Pressing the Reset Button

When you can’t do something it becomes all you can think about.  Ever since I got pneumonia, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of running. As soon as I was cleared to get back to running I got right back to it. It was brutal and I took more time off. Every time I tried again I ended up wheezing for days at a time, no matter how good I felt while running. Running started to stress me out.  I worked so hard this winter to be able to PR the crap out of my half marathon. I ran 13.1 miles without stopping in March. In May I couldn’t run 5 minutes without my lungs rebelling. I had more chest x-rays and the pneumonia was totally gone as of early June but that didn’t stop the wheezing. The North Face Endurance Challenge was so much fun but I coughed so hard the following week I constantly felt like I was going to throw up. I felt okay running but my lungs just couldn’t seem to rebound.

It was that weekend in early June that I realized there was no chance I could run Marine Corps in October. Despite being months away I knew I couldn’t start training at the end of June. The first long run on my training plan was for 10 miles. Could I run/walk/drag myself through 10 miles and the subsequent weeks of training? Probably. Did I want to? Yes. Was it the right thing to do? No.

I want to run a marathon so badly. I want to run 26.2 miles and feel strong. I want to feel like I trained my hardest and did the best that I could come race day. I didn’t want to start training feeling sick and behind schedule and stressed. It breaks my heart that I can’t run MCM this year. It breaks my heart that my doctor told me to forget that I’ve ever run and start from scratch. But it’s what I’m doing because I don’t want to have awful asthma symptoms for the rest of my life. It is so frustrating because I didn’t do anything to knock myself out of running. I didn’t overtrain and get hurt. I didn’t undertrain and hurt myself racing. Somehow, I got a terrible case of pneumonia out of the blue and I don’t know how it happened but it’s wreaked havoc over the last few months of my life. The only thing I have control over is making sure I don’t permanently damage by body by not taking the absurdly long time required to get well.

My new mantra.

So the real reason that I haven’t been blogging much lately is because I’ve been so disappointed and embarrassed to have to give up on my MCM goal. But I shouldn’t be embarrassed. I’m doing what I have to do and I need to work as hard at repeating Couch to 5K as I planned to work at training for a marathon. So this is my workout plan for tonight and I can’t wait.

This is life now.


21 Responses to Pressing the Reset Button
  1. carlyn
    June 26, 2012 | 10:59 am

    This post was probably really difficult for you to write, but as a reader/follower it is inspiring. Even the best athletes (yourself included) face challenges. YOU WILL RUN AGAIN. Starting over isn’t the worst thing that could happen, this time around you’ll be even stronger!
    carlyn recently posted..gimme S’MORE!My Profile

  2. Mary @ food and fun on the run
    June 26, 2012 | 11:05 am

    You definitely did not give up on yourself! You did what is necessary to keep you running for many more years to come. Congrats on such a hard decision. You will come back stronger than ever! Just take the steps to get there :)

  3. Theodora
    June 26, 2012 | 11:11 am

    I want to give you a huge hug. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be, but I’m glad to hear you’re back running all the same.

  4. Bonnie
    June 26, 2012 | 11:14 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your decision and the reality of where you’re at health-wise and training-wise looking ahead, Carly…What a tough spot to be in. But like Carlyn said above, you will run again! And you are being so wise in your decision to look to the future and consider your body and the bigger picture rather than focus on the moment and your present desires. I commend you for that! Hoping you find some peace during this in-between time – keep rocking out those good workouts and listening to your body! :D
    Bonnie recently posted..Snapshots on the Owyhee RiverMy Profile

  5. Emily (@TriRunner302)
    June 26, 2012 | 11:19 am

    I feel your pain! I’ve been totally derailed with injuries this year, and I am beyond frustrated. Just last week, I had to give up on my “A” race for the year because my body can’t handle the mileage. My focus now is to heal these injuries so I can continue to swim, bike and run for many years to come. Hang in there – it will get better!
    Emily (@TriRunner302) recently posted..Benched {again}My Profile

  6. KymberlyFunFit
    June 26, 2012 | 11:21 am

    Great opening line; great self-awareness. The discipline you are using now will be the same skill to take you to your running goals once you are well. Support virtual hug to you!
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted..3 Excuses You Can Use When Mountain HikingMy Profile

  7. Jess
    June 26, 2012 | 11:26 am

    There is no shame in dropping out of a race ever! You are absolutely making the right decision for you, and while I’m so bummed for you that you can’t do MCM, that race isn’t going anywhere. It will be there next year and the year after. And there are many other marathons. You’ll run 26.2 one day and you’ll totally crush it!
    Jess recently posted..17 Miles to Clear My HeadMy Profile

  8. Ericka @ The Sweet Life
    June 26, 2012 | 11:53 am

    Oh Carly, so sad to hear you are disappointed but…you are doing the right thing. Sometimes it seems like “marathon” or “half marathon” are the only goals to work for but they aren’t. In fact, I’ve been considering dropping out of my marathon this year because Crossfit has given me a new love for something different and it’s difficult to train for both at the same time. Anyway, stay encouraged and remember why you run in the first place :)
    Ericka @ The Sweet Life recently posted..Strawberry Champagne CupcakesMy Profile

  9. melody
    June 26, 2012 | 1:03 pm

    I’m really sorry to hear this – but you made the right decision (even though I know it has to be HARD to come to this decision)!!! There will be more marathons, but if you hurt yourself trying to train for one now, there won’t be. Thinking about you, and hope you feel better soon!
    melody recently posted..Run for the HillsMy Profile

  10. a
    June 26, 2012 | 2:03 pm

    Damn right you shouldnt be embarrassed. You will get there. Hang on!

  11. charlotte
    June 26, 2012 | 4:17 pm

    Oh Carly!! I wish I could give you a hug. I know this post wasn’t easy to write, and I know it wasn’t an easy decision to come to. Not that it makes you feel any better, but I know what it’s like to have to start over. I recently was diagnosed with a pelvic tilt, something that happened pre-running that I wasn’t aware of… It stinks. It’s frustrating.. But I can honestly say I’m becoming a stronger runner by going back to the basics.

    I know that doesn’t help — but I hope you at least know how much stronger of a runner you are than so many others out there, simply for knowing this isn’t the time, and walking away from MCM before you cause your body more harm.

    You will bounce back, stronger than ever.
    charlotte recently posted..Baltimore Women’s Classic Race RecapMy Profile

  12. Lora @ Crazy Running Girl
    June 26, 2012 | 4:23 pm

    We have all had to do this for one reason or another… so you aren’t alone! It’s a bummer to make that decision, but you know what? It’s even worse to run a race that you aren’t ready for… especially if it’s your first marathon! :)

  13. Theresa @ActiveEggplant
    June 26, 2012 | 5:22 pm

    Well this definitely stinks, but you are most certainly making the RIGHT decision here! Pneumonia is some serious stuff & I think it’s smart that you’re giving your body all the time it needs to get back into running instead of pushing through and forcing it.

    Actually, I haven’t said anything on my blog yet, but I’m also backing out of MCM – it’s been a drafted post for a long time & I’m just now feeling confident enough to post it!

    Keep listening to your body & get well – another marathon will always be there when your lungs are able to handle the distance again!

  14. Coco
    June 26, 2012 | 6:23 pm

    So, so sorry! You are making the right decision and you are NOT giving up!
    Coco recently posted..My Formula For Lunchtime SuccessMy Profile

  15. Pavement Runner
    June 26, 2012 | 7:34 pm

    Yes, yes and yes. Reset and recover to 100%. Goals will come into focus when you are ready. You know how to get there, just build towards it. Be strong.
    Pavement Runner recently posted..Pave It ForwardMy Profile

  16. jennifer
    June 26, 2012 | 9:50 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your difficult recovery…but you will run again and be stronger for it! And I agree with all the other posts that said there is nothing to be embarrassed about backing out of the race; a smart person knows when to call it quits and start again.

  17. Ebernst
    June 27, 2012 | 10:48 am

    I had pneumonia while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer and it took me months to recover so I totally feel your pain! I ended up having to leave the country I was serving in because I had such a difficult recovery (possibly one of the worst things ever).

    You are defintely making the best decison to get healthy and just keep focusing on feeling better! I’m sure you’ll be racing again before you know it! I ran a 5k a year after being sick (I wasn’t a runner before, but am now a runner and triathlete!) and it felt awesome!

  18. Sana
    June 27, 2012 | 4:15 pm

    :( I have had a cold for a week now and I am going crazy! i can’t even make it to the gym because I feel too weak. Good luck with the couch to 5k!

  19. Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life
    June 27, 2012 | 4:17 pm

    It must be really hard to start from scratch, but you want to feel good after your runs, not suffer for a week after them. You WILL get back to where you were, and you will surpass it. You’re an amazing athlete and don’t ever giveup!
    Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life recently posted..The Week’s Favorite Eats WIAWMy Profile

  20. Melissa
    June 28, 2012 | 10:15 am

    Don’t be disappointed or embarrassed!! You need to take care of yourself first and recovering slowly is first priority. Defer your entry to MCM and tackle it next year :) Or you could even maybe run RnR USA next year as your first full, if you don’t want to wait til October. I know it’s a crappy realization & something you don’t want to hear, but there will always be other races :)
    Melissa recently posted..Count Me InMy Profile

  21. Jenny
    June 28, 2012 | 1:24 pm

    So sorry to hear about Marine Corps. I know how tough of a decision that is. Take the time you need to heal now and you’ll be able to CRUSH MCM in 2013!

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