Retiring from Racing

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It’s been a hell of a year racing.  I’ve run 3 marathons, 4 halves and a host of other races.  It’s been awesome.   But this past weekend I had a little heart to heart with myself.  It was time to call it — I’m retiring from racing

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for the remainder of 2012.

Actually perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that I’m taking a self-enforced break from racing for the remainder of the year.

You might recall that this past weekend I was tentatively slated to run back-to-back half marathons in Santa Barbara on Saturday and Malibu on Sunday.  And guess what??? I bailed on both.  Didn’t even pick up my bibs.

 Running is my drug of choice.  It’s my oxygen, It’s my sanity.  It’s my freedom from my own head.  Running is my guilty pleasure.  But I need to also be honest about my recent relationship with training.

Mid way into my training cycle for Chicago, I knew I needed a break and I fought really hard with my inner self to sweep these feelings aside.  The struggle to complete each long run and many mid-distance runs was ever-present and while my body continued to perform, I felt like I was running in between gears, grinding out the miles.   Mentally my marathon focus was as good as a pair of worn out shoes – unsupportive, dusty and filled with holes.

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Despite all this, I set a PR during Chicago, but I’m pretty confident that had more to do with race experience than actual training.   This being my 3rd 26.2 meant I knew better how to start, how to moderate, how to fuel and where I’d have to fight my head as it tried to sabotage my performance.

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With a new race looming around each and every corner these days – marathons, half mary’s, 10k’s, charity races, color runs, zombie races, 80’s runs, relays etc.  It’s so easy to get sucked into the race of the weekend and sign up to run all the races.

When this past weekend rolled around and after the crazy, intense high of our wedding, I could not wait to spend both Saturday and Sunday morning doing one of the things I love to do most, running.  But the idea of setting an alarm and  doing it for anyone other than myself, anytime other than my time and anywhere other than the path, trail or road that I chose, was the exact thing I didn’t want.  I immediately realized that I had zero interest in 4am wake up calls, bussing to the start line, porta potties and point to point courses on either Saturday or Sunday – or quite frankly anytime in the next 6 weeks.  My racing days are done for 2012.  I need the space to run the distance, the time and the path that I want to run — with no race goals looming over my head.

Since I wasn’t formally training for SB or Malibu after Chicago, I was hopeful that my training would carry over.  That allowed me a total lack of running focus and a freedom to run without a plan.   And what I found was there are times when this works for me – It enables me to relax and simply run. {and interestingly simply running or running simply has resulted in some pretty speedy legs that failed to show up with any regularity during Chicago training}. Alas.  Go. Figure.

I’ll be a back racing in 2013, but for now I’m going to enjoy this sweet time off from training, enjoy putting in the miles on my time, still work towards 2012 miles in 2012 (I’m 214 miles away from my goal) running simply, and re-center my focus for hopefully another big year of running in 2013.

Have you ever taken a self-enforced break from competition?

{MF Dre}

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4 thoughts on “Retiring from Racing

  1. Hey Dre! Another good article well written… Congrats on the PR’s all the races, the wedding and on making the healthy decision to ‘drop back’ and find the inner joy of running for a period of time… The KEY to lifetime fitness is of course to make it sustainable.

  2. Yep. Taking a break right now because i know my goals for 2013 are looking pretty intense. Figured I enjoy a little break now before gearing up and getting serious for next year.

  3. Sure thing. After the London Marathon in 2010 my morale hit an all time low. I struggled to regain confidence and peace with my running. I only raced once more after that event, and although I finished in 19th place out of a pretty strong field, I decided that it was time for a break.

    Two years later and I’m still on that break – it was a bad call on my part, but I figure that life has it’s own path for us all.

    Enjoy your rest, it’s been well earned…

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