Thursday, December 2, 2010

Indecision 2010

I'm in. I'm out. I'm in. I'm out. I just can't freakin' make up my mind about this marathon. You think maybe I'd have it figured out since, well, it's next weekend.

I found a guy I am calling The Magic Man... he's a healer. He's an acupuncturist who knows more about every muscle, tendon and ligament than any human should. And he knows how they all work together and what happens when one gets a little too tight... and best yet, he knows how to loosen it all up and FIX ME. I've seen him twice now, and dare I say I'm fixed!?!

I wasn't going to run the marathon though if I couldn't get in at least a decent amount of training for it. You know, at least enough that I could feel good about finishing it and feeling like I was able to put in a respectable effort. Well, it's pretty much too late for that now. My long run has only been 2 hours. I did that on Sunday. In good news, it caused NO PAIN at all in my calf. Not even a twinge of tightness. I'm healed! BUT, the 2 hours did a number on my quads and I was actually a bit too sore for my own comfort afterward. I deemed tacking on an additional 13 miles impossible. I decided (again) that I'm out for the marathon.

But it turns out that Magic Man is also a great sports psychologist. He doesn't market himself that way, but last time I saw him we spent 45 minutes just talking before he even got to my calf. We talked about triathlon. We talked about the marathon. He asked me all sorts of really good questions. Like,

What does training mean to you?

What does this marathon mean to you?

What is your goal? (Not specifically about the marathon here- more like goal for competing in triathlon in general.)

These are really good questions. Ones we've probably all heard before but how often have you sat in a little room and really talked these things through with someone? When I told him I felt like a failure for not being able to follow through with the marathon training I set up for myself, he assured me that I am not. When I told him that my goal (for training and racing in general) was to really take myself to the well... to see how far/hard/fast I can push myself, he told me that I can still do that. I have not failed. I have just had a set-back. And its temporary. He told me, You Learn When You Get Thrown.

Then he left me alone in that little room with the needles sending all sorts of electricity through both my calves to contemplate that.

Yes. I got thrown. So now I have a decision to make. I can start the marathon, and run it with the intention of facing down those hard moments when they come (and hope against all hope that they don't come until at least mile 18), or I can opt out completely and miss this opportunity to see what I'm made of.

Given that I feel like I can do the marathon without actually re-injuring myself at this point (knock on wood!) I think I'm back in. But I think I need to completely let go of any time goals, because let's be honest, I'm not going to hit the one I set out to reach (that was a stretch to begin with). Let's review. I don't believe in race day magic. I believe in training.

So this is my plan (I think. I completely reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow, and based on the way the last week has gone, I just might!). I think I'm going to run it sans watch*. I know, I can hear all you pure runners out there falling off your chairs and gasping out loud. Who runs a marathon without a watch? Lol. I do! The Magic Man talked me through my goals, which, in the end, had nothing to do with time. My goal is to push myself to my limit. I need to keep a clear positive head in order to do that. I need to focus on how my body feels and push it as fast as it can currently go for 26.2 miles. I do not need to be bogged down by splits that will just piss me off when I see them because they are not going to be the ones I originally set out to do. I think in this way I can make peace with whatever my finishing time turns out to be. If I go out there next weekend and actually run 26 miles, staying relentlessly positive the whole time, and feeling completely spent at the finish line, well, that would be goal accomplished at this point. I got thrown. And now I'm learning. I'm learning how to change up my plans and accept that I can only do what I can do. But I'm still going to try to do it the very best I can.

*I might wear a heart rate monitor. At least for the first half. Just to give myself a decent shot at taking it out at a reasonable effort. Still undecided on this.


Stacey said...

I like that.."you learn when you get thrown." So true!!
Good luck with your decision.

Katie A. said...

I like the Magic Man - I need one of those myself!

I think that you would be doing yourself a disservice if you don't at least give yourself a shot. I have a feeling that you will surprise yourself. You are a smart, strong runner, and leaving any time goals off the page is smart. But, I know what it's like when your head isn't in the game, 26.2 miles is a long way to be misserable. Good luck this week, I'm sure your heart will give the answer soon!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

You said it best yourself

"But I'm still going to try to do it the very best I can"

That is all any racer can ask from themselves.

mmmonyka said...

One small question: wouldn't it drive you crazy not to know where you stand time-wise for 3+ hours? I suspect you can do it for a short race, but be completely clueless for a marathon... That would drive me nuts and create way too much anxiety and uncertainty and probably have a negative effect on my mental strengths.
I think that's another thing to consider.

But since triathletes do not care about times that much, you are maybe used to this uncertainty and it won't pose a problem for you.

I am excited to hear what you decide to do at the end!

Molly said...

I think it sounds like a great plan - you've done a good job realigning your goals to shoot for what really matters!

Beth said...

Oh such a tough decision Michelle! But it sounds like you've made the right one. I think the only reason not to run the marathon is if you will re-injure yourself which doesn't seem to be the case! So go for it! I bet you surprise yourself - perhaps not with your time but with your ability to push yourself to the limit. And that's the goal anyway right? ;) GOOD LUCK!

trifitmom said...

i want a visit to the magic man ?????

Running and living said...

I knew this post would be about this:)
Honestly, I have no idea what to say. I think you need to make this decision for yourself, without concern for what others might say. There are some people who decide not to run a race if they can't meet their time goal, and wait it out until they feel ready to race again. There are others who look at just finishing as an accomplishment. And then there is the other goal, being able to stick to the "hurt", which can be accomplished without a time goal, I think.
Any decision is fine as long as you are clear with yourself about your goals and make a pact with yourself about "no regrets". There will be plenty of marathons in your future! Good luck with the decision!

N.D. said...

Very exciting!! I hope you decide for sure as to what is best for you. Tough call!

Kate Parker said...

Thanks for sharing...I love that attitude/mindset!

Good luck!!

Kim said...

i think running naked is one of my favorite things :)

Angela and David said...

Any decision you make will be the right one. Isn't that such an annoying response!

Me personally, if I were in your shoes, a few years ago I would have had no problem doing the marathon knowing I couldn't hit my goal time. Finishing and pushing myself would have been enough. But now, knowing I was capable of a faster time but an injury was holding me back, probably wouldn't do a marathon. But I also live on the mainland where there are lots of marathons so if you can't do one you just find one a few weeks later. You don't have that luxury in Hawaii.

Jennifer Harrison said...

Ah, tough call for sure! But, you are right - it is FOR YOU - and not for anyone else. We all support whatever you decide is best for you and your calf. And, with your goal different - then, that is a good first step, for sure! Good luck w/ the final decision! And, good point by Angela, we have marathons ALL over having just a handful - if that in Hawaii - is tougher too!

Michelle said...

Go for it! You will surprise yourself....and if you are going naked, go completely naked (no HR monitor either). You know your zones and you will know where you need to be. Push yourself and see just where you go in the pain cave - can't wait to read about it:)

cherelli said...

Go for it Michelle! i like your plan - you don't need a watch to "take you to the well". Sure your body would be sore with the lesser training - but it would afterwards regardless if you are pushing hard. treat it as an interesting experiment to see what you can get out of yourself :) Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, Michelle I understand how you are feeling more than you know. While reading this I kept thinking about my race in Buffalo Springs - I raced without a watch and without time goals. I raced because I could, my time was horrible, but who freakin' cares... I crossed that finish line. And come to think of it - haven't you been through something like that before?? :) If running the marathon is in your heart, then GO FOR IT!! In the end you are your biggest critic.

Mary IronMatron said...

Can't wait to hear how it goes. ;)

Aimee said...

Your "magic man" sounds awesome! I love that quote, "You learn when you get thrown." That is sooo true!

I think it's awesome that you want to try and run the marathon sans watch and see what you can do. But, if it were me and there was any chance I could get re-injured, I wouldn't do it. To me, it wouldn't be worth it. But, it sounds like you're fixed, so whatever you choose...Good luck! :)

mtanner said...

I like the Magic Man too. Follow your heart- and you said it yourself I'm still going to do the very best I can- AND YOU WILL!

GoBigGreen said...

I am not going to read all the comments bc it will make me think twice about what i am thinking Michelle.
Deep Down...inside you know what you need to do. And you need to trust yourself to make the right decision, even if that means making that decision mid race. IT's all ok, we have all been there and NOBODY NOBODY thinks you are a failure for not racing, starting the race or finishing it. Doesnt mean it doesnt SUCK, but you will do the right thing for you if you trust in yourself:)
Good luck!