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I spent sixteen weeks training for a marathon that I was supposed to run at the beginning of this month. Two days before the race my doctor told me that I shouldn’t run the marathon. I had a scope, they found some problems with my stomach and running the 26.2 miles was not an option. I’m sure a non-runner would question why in the world I was not jumping up and down with joy because I was no longer having to run twenty-six (.2) miles (in a row) but I was pretty devastated about the whole thing. I let myself cry on race morning and mope around a bit—then I got to work on doing the things that I could control. This was not the first race I have had to miss out on and so I have learned a thing or two about what helps me to get over missing out on a race I trained so hard for to get to the starting line.
- Remember that this happens to EVERY runner at some point. You are not alone. Call one of your running buddies, read about elite athlete’s setbacks that they have overcome along the way or go talk to random runners at a running store. You will see that everyone has setbacks and you now have the wonderful opportunity to come back stronger from this setback. You can prove to yourself that you are stronger than you think because once you are training again, you will work harder for your goals than ever before.
- Dive into other hobbies and interests. Yes, running is probably one of our favorite hobbies, but I promise there are other things that you can do to help you to distract yourself from missing out on your race. Learn something new or get back into something that you used to love to do! You’ll get that sense of accomplishment and you will remember that you are pretty darn good at some other things, too!
- Come up with another race. I spent race day going through every single race calendar over the next few months in my state and all of the bordering states. I’m still not sure which races I will be healthy enough to run in the near future, but just knowing I had other options helped me to feel better. It reminded me that there is ALWAYS another race. We just have one body and so we need to make sure to put our health first. Running will always be there for us when we are ready to come back.
- A lot of times we miss getting to our goal races because we are either physically injured, sick or emotionally struggling. What better time to truly take time for some self-care than when we are missing out on a race. Learning to take care of ourselves will help us to start our next training cycle strong and refreshed!
- Serve. Now I couldn’t do much this last time around because I was pretty much on the couch all weekend but I tried to find some ways to serve other humans. It is amazing how much healing service does. I think I get too wrapped up in my own problems and obsessing over them. Service allows me to get outside of myself and think about how to solve other people’s problems instead. It helps me to forget about myself. It gives me a better perspective on my situations and being able to help somebody else feel better helps me to also feel a heck of a lot better, too.
- I remind myself that I don’t run just to race. I run because I love it. I love the journey, I love seeing the improvements and I love the endorphins that accompany a good run. Even though my sixteen weeks of training didn’t end at the marathon’s finish line, I really enjoyed those 16 weeks of challenging myself out on the roads.
- *EXTRA—Watch a lot of Gilmore Girls (or your show of choice) and have one of your favorite treats because those two things seem to solve most problems thrown at us.!
I hope you make it to the starting line of every race you are planning to in the future but if you don’t, remember that there is always another race and that things always end up working out!