Last year, I ran my 2nd half marathon. I loved the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I loved training, and loved the atmosphere. I loved the cheering, the large crowd support, the bands along the way, and the constant motivation.
However, it wasn’t all fun and games. I had plenty of stomach issues that arose while training (thanks Colitis), ruining full days ahead, and acted up during the race even more. Around mile 8, I was in constant pain, and it took everything in me to make it to the finish. I was determined, though, and couldn’t have been more excited that I finish. I didn’t finish in the time I wanted, or in the condition, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that everything I had, I put into it, and finished.
Not running the half this past year was awful. I want to do more half-marathons’s and wanted to have fun with them, but I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure if I ever could again. When Pittsburgh decided to do the EQT 10 Mile Run this year, I wanted a chance to train for a smaller distance, and see if I could figure out how to stay healthy for a half. I started training with the Clif Shot Bloks, and felt great most of the time. I have pretty much figured out how not to get sick during a run, but obviously there are many things that come up and can change that.
I spent the 10 weeks prior to my race training, and felt even more amazing when I wasn’t getting too sick while running long distances. I was happy to see my running times drop, and feel great with further distance. However, I was also ready for it to be over. It was more of a challenge to figure out how to get my runs in, how to keep myself from getting sick, thinking about what food I need to eat before and after to prevent sickness, and so on. Basically, I wasn’t completely enjoying it, which then made me feel worse. How was I not enjoying running anymore? Why was I dreading my runs? Since finishing, and not feeling the need to run, I have had some of my best runs!
Registration opened a few weeks ago for the Pittsburgh Half in May, and I was completely torn. I wanted to run it more than anything last year, and still do. However, after training for this past race, and taking it as seriously as training for a half, I’m not sure my body can handle it. I would love to be able to go out and run 7 miles every day, or run distances far greater on the weekend, but I have just found my body not to do the best with it. Clearly this has been really upsetting, and I wasn’t sure what I would do. Aaron knew how badly I wanted to do it last year, so he told me to do it. My mom told me not to because she has seen me (more than Aaron, unfortunately) in so much pain from the long runs I had to do last time.
After a lot of back and forth, and really listening to my body, I decided I’m not going to do it. But I won’t be missing out on all the fun of race day! Instead, I am going to be there and enjoy all the crowd excitement, but do the relay instead. After seeing Aaron enjoy racing this fall, and even hearing him say he missed not starting when I did for my race, I thought it would be really fun for him to do it with me and take part in all the excitement it has to offer. After about 2 minutes of hesitation, he completely agreed, and is more than excited for running it! I told him he needs to either start or finish it so he feels all the excitement race day has to offer. Don’t you agree? They have 5 legs to the race, so yes I will still work hard to do my best on my leg, but the distances are much less. I will most likely do the 6.7 mile leg, with others do the smaller legs. I know my body, and I know it will be able to handle this distance much better than 13.1, even though I would love to run that. I also coaxed Bridget into doing it, so I know we will have a blast with that instead! I’ll still get to be apart of all the festivities, and the excitement, which is what I wanted. I wish I could explain to you all of the factors that have to go into my runs, and how I can’t just pick up and go for one, but it’s really hard. Aaron still hasn’t completely understood it, but it is what it is. I still have the best supporters out there, and that’s all that matters!
Sometimes we have to make decisions we don’t want to make, and ones we aren’t completely thrilled with, but it happens. Knowing that this will be the best decision in the long run is helping me be satisfied with it.