Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Do I Love Marathon Training… or Wendy?

In June, Wendy, in her position as my running coach through Limestone Distance Running, told me I could no longer delay the inevitable.  I couldn’t endlessly list pros and cons.  I had to make a decision.

I had to decide to pursue the marathon or the half marathon as my fall goal.

On the surface, it seems pretty cut and dried: 13.1 or 26.2?  However, it isn’t that simple.  The training, planning, and pacing for the two distances are all very different, and different runners have different preferences.

Ultimately, after consulting with friends and family, I decided to run the marathon in spite of the fact that half marathon is my favorite distance to race; because even though I love to race a half, I love to train for a full, especially in the fall.

To me, training is full of equal parts anticipation and execution.  I love making the pull-tab chart of the training schedule, then watching as the tabs disappear.  I love planning routes, fueling, hydration, pacing, and even attire for a long run, then accomplishing the run according to plan.  I love seeing the little parts come together into a bigger picture as I feel my body getting stronger for the task ahead.  I even love the big weather swing fall marathoners experience as we go from hot, sticky slogs to crisp, cool, breezy runs.

That said, everything came to a screeching halt for me on Aug. 24.  That afternoon, Wendy was diagnosed with a torn tendon (not a stress fracture, thankyouverymuch), and had emergency-ish surgery a few days later.  Obviously, I did everything I could to support her (minus cooking , I'd never do that to her), because I know horribly well the rock bottom feelings that accompany an injury and how one experiences it in the very center of her being.

Even though I knew I had lost her as my training partner for this training cycle, I didn't fully realize what that meant until I ran my first long run alone.  Fourteen miles, not a terribly long long run, had never felt... long-er.  No talking partner.  No laughing partner.  No "oh man, it's so humid" partner. No matching partner.

It was just sad.

And that was when it occurred to me.  It's not just the marathon training I love.

I love Wendy.

All the planning? All the executing? All the rehashing run details? All the memory making?  We do it all together.

Milwaukee Trail - 9/12/15
I mean, I love to run.  Don't get me wrong.  This training cycle is going very well, and I'm extremely encouraged. (More on that another time.)  However, the real thrill—the thing that makes me fly out of bed at 4:30 A.M. instead of simply rising—is that I'm experiencing it with a friend.

I miss that.

We still talk about my training.  We still text all. the. time.  I meet her at the five mile mark of my maintenance runs so I can run beside her while she scoots on what is now our injury scooter.  But there is a lot of lonely in my training now.  That pretty pic I took on last week's long run?  I took it because I was near tears that Wendy wasn't there with me to see it.  Stuff like that happens all time. I wonder what Wendy would say or how she would react to things I experience on runs.

So... I'm pressing forward.  And I'm loving it.  But I sure am missing my best friend.



  1. You are very blessed to have someone to routinely run with. Many of us just have to run alone because of schedule differences, running ability differences or lack of any friends. Ok, just kidding about the last one - maybe. You are blessed among runners - but you already knew that! 😊

    1. Thank you! I totally agree. She's a blessing.

  2. I know how tough those long runs are when you have to do them alone (as I did all summer). Hang in there as you will be a better runner for it, and Wendy will be there in the spring!

    1. Most def! Thank you. It's always nice to know there are people who "get it."