New York City Marathon: I’m OUT (till next year)

I’m not a quitter, to a fault. In fact, there have been many times in my life when I should have walked away or changed directions, but I kept moving forward at 150 mph anyway. I guess that’s the stubborn gene I inherited.

That stubborn gene serves me well when I play tennis– I can beat better players because I chase down balls as if my life depends on it. And it also pays off when I’m training for and running marathons. I just won’t give up, no matter how badly my legs hurt or how tired I am.

That’s why, this week, when I hit the “cancel” button on the NYC Marathon website, it hurt. After all, nothing stops me — including ITBS, plantar fasciatis, early stress fractures or as is the case this time around, piriformis syndrome. Another drag? My marathon book — HEART AND SOLE — is soon to be released. Shouldn’t I be practicing what I preach? A trip to New York City, quite literally, comes at a cost. A plane ticket, hotel fare and meals (not to mention cabs, tips and race paraphernalia)  cost a small fortune — especially in one of the most pricey cities in the country. And a river of disposable income hath not been flowing my way this year.

Straddling motherhood, marketing, moving, and oh, writing a marathon book, has proven to be unhealthy for my earnings potential. And right now, more important commitments, like paying mortgage and buying food, take priority over another fun workout weekend in Manhattan. However, I’ve learned a valuable lesson this time around, one that I emphasize in my book but never truly appreciated until now.

Since the summer, I’d never made a 100% mental commitment to run this race. I went about my training rather half-ass, all while waiting to land the next big marketing gig. I carried out speed workouts and somehow roughed out a few long runs, but I wasn’t really devoting adequate time and mileage. I never felt good on those long runs, and mentally, this was somewhat debilitating. For the stubborn at heart, the pain of postponing may be worse than all the fatigue from running. But…. If you’re not 150% sure you want to run a marathon — whether it’s your first time or 50th — your mental and physical conditioning will suffer. If you’re not “all in,” you should probably bail out.

For 2012, US Airways loses, but my family wins. My body is probably relieved to get a break, too. There’s plenty of room for stubbornness in 2013. After all, I could never say no to New York twice.

Melinda Hinson