My first two athletic loves are dying for me to fall in love with running. And I have decided that 2014 will be the year that this happens. It has to happen, because after 2014, I might not get the chance again for a while.
Sounds ominous, right?
After much consideration, 2014 will be the LAST year I focus a lot of energy into running distances over a 10k. Or, at least I most likely won't be focusing on longer distance running for several years. It was a hard, painstaking decision to make. However, it was made based on my plans for the future, my dreams, and my goals. I never set out to become a runner. I set out to fall in love with running enough that I could accomplish a goal that has been in my heart since I was 15 years old.
The Olympic distance Triathlon. The culmination of my two first athletic loves, and this athletic endeavor that is such a challenge to me. 1500m swim, 25 mile bike ride, and a 10k run. Let me tell you, this would be a huge challenge for me to complete. 1500 meters of swimming is NO JOKE, and the thought of running 6.2 miles after 30 minutes of swimming and almost 2 hours on a bike makes me cringe. Yet at the same time, it ignites a fire in me. It whispers "oh eff yes, you can so rock this" to me.
The thing is, I don't want to just "do" triathlons. I want to be GOOD at the triathlon. It would be easy for me to go out there and do well in the swim and the bike, then wog my way through the "run". But that isn't really what I want. I would love to go out there and do my personal best in all three phases, and finish with times that reflect hard work and dedication.
Another reason for making this the last year is family planning. While we have put the baby making discussion on hold for the time being, we do plan to reopen the subject after my full marathon in September. I know that a lot of women continue to run and race long distances while pregnant, but based on what I know of my body and my family history, this will not be viable for me. My uterus has a weird forward tilt that indicates that I will "show" very early in my pregnancy, and likely be bigger than a house before I give birth. And while my mom remained active during both of her pregnancies, she gained nearly 50 lbs while pregnant with me, and more than that while pregnant with my brother. So while I can see short 3-4 mile very slow jogs, I just can't imagine myself being that girl showing up to a half marathon while pregnant.
But perhaps the reason that weighs so heavily on my heart for why I plan to give up long distance running is my health. My body really has had a hard time adjusting to it. I have had complications with my IT bands. Most recently, I have had circulation problems. These are problems I deal with in my everyday life that have been magnified by the pressures of distance running. And while I want to prove to myself that I can do these hard things, and that it's possible for me to be a successful runner, I realize that I may never overcome some of these limitations.
I am so excited to have one last year to make my mark with running. To meet the goals that I have set for myself within this discipline. To try to become the best runner that I can become, in just 12 short months. I might not have this opportunity again. Like so many things in life, you only get one shot at a particular moment, and this is it for me with running. I don't want to blow it.