It’s been two months since I’ve laid my Garmin to rest. It’s buried somewhere deep in the mess of my bottom desk drawer. The date by which it will be dug out is TBD--to be determined! I haven’t even entertained the thought of rescuing it from this idle state it has not been victim of since it was taken from its package in 2009. But, the current negligence of my Garmin does not devalue the meaning that this advanced piece of running equipment has for me. It has a bigger place in my running heart than any pair of running shoes I own. It has been my consistent training buddy for the past four years, by my side through the thick and thin. We have been inseparable and I have the utmost gratitude for the guidance it has provided me. This bulky device, resembling an Inspector Gadget watch, has been there with me through it all, always leaving behind a nice tan line on my right wrist that has served as a constant reminder of the glorious journey. I couldn’t escape the memory of every hard tempo run, blistering speed work session, beautiful long run, and heart-pounding race of every distance that I conquered in the rain, snow, sleet, and bright sunshine thanks to my Garmin. It has challenged me to be the best runner I can be, beeping at me when I’m going to slow and shining at me when I’m coasting to a P.R. But my Garmin has provided me more than just record of my mileage and pace throughout my runs. It has also been a token of the people that have supported me, as it was a gift for my 27th birthday from my dear sister Kristin who has been by my side throughout all of the peaks and valleys of my running career. With this heavy watch weighing on my wrist, I always had this light, uplifting reminder of the good people with me helping me reach my goals. I truly believe my Garmin, for all of these reasons, has transformed me into the runner I am today. As I have made the decision to take a step back in my marathon training, giving it time to rest has been just as important of a decision as the first time I put it on. It has forced me to take the necessary step back my body has been begging for, and have since fully committed myself to a marathon training break.
I’ve been spending this fall focusing on the positive and moving past the negative, which includes supporting my running friends as they accomplish their big goals. I’ve been spectating races where I can and in some cases hopping onto the course to give a few friends the extra “boost” they needed to get to the finish line. I’ve been following the leaderboards of races at home, watching in awe as my running buddies move their way into the next phases of their phenomenal running careers. What had me most inspired this fall was witnessing my students defy the impossible and put it all on the line to win their local division in Cross Country for the first time. This fall has been awesome. I have not been able to feel anything but excited, happy, and above-and-beyond inspired to turn this hiatus I’m on into something great!
Although I’m not training, my running has not discontinued. But, it’s a different kind of running than what I’ve been committed to for the past four years. It’s running by leisure, enjoyment, and exercise. It’s about clearing my head and staying in shape. It’s about learning how to be okay with getting out there, and not worrying about the potential for passing out. The fear and anxiety I thought would never go away is slipping away, run after run. I’m dreaming again, step-by-step, of the possibilities of the future. I’m getting myself set up to re-learn the comfort in discomfort so I can I reach the goals God has set out for me.
In the meantime, the “building the new” as I mentioned in my last blog post isn’t as aggressive as those who know me would expect. I’m focusing on just “being” for a while. I am chilling out from this need for constant accomplishment, and am just “being" the best teacher, sister, daughter, aunt, friend and pseudo-coach I can be. I LOVE sharing my running experiences and knowledge with my friends as they are reaching their running goals and LOVE the extra time I have to just “be.” I feel great, am healthy, and haven’t had a migraine since September!
As I have been taking the back seat over these past few months, I’ve done a great deal of reflecting on my running accomplishments. Although I have great pride in all that I’ve done, I know in my heart that there is more out there for me. I have successfully conquered the distance, but I believe my lack of recovery in between marathons has left me at a point of mediocrity in my performance. I’m very proud to I have run 9 Boston Qualifying marathons in such a short period of time, but BQing is now an outdated goal for me. In fact, running a sub 3:20 is an outdated goal for me. If I’m going to run another marathon, I want it to be a true challenge. I want to put my potential to the test, because I’m still unsure of exactly what that is. It’s TBD—to be determined! If I’m going to attempt this true challenge of my potential, I need to be completely prepared. To be completely prepared, I need to stay true to my break until I’m fully ready to give all of myself to the challenge. I need to be healthy, physically and mentally, and cognizant of the mistakes I’ve made in the past that have lead me to the E.R. The days of training alone are over, and if I am going to attempt big goals it’s going to be with a coach or knowledgeable, experienced training partners. I do not believe I can do what I want to without the guidance of others to get me there. And if I’m not going to do it right, there’s no point in doing it all. My Garmin has been a great training buddy, and I plan on wiping off the dust on it when I begin my training journey again, but it can’t be my sole trainer. If I train for another marathon, I am committed to making it a completely different type of experience and doing it right.
I don’t have a time stamp on my hiatus. I just want to continue to “be” for a while, and when the time feels right I will make my moves. I went from a 4:29 marathoner to a 3:18 marathoner in just one year, and know that I have the potential to do something really awesome if I do it right. The great things that come in life only happen when you are willing to take risks. Risks are so much more worth taking when you know that there will always be people there to catch you when you fall. Thank you to everyone for all of your support throughout the turbulence of my running journey. I couldn’t have done it without you!
The Garmin will stay at rest for the time being. The future is TBD. And for now, I’ll continue on just “being” MP. ;-)