Making the Right Call

The blue line was crisp, the hills were ready, and the sun was shining. The Akron Marathon was today, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Next week, it is supposed to be in the 60s all week. This week? 80s and 90s. That’s just the beginning of this story.

Four months ago, I went out for a run after feeling dizzy at the grocery store. It wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but it began a months long search for what could help keep me upright. It happened a few other times, and I’ve had ringing in my ears ever since.

I let it go for a few weeks before finally seeking medical advice, and after I got the go ahead from my physical therapist, I got back on the road. At one of my doctor appointments, I saw the bill from when my wife had Guttate Psoriasis at the beginning of the year. I was crushed. It took almost no time before we decided she needed to begin to working again. We’ve always cut it close financially, but we’ve made it by. But now it was time for more. With childcare being so damn expensive, she looked for something she could do in the evenings.

So now our lives are robotic. I wake up, go to work, come home, be on 100% dad duty. This all began after my 16 miler for training. I was coming into the throws of insanity with training, and we had this major life change happen. It happened quickly too. There was no period of adjustment, just a new way of life.

So over the last 4-6 weeks, I haven’t been running much. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have thought I died. I didn’t… You can stop worrying now.

As the Columbus Marathon has drawn closer, I’ve had my doubts about whether or not I would run. I’ve seriously only run a handful of times since Brittany started working, and haven’t registered yet. I figured I’d let Akron decide for me today.

The weather forecast had everybody on edge, and it didn’t let up. I’ve run in warm races, but this forecast was well beyond anything I’ve taken on. Between that and the lack of training, I knew I was in for a rough day. But the question was, how rough?

I started the race with the 3:30 pace group. My plan all along was to use this as a training run, and this would have fit about right in my plan. In hindsight, with the conditions and circumstances, perhaps I should have started even slower. I knew today had a chance to be my worst ever marathon anyways.

About mile 4, I let the group go ahead of me. I needed to just run this for me, and run it how my body needed to finish. I didn’t need to be struggling to stick with the group. I felt pretty good, but as we began to hit mile 8, I knew. There was absolutely NO WAY I was running a full marathon today. I haven’t run in almost two weeks. How the hell am I going to tackle this distance? I didn’t feel bad, perse, just like a man who had completely abandoned his training.

The weather was only going to get warmer, and the hills were only going to get worse, so this was the right call. As I sat in the outfield of Canal Park slamming a Galley Boy from Swenson’s, the sun came over the stadium. It was fucking hot. I was very glad that I didn’t keep going. My dizziness can be triggered by dehydration, so it was a very good call to sit out the final 13.1, say nothing of the training.

The one thing I am happy about, my mindset. When I made the decision that I would peel off, I wasn’t upset. It wasn’t like last year at Columbus when I had plans derailed so early on. This year, rather, I just thought about what the rest of this year needs to be. I need to focus on what is going to allow me to be a better runner in this new life we have. I’m not much of a morning person, but maybe when the pressure of training is gone, it will be a little easier to get up and out before the sun.

I didn’t get all “woe is me” and pouty and shit. I just decided, “Dude, being a dad is hard. Being a dad with your wife gone every night is even harder. Being a dad AND runner with your wife gone, it’s gonna be a process”. If you have followed me at all, you know I give Brittany credit for being my rock, and this proves it all the more. What she does so I can run, it’s insane.

So what about that race I was training for? You know, Columbus? I haven’t fully made my decision, but I will not being running the full. Had I finished relatively strong today, I would do the full, but it’s not a good idea. I’m leaning towards signing up for the half, and see if I can get some speed back. Columbus holds my full PR, and if I can get my half PR there, I feel like maybe I can say bon voyage and move to a different fall race.

But for now, I’m going to enjoy the weekend, and having the whole family around. It’s nice to have her here.


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