It’s only been three months since my last half-marathon. It was hot and hilly and even though I’d done that race five times prior, I distinctly remember shuffling up Juniper Street around Mile 10 and thinking to myself that I don’t want to do this anymore.
I’m honestly smiling here because I stopped for a second and am not running.
I’ve always had those types of thoughts after a race, but usually after a few months, I find myself signing up for another half. By the time I sign up, I’ve forgotten how much I hated those last few miles and how much I cursed myself for signing up. Again. But this time feels different. Maybe it was because it was half-marathon number ten and ten seems like a good stopping point. Or maybe I’ll get the urge again, but as of now, I don’t feel it.
I’m still running but the distances are much, much shorter. I’ve been doing lots of 2-mile interval runs, alternating between sprinting and walking. I’ve been doing some steady paced 3-mile runs. But that’s really it as far as running. As far as other workouts, I’ve been doing a lot: spinning, various classes at the gym, some weights, my Core Fusion DVD, my Shred DVD. I’m still working out five days a week, but not running so much.
When I ran a marathon back in 2007, lots of people asked me if I would do another. I wavered back and forth for years. First saying definitely not, then saying maybe, before realizing that it was probably a once in a lifetime experience for me. I’ve never really thought of myself as a marathoner. Half-marathoner, yes. Marathoner, no.
What I’m sort of struggling with right now, is how to redefine how I think of myself these days. Instead of half-marathoner, I’m simply a runner. Or am I just someone who runs?
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with people who run shorter races or people who just run as a form of cardio. My first half-marathon was in 2005. So for seven years, being a half-marathoner has been a part of my identity and a big one at that. So when I decided that I didn’t really want to do another one anytime soon, I almost felt like I was losing a part of myself.
I’m not sure why I was initially drawn to the 13.1 distance. My first half was actually the first race that I ran period. I think it was just to see if I could do it. I didn’t know if I could. I’m not a naturally athlete person. I have bad form. I’m inherently lazy. But I proved to myself that I could do it. I proved it ten times over. Somewhere along the line it went from being this crazy thing that I was doing to what I do. And what do I do if I don’t do it anymore?