Monday, April 18, 2011

Why I won't run another marathon (and why I probably will)

When I started training in January for my third full marathon, I decided this is probably going to be my last one... at least for a while.  While I've been taking a "break" every May through December (and by "break" I mean only running half marathons), I've spent the last three Januarys-Aprils in the thick of training.  I'll shamelessly admit that I'm absolutely addicted to running marathons; I love the discipline it gives me, and there's nothing like the sense of accomplishment after completing a long run. And, um, not to mention those high-inducing endorphins.
But, the picture is not always as rosy as it sounds.  As I'm coming to the end of my third training season, I'm considering hanging up the compression sleeves, foam rollers, and packs of GU, and here's why:

The Time:  Training for a full marathon sucks an extraordinary amount of clock. Between running, cross-training, properly resting, and obsessing about every detail of training runs and race day, marathoning becomes all-consuming for four months. This is why we marathoners tend to stick together... because no one else can stand us.

The Toll:  I'm going to be 35 years old this September (gasp!), and while some people run marathons well into their 80s, I've come to the surprising concusion that I am not actually superwoman.  My knees are creakier and my hips are sorer than they used to be, and while some of that is my age, some of it is surely due to what I've put my body through these last few years.  Any sport that you do a lot makes you susceptible to overuse injuries, and I don't want to end up having an injury that completely takes me out of running. 

Everything Else: While I'm sure that distance running will always be a part of my life, I've got other interests right now that I've been unable to take full advantage of due to my training schedule.  I'd love to offer more Zumba classes, and am hoping to start focusing on that project once the race is over.  Plus, I've forgotten what it's like to just go out and have a few drinks with friends without worrying about getting up the next morning, so there will be a concerted fun-having effort over the course of the upcoming summer.

Regardless of my resolve, the reasons above may not be enough to stop me from signing up for this journey again next January.  Despite all the sacrifices I've made and setbacks I've experienced, I wouldn't change a thing.  After all, I'm an addict.

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