…I decided I just didn’t want to do it.
It wasn’t that simple, of course. I had a problematic training cycle and during my last long run, the shin splint pain that ultimately led to last year’s stress fracture was back in full force. Everything hurt. My times were slow and my recovery was worse.
During the week before the run, I went back and forth. Some mornings I woke up thinking, ‘yeah, I’ll power through it.’ Other mornings I felt simply exasperated and swore that I wouldn’t run at all. Miss L and I drove up north on Thursday night and spent a damp and drizzly Friday with my parents, hiking in the Sleeping Bear and book shopping in Traverse City. At some point, I realized that I just didn’t have the half in me, and it was as much mental as physical, and I decided to run the 5k.
When I first started running in 2010, the love of it hit me like a ton of bricks and I dropped many things that I’d previously loved because nothing felt as important as that love. I left off knitting and blogging, notably. For a few years I was highly motivated and bettered my times in every race. Then the injuries started mounting, and the motivation began to wane. At this point in my life, I still love running, but I love other things, too, and I want to be able to do them as much or more.
My folks and Miss L were my cheering section and I was happy that my run would only take a half-hour or so and that they could wait for me. Miss L played on the playground at the Empire beach and my dad was the first person I saw when I came into the homestretch. An hour later, I was showered and caffeinated and warm, and I’d set out for another hike.
I have long wanted to accomplish the Trail Trekkers Challenge, a program in which you hike all the Sleeping Bear trails in 1 year (over 100 miles). After the 5k, I had donned my orange cap to warn off trigger happy hunters and was out on the Windy Moraine trail. Coincidentally, this trail ran along 109 for a stretch, across the road from the Heritage Trail, where the marathon and half-marathon were still going on. As I hiked happily, rain dripping from the spicy smelling trees, I heard stragglers in the race across the road yelling at each other and every now and then I glimpsed a sweating, staggering participant. The forest was very green and wet, without much fall color yet, and I was extremely happy with my choice.