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.

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