After my (kinda, sorta, really yes but also no) triumph at the Run Oak Island Half Marathon, I vowed that I would make my next half my sub-2. I’ve got one coming up in a week or so. It was gonna be my race. Now? I’m not so sure.
Okay, to be fair, I was never really sure. I can’t be the only one who’s gone into a race expecting one outcome and experiencing another. In both directions, even – sometimes you pounce and sometimes you get trounced, you know? Mind you, trouncing seems to happen to me more often, but ya never know. 😅
There are so many factors that exist outside of your control: the weather. A last-minute cold from your kid or a coworker. Less water or fuel on course than expected. That undefinable X-factor that makes your body go mm, nope. Not today.
Another popular option: you can hurt yourself in advance!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I took another tumble last week. This time, though, I know exactly how it happened: somebody left a loop of thick wire or cable on the trail, and I tripped on it I went down. HARD. Like, a I’mverticalnowaitI’mhorizontalHOWDIDIGETHERE?????? type of fall. (Oddly enough, I have tripped on the exact same type of loop once before… in Maryland. Do I have a stalker? It’s not paranoia if someone is actually out to get you!)
Lucky for me, there was no structural damage as far as I could tell – I hopped back up, did some experimental knee raises and kicks, and finished out the last 2 miles of my run. But back home, the soft tissue revolted: in addition to evident scrapes, I enjoyed bruising and even some swelling for the first day or two.
Doubly lucky for me, I’ve had enough time to heal, and after a couple extra days off I’m running again without pain. The question is: can I run my hardest without pain? Can I go sub-2 coming off an injury, even a mild to moderate one?
Who knows? Maybe I can! Then again, maybe I can’t. And this may be controversial, but I’m gonna march into the ol’ race corral assuming I can’t. Not because I believe in defeatist internal monologuing, but because I don’t want to push myself to the point where I re-injure my knees and wind up in worse shape. I’m going to line up with the 2 hour pace group, sure, but if I need to drop back, I will.
After all, there are always other races, right? (I mean, usually. Except for much of 2020, but I think we all agreed to pretend that year never happened.) In fact, the week after that, there’s the Tower of Terror 10 Miler at WDW! Which I will almost certainly not PR, but I certainly don’t want to DNS over bum knees. Caution is the watchword, my friends. Mr. Serling, wait for me!
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