Competitor Group, Inc.

Why I Decided To Not Run Chicago

by | Sep 30, 2010 |

Two days ago I made the difficult decision to not run the Chicago Marathon. It was a hard decision, not so much because I wasn’t sure if my body was ready to perform–I was sure of that–but more because I had invested so much energy, passion, and life into the last six months of training. The decision came not as the result of one, two, or three bad workouts. The decision was based on looking at the entire last six-week block of training and the direction my body was headed. Week after week I felt my overall energy and strength to be able to run the long tempo runs and long runs, which are so important to marathon training, gradually deteriorate. My level of fatigue, though not an injury, could have lasting implications on my career should I choose to run an all-out marathon through it. In fact, just today I got an e-mail from Greg Meyer telling me that “I made the decision to run Chicago the year after I won when I wasn’t ready, and it became the beginning of the end for me…The marathon, if not done right, can destroy talent/careers.”

In an effort to restore my body I tried everything from nutritional supplements to acupuncture, yet nothing seemed to help. I tried resting from training for three days and I tried cutting all my afternoon runs until a couple of days ago, at which time it was clear that I was out of time and the only solution would be complete rest, which is why I am not going to race again until 2011. I am going to take a good break and then begin a much more gradual training cycle as I begin preparations for a spring marathon.

While it has been an emotional roller coaster for me the past six weeks, now that I have made the decision, I feel as strongly as ever that this experience will (much like my challenging experiences in college and the Olympic Games) serve me well for the future. I am determined as ever to do whatever is in my power to not let this happen again. I hope that fans understand that in the world of elite marathoning, where we continually walk that fine line of training hard and overtraining, sometimes we cross that line.

I have been overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received from my wife, family, friends, race directors, and fellow runners. One of my favorite things about being a professional runner is that while there exists a small group who, though ignorantly, criticize loudly and anonymously online, the majority of the running community is amazingly gracious and supportive. For them I am deeply grateful, especially in times like this.

With this overwhelming support I cannot help but to give support as well, so I am headed out to Kona on Saturday to spend a few days with my friend Chris Lieto as he prepares for the Ironman World Championships on October 9th. I will then head to Chicago to partake in marathon weekend events to thank Bank of America for their support of charities like mine, The Hall Steps Foundation, and to cheer on the 70 Steps runners who will be running the race to combat poverty. Their efforts are a silver lining to this situation, and I am looking forward to being even more involved with their Chicago race experience than I would have been otherwise.

God has been so faithful to me in this process to give me peace that His plans for me are good, and I am looking forward with hope to the future.

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