Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Difficult, Necessary Announcement

So I have an announcement that may come as a bit of a shock, but I ask that you guys hear me out and be kind, especially since I'm also going to be talking about some very private, painful stuff going on in my life.  As of today, I made the decision to drop from the full marathon to just the half marathon in Seattle this November.  It was a very difficult, stressful decision that wasn't made lightly.  In fact, I had a complete breakdown yesterday at the thought of so publicly "failing" and potentially disappointing family, friends, readers and of course myself.  But in my heart I know it's the right decision, and though I am afraid of being a disappointment, the relief I felt when I finally decided to drop to the half far outweighs any fear or shame.

Since I have so publicly spoken about my running and made such a big deal of things, I felt it only fair to go more into detail about the "whys".  I am not looking for sympathy, I just think it may give you guys some insight into why I had to make this decision.

Part of what factored into my decision is my body.  It's no secret that my body has not held up as well during this training cycle as it has in past training.  I've fought plantar fasciitis, this adductor muscle, back issues and a host of other little aches and pains that have made training difficult.  I am 100% confident that my body can endure a half marathon, but I honestly am not optimistic over my chances on surviving a full.  But my injuries are a very small part of what factored into my decision.

I have given a very vague overview of the personal family troubles I am currently going through, and while I have been careful about keeping things very private  and vague, I think it's time for me to further elaborate about what is going on because I think it will help you understand where my head has been and why I came to the decision to drop down.  (Hopefully my family isn't mortified that I am about to share this, but I feel it's the right thing to do).  It is taking a LOT for me to tell you what I'm about to tell you, so again, please be kind.  I believe when I last spoke about this, I told you guys that we found out shocking things about a family member and that I was dealing with the decision of going no contact with them.  Well, the long and short of it, this family member is my dad.  I can't get super specific, but we found out that not only is my dad not the man we thought he was, but he has been living a double life that ain't exactly a good life.  Even if I did tell you specifics, you wouldn't believe me, it's that insane.  We originally thought it was a mental health crisis, but it's not, it's just apparently who he is.  It has been devastating, and it has gutted all of us.  The only way I can describe the experience is that it's like my dad died in a sudden accident, and frankly in some ways that would be easier for me and the family because we could understand that.  If someone dies in a car accident or cancer, you grasp the basic logic of that and there is a finality to it.  But this, there is nothing about it to understand, it is never ending, and we literally don't know what's going to happen day to day.  Sometimes it's hour to hour.  As of this week, my mother has officially filed for divorce, which was really the only option she had given the circumstances, but doesn't make it any less painful for her and for us.  They just celebrated their 50 year anniversary in August, if that gives you any idea of what an absolute shocking mindfuck this is.

For the past two months, I wake up not knowing what the day holds.  There have been days where I was terrified that the next phone call I was going to get was to tell me that my dad, my mom or both were dead if you get my drift.  There are days where that is still a legitimate concern.  This situation is the first thing I think of in the morning, and the last thing on my mind when I lay my head down at night.  I have been 100% focused on my family, which means countless texts a day and anywhere from 1-3 phone calls a day trying to help them through this.  It's what I have to do and I am happy to support my family, but there are days where it definitely is overwhelming and numbing.  On top of that, I am coping with the fact that my dad does not love his family, does not want us and really wants nothing to do with us.  My dad literally has no interest in talking to me and isn't bothered by not talking to me.  Some days I am able to deal with that, and some days I feel like a heartbroken 6 year old who simply doesn't understand what she did wrong.  I have done my best to have a stiff upper lip, and have frankly done too good of a job at it, because I have simply stuffed my feelings away until I simply snapped yesterday during what was supposed to be my long run.

My training has immensely suffered in this situation, simply because I don't know when I'm getting calls and have to help my family, and I am now officially under-trained for the marathon.  Lately I have run about once a week.  I have not run any further than 14 miles, which obviously is great for a half, but not so great for a marathon that is 6 weeks away.  My head and heart are not into the marathon anymore, and frankly, it is just one more thing I feel pressure over in my life.  Going out and running on Saturdays has filled me with anger and resentment, and thinking about the marathon fills me with dread.  Yesterday I made it to mile 3 and suddenly was like, "I don't want to do this."  Then I started sobbing on the sidewalk.  Then I rage vented to my ladies group and confessed to them what I've known deep down for a month...that I didn't want to do this marathon.  I went one more mile, and then officially quit.  I had a larger breakdown at home to Eric, and confessed it all.  How tired I was, how resentful I was, how scared I was of getting hurt but how I was scared people would think I was a loser and be disappointed in me.  I had a complete, hyperventilating breakdown for over an hour, and basically every feeling I'd stuffed away came to the surface at once.  So once I dried my tears, I knew I had decisions to make.

I had to think about why I signed up for the marathon and whether those reasons still existed, and if I was still running it for the right reasons.  I knew I could still do my best to train with the remaining weeks I had, but did I want to?  Was I having a bad day, or was this something else all together?  I thought about the last month, how angry I was every time I had to go run, how tired I felt, and how lately I NEVER feel good about myself when I finish.  During the summer when it was hell on earth, I was running and gutting out some of the worst weather, but finishing feeling like I could take on the world.  Now I start feeling defeated and finish feeling defeated despite making great improvements in my pace.  I had to admit that I am deeply, deeply depressed over everything that has happened and that I was clinging to this marathon not because I wanted to run it, but it was the last scrap of my old "normal" life before everything went to hell.  I was trying to pretend that my life is the same and that I could continue on like I wasn't under-trained and like my life wasn't falling apart.  I was also trying to wave the banner of "if I finish the marathon, it will prove to my dad that he can't defeat me!"  I finally realized I wasn't running this marathon anymore because of me, my health or any personal gain for myself.

I'm not going to lie, dropping to the half is like having a 2 ton weight lifted off of me.  I do have sadness and disappointment, because I wanted to be that person, the person who overcomes the odds and serves as a positive model for others.  While running a half marathon is a shit ton of work and a great of accomplishment, a tiny part of me feels like I'm taking the "easy" way out.  I hope that others don't see it like that, and I hope people keep reading me.  At the end of the day, I guess all it amounts to is that I'm running 13.1 less miles than we thought I would.   And at least now I won't have to worry about injury.  For the first time in awhile, I feel a flicker of enthusiasm for getting my training back on track, especially since I'm trained up to the half distance already.  Things are calming down and getting back to regular training runs is feasible.  I feel happiness and excitement for the trip to Seattle with my aunt, uncle and Eric because I love them all so much and I know we'll have a blast.  Most importantly, I don't feel dread the thought of running.  And that was what hurt me most of all, was that I did dread it.  Running has saved me in so many ways, and I never want it to be a point of resentment.  Feeling that pride, enthusiasm and warmth again feels good and right.

Anyway folks, sorry for the data dump, hopefully it was not too much family dramz, but I felt that I owed readers a bigger picture of why I'm doing the half as opposed to the full.  It's also some insight into why I haven't blogged much lately, because it's incredibly difficult to be all "tee hee, random things!" when this stuff is going on.  Thanks for listening/reading.

2 comments:

  1. Not a doubt in my mind that you are definitely doing the right thing. Much love to you.

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  2. So sorry to hear you are having to deal with such drama and despair. Hopefully, time will make it not hurt so much.

    I think the fact that you even made it to running double digits despite it all and continue to train is a real milestone. Most would have just curled up and quit and it would have been understandable to anyone.

    The fact that you recognized that you were only running the marathon because you felt you didn't want to let your readers down is a huge thing. You shouldn't care about what your readers think. It's your life. Do as you please.

    Dreading training for something is a sure fire way to get hurt and make you hate the sport you love so much. Since you said you felt a two ton weight off your shoulders for dropping to the half, you know you are doing the right thing. NO REGRETS. And a half marathon is nothing to slouch at and is still quite an accomplishment. It's 13 miles for crying out loud. That's a lot!

    Maybe next year, try for the full. Just play it by ear, but this year, just go in and KICK ass on the half and don't feel like it's not as good. Maybe one weekend, you will find events with back to back half marathons. You could train for that instead.

    As they say, when one door closes, a better one opens or something like that. Who knows what lies ahead for your next accomplishment.

    Thanks for sharing. Have fun in Seattle and just race your race for you. We will still be hear to read all about when it's over and don't think anything less of you for whatever choices you make.

    Hang in there.

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