Organic Runner Mom

No more marathons . . .

No more marathons . . .

No more marathons . . . after Boston 2017

No more marathons . . . after Boston 2017

Laying in the medical tent again at the end of the marathon was not where I had hoped to end up. This was not my first trip to the medical tent after a marathon either. Out of the dozen or so marathons that I have run including a handful of trail marathons this may have been my 5th time. The fact that I have lost track of how many times is not good. It indicates that there may be a problem with me and the marathon. I knew my family wouldn’t be happy and rightly so.

Before I had kids I jumped into marathoning and became hooked. You run one and oftentimes when you finish you think, “I will never ever do that again, it was painful and horrible.” But then like so many of us you sign up again and convince yourself that it will be different. Before I had kids I didn’t know as much about  running marathons as I do now. I did not use a running coach and I used training plans off the internet. I hoped to qualify for the Boston Marathon but never fully put in the work to get there. The toll that a marathon takes on my body is hard. I had had several trips to the med tent at the finish for dehydration and my husband made me promise to run only shorter races. He was worried of course. So that’s what I did for a bit, focusing on half marathons and I even rowed twice  in the Head of the Charles again with the Colby College Alumni Rowing team. However, after having kids and battling serious post partum depression, I had the itch to try the marathon again and now I was really hungry to qualify for Boston. I needed that big goal. Something to focus on. I needed something to focus on to help carry me out of my depression.

Now fast forward to today. I have qualified for the Boston Marathon 3 times, have run it twice as a qualifier, once with Team Stonyfield and now will run as a qualified runner again this spring. I am thankful for the amazing opportunities that I have had to run this exceptional race. It looks like the Boston Marathon this spring may be my last full marathon out of caution in considering my own personal health and well-being. This is a tough decision for me but taking care of myself for me and my family is of huge importance. I ended up in the Med tent again after the finish of the NYC Marathon this year. After the finish my body just kind of crashed. I could feel it happening towards the end of the race. All in all I think I burned through 8 GU packets, a Clif Organic Energy Food Oatmeal pouch, two banana halves, a salt packet and water and gatorade at every stop. Besides being moderately hypothermic at the end of the race I was completely depleted of all energy stores. I have always struggled with a fast metabolism and long endurance races because my body struggles to keep up with fueling. During a road marathon it is tough for me to stay fueled because you can’t carry as much as you might during a trail marathon where I carry a pack and devour all of the foods at aid stations or in a triathlon where I can grab fuel in transition and especially on the bike.

I am proud to have been extremely successful with marathoning to this point and am going to train and run my heart out for the Boston Marathon this spring. However, I need to take a break from marathons and focus more on triathlon and shorter distances: half marathons and 10Ks. I do want to do some work with a nutritionist as I move forward. I am planning to reach out to Jamie Sheahan MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at The EDGE Nutrition in Vermont. Jamie spoke to us about sports nutrition for runners at the Rise. Run. Retreat this fall and I can also work with my coach Denise Goode at The Sustainable Athlete. I am hopeful that I can get some further guidance about how to better fuel myself during training as well as on race day. There is a part of me that is having a hard time of letting go of the dream of running more marathons but I know that this thinking is somewhat silly since there are so many other ways that I can challenge myself and set goals for myself.

Don’t worry . .  there is still plenty more running, triathlons, racing and healthy eating to come . . . There are plenty more fun adventures to be had!

Have you ever ended up in the medical tent during or after a race? What is your “relationship” with marathons. Do you love them? Hate them?

Organic Runner Mom



18 responses

18 responses

  1. I don’t have the same fueling issues as you and have not ended up in the medical tent. But struggle with the heat and ended up injured prior to heading to Chicago. With a grown daughter not living at home it is less an issue, but my coach has encouraged me to give up marathons too, to reduce injury and to perform better. Short distances 5K and under is where he feels I will perform best. New strategy. Health 1st.

  2. It is so important to put your health first. Marathon training is tough and I think that our bodies have a way of signaling us when a certain distance and amount of training is too much. I have only run one full marathon. There is always a part of me that runs to run one more full marathon, but I feel my body is more comfortable with distances up to the half marathon. I feel that my limit for training is with the half marathon and I feel my greatest potential for training and racing is with the half. I like your idea of working with a nutritionist. Have you also found blood work analysis to be beneficial? Sending healthy vibes for your Boston Marathon training season! xo
    Kara A. Forrest recently posted…Annapolis Running Classic RecapMy Profile

  3. I understand how difficult this decision must be for you! I’ve wondered as well if the marathon is smart… I haven’t had incidents like yours but something in my gut just tells me it’s not great for me. I’d rather be active into my older years than run my body into the ground now. I admire you for doing what’s best for YOU!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Mizuno running gear that has me optimistic about winter running!My Profile

  4. What a hard decision! I’ve thought that maybe I should not even think about marathons anymore. I’ve been in the med tent but it’s more like the wear and tear it outs on my body before the actual race. I seem to end up injured more than actually finishing the race. I know you will continue to be a fierce competitor in running and even more so in Tri’s. Btw – Jamie is awesome! She helped me out with some issues. You will be in good hands!
    Angela @ Happy Fit recently posted…High Five FridayMy Profile

  5. I’m sorry you had to make this decision but it sounds like it’s the right one for you. I always had a hard time with the marathon, especially at first. In addition to my exercise induced asthma, I would get so nauseous that I’d actually try to make myself throw up thinking it would make me feel better! And yet I ran 37 of them! Tough or stupid, huh?

  6. Tough decision, but you’re correct…ultimately YOUR health and well being has to trump all else. Thankfully, I’ve never made it into a medic tent. I seem to have the opposite issue from what most others have…I’m always erring on the side of caution and easing up (too soon or too often) instead of pushing through pain/discomfort (then regretting that I let another PR slip past me).
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Care to join me?My Profile

  7. Friend, I know this was a big decision – but you have to do what is best for you!! I think it’s so smart when athletes realize what is best for their bodies… and actually listen.
    Tris and half marathons are challenging, fun and you will be able to hit some great goals in those distances. You are a bad ass and will kill it!
    Proud and happy for you AND super happy that I can see you in Boston!!! xo
    Natalie recently posted…Gluten Free Pumpkin Cranberry MuffinsMy Profile

  8. I think it is so great that you are listening to your body and instincts. I think sometimes once we become endurance athletes, shorter races don’t seem like “enough,” when in reality all that matters is simply training for life and finding the part of running that brings joy. That may simply be running 5Ks or 10Ks or just running with a group of friends with no race goals. Thanks for opening up and sharing this hard decision with us. Huge hugs to you! xoxo
    Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted…What I See When I Look at This TreeMy Profile

  9. Listening to your body is incredibly hard and I admire you so much for this! I’ve never ended up in the medical tent as I’ve never pushed myself to the limits like you have. Which is freaking amazing. You’re a very talented runner and I admire you so much for that. However, I will say I agree with you. I am done with marathons – obviously for different reasons – at least for now. I’ll probably catch the bug in a few years. But I need a long break from them….. perhaps forever.
    Jen recently posted…5 Ways to Reduce Stress This Holiday SeasonMy Profile

  10. I’ve never been able to tried a marathon before so I think you’re a very tough mom. But keeping yourself healthy is very important too, since there are always family and friends who care for you. And you know you love them. Take care and best wishes!
    Emily@JuicerHealthy recently posted…How to Cleanse the LiverMy Profile

  11. Hello Sandra

    There are times when a runner’s body just needs a rest. Not a low-intensity day, not a short-distance day, just a whole day off to lay around and do nothing (or at least not run). Playing it smart and voluntarily taking a day off when you need it can help me avoid taking several days off involuntarily somewhere down the road. Sometime I’m tired all the time. I have been training hard and consistently, but for the last week or two, my legs have felt dead, my lungs feel like they’ve been working overtime to keep up, and my motivation has been zero. I also notice an increased resting heart rate and disturbed sleep and if you I try to run through the discomfort, it often only gets worse, and an extended layoff becomes necessary to repair the damage from running on burned-out muscles. This is my body’s way of telling me it needs a rest. I’ve found that the best strategy is to take a weekend off, move as little as possible, eat as much as possible, and take in a ton of fluids. I will give overworked muscles a rest, replenish depleted glycogen stores, and rehydrate, something my body probably needs.

    I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
    Alice Clover recently posted…Health and beauty benefits of tomatoesMy Profile

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