Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Well, maybe I’ll stop…? Your opinion requested.

Turns out running a marathon is expensive, and that’s why I am asking for your opinion on whether to keep going at the end of this post. Please comment! Seriously.

I survived 5 weeks of marathon training. Week 5 ended with a long run of 10 miles, at the end of which my ankles declared, “We are OUT.”

Saturdays are long run day. 10 days ago, it was an 8 mile run. 3 days ago, it was a 10 mile run.

Prior to starting marathon training five weeks ago, the longest distance I had ever run was six miles, except for the now infamous accidental half-marathon.

Last summer, I was running six miles several times a week. I felt good and my pace was just over 10 minutes. I also weighed about 50 pounds less than I do now.

In the first four weeks of marathon training, I quickly worked my way back up to six miles. I felt okay at best, and my pace was at about 11:30. I was making progress and my body was adapting to our new routine. I was thinking, I can do this. I can run a marathon.

Three days ago, on that 10 mile run, though…things shifted. I did three big loops of about 3.3 miles each.

At the end of the first loop, I was back at my car and took a minute to drink some water. My ankles were yelling at me, “Hey! We aren’t doing so good! Can we go home now?” I told them to shut up and started the second loop.

At the end of the second loop, I paused to drink water again. This time, my ankles screamed, “LOOK! We can’t do this anymore! Why are you torturing us??” I gave them my sternest command to quit crying and start moving, and off we went on the third loop.

When we came back to the car (I’m now referring to my ankles and me as “we”) again, my ankles refused to talk to me. In fact, they refused to do anything. So, we sat in silence until they allowed us to shuffle back to the car and drive home.


Mentally, I started to unravel the last five weeks.

  • I only have 18 weeks to train for this. If I have to take any time off, I’ll never be ready in time.
  • I’ve raised money. People will be mad at me if I can’t run.
  • I will look like a quitter.
  • People will think I’m making it up and just wanted an excuse to stop.
  • I was stupid to think I could run this. I should switch to the half.
  • I want to stop. I’m tired. I want my life back.
  • The whole point of running this race is to raise money for clean water. I should just give the money to someone else to run. I don’t need to run.
  • If I miss one day, I’ll never get back on track.

All that from painful ankles.

I researched what to do about painful ankles. I bought compression socks and Icy Hot cream. Minimal difference.

My anxiety level went through the roof as I knew I needed to be able to run 3 miles for my training plan the day after tomorrow. I had not missed a single day of training. I have a checklist that I mark off each day when I complete the run. I couldn’t stand the thought of not checking off a day.

Sundays are cross-training day. Typically, I have done a bike ride for my cardio, but I chose to do another strength & core day instead. I do Mommastrong for my S&C days, and chose the ankle fix-me and glute boot camp.

Mommastrong is the best for all you women out there who don’t have time and can’t get left alone for a minute. There’s never talk about weight loss; it’s all about empowerment and strength in the female (and postpartum) body. The main workouts are 15 minutes, and there are fix-mes and hacks when you have something you want to work on. And it’s $5/month!

Now that I have given Courtney some free advertising, here’s how my Sunday Mommastrong S&C went:

The gang’s all here! This is how Mommastrong rolls!

Later that day, I saw my cousin and was complaining about my ankle situation. She suggested I try out Airrosti, so on Monday afternoon, I went to Dr. Johnson.

Here’s my summary of the appointment:

The first half, Dr. Johnson basically used his hand as an iron to unwrinkle my poor body parts. I thought I would die. He said it gets better with each visit. We’ll see.

The big news was that my shoes totally suck for my feet. My precious Brooks Revels that were my favorite tennis shoe ever because they had never caused me any pain. Until now.

So I am now the owner of these massive spacewalk shoes (and Superfeet insoles):

Look at the cushion on these bad girls!

So. Let’s tally up, shall we?

  • Compression socks
  • Icy Hot cream (Dr. Johnson says it’s pretty useless, and I would concur)
  • Icing 2-3 times daily
  • Stretch exercises
  • New shoes and extra support insoles

Last night, I melted down on JJ. I’m not sure I should keep going with the marathon, honestly.

It seems more than a little bizarre to me that I’ve spent a lot of money to be able to run this marathon when the point is to raise money for clean water. I’m doing a lot to make sure I can run this race in a safe, healthy way but all of it is costing money that should just go to World Vision in the first place, shouldn’t it?

Things I have bought for the marathon/training:

  • Sunglasses that don’t fall off when I sweat
  • Reflective vest so I can run when it’s dark outside
  • Dri-fit long-sleeve shirts
  • Running gloves
  • Ear warmers
  • Wireless ear phones (the most indulgent on the list; the wires drove me crazy and my right one kept falling out)
  • New running shoes
  • Insoles
  • Handheld water bottle
  • Co-pay for 6 appointments to Airrosti foot specialist
  • Ice packs
  • Compression socks
  • Foam roller

That’s just so far. I still have 13 weeks of training to go, and I’m not even able to DO the training right now.

Exhibit A: Taped ankles
Exhibit B: Icing at work

I have no idea what other injuries may occur, and need other treatment/accessories. I have some more expenses planned, mainly expensive hydration stuff so that I am fueled as the runs only get longer.

I was not prepared for how expensive running like this can be. I’m embarrassed at how much money is being spent on stuff to DO the run, and not the people I’m running FOR. AND, I do not honestly see a way to run this race in a safe and healthy way without these preparations.

As I’m also spending a lot of time with God in His word and prayer, I am having a lot of internal conflict about whether this is the right thing for me to do (no judgment on others, seriously, this is just me and what’s been my experience).

Honest opinions, please. I can still return some of these things. I can donate to other people and causes, and stop buying all this expensive stuff to run a race when people need the money for clean water.

Can’t stop. Won’t stop. That’s been my motto…but maybe I SHOULD stop?

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Janet says:

    I think you need a year before you run a marathon.

    1. Thank you for your comment!

  2. Em says:

    That’s a lot to unpack. First off, I’m sorry for the pain. I hope it eases and your ankles recover quickly. It’s utterly annoying that shoes make such a difference and they’re always so expensive.

    Hobbies are expensive. I recently started crafting. The outlay for cutters is ridiculous. Apparently, it’s the same for running. Do you, when you’re ankles aren’t hurting and you aren’t training for a marathon, enjoy it? If you can see yourself carrying on with it, it’s a good investment.

    I think you started with a great idea for yourself and for helping others. It makes me sad to see you criticizing yourself. I think there is nothing wrong with easing up on the training and perhaps choosing to recommit to a half-marathon, which is amazing, or any distance you choose at all or even withdrawing if it’s not working for you emotionally and physically.

    Stopping something isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your thoughts! I know you have a unique perspective and can understand quite a bit of how I’m feeling. 🙂

  3. cileborders says:

    Listen to your ankles and the rest of your body. It was not “designed” to run 26 miles, or 13, or 6, even if it can. Don’t worry what others will think of you for stopping. Find another way to support World Vision’s clean water initiative that is actually fun. (If you like doing crafts, make and sell them and give the profit to World Vision.) Those are my thoughts. Two cents, please.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts! I really appreciate it!

  4. Cooki Triolo says:

    Random thoughts in no particular order. You have a lot on your plate. If you injure your ankles it could impact a lot of your life, not just running. Is it taking the fun out of running? Can you transfer what you’ve raised to another runner? You already did something good by bringing attention to World Vision. Pray on it..,when you feel peace with your decision, you’ll know it’s the right one.

    1. Great thoughts, thank you Cooki!!

  5. Hey! To start off with hello! This is Cole, yes Amy’s Cole, coming in with some words of encouragement! I’ve been running for about 6 years now, with varies season and stages in between that time. Something cool about running is the fact that no matter who you are, young or old, rich or poor, tall or short you can do it. Running doesn’t ask for a certain person, but it ALWAYS asks for a certain mindset. Although it might feel like cheating, taking a day to recover is nothing short of what is needed in these situations. I remember my high school coach would push us way too hard and we would peak in training before competition ever even came upon us. Just as much as it is important to push yourself when you want to give up, it’s also important to listen to your body when it needs a break. My opinion is to 100% continue to the path of the marathon and if you want to stay in movement and not take a break, lower the mileage. Not every designated marathon/half marathon or 5k training can work flawlessly, and tweaking it adds to the fun.

    Shoes are great to look into and you now have a pair of shoes with literal clouds attached to them. The only thing that you will have to get used to is the weight (as I had to when getting a pair of HOKAS), it does make a difference. I would always use Tiger Balm when I needed a certain icy hot remedy and I highly highly highly suggest an ice bath, those work best in my opinion.

    Now for the most important part. Hebrews 12:1-2 says in short to run with endurance the race that has been set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. These verses press into the simple fact that we have a race, a race that is set before us and although things might look grim, or situations might change all that is asked of us is to run that race with endurance. You are doing this for a good cause, out of a good heart and with a good mindset, give yourself rest but don’t view that as defeat. Write this on your heart and every breath that you take when you continue to prepare for this marathon, “Running doesn’t ask for a certain person, but it ALWAYS asks for a certain mindset. Hebrews 12:1-2”.

    God Bless!

    1. Cole! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I really appreciate your thoughts, especially coming from a runner’s perspective.

  6. Lynne says:

    I know you are determined and committed, BUT don’t harm yourself!!!! As said above: Hebrews 12:1-2! Love you, girl!

    1. Thank you, Lynne!

  7. Julie says:

    I support any decision – stop training, switch to a half-marathon, or keep training at a slower pace for the marathon.
    A few years ago the company I worked for was offering free airfare and hotel stay plus a day at the park to anyone who wanted to commit to training for and competing in the Disney marathon. The president of the company was an avid runner, but he pointed out that you could finish the marathon simply by walking at a moderate pace & not get kicked out of the race, so you could consider that as an option. I also wanted you to know as someone who donated to your marathon efforts to help provide clean water, I don’t need you to run the marathon to feel happy about my donation – the money can still go to help people in need. Take care of yourself! Do whatever feels best for you.

    1. Thank you, Julie! I appreciate your comment, especially as someone who has donated. I have been thinking about middle ground options, like the half. All or nothing thinking gets me in trouble sometimes, so it’s good to be reminded there are other options. 🙂

    2. Anna says:

      I agree with Julie’s comment about the donation. I’m happy to support this cause – and you – whether you spend that morning running, walking, or sleeping in.

  8. Anna says:

    I agree with others who are suggesting you alter your plan this year. Would a run/walk (like three minute run/one minute walk) work better? I think switching to a half would be wise also. It’s hard to make these decisions, but it’s really important. I was going to do a half marathon each month this year, and I only made it through half of January’s race before heading to the doctor and PT for my knee. I was disappointed, but now I am excited by the prospect of getting back to running. If I had tried to push myself (and my knee), I likely would hate running right now or not be able to run again.

    What you’re doing is amazing. Do what is best for you.

    1. Thank you, Anna!! I really appreciate your thoughts!

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