Friday, March 9, 2012

Quitting's just another word for "something else to do"

This winter, when I went looking for a fall marathon, Double Chubb caught my eye and somehow I ended up registering for a spring 50K instead.  The process was helped out by Patrick's gauntlet throwing, but I had already been considering it.  I mean, why not? 

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Not necessarily training for Double Chubb
Photo credit: Luke Lamb (AKA Captain Awesome)

I googled 50K training plans, found one that let me wait until well into January to start, and enjoyed doing whatever the heck I wanted to do until that day.  The week of January 23, I threw myself into training and found, to my surprise and pleasure, that I could run 5 days a week (as opposed to the maybe 3 a week I managed during marathon training.

Why, yes, that is a running picture.
Photo credit: Jim Donohue

That lasted three weeks before I crumpled under the combined weight of life + training.  My longest run so far has been 12 miles, and my "long runs" since then have all fallen far short (-5, -7, -10) of where they should have been.  I could totally get myself back on track; I know that.  I pulled off a 30K finish (3rd last, baby!) on a lot less training than I've been doing.  The thing is, I don't want to.

The first strike against the 50K was when my friends at Team Virtus scheduled their third annual non-race on the same date.  Last year's Deuce was a crowning moment in my adventure racing introduction, and I really, really was sad about having to miss this one.

At the Deuce
(Photo credit: LLAKACA)
Then, I started noticing my husband's expression as I left to do these back to back weekend long runs.  When you're not fast, those things take forever on trails, and then I was wiped out afterwards.  To be fair, he never complained, but I was sensing irritation, and these are early days. 

Training the way I was supposed to didn't leave me any time or energy to do the things I really wanted to be doing, and feeling like I had to run was making me unhappy.  Last weekend I decided screw it: I was going to ride my bike since I had the chance, and I'd do my long run the day after, even if maybe scheduling a long run the day after a mountain bike ride is maybe not the best way to ensure success.  It was on that ride that it occurred to me: I don't have to do this race.

I felt kind of bad bringing it up to Patrick during Sunday's (awesome) run, but here's how that conversation went:

Kate: "Um...I'm thinking about not doing Double Chubb."

Patrick: "Well, that's too bad...because I'm probably not doing it, either."
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On the DL
Patrick's problem isn't chronic wimpiness and fear of committment like mine; rather, he has a strained calf muscle and can't let it heal and get in the necessary training.  It sucks for him, but it relieves me of the guilt of backing out on my friend (well, one of them; I'm still backing out on my friend Jim and therefore depriving him of running a Triple Chubb by finishing when I'm halfway done and coming back to run in with me).


I do feel a little wimpy, and the thought of potentially eating the registration fee (in addition to my first DNS) sucks.  On the other hand, it's not like I have anything to prove.  I'm absolutely certain I could go, get in a decent amount of miles, and live just fine with a DNF...which was always a possiblity even if I did get in all my training.  But why miss out on something I really want to do and spend all those hours in training and irritate my husband...for something that isn't making me happy? 

Somewhere on the course...
The thing is, probably the only thing that will change in the equation is having to run.  I'll probably be gone just as long, so my husband won't be any happier, but I will.  Unlike when I first started running and had to have a race to motivate me, now I love it for its own sake.  So, rather than attempting a 50K, April 21st will find me camping and non-racing in the Mark Twain National Forest. 

And I'll be way too busy having fun to feel the sting of shame.

17 comments:

Luke said...

Oh, I can't tell you how happy this makes me. Well, not the fact that you're not doing the 50K, but that you're doing the CAC non-race. It just wouldn't be the same without you.

Besides, you have to defend your title from last year, right?

Kate said...

I hated that I was going to miss it, and yes...if I'm not there who'll come in last? :)

ajh said...

I"m not sure I would run without races to motivate me. I think I would but it is the races that are the frosting for me and I greatly prefer the frosting.

How hard core will your camping be?

Kate said...

I still like to race, for sure. But I definitely have found a love for running (especially with friends) where I can just enjoy the run and going as far as I want to without HAVING to do a certain distance (lazy).

As for the camping, I'm not sure...but I do own a tent and know how to set it up. :)

bobbi said...

When it all comes right down to it, you have to do whatever it is that makes you happy in a particular moment in time. There will be other 50ks if you feel the need. And if you don't? You have PLENTY of other awesome stuff on your plate :)

And completely selfishly, the race report for CAC will be way cool, as always!

bobbi said...

(or should I say non-race report?)

Patrick said...

You said the Deuce was crowning! HAHAHA!

Anne B said...

I have eaten quite a few race entry fees as well. It's never fun but when training ceases to be fun and becomes a big PITA, time to rethink the reasons for doing these events. It's supposed to be fun!!!

Jill said...

Will you be real camping Miss Kate, or will you be wimpy camping? I hope I taught you how real chicks camp last summer on our trek up Mt. Whitney.... :)

I know exactly how you feel about the 50k. When I did that trail half last summer and my PT showed up to to the 50k, when he ran like MAYBE 9 miles for a long run prior, I was like WTH!?!? People train for these things with massive long runs for crying out loud. But he did it, but it was painfully tough. I vowed I'd run one because I was so sick of hearing him tell me at each pt visit, "did you know I was an ultra marathoner?" Jerk!! I know he was teasing but it just really irritated me and I vowed I'd run one this spring and get in super amazing shape and run lots of long runs so I could whip his ultra butt. Bahahahahaha. Yeah, okay. I'm going into the race next week in probably about as much training as he ... and I'm sort of dreading it now. I'm like you: I know I can do it, but I have this insatiable appetite to run well and it won't be so that will be mentally difficult. If I didn't have money invested in an airline ticket there and people lined up to run with me, I'd probably bail, too! :)

Your other race sounds like it will be fun...I know you like the adventure more than the journey getting there...this will be perfect for you.

Caroline said...

this whole running-racing gig should bring you a certain degree of joy, happiness, fun all that good stuff..it should not make you miserable.
I think you made the right decision

Raina said...

Sounds very much like you have made made the right decision for yourself here. I can understand the dilemmas and it is a relief sometimes to know that something isn't going to be on your to-do list.
Hope your camping trip is great. :)
Photos are great as always!

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

You run because you want to, because something about it is enjoyable. There's no shame in dropping something that is killing the joy in your life.

Kathy said...

It is so day to become beholden to the program and lose perspective on why we love to run. I think your choice was very wise. Have a great rest of your weekend!

Mike said...

Sounds like the right decision. Training should be fun and if mom isn't happy, no one is happy in our house :-).

pensive pumpkin said...

i often wonder why we spend so much of our lives doing things that make us unhappy, and so little doing the things that make us smile.

you are awesome, and will smile. good for you.

My Daily Journey to Share said...

We are getting ready to add bikes to our workout. I cant wait! Erica

Terzah said...

I'm probably going to have my first DNS on April 15--it's gotta happen to all of us the longer we run, right?

Enjoy that ride!! Like I said, you have to follow the love. (And I know exactly what you mean about sensing the husband's irritation.....)