I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and that the universe or God or whatever you believe in sends signs to guide you in the direction you are supposed to go. For the last few weeks I have had a lot of these ‘signs’ come my way, which has led me to make a decision about my running and training. I am no longer going to run the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February. Here is why:
My fall and the knee pain that just won’t go away. One month ago on November 9th I fell while running in the dark after work. At first I thought the worst of it was having bloody and bruised knees, but I soon realized something more was going on. Every time I have tried to run since then my knee would either hurt a lot during the run, or start hurting shortly after the run was over. I have never had a real running injury before, just the typical aches and pains that come with marathon training that go away quickly. This was not one of those pains. It felt deeper and more real than that, and even caused me to limp at times when it got really bad. I think my fall and my knee injury were my first two big signs that I needed to put my marathon training on hold temporarily.
Breastfeeding issues. The fall happened on my second day back to work after maternity leave. Shortly after returning to work and beginning to pump half of the day, I realized I was having supply issues and was having a hard time keeping up with my son’s demands while I was at work. That combined with the stress of teaching and limited time to pump has really left my supply lacking and our pediatrician worried about baby’s weight gain. I blogged about this in much more detail yesterday. I also started wondering if running was contributing to this problem at all, since research has shown that hard exercise may cause a decreased supply in some women. There is really no way to be 100% sure if it is or not, but I decided it wasn’t worth taking the chance anymore. I know that I could physically do the distance once my knee heals. I know that I have the support that I need from my husband to train and get the mileage in. Those are not the issues. While I am doing everything I can and trying so hard to increase and maintain my supply, I don’t need something working against that and setting me back. Even though I can’t be sure that marathon training is affecting my supply, I just don’t think it’s worth taking the chance right now. At the end of the day, my son comes first.
I feel confident in this decision. I have my whole life to run marathons. I was really excited to do one in February since I took all of 2012 off from them while pregnant, but I know that extending my break for a little while is not the end of the world. Instead I am going to take it easy for a bit to heal my knee, focus on my son, and run a few shorter races (including the Myrtle Beach half) this spring instead, which will be much easier and less intense for me. My new plan is to wait until next fall to run a full marathon. This way I’ll have more time to train over the summer when I am off, and Kevin will be almost 10 months old and eating more solid foods, so he won’t be solely relying on breast milk for his nutrition anymore.
If motherhood has taught me anything so far, it’s that I need to learn to be 100% flexible. I make plans, things will inevitably change, and I adapt to that. It’s been a great lesson for me so far. It’s crazy how different I am in some ways now that I’m a mother. A year ago dropping out of a marathon would devastate me. Now, it’s not really that big of a deal because my priorities have changed so much. Yes, I love running, but it’s not going anywhere! I’m not quitting! I’m just saying “see ya later” to marathons for another 6 months or so.
Thanks to all my friends and readers for all of your support! Your comments make me so happy! Thank you for being interested and following along in my journey.