I have completed two marathons—a trail marathon and a road marathon. I’ve always wanted to say that. Yesssss!
Now that I’ve decided I won’t do another marathon this year, I’ve started to think ahead.
Will I do another marathon next year?
I’ve been wrestling with my feelings. The truth is, and I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone who reads my stuff—I don’t identify as a marathoner.
I came to loathe the long runs and the monotony of training, especially when it meant leaving my family for half the weekend, only to return home exhausted and in need of recovery time that with four kids I couldn’t afford to take. I never want to see, smell, or eat another sour/sweet, disgusting, make me pucker my nose and gag-Sport Bean. I want to burn the geometric shorts I’m wearing in nearly every photo on this blog. I didn’t like having to work so hard at hydration and was always battling electrolyte imbalance and nausea. I missed having time to lift weights.
I think the tendency for distance runners is to progressively run longer races, in search of the next challenge, until you’re a bearded, kale-eating forest-child doing ultra distances, disenchanted with society, and running shoeless off into the mist never to be seen again.
I’ve been running so many years one would think the progression to marathoner would have been natural.
I loved the bragging rights. Eating with abandon was awesome. I enjoyed experimenting fueling with unprocessed foods. The muscle definition in my legs was sharp. I liked the banter with my running buddy. Ordering a custom shirt to race in was fun, as was interacting with people during the race that noticed it. I felt a sense of accomplishment, checking something off my Dad’s bucket list that he was unable to do.
There were some things I liked, for sure. But in my heart, the negatives outweighed the positives.
I’m irritated by this! I want to be a marathoner! It’s more hardcore than being a half marathon runner… isn’t it? It should be my next step! Why doesn’t it feel right, then? And what does not doing marathons say about my identity as a runner? Does it make me less of one? Am I weak? If I kept doing them would I eventually come to like them?
I don’t know yet, but I think it’s important to listen to yourself, and I think quite possibly…I’m a runner that just doesn’t want to be a marathoner.