The Runner’s Art of Listening to Your Body


So I mentioned last week that Erica and I would be heading up to Vermont to run the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield.

You may also recall that I didn’t feel all that ready for this particular marathon. My last long run was during the Dark Side races back in April and between dealing with depression and plantar facetious I really wasn’t all that well trained for this race.

Regardless I was going to give it a go.

And that was the plan.


All Thursday and Friday after getting to Boston it was all marathon talk all the time. We were doing this.

Right up until Friday night.

Team Hot Mess Express was in full force and the two of us began questioning whether or not we were really properly prepared for 26 miles of running. We both knew we were able to do it, we’ve done it because. But the question was really whether or not it was the best of ideas.


We tossed around the idea of e-mailing the race director and asking about dropping down to the half marathon. We decided to wait and see how we felt after we made the drive up there.

Saturday morning I actually started an email to the race director about dropping down and immediately felt guilty asking for this favor since we had already been allowed to defer the race.

I held off.


During the three hour drive up to Vermont the decision was made that we would ask about dropping down to the half once we got to packet pick-up.

Mentally I wasn’t in the game so I felt fine with this. This also gave us more time to enjoy the day. One of the biggest things I hate about marathons is that you lose the day. However many number of hours running and then you’re just too tired to be a human.

A half? We could bounce back from that no problem.

Physically I knew my foot was going to be a problem. While I haven’t been having much pain, that didn’t mean that I was healed and there was potential to make it worse.

A friend of mine recently ignored her plantar facetious and has since ended up in a boot for an extended period of time. With the Disneyland Half and Chicago marathon looming right around the corner, probably wouldn’t be the best thing in the world to end up in a boot.

We got to packet pick-up ready to drop down to the half.

We picked everything up and the woman at pick-up was so damn nice and excited about life that we felt like complete asses even thinking about changing races. Erica had gone first and said nothing to the woman about switching and so I kept my mouth shut.

We walked away from the tent and just kind of stood there.

“So, are we just running a marathon tomorrow?” I asked.


We had to laugh at how kid-like we felt. We didn’t want to disappoint the nice lady.

Finally we decided that while we both could run a marathon, it wasn’t something we should do. Time to set some realistic expectations.

We made our way over to the half-marathon area and waited a turn to be helped, both jabbing the other to be the one that asked about switching races.

I swear- I don’t understand why anyone allows us to be adults.

The universe was in a forgiving mood and the woman in front of us was actually asking about switching down to the half as well.

Thanks universe.


The process was actually easy as pie (which I should note isn’t always the case so please don’t read this and expect it to be the norm at races).

We both left packet pick-up feeling like a weight had been lifted off of our shoulders.

I’m grateful for Erica slapping some sense into me. Sometimes it’s so easy to focus so much on what’s in front of you that you forget to look at the bigger picture.

I could have run this marathon but what would that have meant down the line?

As if to prove my point my foot started screaming at me about ten miles into the race and the last 5k was painful. What would have happened if I had stuck it out for the full? That pain and more.

Today (Monday, the day after), as I write this, I still have a little pain but I know I’ll bounce out of it in a couple days and I can continue working towards recovery from this.

I am a tad disappointed because I had set out to run a marathon this weekend and like any marathon runner, I talked it up left and right. But in the end common sense had to take hold. I would rather sacrifice this race then have to sacrifice Chicago, a world majors race. Sure, I’ve done it before but this year I get to run it with Erica.

So I guess the moral of this whole story is to make sure that you are taking time to listen to your body and adjust your plans accordingly.

Doing this could save you a lot of problems in the long-run.

Hopefully I’ve done just that.

2 comments on “The Runner’s Art of Listening to Your Body”

  1. Good think you dropped down the the half. We runners can be very resilient, which sometimes causes us to ignore our bodies. Last year, I had to drop down from a full-marathon to a half-marathon for Montreal’s Rock n Roll series. . . I am so glad that I did.
    Too bad that you could not run the full but it seems like you have bigger fish to fry with your upcoming marathons. Good luck


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