White Flag

Well….you might have guessed it….

I imagined this going differently, but I guess that is life.

I’ll still be running St. George; I’ll likely still try for the BQ–but, it will be without confidence, without expectation, without hope.

The last month has been a whirlwind. My kids both started school for the first time–my daughter in Kindergarten and my son in Pre-school. I went back to work, still teaching, but at a new school in a new district. All of this in the midst of the most rigorous training I’ve ever attempted.

I couldn’t do it.

And that’s really what it boils down to. I just couldn’t make it happen.

I know that many people have kids, have jobs, have training plans and somehow find a way to fit it all in. I thought I could be one of those people.

But I’m not.

Not right now.

The last couple of weeks have found me running three times a week. Three. Each week I would tell myself that I would prioritize my runs, each week I wouldn’t.

Last year in August I ran 153 miles. This year, for a “BQ attempt”–84.

After the second week, I e-mailed my coach and told her I was throwing in my white flag. It had nothing to do with her or her workouts. I love her and I love them. I loved the challenge, seeing paces I didn’t think I could..and doing them. But because I wasn’t doing ALL of the workouts, I knew I was only setting myself up for injury.

I’m not sure anymore… what my plans are. I’ll still run St. George, but I won’t be doing CIM. I don’t know if I’ll do Phoenix. I don’t know when my next marathon will be.

What I do know… is that life goes on.

I’ve had some pretty good races in the last year. I think it’s time I took a little break.


35 responses

  1. You should be really proud of how hard you have worked and how far you have come. I honestly think you might still surprise yourself. Just because you couldn’t fit in the entire plan as a whole, doesn’t mean that you haven’t made enough progress or that what you have been doing isn’t enough. You just never know. Be confident in what you have done so far. Be proud of the progress you have made. And don’t let yourself check out mentally. Go and have fun and just see what happens. You just never know. I think you are amazing!

  2. You will BQ, and you will run Boston, when the time is right! Taking a step back and taking the pressure off will make your runs (when you do run) more enjoyable. Have a blast at St George! I do miss seeing your running posts!

  3. Girl, I know how hard this must have been for you to write. You have come so incredibly far and take pride in all you have accomplished to this point. Realize how fast you can be and relish knowing you can get back there and beyond. Boston will always be here for you whenever is right for you. Enjoy the time with your littles. I still feel like you will thrown down at St. George.

    • Thank you so much! I try and tell myself exactly that–that I’ve glimpses of what I’m capable of and when the time is right, I can get there again and then some. I have hopes I can pull of a good St. George–a BQ is doubtful, but a PR would be absolutely amazing. I know what it’s like to not finish a race, so finishing would also be a major accomplishment.

  4. Your progression has been amazing and inspiring to follow…there’s no doubt you’ll get that BQ when the time is right and you have many many fabulous running and racing years in front of you. But, have fun at St George and who knows what might happen…best of luck and hopefully you’ll be able to keep us updated…take care!

  5. Training for a marathon is hard enough but when you add in kids and family and work, it can be too much. You’ll run Boston when you’re ready. I have no doubt about that. In the meantime, do what you can but don’t lose your love for running.

  6. Ditto what everyone else has said. I believe you have the skill and determination to BQ but understand that now might not be that time. There is nothing wrong with prioritizing your work and your kids instead of exhausting yourself by sticking to an arduous training plan. When I started grad school last fall, it disrupted my training plan completely. Life has a way of doing that, but fortunately running will still be there when you’re ready to make your return.

    • Did you finish the training when you started grad school? How did you make it work?
      I’ve thought about how maybe I just need to get used to this new “new” and maybe it’ll get easier?? I hope so, lol!

      • School stuff started the last week in August and I had a half marathon near the end of September. I ran probably 75% of my scheduled runs during that time. Usually missing 1-2 days per week and cutting back on intensity because I was so exhausted. Fortunately I did not have any other races on my calendar. I ran well in October (easy miles, no speed) and entertained the idea of a January race, but by Thanksgiving I was done. I took almost a month off from running and started again in the new year. I had a better idea of what to expect in grad school and how to make it work.

        It really came down to prioritizing and time management. But part of that meant taking a few months to prioritize school and my personal life, not running. After a few months I ran a half just 2 minutes slower than I did in September, so don’t worry too much about losing fitness while you adjust to a new schedule. You might be off track for St. George, but in the grand scheme of things it will be just a tiny setback for your race goals.

        I also want to mention that during my break from running I started practicing yoga. I really focused on being kind to myself and learning to let things go. With running it is really easy to be focused on races, paces, and a constant need for perfection (or maybe that’s just me). Yoga really helped me find a better outlook on letting things go.

  7. Give yourself grace and do what you can. Three runs is better than no runs. A lot of people would just give up but at least you have done what you can.

    Also, the goal of ANY training plan is to fit it into your life. You have to fit running in with life, not the other way around (doing life around running). It’s a stressful time of year for parents and teachers with school, and our bodies can only handle so much stress. You can still run the race and have fun with it, and you may really surprise yourself on less running- especially because you’re a longtime runner with a strong base. Keep blogging and updating us on how things are going because we care about you and want you to succeed, be healthy, and have fun!

    • I had a feeling this would happen. I kind of mentioned it in a previous post how I anticipated life getting busy and that the first thing that would have to go would be training. Maybe I set myself up, lol! But you’re right–running should somewhat seamlessly fit in with my life. I shouldn’t stress about how to fit it in which is what has been happening.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve thought about letting the blog go but the people I’ve “met” have been so supportive–it’s hard to let that go. Thank you so much!! ❤

  8. Oof. Probably there is nothing anyone can say to change how you feel about it right now (Been.There.), but these things happen, times in life when it just isn’t possible to 100% prioritize the thing you want to prioritize. It all ebbs & flows & sooner or later the time will be right again to really hammer things for a few months. I have faith! Until then, I think it’s really important to not let the fact that you can’t train the way you want to right now get in the way of staying consistent with whatever running you can–it will make a huuuuuge difference when your free time picks up again! Hugs & wishing you a fun and good race, whatever that ends up meaning for you on the day. ❤

    • You definitely right with the ebbing and flowing…I think right now I’m in the low point of the flow, lol! And like you said, I want to try and run even a little to keep somewhat of a base for when I’m ready to try again. Thank you so much for your kind words! ❤

  9. Bravo to you for assessing what is going on and what you need for yourself and your life. You have pushed so hard for the past year and a half, and I know that walking away from that momentum seems really scary, but it is far better to walk away than to get hurt physically or emotionally. xoxoxo

    • Always so on point, Suz. I was/am worried about losing “momentum” but it’s funny, I always tell people that taking a break will *help*–I need to listen to my own advice, lol.

      So happy to see you happy. ❤

  10. Hugs, Helly. I know how difficult this was for you to write this.

    Marathon training is a lot of work and fitting it in with huge changes in your life is tough. Maybe it would have been easier if getting your kids ready for school and your working were routine, but who knows. Everyone’s different and with blogging, it’s too easy to fall into the comparison trap. Certainly there are things that other people do that I couldn’t possibly do (like how you go out running in 100+ weather)

    Your training has really inspired me to step up my game. When things are tough, I think about you and tell myself to be like you – to tough it out and do it.

    You will BQ one day, whether it’s this year at St. George or another year. What’s your important is the health and happiness of you and your family. If marathon training isn’t conducive to that, no BQ is worth it.

    Love you.

    • Thank you so much. Your support has always meant so much to me. You are so right when you say that maybe it would be easier if it were routine and it’s that idea that gives me hope for any BQ future.

      And, you also inspire(d) be to get going. We’ve always been so close with our times and I’d often tell myself to catch up to you. I hope one day we can run together ❤

  11. Girl, I get you on this one! Each time I tackle a half marathon training plan, I worry if I can actually accomplish it! Working full time, two kids in school, a husband that works shift work, coaching and playing soccer etc…..it all adds up and leaves little time for me to do anything else. I’ve given up on runnng more than 3-4 a week and if I can get those runs in plus a few other things (yoga at lunch, soccer instead of speed work), then I’m winning. White flag….you are just changing the colour of your flag girl and moving forward. You’ve got this! Also, know you aren’t the only one struggling and you are doing awesome!

  12. I’m so sad. I know how hard this must be. Life does tend to get in the way though. I hope you’ll reconsider phoenix. But if you can’t run it, will you still be there?

  13. All the love and hugs for you. I truly admire you for making the time to share your story. You are so brave to be vulnerable and to put your big scary goals out in the open, and especially more so when your route changes from the expected plan. I have no doubt that you’ll reach your goals when the time is right. As you said, life goes on. You’ve had an awesome racing year, and it’s still going to be an awesome year — racing or not. Enjoy the rest of the training for St. George and celebrate on race day. I’ll be cheering for you all the way. <3!

    • Thank you so much! I always go back and forth on wanting to share and not–not because I feel pressure to share or to do well *because* I’m sharing, but because I often wonder, “Who cares?” LOL!! But it’s important for me to share the not-so-good things since I’ve always been willing to share the good, you know? Love you friend. You are amazing and so inspiring. I hope I can do what you’re doing someday.

  14. Pingback: Let’s Do This!! …Again!! | hellyontherun

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