I Don’t Want To Run This Marathon

So after my crazy emotional breakdown at Ancient Oaks 100, I switched my ultramarathon focus to something a little more intimidating for me: running a fast marathon. I chose the Knoxville Marathon as my cardio killer of choice, and the ensuing training has nearly killed me in more ways than one. Being a carefree fun loving ultrarunner, I almost forgot about all of the breakdowns I get when I train hard for something. Almost… until last Saturday.

So picture this: here I was, in nothing but my underwear, around 11 o’clock at night, up preparing a breakfast my family could stick in the oven while I was gone running in the morning. And mind you I’m not doing this happily, I’m all huffing and puffing, completely conflicted with the fact that I’ve got to wake up at 4:30am [at what really felt like freakin' 3:30am due to time change and losing an hour] to go do an extremely challenging long workout…by myself.. the cherry on top.  So Dan comes into the kitchen and asks if I need help cooking. And I just go bat[crap] insane and start to pitch a crazy hormonal induced fit:

“No!! Gawd Daniel. I don’t need your help!!!  I’m perfectly capable of cooking a freaking breakfast for my family and doing every freaking thing that I need to do–BY MYSELF!!! You are always asking me if I need help!!! Stop asking me if I need help!! I don’t need help. I just want to cook a breakfast..at night. I CAN DO THIS!!!!”

Of course Dan is standing there gawking back at me and trying really hard not to laugh, and it just pisses me off more. So I hurl a [very feminine] punch at his chest and scream “Ughhh! It’s not funny! Leave me alone!!”

To which he responds by wrapping me up in his arms…annnd I cave, turn into a little wimp, and start crying some estrogen laced tears.

And the first words out of my mouth?….”I don’t want to run this marathon.”

Ahhh… she’s run herself crazy again? Maybe not. Stick with me here…

I let Dan coddle me for a few more minutes of that emotional “I don’t want to run this marathon” thing before I put my big girl pants back on.

I crawled into bed, pondered the secrets of the running universe, then woke up exactly 3 hours later to get ready for my workout:

Clothes -check. Shoes – check. Garmin – check. Confidence – ehhh…Check????

The workout was sure to bring some pain: 5 miles at 8:20 pace, 5 at 7:20 pace, 5 at 6:50 pace all on hills, then a fast run to the top of Stone Mountain. .. God help me.. As I got dressed, I started to have the typical pre workout brain chatter:

“Why the heck are you doing this? This is freakin moronic.”

“Nooo…C’mon Ashley, pull your crap together. Discipline. Discipline. DISCIPLINE.”

“Discipline? Please. You know nothing of discipline. Seriously, why are you doing this? Go back to bed.”

“Bad Ashley. Don’t listen to that. Drink more coffee. You’re gonna slaughter this workout.”

I swear I’m not schitzo.. most of the time.

Somehow I finally made it out the door, but it wasn’t easy. I hopped in the car, turned on the radio, and — a song about depending on God for strength was on. Really??? Really…? Yup, I lost it. I started sobbing again. I mean literally sobbing. Like I actually had to pull over the car y’all. It was pretty pathetic.

And I don’t care what you people think, because this is my blog and it is what it is. But, I shut my eyes for a second, there in my car, on the side of the road, and I prayed: “Hey God. Obviously I need some type of clarity…or a pill to fix my hormones? But either way… I don’t know why this whole marathon thing is destroying me so much. It’s just a freaking race. And there’s so much crap that is a billion times more important. But help me get over this– and see the bigger picture. Help me see why running this race means so much to me.” (Yes I really do say things like “crap”, “freakin”, and “stupid” in a prayer. God knows what’s up.)

And after that second breakdown, I continued on my merry way.

I finally somehow got to Stone Mountain, parked in the empty dark parking lot, shakily got out of my car, stepped onto the running loop, pressed go on my Garmin…and began to slay my demons one mile at a time:

So why the heck am I doing this? Each mile brought clarity.

Mile 1: Because it feels absolutely amazing to put myself through this pain.

Mile 2: Because running fast and alone in the dark of the night is euphoric.

Mile 3: Because I said I’m gonna give this race my best effort, and my Dad taught me that I can’t go back on my word.

Mile 4: Because life may be hard, but somehow, it’s still just too easy.

Mile 5: Because discipline at this level is an essential building block of my life

Mile 6: Because I need moments like this to get real with myself and with God.

And each mile after…. Because somewhere deep in my DNA, it’s etched in there that I AM A RUNNER. And I simply cannot deny that.

I ran every single mile that day with passion and purpose, and at the end,  I climbed to the top of “my mountain” and savored the incredible taste of pain in my mouth as I welcomed in the sunrise over Atlanta.

I did what I came to do. And I got the answers I was looking for.

So why do we run? Why do we push ourselves like this? Why do we run a marathon, or any race for that matter, when we simply don’t want to?

Because when it’s all said and done, we know deep down that it’s worth it.

__________

Thanks for reading! What are all of you up to lately in your running world? Ever had a break down like mine? Haha…Leave your comments below! ~Ash

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50 thoughts on “I Don’t Want To Run This Marathon

  1. I had that same breakdown last night!! Glad I am not the only crazy one out there!! Your going to do great your training is there now u just have to have some fun out there! Never give up just push a lil harder.

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  2. Ha, that’s pretty much how I felt this morning. And BTW, that workout is designed to be run on flat ground back and forth on Columns Drive!

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    • Hahaha, this is either Michelle or Beth!??!?! I know I have been doing my own thing.. I needed an ultimate push bc I’ve felt like such a slacker. NEXT TIME I’M MEETING YOU GUYS AT COLUMNS DRIVE FOR SURE!

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  3. why, why, why?
    because we can.
    we keep on running because we can … longer, harder and faster than others.
    we can just because we run with nature.
    in nature and with nature.
    so it is with me. I draw my strength from it.
    this is my soulrunning.
    and …. are not we all a little schizophrenic? :-)

    best wishes
    Marco “The Soulrunner”
    from Germany

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  4. hahaha “I don’t need help!! I just want to cook a breakfast at night!! I CAN DO THIS!!!!”. aww i love reading your blog. and i talk to God the same way lol…i think he looks at the heart behind it all :) you’re right. i do things i don’t want to do or feel like doing simply because the shortcut, the same old thing, the easy way… well it’s never life changing.

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  5. Great post. Every race distance brings new challenges but when you can find your reason, you can conquer it! Just go crush it. You’ve got the training and the talent. Get it!

    I’ve got a road marathon before a summer full of trail races. Kinda hard to get into training for the roads again but if the challenge wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be interested!

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  6. Excellent blog post Ash!! Seriously…what you do helps me get out that door. No I am not putting you up on a pedestal or anything…lol BUT I am giving you HUGE props for having the ability to fight through those demons because I gotta tell ya…it sucks to do that and most people give up. But you DON’T and that is awesome. Being able to read about your struggles and your fight with those demons helps me to recognize that I have the ability to do the same thing. So yeah…thanks ;-)
    Run hard Play harder!

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  7. Miss you and love you lady, you are a rock star. Don’t forget that passion and love for what you do are sooo important in keeping you motivated. Just have fun with running, races are awesome, I look forward to every race season like I am about to take off from the starting line but most of my running is alone too and that I love. No one knows the miles I log, or how fast I go, there are no race results but I know and I am proud…that is what matters. :)

    I will be in GA the first week of April, will you be around??

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    • hold up–I can’t see your pic very well- is that new ink?!??!?! I miss you too!!!!!! I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you. I’m working my butt off and haven’t had a minute to just sit down & catch up with anyone:( Things will slow down soon though. I’ll be around the first week of April- yes- then the crazy traveling will start the following week. & HEY shoot me a text with your name in it, I recently had to format my phone & lost contacts. Love you ttys

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        • I saw that you called! Sorry I missed it! I was extremely busy over the weekend putting on Georgia Death Race with my buddy, Sean. My phone was a mess with texts from so many asking questions about the race! I loved the picture. I bet addison did too. Let’s talk this week via phone

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  8. Ashley you have a gift with your words. Every time I read your blog I feel like I am looking directly in to your heart! I am excited to read your blog after you run your marathon.

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  9. Miles bring clarity. Way to hang in there Ash! A good breakdown has a nice cleansing effect. Be sure to say hey to my homegirl Marie Ange Smith when you see her!
    “Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.” – Lao Tzu

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  10. You know I read your tweets and i listened to your podcast interviews and sometimes I see this “too cool for school girl”, and it’s cool and all and then I read your blog and you let out all your emotions. I like it because i can see your drive and passion and believe it or not this post is exactly what I needed to read right. So thanks!!

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  11. Hahaha – This sentiment: “Stop asking me if I need help!! I don’t need help. I just want to cook a breakfast..at night. I CAN DO THIS!!!” I can totally relate to! [I probably would’ve stomped my feet like a petulant 3-year-old, too. Thank goodness for patient husbands who understand us better than we do, sometimes. :)

    I’m nowhere near the runner you are – but for me, this kind of moment comes in every training cycle. The one where (esp. under the influence of estrogen), everything just seems too much. The sacrifices seem stupid. I try to explain why I’m doing this to myself…and I can’t. But then – it’s over, just as quickly as it comes. The perspective is back, the power is back, and I’m ready to roll again. Thank you for sharing your version of this – it’s always encouraging to know I’m not alone. :)

    And heck…way to kick that run’s a$$. I have a feeling you’re gonna kill the marathon

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  12. Another good read. Thanks for posting. It’s a busy training season for me, and even busier at work, so finding motivation when you’re already dog tired is tough. But I never regret getting out there, even if it means dodging bums on the streets!

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      • Seriously. My urban runs are like that. Just ran the Post Oak Challenge, will run a 3-hour time trial run, the Snake Run (trails!) on Sunday and the OKC Memorial half marathon in April. Some friends wanted to do a Warrior Dash in May, so there’s that. Route 66 Marathon is something I’m eyeballing for fall, as well as the Tulsa Run. But I’m wanting more trail races.

        But I’m also training for the mountains this spring and summer. I’ve got plans, sista.

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  13. Awww, girl, so full of life and passion and ups and downs. Thanks for putting into words what I’m sure all of us feel at one point or another: our love-hate relationship with running. Glad to know you’re doing well, it’s been too long since I’ve heard from ya! :)

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  14. Good read, thanks for sharing and congrats on finding meaning in every mile :) Sometimes we have to remind ourselves why we do the crazy things we do. good luck at your race.

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  15. Thanks Ash! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I don’t think I’ve ever commented… maybe I have. Anyways, this is exactly how I’m feeling now! My fourth marathon is Sunday & I admit, I’m tired & burnt out. Then I have my first ultra – 50 at Umstead in three weeks. I’m just tired & ready for a break. I’m trying to find that excitement again to get me through it but it’s getting tough. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this. Good luck & you’ll be amazing as always!

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    • Aw thanks Meredith!!! I’ve heard nothing but great things about Umstead. A lot of my friends really love that course. I hope you have a great race & really enjoy yourself. Burnout happens so freaking easily. Hard to find that line of balance in training!!!!

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  16. I am truly enjoying you blog. I am still going back when I have time to read your older blog post. That way I don’t miss all you super stories. You go girl, your mind is your worst enemy. You do whatever you need to get those demons out.

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  17. Go Ashley! I related to this post, because I love that feeling I get when I’m burned out on training, and then have an awesome run out of the clear blue one day that helps me rediscover why I got into all of this in the first place. Thanks for helping out my friends at the Death Race, by the way. (I had a DNS for that race, because I decided to save my recovering IT band for Umstead, but maybe next time!)

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