steal some drinks from sprinklers, then start a new run. I would rarely even say I “ran” seven miles because I didn’t do it all at once.
Dreaming about 26.2 started a short time after I ran my first half, but I didn’t believe I was capable. After I started reading a lot of blogs, and read about people’s brutal first marathon experience, I got really scared and decided I needed to run a few years before I could even think about trying. I wish I wouldn’t have done that! My heart finally decided I could do it, but my health took a dip. *Seize the moment* tough lesson learned.
To be honest, I don’t like to even think about long distances right now. I really want to let them go…but before I close that chapter completely, I have a few things I want to accomplish.
A marathon is the top of the list. My ideas about what a marathon may look like for me now have dramatically changed; intervals are always part of the mix, but even with lots of walking, that many hours may not be reasonable for me… I am still playing around, trying to see if there is way to do some longer runs without causing more injury.  
What I really want is to check off my list, and then say I am not racing anymore on my own terms, not be taken out due to injury, health, etc.
I want my memories when I fade away into the sunset.
The truth is I have been very content doing one 5 and 6 miler, and some kind of interval adventure, and calling it a week. My pain is manageable, I don’t see new damage, and that is what I want, to preserve what I have.
Will I miss half marathons? Yes!! I already do. It is becoming apparent to me that the American FamilyFitness Half was my last time to line up and run a race with barely a pause. I will be forever grateful that I had those moments, the perfect weather, and the perfect nerve to push myself that day. I replay it in my mind often… seriously, just the best day. I am not saying I will never run another half in my life, but just running them for fun is a lot different.
best running day ever! 

Will I still be a runner? Well sure, maybe not a runner with big goals anymore, but I will still feel like I have a part in the community.
Trust me there is a small part of me that says…at my age, preserve, what for? Maybe I should just go all out, but I don’t enjoy pain either.
You know I always enjoying hearing your thoughts!
Do you ever think the day your running may change?

Thoughts about goals, motivation, the need to have a reason to train and run, when to call it quits, personal contentment. 

25 comments:

  1. I think you are a runner if you have to walk. As long as you run one step. you are a runner. I used to feel as you do and many times I still do but for whatever reason, I have to walk several times even during my 5ks. I never used to but I do now and if I don't I won't enjoy it. My time will suck, I may get injured, etc. So I walk. I realized that I enjoy racing too much to not walk. A marathon someday??? The book is still out on that one. Too bad you don't live closer. We could could strugglr togethr.

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    1. I am all about walking now Darlene! If I need a break I take it, I love intervals, they are helping me survive! I wish like crazy I could have you and many of my virtual run buddies near by. I look forward to December...and i am sure i will be walking a lot during that race lol so join me, unless you feel could have PR day :)

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  2. I was similar: I would drink and take gels without ever walking. I didn't even consider it. Now I definitely walk if I want to. My running has already changed. I haven't chased a PR in years. I run because I enjoy it. I look at the 70 and 80 year olds out running races and I think I'd like to be like that. I just don't care about pushing toward a PR anymore. I love seeing the world via running. I hope you get that marathon. :) Just for the helluvit.

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    1. I have always enjoyed seeing the "older" crowd at races :) I think it is fantastic to see someone at 70 out there running.
      That is good you go for the enjoyment! I am coming to terms with my new running life, and while I may be more limited than I hoped, I still have a good time when I am running. I hope I can get myself trained enough to just check that 26.2 off!

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  3. I am definitely a realist and know I will have healthy running days and times I am injured or just need some time off. I hope I can run forever but obviously I am not guaranteed that- no one is. All I can do is try to take care of myself as best as I can so I can run for hopefully a long time.

    Or I'll die in a car accident tomorrow and then who cares if I took care of my knees. LOL.

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    1. I have thought THAT VERY thing Megan! We are not guaranteed tomorrow, yet we need to plan like we may be around awhile. LOL If I knew I was going next week, I'd be eating cheesecake breakfast lunch and dinner!

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  4. I always, always question why I ever set running goals. I think I would enjoy running a million times better if I was under zero pressure and just did it for fun. The truth is, I'm scared that I would stop running if I didn't have any goals or anything to hold me accountable. I am pretty sure I love running (hah!) but there is a part of me that always says "you're not a runner, you are just a goal oriented person" so I keep on with the goals.

    I hope you're able to get that full marathon someday. I know your heart and determination would take you straight to the finish line with no problem. Fingers are crossed for you... but if you never run a marathon that's okay too! You've got so many amazing running accomplishments under your belt already!

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    1. Love this. I think you do LOVE running lol but having something you are working toward is very motivating!
      Trust me, when I first started to realize things were going to change for me, I was pretty depressed...but i tried to just hang on, because like with any change you have to grieve your loss and then I began to realize it was going to be okay.
      I think as long as you feel good and can chase those milestones, go get them Kristina :) Take advantage of it!!
      Thanks, for the encouragement. I am going to keep working at some longer runs the next several weeks and see what happens!

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  5. This runner has walked thru EVERY water station at the marathons I have done--and it Boston there were 26!!
    I, too, feel my running goals changing. I am more content with shorter races, and I am definitely more kind to my body (I need more rest days). It does freak me out when I think about not running one day. However, I still like to compete, so it means different goals.

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    1. I am surprised at how content I feel with my quiet morning runs, but the truth is that time keeps me sane and feeling good. If I can have that I can be happy :)
      The thought of not running at all does make me freak!
      We do have be kinder to our bodies as we "get older" - which I am sick of hearing from all the Docs right now LOL

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  6. I was a pretty hard core runner in my late teens and all through my 20's. All that changed as I started getting more and more injuries. Enter my cross training. Swimming and cycling have become just as much a part of my training as running. I love them all. A few years back I decided to try the Galloway Method. I had an ego to deal with and pride to swallow but finally Rick said to me "are you out there having fun? because it's all that matters". And it really is (for me). Am I enjoying myself and am I staying injury free? Those are my goals. I really try not to over think it. I am a tri-athlete and love it. In addition, I absolutely know some day my running will become all walking! I just am grateful for my 3-5 milers a few times per week. And I will continue for as long as I can but I want to be realistic about how long that might be. I actually think when I become a walker only, I will add in distance. That excites me to think even if the running shoes need to be hung up, I can still have something as a goal for myself w/ walking (half marathon, marathon...who knows).

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    1. I didn't know you had been running that long! Galloway is saving me right now, letting me play with longer runs, but I can tell even with intervals after a few hours on my feet, they rebel...
      I have been through my moments of pride and feeling weak because I was using intervals and I think I finally realized like anything there is grieving process over what you are losing, once I started to get past that, contentment took its place. Now, I look forward to my walk breaks! I know overall I am going to feel good when I am done :)
      I have always loved walking/hiking of any kind and i was all about the long ones lol I would love to join you walking a half!
      Enjoyment and staying injury free are great goals :)
      I wish I could swim.

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    2. Yes, I have been running since I was in my late teens. There have been times I have taken breaks but for the most part running has been part of my journey. If I ever decide to walk a half, we will hook up and do it together! I know what you mean about the grieving process. I think I went through this about 10 years ago. Slowly, I was able to incorporate more cycling, swimming (at times yoga) and now a bunch of weight training. I feel more confident having a plan for when running is no longer an option. I mean, it's one of many things I do so while I will be bummed because I really do LOVE it, I am hoping the acceptance comes easier. Who knows :) I wish you could swim, too. Swimming is the friend that will never let you down. Unlike cycling outdoors, I can swim any time of year, in any weather and often when I have injuries that are keeping me from running. Swimming should be my best friend but running, I guess, has my heart a bit more. Nothing like it.

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  7. Karen, I'm 54. Of course I think about my running changing. I wasn't fast to begin with . . . but then I look at Darlene . . . and Mary Jane . . . and Denise . . .

    I wish I could tell you it will all miraculously go away and you'll be cured. I wish I could wave a wand and that would happen. Or sprinkle us all with magic fairy dust so that we're never injured.

    BTW, you could pace me at PCB if you don't mind running really, really, really slowly. Because what you think is slow is really fast for me. I do 2 minutes/30 seconds intervals for a half, btw.

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    1. I could use some fairy dust to keep my body parts from wearing out lol I sure hope in 10 years I can still go out and have some fun, and run a race with some friends if I get the chance.
      I have never tried a 2/30 ratio, in fact very few times have I ever used a 30 second break, I'll have to give it try and see how it feels. I really like 3 x 1 if it is hot and 4 x 1 is still the most comfortable, but I will be experimenting in the weeks ahead.
      Have you done any at 3 x 1 ?
      I will pace if you want to try to stick together.

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  8. Me & you should meet up & do a half or full marathon since intervals is the only way I'm making it across a finish line :) I guarantee we'd have the most FUN RACE EVER :)

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    1. I know we would have fun :)
      I don't feel motivated to just go run a race anymore, however a race to meet a friend at is great motivation.

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  9. When I first began running, I walked a LOT. I was okay with it because I'd never run even a quarter mile before. Once I could run 2 miles or so, any time I had to walk (and as I increased distance) I felt like you - that walking was failure. THEN I learned about pre-planned walk breaks, which made me feel less guilty about walking and finally cured me of that nagging, negative feeling.

    If you're having fun and still running, no matter the distance or time or pace, no matter the walk breaks, you get to call yourself a runner. You are still part of the community! I enjoyed reading your reflection here. I hope you do a full so you can feel that you truly got the experience you want and can continue a lifetime of running afterward, whatever that means to you.

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    1. I get that Ali! I have used the Galloway in quite a few races now and I feel good about it.
      The day I forgot my timer at a race and was just randomly walking as my feet hurt, I felt much more defeated... a planned break makes you feel successful! It is just part of the plan right ;)
      I hope I can just get a marathon done, so I can feel like I accomplished what I wanted to with running.

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  10. I feel like my running has changed alot in the past year as I have been accepting what my body can handle right now. I think that other life stressors affect my running more than I used to realize. At the end of the day its about doing what makes you feel good and happy.

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    1. That is so true. I never thought I would feel happy just being able to run a few days a week, but I am actually grateful. It is what I can handle right now.
      Life can be very stressful and while running helps, it always uses precious energy when you may be feeling depleted. Just go with what works for the season you are in :)

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  11. Great post! It's funny how our running lives change over time. I think you could do s marathon. Walking is absolutely acceptable. I did a lot for grandmas.

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  12. I continue to evolve with my running life too, I think there is nothing wrong with walking if you need to, I think research has shown it can help prevent injuries and keep you running longer. and that is really the goal isn't it?! :)

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    1. Yes ma'am :) the experts say it can make a huge difference in prolonging your health.

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