Tough Decisions

So, after months of anticipation, uncertainty, battling injury, and working my way slowly back to some semblance of a “normal” unbroken runner I finally confronted the fact that I have been faced with making a pretty big decision.  While mentally I am strong and want nothing more than to test my limits and see what I’m capable of, physically I am in the early stages of rebuilding and re-forming my strength, mobility, and endurance.  In essence…. mentally I’m running the VT 100 over and over again, coasting over hills in the woods, feeling like a virtual million bucks.  Physically, I’m in more of a “couch to 5k” place.  Yea….. not so good.  They need to match up at least a liiiiiiitttle bit in order to make this work.

This little tidbit has been floating around in the back of my head for quite some time (apparently that little pocket is where all of my “smart” and “reasonable” thoughts live.  Sometimes these thoughts get jostled loose and join the jumble of stubbornness, antibiotic dosing, and song lyrics that seems to fill up the rest of my brain-space.  Seriously, it’s a mess in there.  I also like to imagine that in addition to grey matter and white matter, I have some “hot pink” and/or “glitter” matter as well…. that’s the fabulous part :).)  

After dusting off my sense of reason (that took some seeeerious swiffer-ing), I had long talks with some smart people who are close to me and know what I’m capable of…. and what I’m not.  I hatched this grand idea of running 100 miles long before my running was brought to a grinding halt with the knee injury;  before truly assessing and recognizing what it would take for me to be ready to finish this race.  Now, after seeking out LOTS of help, I have been able to identify some weaknesses (both mental and physical), and am on the road to a better, stronger me.  

As I was very wisely told during the process of coming to terms with this decision, being tough is not about showing up on race day and slugging along in an attempt to keep my stubborn ego intact.  It is about making the right choices (which may be very difficult ones) in order to preserve the hard work I have done so far and give myself a chance to succeed in the long term.  I have many days, months, years of running and racing ahead of me, and I want to enjoy every second of them (as painful as some of it might be!)  I do NOT want to take 10 steps backward in my strength and function just to be able to say “I showed up and gave it a shot”.  Because really…. what a crap-ass shot that’s gonna be.

So, I have finally talked to myself, my family, my friends, my coach…. and am forgoing the VT 100 this year.  Disappointing?  yes, a little.  But more so than that… unexpectedly, it’s exciting.  I am in a place now where I can recognize that this is not “quitting” or “giving up”.  I am looking forward to continuing my training and seeing my gains without being worried about the losses I will cause myself in this race.  I’m looking ahead to the Fall, my faaaaaaavorite time to run (Summer = hot = ewwww) and the host of may of my favorite events.  I’m hoping to put together a strong rest of my running year and am looking forward to continuing to progress, grow, and set goals.  

So, VT 100 – ’till next time…. don’t worry, I’ll come for you eventually…. and watch out, I’ll be ready!

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