Let me preface this post by saying that I hate repeat HATE not doing a race that I’ve planned for. It makes me grouchy, down in the dumps and a general pain to be around (so sorry to the guys who had to put up with me yesterday – you know who you are).
All that said, sometimes, not racing is the smartest thing that you can do. I’ve been struggling with an injury for the last few weeks and I’d hoped to be fit to run the half marathon I’d signed up for which took place on Sunday (without me - I know, the cheek of it!).
For the past week I went backwards and forwards about it in my mind, and to anyone patient enough to listen to my crazed ramblings! The conversation in my head between the good cop and bad cop went a bit like this:
You’ve had this in the diary for the past 2 months. You have to run it.
But my leg still isn’t feel great.
Maybe it’s all in your head?
I’m pretty sure it’s not, weeks of recovery would beg to differ! But it does seem to be getting better slowly…
Well, there you have it, you’re fine to run.
But the race is on road.
I think the impact could really do some damage.
Stop being such a baby – you’ll be fine.
But what happens if racing makes it worse? What if I’m out for months instead of just a few weeks?
Just suck it up and get it done!
And that went round and round in my head ad nauseam. Finally, I talked about it with my coach who said that he didn’t think I should run – but the Devil on my shoulder refused to take that at face value. Instead, I started to wonder if he was using reverse psychology. Basically, I was being a crazy person.
I sat on the fence about this race right up to the morning of it. I had all my gear in the car, super-cushioned shoes, I’d planned where I was going to park, to all intents and purposes, I was go for launch. I took one step out the front door and felt the pain flare up and, in that moment, I knew with crushing certainty that running 13.1 miles on road was potentially the worst thing I could do to myself. Did that knowledge make it easier to pull out of the race? Of course it bloody didn’t!
I spent most of the day second-guessing myself to the point that I decided to go for a trail run at an easy pace, no pressure, just to DO something! Within a few miles, the pain had returned and I knew that I’d made the right decision not to race – my competitive nature I would have made me feel like I had to finish in a decent time and my leg would not have thanked me for it.
The pain wasn’t the reason for my start line fail – any runner can tell you that pain is part of the deal – it was the knowledge that I have goals this year that I am determined to achieve and I can’t do that if I’m injured. Exacerbating an injury/niggle for the sake of one race didn’t make sense, not for me and – in my opinion – not for anybody. There will always be other races, other years, other challenges. But I know that if I don’t look after myself now then there may not be.
Have I made my peace with not racing yesterday? Am I over the disappointment?
Well, I’ve just written a blog post about it so the evidence wouldn’t exactly be on my side! But I’m getting there. I’m focusing on my recovery, my training going forward and on the goals that I’ve set for myself this year. Looking to the past is pointless; I can’t go back, I can’t change my decision, all I can do is look ahead. So that’s what I’m going to do. But first, I have a hot date with a foam roller!
All opinions are my own and this blog is intended for motivational and informational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting a training or nutrition program.