Chicago Marathon Dropout

Back in February, Katie and I registered for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  It would be her second full and my first.  Last year I took up running in a more serious manner, completing two half marathons, two 10Ks, and a handful of 5Ks.  I felt great.  Then, winter came, and I decided to hibernate.  I figured with the marathon looming as an eventual goal, I’d have to start running again at some point, but allowed myself to rest for a bit.  I planned on starting to run again in April.

The problem?  I just. didn’t. want. to.

Part of the issue was the heat – it was about 100-degrees all summer with a heat index of 902.  With my options being wake up at 4am on a Saturday to run or sleep in and lie in a dark room with ice on my forehead, well, the latter just seemed more appealing.  I kept pushing back my training to “next week.”

“Next Monday I’ll start.  I’ll still have enough time.”

Katie and I intended to do our long training runs together – but summer schedules got in the way.  Without her as my partner-in-crime, I wanted to run even less.  She was and is diligent about her runs, never skipping a single one.  I, on the other hand, went from 10 miles to 16 with nothing in-between and it was awful.

That lovely picture you see here is me running the Santa Hustle in December of 2010 (and since we had the proper winter gear, it ROCKED).  Spring of 2011 was freezing, so Katie and I mostly trained for our May half marathon in the perfect running weather (40s-50s).  That’s what my body likes and is used to.  This 900-degree summer was not my cup of tea, if you will.  I started stressing – how could I complete the marathon now?  I was dreading it – did I actually WANT to run 26.2 miles?  It seemed like a good idea when I registered, but I no longer felt the same way.

Was I allowed to change my mind?

After the South Shore Half Marathon on September 9th, I decided that I was.  I finished in 2:39:11 – more than 20 minutes slower than my PR, because I hadn’t trained (that being said, I hate myself slightly less for coming in under 2:45 which was my “I haven’t trained and will hate myself  less if I finish in under x time” time).

Some had suggested to me that I TRY to run the race and just drop out if needed.  But, I don’t want to do that either.  If I start a race, I am finishing it, and the full is not something I am ready to start or finish.

It ultimately was a harder decision to make than it sounds.  I didn’t want to let down Katie or my other friends and family who’d been so supportive.  In the end, they’ve so far been supportive of this decision, too, because it’s what I am most comfortable with.

Will I try again next year?  Probably not.  I might just stick to half marathons, which to me are both fun and manageable.

That being said, does anyone want to buy my bib??

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