Can I Really Just Walk Away? Need Advice, Please

After running the Country Music Marathon in 5:17 during the freak heat wave last April, I wasn't one of those people who said, "Never again." I said, "I want ANOTHER SHOT at this marathon thing so I can see what I can really do." I trained harder, longer, and smarter from July through December. I shaved over 2 minutes off my half-marathon time. Then two days before the race, I got bronchitis.

It appears to me I have two options--- just walk away from 5 months of training without running a marathon OR find a new one to run.

Can I really just walk away without closure? I ran 528 miles during 5 months of training. I ran 140 miles in October alone.

If I have to have CLOSURE, I have a few options. However, if I do re-enter the training phase after 3 weeks of taper and mentally "finishing" with the training, I wonder if I can regain my marathon mojo?


A. In two weeks, I could do the Jacksonville, FL marathon. It's the closest race that still has slots open. Five weeks is a little long for taper, so this week I would run a couple of 5-milers and on Friday, I would run a 12-14 miler. This would involve airfare, hotel, and car rental.

B. On February 14, the Mercedes Marathon is in Birmingham, AL, and is less than 4 hours away--definitely drivable. Unfortunately, I'd have 11 more weeks of marathon training. After 20 weeks. That's a 31-week training period. I'd have to do another 20-miler, plus at least a 16-miler and 18-miler sometime in December and January. Since my friends just completed their marathon and need a little recovery time, I may be running solo.

C. Take a little break over the holidays. Let my body and mind recover from marathon training because the TRAINING is really the hard part. Just run some half-marathons in the spring and plan for a fall marathon in 2010. Starting from scratch.

In the midst of all this, there is another factor: a little thing called BURNOUT. I'm on the precipice, but haven't fallen off. Yet.

SOME GOOD NEWS: (because I could use some!) I have a meeting on Tuesday with the YMCA to discuss my January half-marathon and 5K training groups! They want to add in a 3rd group---a kids' running group as well for a 1-mile fun run. Looks like I'll have a job as a running coach starting in late January/early February!


Lana said…
I've heard good things about the Jax Marathon, as long as you're not doing it just to run some marathon somewhere. Is your heart in it or are you burned out? Can you get excited about it or are you "over it"? My hubby Tom once told me that no training is ever wasted--it made you stronger and that's good whether or not you ever race. Options b or c give you a break (if you need one) and an opportunity to (re)assess what worked and what didn't about your training. It's definitely a learning process, this marathon thing.
I'd pick B, to give you time to get over the illness. But, most of all, I'd do whatever would be the most fun.

Next time, I'd add some tempo runs, if you haven't already. Running friends keep telling me how much tempo runs have helped them.

Glad you're feeling better!
Wendy said…
I think I'd run the Alabama marathon. This will give you some time to get better. Also, a flat course with less travel sounds really good!

Glad to hear you are feeling better!
katie said…
Hey there! I really enjoy reading your blog. I've been a runner forever (since 7th grade, I think), and I am always uplifted and energized by your positive spirit. If I were you, I'd wait. Let yourself heal. Bronchitis can REALLY linger if you over-do it with running and exercise. (At least that's what I found out a few years ago.) If you rest a bit, you'll probably find that you're rejuvenated and ready to face another marathon. So sorry that you were not able to run this weekend.
lawmonkey13 said…
The smart thing would probably be AL, but as anyone who knows me would say, I never pick the smart thing. If FL is doable, logistically and physically, I would do it. Sorry, but I'm dumb enough to do it. If you're willing to wait post-Christmas, it looks like the Springfield, MO marathon is still open. So I guess I'm saying the smart move is AL. The dumb (I call it gutsy) move is FL. Good luck either way!
Amy said…
I kinda think you should try to get into the Jax marathon. You've done all this training with a set goal in mind... and mentally I think it's important to follow-thru.

I believe there's a marathon in Jackson, MS on Jan 9. If you wanted to take a little extra time to get better. I'm not sure how far that is or if it's still open, but that might be an option, too?

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
stlrunnergirl said…
Run, run, run.
Lisa said…
I think you won't be satisfied until you run another marathon. Which one is up to you but I know if it were me, I would want to run one. You don't want all that training and hard work to be for nothing do you?
Anonymous said…
I missed out on two half marathons this fall because I over trained and got injured. It was hard to swallow at first, and I could have forced myself to try at least one of the events so that my efforts weren't 'wasted'.

As it turns out, the forced 'rest' and reduced mileage for 8 weeks ended up being the best thing that could have happened. Somehow I came out of this injury a stronger and faster runner (cross training!)

The fact that you are ill could be a sign of overtraining, body fatigue and burnout. You have to do what feels best for you, however my advice would be simply to truly 'listen' to what your body needs, not what it 'wants'.

Here's to better health soon!
mom2booandbobo said…
I love your blog! Just found it and have read from start to finish. Sorry about the bronchitis. You have trained so hard and i would hate for you to feel like you did it for nothing. Seeing as how i am from AL i would say go for the Mercedes run. I have personally never entered but hear it is an awesome race. Chin up and remember that everyone has ups and downs but running is just for you!