Written yesterday afternoon (April 14)
Today I gave myself permission to quit. I don’t often quit things. I usually see it (whatever “it” may be) through to the end. Most of the time that works well for me, but sometimes it does not. Sometimes I follow through just because I think I have to, because I have this strong desire to follow the rules – to do the “right” thing. Today, though, I decided to give that up (in this situation, at least!).
When a friend of mine told me she was running the Indy Mini Half Marathon this spring I got the urge to sign up. I had decided awhile back that I wasn’t going to run half marathons for the foreseeable future. But, when I saw there were still openings, I went for it. Maybe I wanted to prove that I could still do it? Maybe I wanted a goal to work toward? I’m not quite sure of my motivation. I just know that I signed up.
However, I think I was a little over confident about my capabilities. For some reason I had it in my head that since I’ve run 10 half marathons, I could run this one too – even though I hadn’t been training or even running much. I figured: I’ve done this before, I can do it again.
That’s true to some degree. When I did it before, I ran 3-4 times a week for several months. When I did it before, I was pretty regimented about my schedule. Looking back, I wonder what I was thinking when I signed up for this race! I haven’t run consistently for just under a year. I purposely walked most of last fall and didn’t start adding runs to my exercise until late November. The longest run I’ve done was 6 miles in March – on a cool (cold!) morning. None of these things suggest that I was ready to run a half marathon in early May.
But, I held on – I signed, I paid, I’m running. Today I went out to run 8 miles. I felt confident as I walked out the door then noticed how warm it was. Over 70 degrees – that’s really hot for me when it comes to running. I prefer 35-45 degrees. I started running and knew right away that this was going to be a very long 8 miles! I pushed myself to run the first 2 miles without walking. I did it, but it was hard. I could feel myself overheating, my legs getting heavy and overall fatigue setting in. After 2 miles I walked awhile, then picked back up the faster pace. I could do it, but it didn’t feel good. I started to wonder why I was forcing myself to do this…
Over the last few weeks I tried to take Denali out on a few runs with me. She used to join me for all my training runs, but within the last couple years she’s had some issues that kept her from running. These last two runs we tried together didn’t go very well. Instead of pulling me along, like she normally did, I was pulling her and I didn’t like that. By the time we reached a mile, I knew I had to stop. I don’t know if she’s out of shape or too hot or what, but running doesn’t seem to be her thing right now. I don’t want to miss out on opportunities with her because of running. I’d rather walk every day for however long and give up running completely if it means I get to share that time with Denali. Trying to walk with her and train for a race just wasn’t working for me.
I also love going to yoga class. I try to get to 3-4 a week. Some are during the day and a few are at night. Running before yoga means my legs are shot for poses like Warrior 2 or anything that requires balancing. And, when I get home from yoga, the last thing I want to do is rev up my heart rate and get my mind racing again. I’d rather practice yoga several times a week – it’s good for my body, and for now, it’s better for my mind than running.
I really enjoy sewing. My quilting business seems to have taken a backseat right now, which I’m really fine with. That just leaves me more time to work on new blocks and quilts for me! Sewing gives me a creative outlet that I need. I enjoy blending fabrics together to create something new – something never created before. I enjoy learning new skills and practicing on projects that are just for me. And, I enjoy creating quilts for others – I’ve got a few custom projects coming up in the next month or so and I like having open space in my days to work on those. Creativity is more important to me than running right now.
Plus, there’s Brad and my family and friends and our amazing deck and my flowerbeds and reading and my job…
I gave myself permission to cut the run down to 6 miles instead of 8. Then I gave myself permission to walk more than run. I started thinking about all the things I’d rather be doing than running and I realized, this isn’t working.
I sent my husband this text at 2:40 pm, just after I got past the 2 mile mark:
“Made myself run 2 without walking. Past 2 but it’s hot! Can’t decide if I want you to encourage me to do this or give me permission to let it go…”
After I sent that I realized I don’t need permission from anyone to let this go. If it’s not working for me, it’s okay to stop. There’s no rule that says I have to run a race that I signed up for. There’s no one waiting to ridicule me for quitting. If I need permission, I just need to ask myself.
15 minutes later I decided and sent this text to Brad:
“I’ve decide to give MYSELF permission not to do this.” Followed by lots of emojis! 🙂
I have so many wonderful things in my life that I enjoy – that make me really happy. At one time running was one of those things. I loved the feeling of doing something I never thought I could do. I loved knowing that people were surprised I had taken up running. I loved reaching the unbelievable goal of running 10 half marathons! However, the time as passed. It may not be over. There may be a time in my life when running is “fun” again, but for now, it’s not, so I’m not doing it. I’d rather walk with my baby dog or find stillness in yoga or create in my sewing room or have a glass of wine on the deck with those I love or… almost anything other than run!
It felt good to end my training plan on the app I was using – I felt confident when I pushed “END MY PLAN.” I felt relieved. That in itself told me a lot.
I often look to others to give me permission. I’m grateful to learn today that the only one I need to ask permission from is myself.