In case the title of this post wasn't clear, I'm grappling with the concept of compromising versus quitting while running. As luck would have it, I have an example of both from the past few days.
I set out on Saturday morning to do 14 with my group. A mile or two in, I just wasn't feeling it. I couldn't settle into a comfortable pace and old pains in my calves and shins were making their presence known again. I bargained with myself all the way to the water stop at mile 6, decided to do the next 1.5 miles out and back to the water stop and then I needed to make a decision. Was I going to call it a day and take the shameful ride back to homebase with the water station people? Or could I find a way to continue this run in a way that would accomplish my idea of a long run without risking injury by doing the full 14?
After some quick deliberating, I sucked up what pride I had left and decided to run back to homebase, cutting off the section around Hains Point and heading back over the 14th street bridge to the Mt Vernon trail. This is what I would consider a compromise. I managed to get in between 10 and 11 miles, and decided to be satisfied with that. My body is just not ready for 14 yet. I'm still only running 2-3 times a week, averaging 20 miles overall.
This morning, on the other hand, is when I quit. I woke up for my usual morning run, this time hitting the gym to get my $50 monthly treadmill workout. It was just too humid to try and slog through it outside. I hadn't been on the treadmill in a few months but I figured I could knock out 3-4 miles if I took it really easy. Turns out I could barely do one. I don't know if it was the change from road to treadmill, or the problems I was having treated with ART flaring up, but I had to quit. There was no bargaining or middle ground to be had. I was just done.
I left the gym close to tears and so frustrated with myself. Why can't my body just do what I'm asking it to do? Because I was out of commission for a month during May/June, I missed my regular ART sessions with my beloved chiropractor. I called the office as soon as I got home and as luck would have it, they could see me later that afternoon. While slightly painful, the treatment was definitely worth it and we agreed that with marathon training gearing up and me not having the usual base level of fitness that I would need to come in twice a week for a bit.
I'd be lying if I said that this bad set of runs didn't set off other issues in my head. But I'm trying to rationalize with them because they only make things worse. No, I'm not too fat to run. No, I'm not too slow to run. No, I do not need to quit CAR because I'm too scared to go. The reality is that I lost over a month of training time to unplanned illness and I'm starting over again at the beginning. I PRed my half in May, just before I got sick and once I'm stronger I'll PR the next one in September. I am capable and I have potential. I also have these nasty voices in my head that drown out the rest most of the time.
Knowing that other runners have been through and are going through similar rough patches with running does help. It is especially helpful to hear how you came out of that slump and were able to be inspired and motivated again. I still don't know what I want out of running, but I know that I'm not throwing in the towel on this. Nothing worth something comes easy. I just need to believe that.