I Failed in My Marathon and Hit a Running Rock Bottom

Somewhat ironically, my favorite CrossFit trainer was the first person to tell me to back off. I'd come to him with some concerns. And by concerns, I mean I showed up to a workout and stumbled into his office weeping uncontrollably. Work was too busy, my legs hurt all the time, I still couldn't do a pull-up and I was looking for new jobs.

Frightened, he asked to see the papers in my hand. My training plans. The holy grail of my current existence.

"This is aggressive," he said. "Why so much running?"

"The marathon," I said.

"Then why are you coming here two times a week?"

"It's the only thing I like anymore."

It was true. Running had become a chore and the only exercise I wanted to do was short bursts of cardio and heavy lifts.
I had never considered quitting before. But the idea of stopping instantly filled me with relief.
And yet, everything in my life was running. I couldn't get away from it. At night when I couldn't sleep, I would scroll through my Instagram feed, double-tapping to "like" as I went by. But I didn't actually like any of the posts. I was jealous. How come all these runners were doing so well in their training? How did they feel so empowered when I felt uninspired? And even though I hated every second of running, I trudged through anyway, the big goal like a light beckoning me through my suffering.

"You should stop running."

At first, I thought he was kidding—saying something a stereotypical CrossFitter would say. But he was not.

"You're burnt out."

I had never considered quitting before. But the idea of stopping instantly filled me with relief. The idea of not running seemed so promising.

It took me a week or so to fully back off, but eventually—after struggling through the first quarter-mile of a six-mile run with tears in my eyes—I stopped.

I walked back to my house, realizing that I'd let all my worst traits dictate my running life for nearly two years. I'd let the negativity from missing a goal manifest itself into a very ugly compulsion. I'd never allowed myself to grieve that first marathon—and I certainly never celebrated it. Running had become nothing but a means to an end. Before the marathon, before the missed goal, it had been my meditation, my happiness and my relief. 

I had hit a running rock bottom.
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