John Elway, Brett Favre, and What’s Next For T-Rex Runner

I’ve been basking in the post 50th-marathon glow for a little over a week now. I’ve had time to reflect on my feelings about the race and my plans for the future, and I am so completely at peace. I am downright zen. For someone who is generally incapable of relaxing, this is a pretty big deal.

In case you could not tell from my race report, the 2015 Route 66 Marathon was likely my last marathon. I have been thinking about this off and on since my back surgery, but after the Spinx Marathon, I knew it was the right time. I was so worried about even running this last one at all, but ultimately I decided I had to try. Part of that decision came from the fact that I knew this would be the last one, so it was just a question of making it through one more.

Ultimately, there are two main issues: I’m limited in the amount of training I can do (my surgeon capped me at 3 running days per week), and the pain I’m experiencing during and after marathons has intensified. While I don’t necessarily mind training less, I know that it has contributed to feeling bad during races. There was a time when I could choose to take it easy during marathons and still cross the finish line feeling great, but those days are behind me now. Even taking it easy doesn’t feel good because the impact over the miles accumulates, and honestly? It makes it really, really hard to enjoy. I feel like I have reached the point of diminishing returns, where I’m not getting as much out of marathons as I used to.

How I felt in my last few races caused me to totally reevaluate my goal of running a marathon in each state. The whole point of beginning this journey was to see new places and enjoy running in them, so if I was no longer enjoying the running part, half of the purpose, for me, was gone. Contrary to what it might seem, I don’t like walking a lot in marathons. If I choose to because I’m having fun, that’s fine, but being forced to is a different story. I mentioned that to AJ – about how I felt like I wasn’t able to perform my best anymore and didn’t even have the option – and he said something to me that made a lot of sense.

“Danielle,” he said. “You know how you hate when once-great quarterbacks refuse to retire when their good days are clearly behind them? Their original team cuts them and they bounce from team to team hoping for that one last shot at glory? It hurts to watch, right? But so many of them do it because they don’t want to let go and don’t know what they’re going to do with themselves when they’re done playing football. Instead of retiring after they win the Super Bowl, they kind of limp off the field and people just shake their heads. You hate that, right?”

“Yeah,” I said. “For every John Elway that knows when to call it quits, there’s ten Brett Favres who don’t. It sucks, and it’s sad to watch.”

“Exactly,” he said. “So who are you going to be? John Elway, or Brett Favre?”

John Elway also never had a sex scandal, which is something I too am aiming to avoid

My husband has never run a marathon, but he knows me well, and nothing has ever made more sense to me than he did in that moment. That analogy put it all in perspective for me. I came to the conclusion that I do want to finish my tour of the states, but I plan on doing the final 13 states as half marathons. Ultimately, I decided that walking the majority of my final 13 marathons was not an option for me. It was not worth it to me to put myself through that amount of pain and damage to my body just to say I had run a marathon in every state.  This way, I still get to travel, see new places, and run with my friends, but I’m doing it at a distance that makes my body and mind feel good now. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I don’t feel like I’m giving up on my goal or like I’m quitting – I feel like I am making the smart choice for my body and my life as it is now. The fact of the matter is that life happens, and we have to be adaptable. This is how I am choosing to adapt.

How do I know I’m making the right choice? Because I have not felt sad or nostalgic or remorseful for a single second since I crossed that finish line a little over a week ago. After happiness, the primary emotion I’ve experienced is relief. I have no doubt it is the right choice for me, and I am beyond thrilled that I ran my last marathon on such a high note. I couldn’t have written a better last marathon story if I tried, and I’m a pretty good writer if I do say so myself.

An unexpected side effect of running my final marathon has been a renewed sense of enthusiasm for this blog. I still plan on traveling with my friends, running fun races, and finishing the 50 states (albeit with half marathons), but I’m so excited now about how much fun it will be. I’m not dreading pain or worrying about how I will make it through training. I can’t wait to go on more awesome international adventures and share those with you. I’m excited to train hard for half marathons and test myself there. I’m ecstatic to continue sharing my life with you and striving every day to make life more interesting.

I’ve rarely been so at peace or resolved about anything, and one thing is for certain: I might be done but marathons, but T-Rex Runner is not going anywhere any time soon. But this guy? We’re training together for his first half marathon. Can you say video interview?

Something tells me he’s going to leave me in his dust, but I’m so excited that I don’t even care



30 thoughts on “John Elway, Brett Favre, and What’s Next For T-Rex Runner

  1. Congratulations! If you haven’t run a half marathon in Indiana, please join us for either the Carmel Half (April), the Indianapolis Half (October–beautiful course), or the Monumental (November). 🙂 Here’s to feeling zen and having renewed enthusiasm for running. And here’s to letting go of or modifying goals that no longer serve you well!

    1. Thanks, Judy! I have done a marathon in Indiana (the Southern Indiana Classic back in April 2013). I have heard great things about all of those races!

  2. My question: what is Trex’s number so that we can retire it, and where is your Hall of Fame?
    You know that this has been in my mind all too much recently. My body seems to handle everything up to and through the marathon just fine, but a month of me running after that kills it. I’m wondering if it is the marathoning or, a new thought, the pick up in pace of my runs after–I’m running shorter distances, I’m running faster paces (because I’m not training with people), and thus not being as gentle with my body. So the question then becomes: do I try a new technique, or do I just call it a day? Right there with you, but I’m more like one of those 3 year pretty good running backs.

    1. I know you are struggling with your injury right now and some of the same questions I have faced! I have to say, I hope that it is the pick up of pace in your runs after your marathons, because that would be a pretty easy problem to solve, comparatively. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you for Boston!

  3. So, I know that we have never officially met or even know each other, but you are my running sole sister and I am SOOO proud of you and your decision. I always tell myself that running is supposed to be fun! A fun way of challenging your self to meet new goals or just a fun way to meet people. When it starts to feel stressful or like work, then I take a break… put the watch down, don’t set time goals and relax and have fun. I am excited to see where the new adventure of half marathons take you. I took a year off of running marathons and only focused on the half. It is a great race where you can really challenge yourself…. because compared to a marathon, you can go all out and still be ready to party afterwards :-). Cheers to you!

    1. Thank you SO much, Clarise! I am excited to challenge myself in the half. My PR feels very far away right now, but I hope to chip away at it over time. At the very least, I want to finish my states and enjoy the journey! It is one hell of a ride.

  4. That’s awesome — the whole thing — #1 that you finished 50 marathons at your age. I’m 40-ish, have been running for all 3 years, and am running my first marathon next year. Your blog has been one of the motivating factors in this. #2 – that you know when to quit (Elway over Favre any day!). #3 – no sex scandals – that’s always good news, right? and #4 – you have one heck of a keeper of a husband — his advice is spot on AND even though you kept claiming that he has no interest in running, he so obviously has an interest in you to want to train for his first half-marathon with you. That right there is awesome.

    1. Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I am beyond honored that my blog would have any influence on your decision to run your first marathon, and I hope you will let me know how it goes! It is truly such a unique and special event, and there is nothing like it. And you’re absolutely right – AJ usually does have no interest in running, but I think he sees half marathon training as a) a personal challenge and b) a good way for us to spend time together. Whatever the case, I’m thrilled, and very lucky to have such a wise and wonderful husband!

  5. AJ has wisdom beyond his years!! Smart man! Life, the decisions that we make, it’s all a process, it’s all fluid, it is all subject to change. So glad you finished your 50th marathon and that it was SPECTACULAR!! You decision is the right path for you. Excited to continue to read the T-Rex saga!!

    1. Exactly! And it can sometimes be hard (for me at least) to change my mind because I feel like I am quitting. But really, I am just making the best decision I have with the latest information that is available, and that is subject to change, just like everything else in life. Thank you for your continued support!!

  6. I think you made the right call. Even if you don’t run any more marathons, you are still very much a runner. It doesn’t sound like it was bringing you joy, rather it was stressing you out (Route 66, at least). If the half is easier on your body and your mind, that’s what you should go for. You can still share the runs with friends and with AJ and travel to new places- and that’s what counts. BTW I love his quarterback analogy!

    1. Yes, it has definitely been stressing me out lately. It sucks not feeling well and like I can’t run the way I feel like I should be able to. It is great to just get back to the joy of it and not have to worry, and the travel is still there! I think this is the best solution for sure.

    1. I might! But I’m not sure I fit in that one either 🙂 There needs to be a “50 States Marathon or Half Marathon Club!”

  7. The fact that you finished 50 marathons now is awesome and I’m really happy for you. I know it was not easy and you really muscled through the last few congrats. I think you are making a great decision to do other things.

    1. Thanks, Hollie! You inspired me a bit to make that choice. I love that you recognized that you don’t enjoy marathons and they are not the best distance for you right now. Seeing someone else go through that process was inspiring and I appreciate your openness!

  8. AJ, you couldn’t have said anything better to Danielle than that. You are wise beyond your years, not to mention you know my daughter so well. Thank you for being there for her always and loving her like you do. We couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law!!

  9. Danielle – this is awesome 🙂 And the sense of Zen is exactly what I was hoping you would feel … and one of the reasons I thought you should do the marathon.

    Now you can close one chapter of T-Rex Runner and open another – you did 50 marathons, now you get to do 13 x 13 … 13 miles in 13 states 🙂

    I can definitely relate to this – I would really like to run the Boston Marathon … it is my hometown where I grew up,the city I love, where I want to live again at some point, and of course it is Boston. But as I started pursuing that goal and the time I would need, and while I was making progress towards that time, I could also feel the impact on my body … I had to decide what mattered most: running Boston, or staying injury-free. You know my choice on that 🙂

    And it is really great to see AJ out there running 🙂 Lisa had fun doing the Komen 5k this past may (in spite of her arthritis and joint issues meaning a run/walk and being in pain for a week afterwards … so we’re doing the ‘Selfless Elf’ 5k this weekend. I still haven’t decided between ‘racing’ or ‘run/walk with Lisa’.

    Again, I was so thrilled to see you do so well, have such a great time, and really be able to go out on top!

    1. Hahaha I didn’t even think about that! 13 x 13 is pretty excellent.

      Thanks as always for your sage wisdom and advice. It was definitely the right choice to do the last marathon and I love the feeling of peace that I have now!

  10. I know this is very delayed (oops), but just wanted to offer up a huge hug. It is SO amazing that you managed to push through in the last few marathons, but I definitely understand that there comes a point where it’s better to quit than keep doing them and hating it. I’m really impressed that you’re able to make the smart choice and stop, even with the momentum of 50 marathons behind you – I know it’s not an easy one. Cheers to a new year of running and some fabulous half marathon finishes!

    1. Thank you so much for your support, Laura! I know Adam is struggling with something similar so you’re probably a pro at comforting pep talks by now. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one for sure!

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