I’ve been struggling with a big decision lately.

Six months ago I signed up for one of the biggest running challenges of my life. I decided to take on a running event that has me scheduled to run 49 miles over a four-day period.

It sounded amazing when I signed up for it. I was drawn to all the bling that I’d get for doing it. Six new medals to add to my wall for the accomplishment of running a 5k, a 10k, a Half Marathon and a Full Marathon four days back to back.

I’ve ran enough Half Marathons that they don’t scare me anymore. 

I’m pretty confident in my ability to complete them. So I set a running goal of running a Full Marathon in 2016. 2016 is a special year to me.

It’s the year that my Father would have turned 90-years-old, it’s the year that I will turn 40-years-old. My Dad was born in 1926 and I lost 260 lb. I wanted, no I still want, to run a mile for every 10 lb. that I lost.

I’m a numbers gal. The numbers all worked and made 2016 THE YEAR that I decided I wanted to run my first and only Full Marathon.

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided to not just take on the challenge of running a Full Marathon but decided to put three days of running in front of it and beat my body up a bit before the true big day came.

But here I am in the beginning of October, in the middle of the training program that will get me there and…

I am struggling.

My body is starting to tell me that I am overdoing it. I’ve completed 13 half marathons now. 14 if I count the first one where I walked the entire thing. Now, three years later I’m dealing with injuries that though they aren’t really caused by the running itself, are amplified by it.

I’ve got degenerative arthritis in my knees. I’m currently struggling with achilles tendonitis in my ankles.

I am seeing doctors and spending nearly 2 hours a day doing everything they tell me to so I can maintain and treat those issues so that hopefully I can push my body do what I want it to do.

Running is my therapy.

Nobody has told me not to run. Some doctors have told me to run less often and that is something that I am more than willing to do. Just as soon as I accomplish this goal of running a full marathon.

So what is the decision that I am struggling with? Because obviously I’ve already got my mind set on completing my first and only full marathon in 2016.

Here’s the thing. I have a really hard time letting go of a goal that I set for myself. Even if that goal is above and beyond what I really wanted to do in the first place.

You see, I could make this all much easier on my body. I could use the option that RunDisney has to defer my registration for the 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon portion of this event and go back to my original goal of running my first Full Marathon and not have it stacked behind three days of progressively running longer and longer distances right before I attempt to do it.

Why is that decision so hard for me to make? Truthfully, it’s hard for me because in the back of my mind there is this little voice that feels like somehow if I change my plan and alter my course and decide not to do this challenge that I signed up for I have somehow failed at achieving a goal that I set for myself.

You don’t have to tell me how wrong that little voice is.

I’m a coach, I know quite well how wrong that voice is. But that doesn’t change that it exists and that it sits there in the back of my mind taunting me and nagging me.

I’ve got that proverbial devil and angel on my shoulder right now…

The devil says…

“Hey you set this big goal and you can probably do it if you really push yourself, and just think of how great that accomplishment will feel when you are done and you managed to do something that you’re scared of right now.”

The angel says…

“Why not just stick to your original goal? Why go all bat shit crazy and make reaching that goal so much harder for yourself by making it more challenging than it needs to be?”

There is a part of me that wonders…  If I do defer the first three days of this running event and just run that original Full Marathon that I intended too, will I regret the fact that I didn’t attempt to complete the entire challenge once I cross the finish line?

I’ve never fallen short of a running goal that I have set for myself. I have never had the experience of not actually being able to complete a distance I set out to run.

Truthfully at this point I am not sure which is better for my emotional state of mind. Deciding right now to rein myself in and alter my goal to one that I know is more realistic, or to attempt to do what I set out to do and know that for the first time in my weight loss journey and running career I just might not be able to finish what I started.

This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

Never let anyone tell you that once you lose your weight everything is magically fixed. The weight loss is just the beginning of your journey. There are lots of emotional and physical challenges that come up as you walk the path of weight maintenance and start to live life after weight loss. True story.


 Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.