I do and I don’t…

This weekend I made a difficult decision, one which many runners face sooner or later. I decided to withdraw from my A-race, the Manchester Marathon.

Why? The long and short of it is that I haven’t put in enough training and my body is not ready for it. I still have a bunch of niggles in my left leg. And I don’t think that my head is in the right place.

The reason I’ve not put in enough training? Again, there are several, but mainly life has been too busy for me. Happily, we are planning our wedding and the early part of this year was spent celebrating this quite a bit! (hic!) It was great fun but my training took a hit. Then illness struck, other commitments took priority, flooding made many of my regular routes impassable (I know this one is more an excuse than a reason) and all of a sudden it’s five weeks to go and I haven’t been able to nail a decent long run.

I had thought that doing a good 15-miler this weekend might offer me a chance of getting to the start line. But my leg was painful from my glute down to my ankle from two miles in. I only managed 8.5 miles before I had to quit in tears, knowing that – realistically – this was all over. I sat down on the pavement and then a dog came and did a poo next to me. That summed it up really.

One motivator I focused on was that the marathon training would help me get into shape for the big day in August, but if I keep on running with these niggles, I could make them worse. I’ve seen it happen. And then running could be off the table for those vital months in the run up to the wedding. I need to be able to keep fit to get into that dress of mine!

I was upset yesterday. I have not enjoyed running in quite a few months. But I feel I have failed. And as I watched all my running club mates knocking PBs out of the park at the Reading Half yesterday, I longed for that feeling of determination once again. I know it will return, but for now I have other things to focus on. I will enjoy supporting my fiancé as he takes on Manchester and without feeling too much regret. It would’ve been lovely to both complete the race in the year of our wedding, but the sensible choice is to leave it to him. And this way he stays ahead of me in the marathon medal tally ;)

Now I need a new plan. Shorter distances for a while. Something more manageable. Perhaps work on my 5k time. Eventually I hope this will lead to a sub 1:50 half. And I need something that won’t wipe out half the weekend and leave me limping.

So marathons and I are separating for a while. And as it happens, now that the pressure is off, I feel like a weight has been lifted and I am actually looking forward to training on my own terms again. Just because I want to. I’ve missed that feeling.