When quitting is the stronger decision

I discovered ultrarunning a little over a year ago. I absolutely love it. It challenges me to grow as a person. Physically, mentally, spiritually. Racing is an opportunity to ride the journey and achieve a goal. In ultrarunning, that goal isn’t always a guarantee. But the journey there is. Each training cycle, I learn.

In the last few days of June, I suffered a miscarriage. It broke my heart and wrecked my world. When I began to heal, I made the decision to sign up for a 100k. The same 100k I had a dnf at last year. I decided to train and run the race in honor of baby Sage. Have to admit that i also wanted redemption.

Crossing the frozen bridge at Devil Dog in 2016

I felt that I slowly eased back into running. Pretty much all easy miles. With the goal in mind. I knew that I needed to up my mental game and strive towards finishing. I had built back up to 20 mile long runs on the weekend. I did a run walk. I went slow (for me). I was doing well…or so I thought.

The wheels began to fall off. I woke up and could barely walk. The joints and tendons in my feet felt awful. It was the oddest thing. I noticed that it was all over. Joints in my elbows, hands, hips. I was exhausted too. I tried to run a few days later and it was ugly. This continued and after a week I went to the dr.

Don’t believe the hat, I was totally NOT stoked

She thought I may have had Lyme disease. She ran tests. I went back 3 weeks later. Still having symptoms. I was so upset. I didn’t know what was happening. She then thought I had Hashimoto’s. In fact, she was pretty sure of it. I decided that I was a mess. I even told the doctor that. “ I am a mess. A big hot mess.”

Talked to some friends. Got fed up. Got more results saying that nothing was wrong from the doctor. More internet research. More head spinning. More. More. More. Until one day, I woke up and said that I cannot do this anymore. I took some time off. I cleaned up my diet. I restarted meditating. I did yoga. I crosstrained. I started taking some extra vitamins.

I started to feel better. A lot better mentally. Sometimes, you have to just let go. Another call from the doctor that the latest round of tests showed nothing wrong. That is what I figured would happen. I was happy with that, but frustrated. Confirmed to me that I needed to make self care a priority.

In the last 20 years, I have been pregnant and or nursing for 16 3/4 of them. I just added it all up. Crazy. That takes its toll on a body! Yes it is all worth it and I love them dearly. But, for that time, I haven’t really made self care a priority. My only version of it has been taking up running the last 5 years ;). Which is helpful but can cause it’s own kind of stress on a body. Add in the stress of life, and being the strong mom through it and ….boom.

Didn’t listen to the whispers of my body. Not until is started screaming. That is my theory. That I have run myself into the ground in almost every way. Taking some time to take care of my body, mind, and soul is what needs to be the priority now.

But what about the races? Especially the big one this year, the 100k? Thought long and hard. The pressure of the race is something that I just cannot handle at the moment. As much as I want to do it. As hard of an email that it was to write…. I dropped out. I still have a few races I plan to run. They were set up as training races for the big one. So not the same pressure. The others have no benefit to dropping early either. I will just take it one day at a time. Heal up and if I feel up to running them, I will. If not, I will have a DNS or two.

Planning and unsure of the path to go down.

At the moment, I don’t feel relief and I don’t feel happy about it. But, I do feel that it is the right decision for me for now. In this case, the braver decision. The tougher decision. The path I didn’t want to take. Quitting. Goes against my grain. I am hoping it is a step in my complete healing. There is always next year.