When I decided to run the Paris Marathon last fall, I did so for two main reasons: I was all hopped up on the running junk after the NYC Marathon and wanted to try another and wanted to try and go faster, and I wanted an excuse to go to Paris.
As the fall turned into winter though, I found I was less psyched for running. I turned my attention to skiing and, whether from exhaustion or lack of training, or over-training, or who knows, I found that whenever I did run, I had a bad run. I never felt good, either during the jog or after. I know for many people that's always the case, but for me running is usually something that makes me feel better; it gives me a real boost.
The more this happened, the more I dreaded my runs. The more I dreaded, the less I ran, until the cycle fed upon itself, culminating in a very difficult and long Brooklyn Half-Marathon last month. I told myself it was because I was tired (true) and that once I got some rest, I'd have great runs again (false). That hasn't been the case, and though I thought I'd "turn around" here in Paris, I haven't. I dreaded running from the moment I got here, and I was seriously beginning to dread 26.2 miles of Paris Marathon on April 10th.
So I decided a couple days ago that I wouldn't run the marathon. And just like that, the anxiety lifted. I'm not a good quitter, and it was *really* hard for me to allow myself to make this decision. In fact I can't recall a time where I've ever done something like this before. I'm pretty confident I could have finished the marathon, because I'm obstinate and can push through all kinds of nearly-incapacitating physical pain (thanks Tufts Crew!) but it seemed rather perverse to do something when clearly my body repeatedly was telling me not to.
More importantly, I want to love running. It's something that — not to sound too overly dramatic but it's true — has really sustained me during some very difficult dark periods of my life. And I didn't want to lose that.
So I'm back to running for fun, and I'm looking forward to some spring and summer fun races, where I hope to get the good feelings back and find the love again. I'll still be out there on Sunday, but I'll be cheering instead of perspiring. I'll be offering encouragement because I know what it's like to put in all the training and see it pay off on the big day, and the feeling that gives you. I've run 26.2 miles before, and I'll do it again. But I just won't do it this Sunday. And that's OK.