Whenever I run a big race I always take time off from running afterwards. That could mean 2 weeks, it could mean 2 months. During that time I usually lace up my running shoes a handful of times, but I never wear my Garmin and I don’t put any pressure on myself. After my last race my running hiatus lasted over 6 months. But I truly believe my body needed that rest. I was completely burned out after that last training cycle.
I know I’ve mentioned it on here before, but my hometown (and where I currently live) is hosting their first half marathon this October. It seemed like fate, the perfect time to go for that sub 1:59 half. So in May I started running more. I added in some early-morning runs, some stroller runs, and had gotten my long run up to 5 miles. I was feeling good. Ready to start the official 12-week training program on July 17th.
But something strange kept happening. I had gotten my pace down to around 9:20/mile, but then it wouldn’t budge. I know how to get faster. Hill repeats, sprints, tempo runs. But I had absolutely no desire to do any of those things. So I kept running, and tried to convince myself that I was okay with that pace. I even contemplated running the October half “for fun.” But anyone who knows me knows I can’t do that. I’ve never in my life gone into a race with the idea that I would just enjoy the experience. Nope. I’m either all-in or I’m not racing.
So a few weeks ago Nathan and I started talking about the race, and how if I was going to register I would need to start training soon. And I admitted to him that I didn’t think my heart was in it. I tried to envision myself waking up at 5am to do a hill repeat workout in the heat and humidity; I thought about our family vacation to the Outer Banks next month and how my long run would be up to 8 or 9 miles. And how I would need to wake up early to get in at least 2 other runs during that week. I thought about running 12 miles this fall on a Saturday morning when the rest of my family would be headed out to kayak or hike. And I started to wonder if this is really what I want.
Nathan is always supportive of anything I do. He was a saint last year when I was training for Philly, as I had no energy for him in the evenings because I would be passed out on the couch by 9pm every night. No lazy weekend mornings spent sipping coffee on the porch. Nope. I was *always* out running or recovering from running. Or we were talking about running. Luckily he’s a retired distance runner, so he “gets it.” But still, those 12 weeks were long for both of us!
What he said really resonated with me. “Taryn, sometimes things in your life die.” He talked about things he did during his life that he always assumed would be part of who he was. Soccer. Mountain bike racing. Long distance running. But today none of those things exist in his life. And he has no desire to do any of them either. However, he’s replaced those things with other hobbies. Intense gym workouts. Gardening. Furniture building. You can say he has evolved as a person. So maybe this is happening to me as well?
So I’ve decided I am NOT going to register for that October half marathon. And I honestly don’t know if I will run another half again. I proved to myself that I could break 2 hours, which was a dream I chased for 4+ years. I proved I could commit to a training schedule and gym workouts and PR once again. If the Philly Half Marathon last September is the last half I ever run, that’s a great race to retire to!
I’m not giving up running for good. I still think there is nothing like an early morning run when it’s just me and nature (and a good playlist of course). I love taking the kids in the jogging stroller and letting them get out and sprint up hills. The annual Turkey Trot will always be something I do. But I think I’m done with racing. No more training plans. No more “I have to run 6 miles in the morning.” Running will be something I do when and if I want to, and I’ll probably retire my beloved Garmin as well (that’s been with me on almost every single run for the past 11 years!)
Your turn. What sport/hobby have you retired? Any retired runners out there? What new hobby did you replace it with?