The second time I quit running was after college in 2009. It wasn’t intentional, it was accidental and I didn’t stop running entirely but I did stop competing. It happened gradually and I almost didn’t notice it–I didn’t notice it.
After I graduated from college I kept running. I decided to train as if nothing had changed and somehow I became injured. I believe I had an early onset of plantar fasciitis that, luckily, I caught in time. My heel and then both heels began to hurt and I couldn’t even walk normally. After about 2 weeks of running like this I decided it wasn’t getting better so I stopped running (for the most part) and went to the pool. Pool running became my new best friend. It kept me in good enough shape to run a PR in the 4th of July race and then to resume somewhat normal training. In September I ran the PDR (Philadelphia distance run), now known as the philly rock & roll 1/2 marathon. That was my first half marathon. The day after the PDR I could barely move and I started grad school the first time. After that the seriousness of my running declined dramatically. Part of it was probably burn out from 8 years of competing, part was probably due to life changes, part was because running wasn’t exactly fun anymore. I didn’t have running related goals but I did not stop running entirely. I just quit racing and training. I ran for fitness only and not every day. I quit competitive running and I didn’t miss it. This went on for approximately 2 years. Sometime in 2011 I decided I wanted to race again. I wanted to train again. I finally missed running and racing. I started to set some goals and I found some races. Things didn’t go horribly which is probably why I took running to a new level of seriousness. I eventually got a training plan and started doing workouts, which at the time were the reason I stopped competing. I hated workouts. I hated the stress of doing workouts all throughout high school and college and I longed for the day I would never have to do an interval workout again. Clearly, this has changed.
I had to quit racing for a while so that I could love running. I never loved racing and I always had a love hate relationship with running. Taking time away from the stress of the sport really helped me learn how important it was to me. It’s unfortunate that I had to spend so much time way from the running but I think it was necessary.