This post has been brewing for several weeks.
Back in June when my mom gifted me with registration for Harbison, I was beyond excited. I couldn’t wait to run it. I had big plans for a super fast marathon (with an aggressive training plan) and then continuing to build up to the 50k.
We know how that went.
Fast forward to the marathon. After a highly successful PR I had no desire to jump back in immediately to 20+ mile long runs. That’s what I needed to do to prepare for the race though.
All three long runs (including today) felt like a slog. I was starting to dread my Saturday long runs. I hated that and kept hoping that the next run would be better.
Besides that, I’ve wanted to run fast for a long time. April was the last time I felt like I could run fast. It killed me last week to not be able to race the 5k. I wanted so bad to run hard but I couldn’t. With Harbison in the training plan, the next race that I could really “race” would have been the Hilton Head Half Marathon.
Today I set out for my first non-race trail run. I had 21 miles on the plan. I planned on running instead. The first loop contained a variety of emotions. I felt strong to start yet frustrated because I’m still really green when it comes to trails. The weather and scenery were gorgeous but I kept doing the math in my head and it looked like I would have to do 4 loops.
That was the final straw. I got back to my car feeling defeated and not knowing if I would be able to execute 3 more loops. I also thought ahead to what would have been my longest run, 24 miles, and couldn’t imagine doing 5 loops.
For almost the entire first mile of the second loop I went over the pros and cons. Mom already spent the money on the race entry. I bought trail shoes (with my nearly non-existent income). I’d told so many people that I would be running this race.
Then I just stopped. (Not physically, I kept running.) I stopped the mental debate and said out loud: “I’m not running Harbison.”
As soon as I made the decision I felt so much lighter. I started to get excited about the possibilities, all the doors that opened up now that I wasn’t committed to the ultra. I felt so much better mentally about the whole run. That indescribable feeling returned; I started enjoying my run and making plans.
I’ll be running a little less but not that much less. I have specific fast PR goals. I want to go sub 23:xx for a 5k. I want to go sub 1:50:xx for a half marathon. The races I have in mind? Greenville News Run Downtown 5k and the Hilton Head Half Marathon
The prospect of spending this afternoon searching for aggressive 5k and half marathon training plans is thrilling.
What about that dream of running an ultra? It’s still there. Right now though, it’s someone else’s dream. When the time’s right I’ll sign up again and make it my own.