The Story of How I Did NOT Run the El Paso Half Marathon


I enjoy exercising. My body feels strong, my mind feels relaxed, my attitude improves. It is my happy place.

Running has always been my go-to exercise. I supplement it with weight training, yoga, and some swimming and biking. But running is my motherland, it is my jam, it is my zone.

At what point, though, does it become too much? Too much sacrifice, too much pressure, too much strain on my body . . . at what point does it stop being fun?

This is the story of how I did NOT run the El Paso marathon this year.

I have always been a runner–never a long-distance runner though. When my husband and I decided to try for baby #2, I thought training for a half marathon would be a cool way to get my body in tip-top shape for pregnancy. My daughter was a toddler, and finding time to consistently work out was tough. This clear goal would give me the motivation and structure I craved at that time with my workouts.

»  RELATED READ: Training for a Marathon While Breastfeeding :: 4 Things You Need to Know  «

Running those 13.1 miles remains one of the toughest physical challenges I have ever faced. But with great risk comes great reward. The high of completing that race and doing it seven minutes under my goal chip time was immeasurable. It was as exhilarating as any of those hurdle or relay races I used to live for when I was younger.

I then decided that I wanted to run at least one (ideally two) half marathons per year.

The El Paso Marathon takes place in February. My native Chihuahua also holds a yearly half-marathon event in October. Perfect!

Once my son was born in February 2019, I decided to give myself time to get back in the game. I planned for my first “comeback” half marathon to be in October 2020 21k OXXO in Chihuahua.

Enter Covid.

I abandoned the half marathon idea. No real reason, just life I guess.

But eventually, the 13.1 bug struck again and I decided that 2022 would be my real half marathon “comeback.” I further decided that I wanted to complete it in under two hours, which is eight minutes faster than last time.

I tweaked my old half marathon training schedule. I bought new running shoes. And I got to work.


I was revitalized. I even trained when traveling and during the Christmas vacation. (Running on the beach? Way overrated and unnecessarily painful in my opinion.)

Coming back from Christmas break, though, I hit a wall. I felt overwhelmed and frantic and behind on everything. Getting back into a school rhythm felt impossible. I could not keep the house in decent shape for more than a day. I had so, so much work with my clients.

I found myself in this endless whirlwind of little sleep, poor nutrition, impatient mommy-ing, and outright mean wife-ing.

For the first time in a long time, I realized I was overworked.

My body, my mood, my presence with my family . . . I was doing everything, but doing it below par.

I took inventory of my daily activities and decided that something had to give. What was giving me energy? What were the things that I enjoyed the most? What were the things that I dreaded?

The Story of How I Did NOT Run the El Paso Half MarathonI had to be honest with myself.

I found that running was not fun anymore. I was loving my weight training and yoga days but hating the running days. I found myself creating excuses not to do them (and then feeling horrible about skipping them).

That inner struggle and self-loathing were exhausting.

So three weeks before the race, I made the decision to not run it.

This was an unthinkable choice for me. I hate leaving things unfinished. I am a perfectionist. I wanted to want to run the race so badly. But the reality is that I. did. not. want. to.

I did not want to.

Accepting and admitting this weighed heavily on my heart at first. Writing it right now is slightly painful.

Running has always been such a big part of my identity. Acknowledging that right now I do not want to do something that I normally love is gut-wrenching.

My husband lovingly helped me realize that it is ok to not eat everything on my plate all the time. It is ok to just stop when I need a break.

As an always athlete, THIS IS TOUGH!

But when I see the amount of pressure that I was putting on myself to do something and to perform at a certain level, the opportunity cost in all of the other areas of my life was too high.

Plainly put, my goal was unrealistic.

After genuinely letting go of this one thing that was dragging me down and creating such a physical and mental strain, my soul has felt at peace. Partly because I have chosen to let it go and not dwell on it. Partly because I confidently know that it was the right thing for me.

I just restarted weight training after a few weeks off. And I am sure that I will dust off my running shoes soon enough. I can go as far as saying that I hope to run another 13.1 sometime in the future.

It is not the time, though. And I am ok with that.

It is not the time to fill my plate with a series of unrealistic goals and expectations for myself. Setting goals to work diligently towards? Yes! Doing it on two hours of sleep a day for weeks on end (yes, I was doing that)? No!

I feel reconnected to my purpose of guiding my two littles as they grow, of providing them with a solid foundation upon which they will build their lives, of giving them a safe environment where they can learn and develop.

Raising my kids is my main purpose right now. And I need to be of sound body and mind to do it.

I will keep my job that I love. I will exercise to the extent that is comfortable. I will clean my house on a semi-consistent basis.

But I will not lose my cool for any of these things.

It is ok to ask someone else to help me with that report (gasp!). It is ok if my tummy spills out of my jeans sometimes. It is ok if we grab takeout tonight.

But it is not ok to treat my husband or children disrespectfully. It is not ok to be completely absent from what is going on because I am too exhausted to notice it.

Setting realistic expectations for what my week should look like has helped. And sometimes it feels like I am setting the bar too low. But if that is my capacity at that time, I am trying to purposefully honor that.

I want to do it all. But I want to do it well. And I have discovered that this means I will not be doing it all at one time. And that is ok.

Hopefully one day my kids will go cheer their mama on a half marathon course.

For now, I am blessed to just enjoy their littleness. Because as Luisa (yes, from Encanto) put it, “What if I could shake the crushing weight of expectations? Would that free some room up for joy or relaxation or simple pleasure?” I am actively seeking to find out.

Originally published February 2023.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of El Paso Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.


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