What to do when your marathon is CANCELLED

What to do when your marathon is CANCELLED

In the last week I have experienced a wide range of emotions leading up to my non-marathon weekend. Maybe you know what I’m talking about…

First, the excitement of it being race week.  This was it.  The race I’ve had on my calendar ALL year.  This was going to be my sub 3 race.  I knew the course, loved the atmosphere and basically loved everything about the St. Jude’s Memphis Marathon.

St. Jude Marathon 2012

Then, doubt started to set it.  A few days prior to the race weather reports were not looking good.  Was it really going to affect us like that?  Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad. 

On Thursday, two days before the race (and the day before we were supposed to leave) I was extremely conflicted.  I really wanted to run this race.  But the reasons for not running in it were piling up faster than I could count.  That same day I went to Walmart (just like everyone else in my small town) to stock up on some food and supplies before the storm hit.  It’s a little hard to think about running a marathon when people around you are scrambling for bread and flashlights in the anticipation of a major winter ice storm.  Reality started to set in that just maybe it wasn’t going to happen.

This was going to be the first marathon that we’d ever brought all the kids to.  Having them stand outside on ice and in wind in sub 20 degree temperatures was not how I’d envisioned the experience.  We live about 2 hours from Memphis and if the storm was going to be as bad as they were predicting just getting to and from Memphis safely was going to be difficult.  I couldn’t risk their lives for this. 

Thursday night I made the decision to not run it.  At this point the race was still on but I knew in my gut that it wasn’t the right move to go there regardless.  Plus, I really didn’t want to drag everyone there only to have it cancelled.  John was afraid even if we got there we could get stuck there for a few days because of the weather.

On Friday it rained, sleeted and snowed- A LOT.  It took three tries to drive our van up into our driveway and we don’t even live on a hill.  The ground had basically turned into a giant sheet of thick ice.  On Friday mid day the Dallas White Rock Marathon was cancelled and that night the St. Jude Memphis Marathon was officially cancelled as well. 

So what do you do when your marathon is cancelled?

Believe it or not I was actually pretty calm (for a runner during taper week) throughout this ordeal.  At least I thought I was.  John might have another opinion!  I am pretty sure my NYC experience taught me a few things. 

1.) We may be able to control our training, which race we register for and just about everything else relating to our running but we cannot control the weather.  Sometimes races get cancelled or weather prevents us from doing what we’d be planning for months.  In the event of running versus safety- always choose safety.  This may sound like a no brainer but if you have the mindset of a runner who has trained hardcore in all weather and dedicated months to a certain race you know that there is almost nothing that would prevent you from getting to that starting line.  For me it was thinking about the safety of others (particularly my children).

2.) Once you make the decision not to race- whether you came to that conclusion on your own or the race officials did- be at peace.  Don’t second guess the decision.   It really doesn’t do any good to complain or get upset.  The decision was made.  You’ve just got to accept it and move on.

3.) Find yourself a replacement race! What better way to move on than find yourself and new goal race?!  Get on MarathonGuide.com and get registered for something else SOON!  In the case of NYC my sister and I immediately started looking for a new marathon and had found and registered for one that very weekend a few hours away.  No reason to let a good training cycle and marathon taper go to waste!  It was not the race I had planned to run but I had one of the best weekends ever with my sister.  We found a small rural trail marathon that couldn’t have been more opposite of the NYC Marathon.  But we had a blast!

4.) Plan your new race/ training strategy.  As soon as you find a new race figure out your game plan.  You may not be able to find a race that same weekend.  I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere in this ice storm.  I looked up some races but they all involved travel and many were already full.  Chances are if you wait until the last minute big races are going to be sold out.  I emailed two race directors and heard back from one.  I was able to get into the Three Bridges Marathon in Little Rock on December 28th.  It’s a smaller, local race and this is its inaugural year.  It was full but the RD opened a few more slots- I think for St. Jude runners like me.   I’m excited because I’d actually heard about this new race months ago and wanted to do it but I’d already signed up for St. Judes.  This race is only an hour from my house so it’s very convenient for my family. So I’ve readjusted my training and am preparing for my new marathon- three weekends from now.

5.) Go for a run.  Once I knew I wasn’t running St. Judes anymore I knew I wasn’t in taper mode anymore either.  I ran 10 miles on the treadmill Friday which really helped pull me out of the taper/ no marathon funk I was in. Let’s be honest- carb loading, tapering and then NOT running your marathon is NOT a good combination.  On Saturday I headed to the gym again for a long run.  I actually set my distance PR on the treadmill.  I had planned to do 18 but went ahead and did 20.  I needed to push myself.  It was hard but I felt good.  In it I had some marathon pace miles as well as half marathon pace miles.  While I was running I thought about how I was supposed to be running in a marathon and instead I was on a treadmill looking out a window at snow and ice.  But it all works out in the end.

stepping out of my truck to go to the gym

love this place!
the streets in many parts of the city are thick sheets of ice right now

6.) Trust God.  I just need to relax.  God knew this entire time how this would play out and most of the time I get way too worried and stressed about things I have no control over.  He sees the big picture and that is comforting to me.

And for some more snow/ ice pictures.  We’ve been inside 99% of the time but we did make a few outdoor ventures which did not last very long.  It’s freezing out there! Literally!

Happy Ice Days! Stay safe!

15 thoughts on “What to do when your marathon is CANCELLED

  1. Tia I was thinking about you! The Louisiana Marathon offered a discount code for you guys, but it’s so far away I knew you’d find something else sooner. I am so sorry! But you’re kind of getting to be a pro at this, right? At least you have the experience – and you’ll still go sub-3. You have the innate talent, no matter what curveball you’ve been thrown.

  2. You handled the change with grace and dignity. And you’re so right – there’s no point in getting stressed and upset about something you’ve got no control over.

  3. Ah, Tia, after your experience with NYC, this seems so unfair! But if there is anyone who can stay positive and keep focused on the really important things, its you! That said, when you do run your next marathon (in sub-3!) this experience will no doubt make it that much sweeter!

  4. I still can’t believe you had two marathons canceled for you two years in a row! In some ways, it was good that you had made the decision not to run this one before it was officially canceled — it gave you at least a sense of some control in the situation. It maybe would have been worse if you had decided to still go run it on your own (leaving your family behind) and then it had ultimately been cancelled, anyway. I don’t know…maybe it is no different but at least it seemed like it was your decision! 🙂

    I did a 21 mile treadmill run last spring when I had a sick little one at home and couldn’t get out for my run. It was a tough mental run for sure.

    Hope the next three weeks go well for your training and I can’t wait to hear about your race when it finally happens! 🙂 xo Kristen

    1. I totally agree Kristen! Maybe that’s why I felt a little better this time around.

      We’ll see how this (never-ending) training cycle play out.. Hopefully with a sub 3! 🙂

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