I'm still having a tough time coping with what happened on Sunday. I write this because I think it’s important to acknowledge how you are feeling when things happen. I have feelings of inadequacy and feelings of losing everything I worked so hard to get. I'm scared of losing the support and opportunities I had which is a rabbit hole I cannot afford to fall down. I took risks this year to pursue my running passion and it's hard seeing such a tough result. I put so much work into this training cycle and the race ate me up and spit me out. I felt prepared and ready, but I'll admit, in the last month of training I began wondering if I had overdone it. With my confidence issues, self-doubt tends to fuel these types of thoughts. But in this instance my intuition was right. I had pushed too hard. This year has been tough on me mentally. 2 years ago, I ran a 1:12:50 half marathon and this year 1:17:18 was the best I could do. Last year my saving grace was Indy Monumental. Coming off Indy I wanted to begin healing from Secondary Amenorrhea. I knew this would make things tough, but it's not something I was fully prepared for.
Going into this season things were looking up. I decided that CIM would be my turning point, hoping that just as last year, CIM would be the end I needed to a tough year. When I put my whole heart into this build-up I pushed my limits. I wanted it so bad but I didn't fully have the confidence in myself to do it. I fought every workout to try to prove it to myself. Instead of running the prescribed paces I pushed to go faster. As I have now learned, training for the marathon is just like racing a marathon. You have to be consistent & patient. Each workout and run works together to get you to the line ready to race. When I began pushing my workouts, I began running my race in practice. It hurt really badly to come to that realization. I felt like I needed to prove that I was a great runner to be accepted, and in turn I self-sabotaged.
The other things that I have been coping with have also now come to a head. Earlier this summer I found out about 2 gut bacterial overgrowths. Then a little over a week ago I found out that my hormones are still not functioning correctly. I am moving in the right direction but things aren't perfect. This next period for me will be about fully recovering from all of this to start fresh in the New Year. I will take it very easy through December and see where I am. I don't want to rush it, I just want to be ready.
This whole experience empowers me to keep sharing. All of this is entirely preventable by putting your body & health first & believing in the cards you've been dealt. I say this because I myself struggle with this daily by comparing myself to others. I get it. Secondary Amenorrhea & disordered eating is seen more and more in high school & college athletics. I want all younger athletes to hear this:
“Momentary & instantaneous success is not worth it. Be mindful of this because your capabilities are so much more if you are patient in your growth. You will find more happiness if you remember what matters. It's a game of would you rather - Would you rather run a 5 min 5k PR tomorrow and never run again or run 15 second PR's every race for the rest of your life?”
I can say with complete certainty that I wish I tackled my hormonal problems sooner. The longer you wait the harder it is to recover. I am still young but I could have achieved more by this point if I had. Either way I am going to keep moving forward. I am still the same athlete that ran a 1:12:50 half and a 2:38 Marathon. Sunday wasn't my day but there will be another in 2018 and I think I have learned my lesson.
I plan to forgive myself for this race and move past it. This does not mean forgetting about it. I had to fight my emotional & physical state to finish on Sunday. I had thoughts of dropping out because it would have been easier. I stopped for the bathroom, I walked, I limped for a brief period before stopping for the medic, I stopped just to stop, and then I just ran until I finished. Reflecting on it now I am more than happy that I choose to keep on going and in the months to come I can imagine that I'll be that much more grateful. As my good friend Johnathan Levitt reminded me,
“When it's hard and you complete it, you can draw from that for years to come, knowing that you can do ANYTHING.”