Let It Go

Anyone else sick of that song?

let it go

[Raises hand.]

I’m starting to feel like the most wishy-washy person ever. Why? Well, remember this post? No? Here’s a summary:

jumping the gun with chicago - alsoranagain

You see, about a month ago, I was just bursting with excitement to announce that I had indeed decided to run the Chicago Marathon after all, shitty foundation and minimal training be damned. I wasn’t going to BQ or PR, just run it and (try to) enjoy it. My coach, Kris, blessed this decision while still leaving me with some caveats. The first of which was that I needed to accept that I might injure myself.

Despite this rather large warning (practically complete with flashing warning sign and sirens), I was all-in. I had my Airbnb reserved, my flights purchased, and dinner reservations made.  Meet-up plans were progressing. It was happening!

… Until it wasn’t. Come late August, I decided my plan to run Chicago probably wasn’t a good idea. For one thing, the longest I run I finished in August was 8 miles. Second, I’m getting long in tooth and it doesn’t take a hell of a lot for me to get injured anymore. Third, it just wasn’t working out, work-wise. So I quietly informed my husband, family, coach, and running friends that I was backing out.

It’s kind of embarrassing, really.

But I keep thinking about some excellent advice my coach gave me at the end of last year or the beginning of this year or some other time (there are so many) when I was in the running-doldrums: I need to stop holding on so tightly. To what? That second BQ. That PR. That promise to race with a friend. That desire to go to Chicago. That highly-sought-after Girl and the Goat reservation.

Once I stop holding on so tightly to these hard-and-fast goals, and beating myself up when an obstacle prevents me from reaching them, I might actually end up better off.

It sounds counter intuitive to the usual advice, which is that you should hold fast to your goals and keep running, full stop.

never give up 3

never give up 4

dont stop running

But I didn’t give up on my goals, I gave up on Chicago (for this year). There will be another BQ, and another PR. Just not this October.

I need to just chill out and let it go. Onward!

Have you ever DNS’ed a race? Are you racing this fall? What are some of your big running goals?

32 thoughts on “Let It Go

  1. Thank you for this post, Molly! I’ve struggled this year with “letting go,” or at least getting used to the idea of big goals taking longer to attain than I’d like. I spent a lot of time this year trying to force big things to happen, but it just made me tired and continually frustrated. I think sometimes our biggest accomplishments come naturally. Not from not trying or not working hard, but by treating ourselves well and not trying to adhere to a rigid timeline. Hopefully that makes sense. So sorry this fall didn’t work out, but it will all come together in time!

    • You’ve perfectly articulated my feelings on this subject, Liz. Can you do a guest post? 🙂 Kidding, maybe.

      I completely agree with your theory that “sometimes our biggest accomplishments come naturally.” I think one of the reasons I qualified for Boston last year was that I didn’t go into the race trying to qualify. I hoped I would, but I had already decided it probably wasn’t going to be a BQ race. I ended up going into the race much more casually and performed better than I could have ever imagined.

      • Yeah, so true! At least it can be. I may be putting that theory to the test in Berlin in a few weeks. I’ve been a liiittle lax with my training in the past month, but at the same time I’ve been feeling fit and having good workouts. Just not exactly crossing every T and dotting every I. We’ll see!

      • I think you did really well at Pasta & Pints, especially considering all the weaving you had to do. You’re set up well for Berlin. I’m looking forward to live-tracking you on race day!

  2. I have such a hard time with patience. I know it takes time to reach my big goals, but then I compare myself to others and wonder why I can’t run faster NOW. Add family, injuries, life, work, etc. and the timing can seem so discouraging. I am so glad that you are not beating yourself up for this. Your goals don’t have an expiration date!

    • I agree that it’s difficult to be patient, especially when we see our friends racing and achieving and we want to get out there and kick ass like they are. I’m trying to be Zen about all of this, and maybe it’s just a psychological trick, but I do feel better. Having Ragnar to look forward to next month doesn’t hurt, either. 🙂

  3. Tricia Johnson says:

    I’m right there with you! It’s so hard to let go of things you want so badly, but sometimes it’s all for the best. I hope you start feeling better so you’re able to get back to doing what you love!

  4. It sounds like you’re making the right decision, tough as it may be. I committed to a lot of racing this year – but nothing longer than a half marathon. I knew it wasn’t in the cards. But you never know what 2016 might bring!! Keep it up!

  5. I backed out of my first full marathon training this summer, race day is the 20th of this month. I dropped down to the half because I missed so many training runs because I didn’t properly (and couldn’t sometimes) get all my long runs in. I could have stuck with the goal and had a miserable race, but I’m glad I said no for now. There will be another. Although still bitter sweet, I know it was the right choice for me, as it sounds it was for you. I think it’s pretty great to even have that much awareness that we can swallow our own pride:)

    • It sounds like we’re in the same boat. If Chicago had a half option, I would probably have done it. You are probably going to end up having a fantastic time at that half, though.

  6. Great post! I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m feeling a little burned out on training. I hope I can get my head in the game to get my sub-4 at Chicago, but I”m also starting to prep myself for what happens if i don’t. Knowing how hard I’ve trained, I think I’ll be ok if I finish strong no matter what my finish time is. It had to be a tough decision for you to pull out. But you’re right, there will be more races.

    • Thanks, Wendy. I’m not surprised you’re a little tired–you have been working your ass off! It will all be worth it, though. I’m sure your taper will be long enough to ensure you’re rested up and ready to run that sub-4:00 on race day.

  7. Ugh, Molly; I definitely needed to hear this, so thank you! It’s definitely tough to “let it go,” even when it’s probably the best thing to do; I would love to BQ one day (uh, maybe after 50?), so that is always in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I wonder, “why can’t I just be faster now? What’s wrong with me?” I don’t want you to get injured, so I’m glad you’ve made the decision to wait on this one; you’ll definitely get there, Molly!

    • I actually think you have a really positive and healthy outlook on running, Tara! I’ve never thought of you as someone (like me) who’s a little too rigid and trying to rush things. And, for whatever it’s worth, I believe you’ll BQ one day. 🙂

  8. i’m signed up to run the philly marathon, but i haven’t started training yet. i have been working on letting go in running and also in other aspects of life – i’ve found that a “full speed ahead” mentality just isn’t practical (or really even fun, haha) most of the time.

  9. Oh you are wise. But man, it’s hard to chill out isn’t it?! lol I DNS on a Savannah RnR race two years ago…I started dating and got lazy…fast forward I’m now married and training HARD to BQ at Savannah this year! There’s a time and season for everything I believe. But I sure hope it’s my season to run a bq time!! Lol

    • I think your DNS was worth it in the long run. Sometimes we need to let the running fall to the side to develop other parts of our lives. 🙂 Good luck going after that BQ! Please let me know how you do!

  10. Thanks so much for this- it’s really refreshing! I recently had to accept that I wasn’t going to run my HM in October (after frantically putting it on my blog and asking for everyone’s opinion!) It actually feels quite good to let it go, since now I can stop beating myself up about it and just focus on getting my PF better. And the whole reason I signed up for the HM months and months ago was to get me motivated and get me running- and it worked. So it’s not a waste at all- just a sound investment 🙂

  11. Not embarrassing at all! You made the the best decision for you 🙂 Will def have to meet up on the left coast when Oly Trials is here! Take care and Ragnar Napa will be fun!

  12. i’m bummed to read this, but not because you’re not running chicago. i’m bummed because you are bummed and giving yourself a hard time about it. sometimes when i have running related things / injuries / issues, i try to just ask myself what i would say if i was talking to a friend who was in my situation. it’s inevitably much more reasonable and much kinder than what i was saying to myself. truth is you are an incredible runner and part of that is knowing when to let something go that just isn’t going to work out. the prospect of injuring yourself is serious – choosing to not put yourself in that position is smart. head up, wings out, lady! xx

    • Thanks, Courtney. I love your advice about speaking to myself the way I speak to friends. It’s totally true. I can be my own worst enemy. I’m trying to keep a positive outlook on this, and focusing on training for Ragnar Napa is really helping!

  13. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    I have absolutely taken a DNS. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Try not to beat yourself up about it. In fact, it’s probably the best decision you could have made. It’s hard to let go…trust me I have a hard time letting go, but it’s OK! I give you credit for realizing that it probably wasn’t the best idea!! Next time when you decide to do it you will be fully trained and not just doing it half assed!! Hugs!

    • I think so, too. Not running Chicago has freed me up to run Ragnar Napa with Nuun, which I’m extremely excited about. It’s also freeing me up to train for an run the LA Marathon in February, which will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime experience because it will be the same weekend as the Olympic Marathon Trials. Thank you for your encouragement, Sue!

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