Monday, January 13, 2020

Houston, we have a problem...

The past couple of months have been a lot.  To summarize, I missed the OTQ by 68 seconds in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, but since the race was very windy it boosted my confidence that I had a sub-2:45 in me in better weather.  I set my sights on running the California International Marathon, where the weather is almost always ideal and the net downhill course alone would get me a time faster than I ran at Indy.  I just know that I would have run the standard at CIM, but my brother passed away a few days before the race so I did not go to Sacramento.  At that point, I also decided I was done with OTQ-chasing, but at the encouragement of my family and because I needed a structured training schedule either way, I asked my coach to train me as if I was going to run Houston.

For most of December, I followed my training plan exactly while at the same time believing there was no way I'd feel up for running Houston.  I love the day-to-day training so much that this didn't seem odd to me at all, but many other people thought I was nuts for running 90+ mile weeks with workouts when I didn't know what I was training for.  In the back of my mind, I am sure I wanted to keep Houston as an option, but it wasn't until December 29 that I decided I was actually going to go for it.

I then had a week of "I'm doing this" followed by a week of "I can't do this".  I am so tired emotionally and mentally.  I want to want to do this - I've had this goal for so long - but it's not the same anymore.  It seems so trivial to drive over 20 hours round trip to run a marathon just to try for a time that would get me into another marathon with 500 other women in February.  I could lament on and on, but in light of everything this all just seems dumb now.  I am also sad that my Big Dream Goal now feels so trivial.

I'm in a message group for the Houston OTQ pace group, and the things the other women are saying are just what I would have said before, but now I feel like an outsider because I don't think like they do now.  I have no doubt that I'm going to keep running and competing, but I just can't bring myself to care about the OTQ even a fraction of the amount I used to.  Someone once told me "It's fantastic to be close enough that it's a realistic goal", and today I'm satisfied with being 68 seconds away, and with having run 5 marathons in the 2:40s.

As race day looms, I've been trying to work on believing an OTQ is in me.  I've made a list of the reasons I can do it.  I've looked back on my training logs for a boost.  I know I'm the most fit I've ever been.  But I guess what I keep landing on is that while I believe I can do it, I just don't care like I used to.  Will I always regret it if I don't try?  If so, is that alone reason enough to try?  Will the 2024 standard be too fast to consider trying?

Also, just because I believe I can run sub-2:45 doesn't mean I believe I can do it at Houston.  I have been worried that I extended my season too much and am past peak now.  My January running hasn't gone as well as the previous few months, but I am also not sure how much of that is mental and how much is physical, and I always train slower in cold weather.

I have changed my mind about going to this race multiple times.  I'm sure I'm driving my family crazy over it.  I don't know that my explanations make any sense to anyone else; I've done all of the training and what else am I going to do this weekend, right?  I know it's not rational, but it's where I'm at.  Taper crazies plus grief is a very irrational combination.

Ironically, this is the second time I've used a variation of "Houston, we have a problem..." as a post title (the first is here)...
2018 Houston expo


  1. I relate to all of this so much. I'm sorry you are going through this! I think either way you will be at peace with your decision because it will be the right decision for you.

    1. Someone else told me that "there is no wrong choice here", and that made me feel a lot better about it. Thanks for saying that too!