Limitations, disappointment and acceptance

Taken before life hit me.

Dirty Harry is one of my all-time favorite film series. Which says something, since I’m not much of a movie fan and it’s rare for me to be able to sit still through an entire movie. But when something is good – it’s good.

This isn’t a story about the tough-as-nails cop, but there is a quote at the end of Magnum Force I’ve been thinking about in regards to my marathon ambitions: “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” Even if I didn’t know or want to think about my own, my body has decided I’m going to acknowledge them.

So with that being said: I’m going to have to drop out of running the Columbus Marathon.

And even though I know it’s the right call, it sucks.

Last weekend was my come-to-Jesus moment. I had planned to run 18 miles and start by 8 a.m. at the latest. The 8 a.m. part never happened. This is probably way more information than any of you needed, but I have a strict policy of not leaving my apartment until I’ve gone to the restroom and know that I’m good before a run. Typically waking up early in the morning gives me time and my body works perfectly. However, the past few months no matter how early I wake up, that has not been the case. I was so off Saturday morning, really like I’ve been every Saturday over the past few months.

Then there was the 18 mile part. That was the plan. However, I had to stop my watch at Mile 9.5. I was three and a half miles out on the trail from where I parked, so I took a walk back to the car. 13 miles were done, but not how I expected. I’m still having some pain in my right thigh five days out – which never happens, unless I’ve run a marathon – and I’m still doing the post-run shuffle. I also got to deal with nausea and throwing up at midnight, as well as another round Sunday afternoon.

Nausea is pretty rare for me, to the point where prior to this year, I can count the number of times I’ve gotten sick like that as a child and now as an adult on one hand. So getting sick enough to be throwing up is a neon flag that something is very off physically.

In addition to all the physical challenges – and knowing that a lot of them stem from comfort eating all the unhealthy stuff and holding them extra pounds on my frame – the mental and emotional impact of this past year has finally kicked my ass.

Do you all remember the struggles of the last post? Or maybe it was the post prior – I have turned into a broken record on the subject of grief and depression. Another low hit me over the weekend into Monday evening. I talked to my mom and she finally called it what I didn’t really want to: “Al, you’re depressed and you need to go to a doctor.”

The last time I saw a primary care physician was summer of 2020, so even if my brain health wasn’t languishing, it’s high time to schedule an appointment. I’m not going to go into everything we talked about. Honestly, it’s both alleviating to finally call it what it is, but at the same time I’m a little embarrassed that I’m 30 years old and I couldn’t be honest with myself earlier. Hindsight is 20/20, and although Grandpa’s passing was the tick tick boom, I’d been battling a low-level depression on-off since winter of 2019.

I realized I’ve spent three years pushing it down, telling myself “Just hang in there, it will pass” when “it” included a year of massive changes at OldJob that did not get better, a relationship that turned out to be a mismatch, a pandemic, unemployment and grief. I did everything right aside from calling a doctor – I went to grief counseling earlier this year, I committed myself to Pelotonia to support a great cause and also to get out of my own head, and I did my damndest to push ahead to normal. Talking to the counselor helped, and I’m still proud of riding in Pelotonia. But frankly – these are all bandaids on a corpse.

Full disclosure: “bandaid on a corpse” is from Fiddler on the Roof. I love Tevye.

I need help, and I’ve finally got my appointment to get it. As for the marathon and running – physically I’m not there. If I’m still having pain from 9.5 miles of run-walk-shuffling, there’s no way in hell I’m going to run 26.2 miles. Or 13.1 – a part of me debated going down to a half, but that would also be stupid. Hats off to the serious Instagram runners who run Boston qualifiers while nursing the start of an injury, but I know my limits. When I don’t know them, my body screams it to me loud ‘n clear. This time around it’s “Allison – go to the doctor, get help and get that part of you straightened out. And quit eating so damn much.”

So reader-friends, I have to sit this one out to take care of my brain health and physical well-being. I’m still walking the line between acceptance and disappointment with my decision, and there’s a good chance I’ll probably be there for a little while. I’ll likely wake up the morning of the race and grieve for myself. And then I’ll find something productive to do. I’m thinking about spectating, since I’ve never done that before.

With all of that being said, it’s time for me to get my day started. Take it easy everyone and remember – brain health is just as important as physical health, and a healthier version of yourself can be attained.

Yours in writing and life,


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