I realised that while I’ve mentioned it here and there, and those close to me know why I don’t think I’ve ever come right out and explained why I decided to give up running.
In short – it wasn’t serving me.
If you want the long version, it’s well – longer. After the infamous (to me) overtraining syndrome back in 2013 (wow…has it really been FOUR years!?), I started really cutting back on the hours of cardio I was teaching. That was when I took my first yoga training certification when I started a shift into teaching more strength classes, and generally started saying, “no” a lot more when I had offers to teach classes and training sessions for events.
That made a huge difference, but that was also the year I felt so compelled to join Team in Training for the #WeRunSF Nike Women’s Half Marathon. It was an amazing experience, one I would never look back on with regret, but in hindsight – was not the greatest timing.
In leading up to the race I participated in many (many) races that spring/summer/early fall. Since my teaching schedule was still a little insane (like 15 classes/week) a regular running schedule just was never in the cards. Participating in a lot of races ensured that I was at least getting the training in I needed to make it through my half. That coupled with a handful of long runs helped me make it through the race happy and uninjured.
blurry very early morning pre-race photo
Afterwards, I came home feeling accomplished and happy – but tired.
In 2014 I ran considerably fewer races, but still ran at least one-half marathon (my mind is a little hazy on when I ran what).
2015 came and found me still struggling with over training, cutting back and changing classes again, still running, but again fewer races than before. And still, I managed to complete 2 half marathons, PR’ing in both!
The above picture was from the Valley Harvest in October, where I collected my medal, walked off the track, and ended my running career.
I had struggled all that season with my period, my cycle, and cramps. The added stress from running was causing me so many internal issues, even though I looked and felt happy on the outside.
It really wasn’t even a conscious decision at that time. I had no plans to finish that day, in fact, I two more races scheduled that fall.
But then I got a double infection (lung infection and bronchitis) and had to DNS one, then two weeks later my grandmother died (not running related, but life-related), and then the following week I slipped coming down the stairs after a class and sprained my ankle & foot and was on crutches the morning of the last race.
Were those illnesses and injuries a sign from the world telling me to quit? I don’t know, I never really looked at it like that. Instead, I couldn’t help but notice how much better I felt and how my cycle issues all disappeared within a month after my running season ended. That’s when I knew I was done. The wear and tear on my body was too much, and not worth the risk.
Even still, I ran a little bit last year. First in the Shopper’s Drug Mart “Love You” Weekend 5k
but there was very little running done that day, more walking than anything.
Then again for Mud Hero…
where once again there was no running, and then finally the Valley Harvest 10k where I did run, pacing my buddy Catherine, but it was a pace I was super comfortable with and really enjoyed.
But then, found myself facing overtraining syndrome – again.
Honest to goodness.
So while I still have one 5k for fun planned this summer, that’s it for me. Any other races I find myself in will be done as a walk – not a run.
I thought I would be sad when I made that realisation, but I’m not. I see people running on the sidewalk or on the trails and think, “Thank God that isn’t me.” I see cute running gear and can shrug my shoulder and walk away.
I had a wonderful time being a runner, but I don’t have to be a runner to enjoy the run. Since I’m a certified running coach, I can track and follow clients as they run their races. I can see their photos and know that a little part of me was with them that day and feel satisfied.
Those who cannot do, teach.
And I’m quite happy sitting back and being the teacher.
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