Thursday, March 26, 2009

The right decision

I contacted the RD yesterday to tell her that I won't be running the American River 50 this year. This is a very good decision for many reasons, probably the main one being this: I don't want to do it. Really, I don't. Here are some other reasons:

I'm not ready. The training plans for running 50 miles include some back to back long runs that make perfect sense for getting ready to run 50 consecutive miles. But I haven't done any density training like that. I'm also not ready in the sense of having people who could help me run part of the race or cheer me on, both of which seem vital to this sort of effort. And while some runs

The last 25 miles of this race are on trails and I don't like trails. Maybe someday I'll like trails. And actually, I do like them, but for shorter distances at this point.

My lower back has been giving me grief. Over the last month my lower back's felt tight and sore most of the time and I can't seem to get it to feel better. So doing a max distance race right now seems ill advised.

I have lost sight of what I want. We've had lots of family stress in the last few months and as the stress increases, so do my miles. So it's made sense to increase my race distances. But just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD. And right now I just feel tired and not very strong. Not what you want going into a running-all-the-live-long-day race!

Preserving enthusiasm is priority #1. I still really like to run, and I've been doing it for a very long time. I want to like running for a long time to come. But moving forward to run a race I don't want to run, that I'm not prepared for? That seems like a recipe for killing part, if not all, of the enthusiasm I have for running.

So on race day I'll be running my own long-ish run. Maybe 20 or so miles isn't long by ultra standards, but it's long for me. And more importantly, it's what I want to do. And sometimes in life, you really do get what you want, right?


Colette said...

I am so glad that you are listening to your body and mind. If you are not fully into it, then it won't work. You have done so much, and 20 miles in itself is HUGE!! Life is supposed to be fun, and with so many crappy things we have to deal with in life, why choose to add another thing that you're not fully feeling? Who knows, this time next year you may give the 50 mile another chance. The important thing is you are listening to your body and mind.


tfh said...

Sounds like a very wise if difficult decision. I love that you're committed to preserving enthusiasm, though. Sometimes it's easy just to keep pushing because it seems like the logical next step-- but you're right, it's not worth losing the "I love this."

kch said...

This sounds like a very smart decision. It's much more important in the scheme of things to listen to what your body and mind is telling you instead of doing something that you're not mentally or physically willing to do just because you could do it.

I hope you continue to enjoy running for many years to come!

Amanda said...

Preserving enthusiasm is priority #1

That's a great way to look at it. It sounds like you made the right decision.

Irene said...

I'll back you up 100%! Heaven knows that stress on top of stress isn't a good thing!

I hope your back feels better.

Take care.

aron said...

very smart decision!!! i am sure it wasnt an easy one to make but definitely the right one. i am sure you have a 50 miler in your future if you want to, but like you said what is the point in doing things you dont want to do?!? you are awesome :)

Eileen said...

I'm actually kind of glad to hear about your decision. It's been my suspicion that lately your running has been becoming more about escaping from something and less about the true joy you get from running.

I've certainly been in that spot myself...I'd go to the gym for 2 hours a day -- more to "get away" than to have a great workout or actually accomplish anything...and one day, I just could not do it any more. Stepping back a bit helped tremendously...and it became more about fun again.

You're an awesome runner, an awesome mom, an awesome person...just as you are!!!

Brit-Man said...

The main thing is to do what's best for you.

Take care and best wishes :-) :-).


Anne said...

Good for you to not wait until it was too late (i.e., you're on the course) to realize the time isn't right to take on such a long distance. I love those weeks, even months, when I can just going out and let life -- not a training schedule -- dictate the distance.

Anonymous said...

Leslie, sorry to hear that you are not planning on running the AR50 but still have hopes that you may still do it. Let me tell you about myself- I ran my first Ultra(AR50)in 2008 at age 50 in 12 hours and I was very,very apprehensive and not ready either. I had many excuses not to run such as being diagnosed with hydrocephalus in 2002 and having 7 brain surgeries in 5 years with numerous shunt rejections and a crainiotomy for a subdural hematoma, methacyline restant staph, numerous shunt rejections, and grand mal seizures. I was released from John Muir Hospital Walnut Creek at 270lbs and am only 5'8" I lost weight down to 187 for the race. A friend talked me into doing what I thought was against my best interest three weeks before the race. I had already paid my entry 6 months earlier. My Doctor said that there are no studies that said I couldn't do it. So I ran(jogged) it and averaged 4.1 mph.for the 50. To stand at the start line with 500+ runners all going for the 50 is an experience like none I have ever felt. And I won the race. Yes I finished. I was so high that I could not sleep for another day and a half. Again this year I have the thoughts of not running the AR50 but again I paid my money, trained a little more at a 11-12 min mile pace and hopefully will break last years time. Last I want to say that I met a man while running the AR50 last year who was 70 years old and he told me that he ran the AR50 the last 20 years in a row and that it would be his last year because he was going to retire. Wouldn't you know it he is on this years roster. Whatever you decide to do I'm sure is best for you and I wish you the best either way. Daniel Ruxin Walnut Creek, CA

Michael B said...

my friend...i could not be more proud of you right now....i am increasingly amazed and concerned about a group of athletes i know of that simply will not make the kind of brave decision you have just made. they insist they have to run even while admitting they're dead tired, burnt out etc. i am formulating a blog about the importance of smart training (including rest)...and your decision is a prime example of someone (imho) making the proper choice for the time. you rock! rest'll get the mojo back, i know!