Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Are You Done Yet?

For a few years, I would open my email the day after Columbus Day to see an email from my uncle. "Congratulations," it would say. He'd read in the paper that I'd completed the Chicago Marathon. In his short-but-sweet email he would conclude with "Are you done yet?" as to ask the million dollar question - Have I decided to stop running marathons. 

My reply was usually less brief, but went on to say thank you for the email and I wasn't ready to quit just yet. After all, there was certainly something to take home from that weekend's race. Something that could make me a better/stronger/quicker runner. I wouldn't want to miss out on a chance to have next year be "my" year, would I?

I'm sure my post race thought process isn't all that different from the masses who run marathons these days. To run just one marathon is a life accomplishment. But to run another, well, now you have everything you learned from that first race at your disposal for what will probably be an even better race. Right? 

A few years ago, I thought long and hard about marathon retirement. I'd run five races. What else did I have left to prove? The question that was posed to me then was, "Are you prepared to be on the sidelines?" Well, I hadn't thought of it that way. I'll admit, it seemed quite foreign. 

Last year, Jeff and I ran two marathons two weeks apart. I finished Chicago within a few minutes of my PR and the Marine Corps Marathon was an experience I know I'll never forget. At the end of October last year I found myself wondering what, if anything, marathoning still had for me. There was one thing I did know - I needed a break. A six or eight week break turned into most of winter. Before I knew it, it was March and I'd barely ran since November. 

Eventually I did hit the road again. I gradually increased my mileage in the spring to prepare me for early June - the beginning of marathon training. 

During this time, I started experience a tightness in my hamstring and IT band. It would come and go, so I kept along with my running and yoga regimine. Until a few weeks ago when I felt a noticable difference while doing handstand kick ups in yoga. This was no longer business as usual. I've done my best to carry on as normal, hoping the injury (gasp) would mend on it's own. But this week I know that it's time for the physical therapist. 

I'm willing to bet, based on previous PT experience, that I'll be banned from running and yoga for a few weeks. This is the news I didn't want to hear and why I have gone up until this point carrying on training with an injury. I can't stand sitting around.

So what does this mean for the yoga studio and the two marathons I've signed up for this year? There's really no way to tell now. For the time being, I'll have some time to catch up on Netflix. As June turns into July or August, I'll need to make a judgement call. 

I may find myself telling my uncle that I am in fact done with marathoning after all. 

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