Friday, January 20, 2012

keeping an open heart

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps" Proverbs 16:18

Deena Kastor, American record holder in the marathon, after finishing in 5th at last weeks trials
Sometimes even the best of athletes need to take a time out and reassess where the road ahead is leading them.

Life around this neck of the woods has been awkwardly fickle like this as of late. Days seem to whiz by throwing well meaning plans out the window and leave me clinging by the seat of my pants as I often shuffle off from one place to the next. I'm a planner and I enjoy diligently detailing the unseen days with lists of "to-do's" and the quests my heart longs to embark upon. Then life happens, and it laughs hysterically at my planned ventures where the wind is constantly blowing me in the opposite direction.

I made a plan for the spring. Sure it was tentative, but my mind already begun to settle into the ideas of my future adventures. After my battered and beaten body crumbled to pieces last fall at the Chicago marathon, my head was more then ready to take on a rematch. 

Me vs. the marathon.
And this was a battle I was going to win. 
No doubt about it.

As the logistics of my less-the-thought-out-plan begun to catch up with me where my heart finally caught up with my head, I realized that I am insane. 

My plan for the first 6 months of this year was to be a running machine. Spend my days pouring myself once again into marathon training where I would somehow still be able to pick up enough speed to run an 8k PR in late March and a mind-blowing 10 miler 6 days post marathon. I was mentally confident that my bodies physical abilities were ready for this challenge, until the logistical part of my brain decided to join the rest of the party and shine some light upon reality. 

I know myself and how I pour my everything into the things that liven my heart bringing about blissful moments that make me want to dance through the streets of Chicago. Running does this for me. It makes me feel alive and unchained where caution is thrown into the wind. Yet, my heart is staggering when it comes to the marathon, especially at this point in time. I want to like this distance, I want to chase down a dream, but I more so want to cross the finish line of my races this year and be hugged with all of the race day glory and radiate positivity. My fear right now is that venturing down marathon lane at this point in time is going to turn me into a rigid-fiery beast where all I'm going to be doing is chasing down a number, and honestly I don't want to do that.

So I'm calling it...I'm pulling the spring marathon plug and changing the game plan.

Doing what makes my heart flutter is more important at this stage in my life then playing a numbers game with the marathon. Sadly for me the marathon hasn't been made my heart flutter in ages, instead it has been making it flat line and leaving me feeling frustrated and stale. I think the two of us need a break this spring and maybe consider rekindling our flame in the fall, and I feel peace with this decision. Actually I feel pretty stinkin great about forgoing the marathon at this point in time as I'm trying to allow myself to run more by my intuition.

What now?
Loose plans.

March will host a start in the elite corral of the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, a spring half marathon that will hopefully host a delicious PR, and a little race called the Soldier Field 10 Mile that attracts a mere 10,000+ runners and is by far the best Chicagoland race all year. And maybe a fall marathon with the husband.


  1. You know I agree with this from my fb status the other day. :) Good for you to be confident enough in yourself to know what is best for you at this point in your life. Enough to change your goals and reevaluate what Britt needs right now. What book is that?

  2. Agree with your decision. You will be more fit for the fall marathon and will be more likely to meet/exceed your goals at that time, rather than forcing it and over-training for a spring marathon.

  3. Thanks Pete! I'd like to think so. I don't think that it's ever wise to venture down a road that we feel is inappropriate for us just for sake of a new PR. Life is much more enjoyable when following the heart.

  4. Good for you for being able to wait on the marathon until you are ready and your heart is 100% in it! That is really hard... when you want redemption, to not chase it as soon as possible.

    What book is that last picture from?

  5. Love Matt's RUN book! So good. No marathon for me either this spring. Short distance races and a fall marathon. Not missing running long in the winter. Good luck chasing your dreams:)

  6. can i just say...props to u!! i've jokingly made barbs at the ongoing love-affair the masses have with the marathon in general. the first question i'm always asked when someone finds out i'm a runner (or even see me running) is if i've done a marathon. no, i haven't (i may one day..i'm not against it) and they give that look of disappointment, like i'm not a reaaal runner. why such the emphasis on this event, like it's the pinnacle of running.

    of course it's cool, but so is running a blazing fast 5k, or 8k...or a 200 for that matter. so good luck and go for the goal that makes ur heart flutter! :)

  7. I think this is a great choice! it is so hard for us sometimes to make the RIGHT choice b/c we WANT something else that maybe isn't right for us right now. super proud of you. I think you will look back on this decision in a year and feel again like it was the perfect choice for you. love ya girl!

  8. I think you've made the right choice. Running (I think) is supposed to be fun. And you should do what you feel like, make your heart flutter as you said. Your races sound fun... good luck on your half PR :)

  9. GOOD FOR YOU!!! that would be a tough decision for me to make, so i'm sure it wasn't an easy one for you to make, but that usually means it's the best decision. re-evaluating and setting new and different goals is a great thing. you write beautifully and really articulate your thoughts. you know what you are doing! excited to see how your year progresses!!!

  10. Good for you! I'm sure that line is right about your body knowing what's up. The trick is to pay attention, which you are doing. I really admire that!

  11. I think you will have so much more success going after goals that make your heart flutter as opposed to forcing yourself to go after a number. Your races will have more meaning and enjoyment. :)

  12. that sounds PERFECT! You know why? Because - it's what YOU need to do for yourself. You will have an AMAZING year a head of you doing what feels right:)

  13. You are going to rock the half!! do not beat yourself up for pulling out of the spring marathon...there will be 100 more amazing marathons in your near future, this fall will be a great one for you!!

  14. You are such an inspiration and I am loving that you are going in the direction that your heart is taking you. I am working on that as well because I think it's the only way to be truly happy. I like the idea of loose plans. Do what feels right and you will succeed.

  15. there's a time and place for everything and life works best when we acknowledge that the timing isn't right and don't force things that don't need to be. i'm excited for you because you can totally devote your energy into races that do make your heart flutter right now! there will always be another marathon, another race. you don't want to take the joy out of the run :)