Last night I announced my retirement from distance running (at least for the near and perhaps distant future). I’ve been trying to put a round peg into a square hole for several months now and I’m out of steam. My body can’t take it anymore and my mind can no longer overcome the body. I have so many body aches and injuries at this point that I have to stop. I need to focus on my health and 10 years into running-my health is not improved by running marathons or training for them.
I had several amazing conversations with friends and family in the last few days as I moved to make the final decision to stop my marathon training. I am literally taking a piece of my identity for the last 10 years and putting it on hold. It is scary. In the final conversation I needed, with amazing RP and BFF-MM, I received all the validation I needed to say stop. She said the most amazing thing, “We are Ironmen, isn’t that good enough?” And yes, I think it is.
I live, as many of us do, in a world full of hyper-endurance athletes. We are Ironman finishers, marathon maniacs, triathlon crazies, and ultra runners. We fill our days with long runs, long runs, distance swims, bricks, and post our mileage to facebook, mapmyrun, and instagram. I am one of these people. But I know for me that I need to stop. I need a BIG reminder that this community in which I live is just a teeny part of society at-large.
It was absolutely overwhelming to see my facebook universe erupt with support. I was so afraid of an Amish shunning from the community and was embraced with love. This was exactly what I needed at this time of life.
My new focus is HEALTH. Figuring out the cause and solutions for my digestive ills. Fixing my shin splints, bursitis, sore muscles, and possible torn meniscus. And to allow my mind, heart, and soul to be ok with all of this. To realize that my identity as an Ironman and a 11 time marathon finisher doesn’t disappear because I need a break. I pray this is for the good and that it is good enough.